While Jacob deGrom typically pitches better at home, the matchup against the Phillies is simply too juicy to pass on. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.
Brandon Belt, Giants, $8,800 – Looking at Sunday’s probables resulted in me spitting out my coffee because I saw the name “Edwin Jackson” listed as the likely starter for San Diego. Prior to starting Sunday, Jackson has pitched for 10 Major League teams with a career 4.59 ERA and 1.45 WHIP. Jackson actually pitched for the Marlins earlier this season before being designated for assignment and signing with the Padres. Over the course of his lengthy career, LHHs have managed a .277/.355/.432 SLG against him to go along with a .345 wOBA (in 809.0 IP against the handedness). This is excellent news for Brandon Belt and his .385 wOBA, .305/.406/.500 slash line against RHPs this season. Jackson is a gas can at this point in his career, so while Belt is extremely viable and my preference for cash games, the entire Giants offense is in play. Stack away.
Eric Hosmer, Royals, $5,700 – There’s almost no explanation necessary for playing Eric Hosmer at a sub-$6,000 cost. Hosmer hits pitchers of each handedness hard but his platoon advantages comes against RHP. For some reason, the pricing algorithm decided to list him as dirt cheap against Michael Fulmer…a righty! This season, Hosmer has managed a .361 wOBA and .310/.376/.460 slash line against RHP, which partially led to him being selected as the American League’s starting first basemen in the All-Star Game. On the other hand, Fulmer has pitched great but probably a bit over his head. In other words, regression should be on the horizon; his 85.4-percent strand rate, .252 BABIP, 3.53 FIP and 3.94 xFIP suggest his 2.11 ERA will be on the rise during the second half of the season. Hell, he doesn’t even miss bats at an elite clip (8.45 K/9). Basically, this matchup is nowhere near scary enough to consider fading Hosmer while priced like a bum.
Adam Jones, Orioles, $8,400 – Reverse splits have been a theme of Adam Jones’ career as he has hit 14 percentage points higher against RHP compared to LHP (spanning 10 seasons). This year has been more of the same as Jones has produced a .345 wOBA against righties compared to just .272 versus lefties. Despite playing on the road, the Orioles are listed as -115 favorites against Jake Odorizzi in a game with a projected 8.0 run over/under. Why? Vegas expects the Baltimore bats to get to Odorizzi as they have in the past. As a whole, active Orioles hitters have slashed .293/.335/.490 against Odorizzi in 157 ABs…and none have fared better than Jones. In 25 ABs, Jones has registered 10 hits, two HRs and a .400/.423/.680 slash line. Lead off duties will be his as per usual so he’ll hit in the prime spot in the order for cash game purposes. All-in-all Jones may go a bit under-owned since he isn’t facing a total bum but his matchup is actually fantastic.
Jake Smolinski, Athletics, $6,400 – One news tidbit that fell under the radar this week was the fact the Athletics sent down Billy Burns and announced Coco Crisp would play less in an attempt to find ABs for Jake Smolinski. Apparently the Athletics made the executive decision to get younger and give the kids a chance to display their skills. However, Smolinski was going to start Sunday’s game regardless against left-handed J.A. Happ. Among all hitters with at least 35 ABs versus LHP this season, Smolinski’s ridiculous .466 wOBA ranks third behind just Yoenis Cespedes (.503) and Brandon Guyer (.482). While this may seem like a fluke, Smolinski managed a .262/.356/.476 slash line and .356 wOBA against the handedness last year, so this could simply be improvement from a young hitter. Regardless of whether or not his numbers are a bit inflated, it’s clear his skill set far exceeds his $6,400 price tag, so he’s worthy of consideration in any and all formats due to his dong potential.
Max Scherzer, Nationals, $26,700 – Tanner Roark shut out a struggling Pirates offense last night and their task won’t get any easier on Sunday facing Max Scherzer. No team hit for a lower AVG in the month of June than the Pirates and they once again rank in the bottom 10 so far this month. Their glaring weaknesses against RHP is their lack of power (.154 ISO) and hard hit baseballs (30.1-percent hard hit rate). Both these facts are excellent news for Scherzer who has struggled with the worst HR/9 rate (1.48) of his career in 2016. Other than the long ball, Scherzer is business as usual: 3.03 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, .241 BABIP and 11.56 K/9 (second highest among qualified starters). Rightfully, the Nationals are listed as easily the heaviest favorite of the day (-231) at home against Chad Kuhl and his 6.08 ERA. With a plethora of hitting values available on the slate, Scherzer makes all the sense in the world to anchor cash lineups.
Jacob deGrom, Mets, $20,400 – Although Scherzer may be the safest play of the day, Jacob deGrom is my favorite because of the more affordable price tag to go along with his excellent matchup and skill set. The Phillies flat out stink against RHP as they rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, BB rate, AVG, OBP, hard hit rate and line drive percentage. While deGrom has pitched better at home this season, he still has only allowed a 2.84 ERA on the road. Since his inflated 3.86 ERA in May, deGrom has allowed a 2.45 ERA in June and 2.25 so far in July. deGrom has simply found his stride and will be facing one of the most favorable opponents possible. For those reasons, deGrom will make his way into 100-percent of my lineups on Sunday while the masses focus on Scherzer to anchor most staffs.
Dylan Bundy, Orioles, $10,000 – Do you have the guts to use Dylan Bundy in an incredibly favorable matchup? The price tag is ultra-enticing, Bundy is a former top prospect and the Rays K at a rate of 25.5-percent versus RHP. Additionally, the Rays rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, BB rate, AVG, OBP and line drive rate versus the handedness. Bundy hasn’t started a game so far this season but he has compiled a 3.08 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 2.84 K/BB and 7.58 K/9. Okay so the BB rate is too high but all of the other numbers are pretty respectable. Using Bundy in cash games is probably too risky of a proposition but he is awfully tempting in GPPs against a whiff-prone opponent. At this price tag, Bundy doesn’t need to do much to provide value, and he’s coming off a game where he struck out seven in 2.1 IP. If he can just reach a handful of strikeouts, he’ll make rostering him worthwhile in order to fit literally any bat you want alongside him.
*Stats are accurate as of Saturday, July 16