Is it Werth it?

Let me work it. Put Jayson Werth in your lineup, flip it and reverse it. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.

Infield:

Brandon Belt, Giants, $9,300 – In 19 career ABs, Brandon Belt has unsurprisingly raked against Andrew Cashner; he is 6-19 with a HR, four RBIs and a .316/.375/.579 slash line. In this case, the batter versus pitcher (BvP) statistics make sense because Belt crushes RHP and Cashner is susceptible to LHHs. Over the span of 33.2 IP, LHHs are slashing .248/.342/.457 against Cashner with a .343 wOBA. On the other hand, Belt ranks third on the Giants with a .392 wOBA against RHP (first among hitters with at least 70 ABs versus the handedness). Additionally, he leads all regulars in OBP against the handedness while tying for the team lead in HRs (six). If Jarrett Parker cracks the lineup, he may rate as the best bargain in the lineup, but Belt is the premiere threat. Assuming you are rostering the aces and can only afford to spend up for one hitter, Belt possesses double dong upside with a very fair price compared to the elites.

Jose Abreu, White Sox, $6,600 – What in the world is this price tag? There is no doubt Jose Abreu has struggled in 61 ABs versus LHP so far this season but he’s a much better hitter than the numbers suggest. Though he has only slashed .230/.300/.361 against lefties so far this season, his career slash line is still .280/.358/.478 versus the handedness. He is essentially priced like a bum in a matchup against a pitcher, Hector Santiago, who has already allowed 15 HRs to RHHs. With one swing of the bat, Abreu has the ability to crush this price tag in a hitters’ park against a susceptible opponent. Although his numbers suggest he isn’t the safest of plays, he’s incredibly difficult to overlook at just $6,600…regardless of opponent.

Outfield:

Jayson Werth, Nationals, $7,200 – Jayson Werth is arguably the best hitting play on the entire slate with a whole ton of talent packed into the $7,200 cost. Among all players with at least 30 ABs versus LHP this season, Werth’s .475 wOBA ranks fourth, behind only Yoenis Cespedes, Brandon Guyer and Marcell Ozuna. Meanwhile, Francisco Liriano is struggling through his worst season since 2012 when he posted a 5.34 ERA and 1.47 WHIP. In all honesty, this season may be worst as he currently sports a 5.15 ERA, 5.31 FIP, 4.89 xFIP, 1.62 WHIP, 5.63 BB/9 and 1.36 HR/9 rate. Righties have done a majority of the damage against Liriano this season as they’ve homered 11 times with a .265/.382/.448 slash line and .359 wOBA. As icing on the cake, Liriano has allowed a 6.80 ERA and .389 wOBA on the road compared to just a 3.67 ERA and .310 wOBA at home. All signs point to a monster game for Werth at a significant discount to where he should be priced.

Kole Calhoun, Angels, $6,900 – Through two starts in July, probable starter Miguel Gonzalez has limited opponents to a 1.29 ERA. This upcoming start should begin the regression to the mean of his 4.39 season ERA (and 3.88 career ERA). Gonzalez is an average starter at best with a below-average GB rate (42.3-percent) and K/9 (6.59). Both Kole Calhoun’s skill set and Gonzalez’s career statistics allowed to LHHs align in that Calhoun hits for AVG (and very little power) and Gonzalez has allowed a substantial AVG (.253) and low SLG (.417) to the handedness. Unlike Belt, Calhoun probably isn’t a threat for a bomb, but he could easily register multiple hits including a few runs. At a sub-$7,000 price tag, that’s all you need to go along with a pair of aces in cash games.

Pitcher:

Stephen Strasburg, Nationals, $23,200 – On Friday, Stephen Strasburg will square off against the Pittsburgh Pirates and their AVG that ranked dead last in all of baseball in June (as was their .369 SLG). In July, the Pirates have rebounded a bit to the tune of a .269 AVG and .329 wOBA (both about league average). Regardless, they are not an offense firing on all cylinders, and they will have a tough task ahead against Strasburg. The good news is only six teams have struck out at a higher percentage than the Pirates this month and Strasburg’s 11.14 K/9 ranks third amongst qualified pitchers (behind only Jose Fernandez and Max Scherzer). When Strasburg gets beat, it’s usually via the long ball, and the Pirates rank in the bottom 10 overall in terms of ISO and hard hit percentage versus RHP. If spending up for one pitcher only, Strasburg is my preference ahead of both Madison Bumgarner and Carlos Carrasco.

Madison Bumgarner, Giants, $21,600 – On paper, this is not an incredibly favorable matchup, which sounds crazy to say when facing the Padres. Still, the Padres rank in the top 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, AVG and OBP against LHP. However, in a limited sample size this month, the Padres’ .302 wOBA ranks fifth worst and they have struck out at a rate of 24.3-percent. Overall, the Padres have struck out at the same exact percentage (24.3-percent) against LHP, so the K potential is evident. Furthermore, the move to Petco Park is essentially a lateral move in terms of a ballpark shift, so it’s a pretty similar atmosphere to his home ballpark. Against Andrew Cashner, Bumgarner will inevitably be listed as a hefty favorite (line isn’t out yet), so he rates as a solid option in all formats…although he’s admittedly a better fit for GPPs.

Anthony DeSclafani, Reds, $18,600 – No National League team has struck out at a higher percentage against RHP this season than the Milwaukee Brewers. Anthony DeSclafani isn’t an elite strikeout pitcher by any means but his 7.18 K/9 is at least respectable. In this matchup, his K potential is obviously as high as it will ever get, and it wouldn’t be surprising for him to K an extra 1-2 hitters than the norm. The Brewers also rank in the bottom 10 of wRC+ and ISO against the handedness. Now factor in DeSclafani’s career-best hard hit rate (26.6-percent) and line drive percentage (19.0-percent) and he feels like a solid bet to compile a solid outing. Since this is expensive for his usual skill set, I can understand the hesitation, but at least consider him in GPPs regardless of any personal reservations.

*Stats are accurate as of Thursday, July 14

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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