The NeverEnding Story

Trevor Story doesn’t need Coors Field in order to succeed so do not overlook him on Monday evening in a matchup against Yovani Gallardo. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.

Infield:

Trevor Story, Rockies, $10,400 – Heading into Sunday, Trevor Story had been smoking everything recently as evident by his 26.5-percent line drive rate in July. Prior to this month, his previous best line drive rate in any month was his 25.0-percent tally in June. Then Story went and homered yet again yesterday and just continued to pile on his impressive recent (and really season-long) numbers. With the team traveling to Baltimore, I had hoped his salary would take a significant dip, but I’m willing to spend up for him regardless. Opposing starter Yovani Gallardo possesses typical splits but has still allowed a .277/.350/.422 slash line to RHHs this season to go along with a .333 wOBA. The part I like most against the lineup is Gallardo has only managed a 4.85 K/9 rate against RHHs (compared to 7.36 to LHHs). Story’s kryptonite are pitchers who miss bats, and he’s hitting the ball hard a ridiculous 45.7-percent of the time this month, so pitchers who rely on his contact are fighting a losing battle. Even playing on the road, I think Story yet again rates as an elite play and one I will consider using in any and all formats.

Rougned Odor, Rangers, $8,400 – The case for Rougned Odor is a bit similar to the case for Story because he’s another hitter that has made significant contact as of late. Odor’s July has been his best month yet in terms of line drive rate (21.8-percent) and hard hit percentage (46.4-percent). Over the past 15 days, that has led to an average batted ball distance of 257 feet, which ranks eighth most during that span. On Monday’s slate, the Rangers are implied to score 5.8 runs against Daniel Mengden aka second most on the slate behind the Blue Jays (6.0). Mengden is a righty who had relied on deception to succeed but he now has failed to register a quality start in four consecutive starts after compiling three in his first four games. Even more notable, the Rangers have already seen him so he will not have the element of surprise on his side this go-around. Lastly, Mengden possesses normal splits for a right-hander, meaning lefties hit him harder than righties. All things considered, Odor may be my favorite hitter on the entire slate when factoring in his incredibly reasonable price tag.

Outfield:

Mark Trumbo, Orioles, $9,200 – All Orioles bats are in play against putrid starter Jorge De La Rosa who somehow, someway has fared worse on the road this season (7.43 ERA) than at home (5.65 ERA). Furthermore, he’ll experience a negative league shift as he’ll be forced to face a designated hitter in an American League ballpark. The player with arguably the most upside on the Orioles offense is none other than Mark Trumbo and his team-leading .305 ISO against LHP this season. Sure he’s a riskier proposition than the likes of Manny Machado but no player on the team has hit more HRs against the handedness than Trumbo (nine) this year. Meanwhile, De La Rosa has been absolutely roasted by RHHs this season; he’s allowed a .310/.396/.514 slash line, nine HRs and a .391 wOBA to the handedness. Hell, on the road against RHHs, he’s allowed a ridiculous .336/.407/.550 slash line and .407 wOBA! If Trumbo were ever going to put on a display of power, this would be the game.

Kris Bryant, Cubs, $9,200 – Probable starter Miguel Gonzalez’s numbers this season are virtually in line with his career numbers other than one statistic: HR rate. Strangely, Gonzalez is allowing a higher hard hit rate and line drive rate this year than his career totals yet spots a career-low 0.88 HR/9. In 41.0 IP against RHHs this season, he has only allowed three HRs (0.66 HR/9) despite a 24.6-percent line drive rate and 30.7-percent hard hit rate. His career HR rate (1.40 HR/9) versus RHP suggests regression is on the horizon and who better to start the trend than the National League’s second leading HR hitter: Kris Bryant. Even though Gonzalez has limited power this season, he still owns a 4.41 ERA and Vegas implies the Cubs will score 5.1 runs against him. There is nothing scary about this matchup and Bryant is hitting .308 this month (the best total of any month so far this season). He should be a major factor in the havoc this Cubs offense should create against a mediocre pitcher.

Pitcher:

Noah Syndergaard, Mets, $21,600 – Jake Arrieta will likely be a popular pick on the slate against a White Sox team that ranks as a favorable matchup in most categories but I actually prefer Noah Syndergaard for the discount. There have been a wide array of outcomes for Arrieta in recent weeks whereas Syndergaard is a virtual lock at home. In 62.2 IP at home this season, Syndergaard has produced a 2.30 ERA and, even more impressively, he has only allowed a .252 wOBA. His opponent, the Cardinals, are still missing their top asset against RHP: Matt Carpenter. Without him, this offense isn’t quite the same although they are admittedly still formidable. It doesn’t matter because when Syndgergaard is on he can dominate anyone and I still think he is good for six-plus innings with eight-plus Ks.

Dallas Keuchel, Astros, $15,600 – In order to fit the aforementioned hitters, salary will need to be saved at some point…and SP2 is that point. Dallas Keuchel is a much better pitcher at home as evident by his 3.86 ERA in Minute Maid Park compared to 5.28 everywhere else. This is actually an ongoing trend since the beginning of 2014 so it cannot be attributed simply to “small sample size.” While Keuchel’s 2016 hasn’t come anywhere close to his phenomenal 2015, one thing has held true; Yankees hitters have a difficult time against him. In 90 ABs, active Yankees hitters have only managed a .189/.255/.322 slash line against Keuchel. This makes sense because the Yankees rate as the worst offensive team in the American League against LHP. Overall, they rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, OBP and hard hit rate versus the handedness. Listed as a -149 favorite, this is excellent value for a pitcher whose upside stretches far beyond his cost.

Braden Shipley, Diamondbacks, $9,900 – Never heard of this guy? Well, Braden Shipley is the top prospect in the entire Diamondbacks organization and has been called up to start in Milwaukee on Monday. You never know what you’re going to get with a rookie in his first Major League start so there absolutely is a ton of risk in using Shipley. Nevertheless, he draws a solid matchup against a Brewers team that strikes out at the highest percentage of any team against RHP. They also rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO and AVG. While there are a wide array of potential outcomes, most at least include a decent strikeout floor. Using Shipley opens up a ton of room for bats so it could be worth the risk in tournaments. The only question is “Do you have the guts?”

*Stats are accurate as of Sunday, July 24

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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