Mike Trout is a difficult matchup for any pitcher but especially one with a career-low K rate allowing a .375-plus wOBA to RHHs so far this season. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.
Eric Hosmer, Royals, $7,200 (Late) – Baseball isn’t fully back until a Mike Pelfrey slate emerges and Saturday marks the return of the gas can. Pelfrey will put his 2-8 record and 4.58 ERA on the line at home against Eric Hosmer and the Royals. Despite playing at home, the Royals opened as -119 favorites in a game with a projected 9.0 run over/under. Among all Royals regulars, Hosmer handily leads the team in wOBA against RHP with a .363 tally. Meanwhile, Pelfrey has allowed a .384 wOBA to LHHs this season to go along with a .337/.396/.502 slash line. Therefore, it’s not surprising Hosmer has managed five hits in 12 ABs against Pelfrey in his career (.417). For a mismatch of epic proportions, the price tag is awfully affordable for Hosmer, so he is deserving of a start in all formats.
Evan Longoria, Rays, $6,400 (Early) – Another player criminally mispriced is Evan Longoria especially considering his batter versus pitcher (BvP) numbers against opposing starter Chris Tillman. In an extended sample size, Longoria is 17-57 off of Tillman (.298) with a whopping seven HRs. At some point, when a sample becomes large enough it’s a trend, and this seems to apply. Furthermore, Longoria’s .361 wOBA against RHP ranks first on the team amongst regulars, as does his .290 AVG. After trending downward for a few seasons, Longoria has bounced back in a big way in 2016. For $6,400, you don’t even need to believe in the BvP numbers because his skill set alone justifies the price. Combine the two aspects of the matchup and Longoria is an elite play especially for the bargain cost.
Mike Trout, Angels, $10,800 (Late) – After a brutal month of June (11.07 ERA), probable starter James Shields has rebounded to the tune of a 2.63 ERA in two July starts thus far. Even though he has pitched better as of late, Shields isn’t missing bats whatsoever (3.29 K/9 this month). So far this season, Shields has produced some reverse splits; RHHs have managed 10 HRs, a .295/.364/.533 slash line and .378 wOBA against him in 50.2 IP against the handedness. This does not bode well for Shields against arguably the best player in the league: Mike Trout. Not only does Trout lead the Angels in wOBA against the handedness (.427) but he also leads them in ISO (.262), AVG (.332), OBP (.433) and SLG (.594). If Shields does not force him to swing and miss (17.4-percent K rate), he is basically defenseless against a superstar. If paying up for one hitter on the slate, Trout is hands down the best bet.
Ryan Braun, Brewers, $9,300 (Late) – Ryan Braun’s career .433 wOBA against LHP ranks second among all hitters with at least 50 career ABs versus the handedness (behind only Paul Goldschmidt). Over the course of his illustrious career, he has slashed a hefty .335/.404/.624 against southpaws. In other words, fantasy owners should be drooling over Saturday’s matchup against John Lamb in the Great American Ball Park. In 51.2 IP, RHHs have homered 10 times to go along with a .277/.357/.510 slash line and .370 wOBA. Additionally, Lamb’s 16.7-percent HR/FB rate at home is higher than his 15.6-percent mark on the road. Basically, his home park doesn’t help him keep the ball in the park, especially against RHHs (18.8-percent HR/FB rate versus the handedness at home). All signs point to a monster game from the savvy veteran lefty-killer.
Jeff Samardzija, Giants, $15,900 (Late) – Every start against the same team is a clean slate but Jeff Samardzija has thrice produced solid fantasy outings against his upcoming opponent: the Padres. In three starts, Samardzija has dropped 16.55, 34.20 and 25.60 fantasy points respectively in his three outings against the squad from San Diego. It’s not like these outings have come out of nowhere because the Padres rank dead last in wOBA against RHP this season. They are the absolute most favorable matchup for an opposing righty because they also rank in the bottom 10 of wRC+, BB rate, AVG, OBP and line drive percentage while striking out at a rate of 24.5-percent (third highest in baseball). Opposing starter Luis Perdomo is so terrible (7.48 ERA) that the Giants are actually listed as huge -173 road favorites in a game with an 8.0 run over/under…in pitcher-friendly Petco Park. The stars are aligned for Samardzija to put together yet another quality start against an opponent he has continuously dominated throughout the course of this season.
Matt Moore, Rays, $15,600 (Early) – The masses generally consider the Orioles a potent offense so most look to avoid them at all costs. Taking a closer look at the splits, they are actually susceptible against LHP. In other words, lefties are worth using against them. Why? They rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, AVG, OBP and line drive rate against the handedness while striking out at the 10th highest rate (22.8-percent). Only two of the Orioles regulars have produced a wOBA greater than .344 (Manny Machado and Joey Rickard) with guys like J.J. Hardy, Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, Pedro Alvarez and Hyun Soo Kim all sporting sub-.300 wOBAs. Following a horrendous month of May, Matt Moore has turned his season around with a 3.72 ERA in June and 2.84 ERA in two starts this month. Moore is more talented than his 4.46 ERA would suggest and I expect him to build on the productivity over his last two months. Moore is literally the only starter I have any faith in from the early slate so use him in any and all formats.
Matt Shoemaker, Angels, $15,200 (Late) – Angel Stadium is a tough park to hit it out of so it’s no wonder Matt Shoemaker has been successful recently relying on a career-low GB rate…oh by the way his center fielder is a pretty darn good fielder as well (Mike Trout). Although Shoemaker sports a 4.45 ERA, his peripherals suggest he has been unlucky, and his 71.6-percent stand rate proves it (compared to 74.8-percent for his career). To be fair, Shoemaker’s July has started shaky (7.45 ERA) but at least it isn’t on the heels of an inflated BB rate as was the case in April. Shoemaker sports a much better ERA at home (3.86) this year comparatively to on the road (5.01). His upcoming opponent, the White Sox, rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, BB rate, AVG, OBP, hard hit rate and line drive percentage. For this mid-tier price tag, take the combination of matchup and upside all the way to the bank.
*Stats are accurate as of Friday, July 15