Jordy Mercer never gets enough love as a lefty specialist and he’ll look to showcase his skills against James Paxton on Wednesday. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.
Aledmys Diaz, Cardinals, $10,000 – This is a beautiful matchup in all ways, shapes and forms for Aledmys Diaz on Wednesday. In a battle between two players with extreme reverse splits, the advantage goes to Diaz in a big way. Opposing starter Logan Verrett has retired lefties at a respectable rate (.322 wOBA, only four HRs allowed) but right-handers have homered seven times off of him to go along with a .265/.371/.523 slash line and .379 wOBA. Meanwhile, Diaz’s .395 wOBA against RHP ranks first on the team among players with at least 50 ABs versus the handedness. He also is slashing .329/.397/.553 against RHP. Since his team is only implied to score 4.3 runs, he may go vastly overlooked, but that would be a mistake. Diaz’s matchup tonight resembles Adam Jones’ last night and, voila, Jones homered. Deploy him in any and all formats with confidence.
Jordy Mercer, Pirates, $7,200 – Quietly, Jordy Mercer is amidst an awfully productive season against left-handers this season. Mostly batting from the leadoff spot, at least recently, Mercer has torched lefties to the tune of a .371 wOBA, .186 ISO and .286/.398/.471 slash line. By comparison, Mercer’s wOBA ranks one spot behind Albert Pujols (.372 wOBA) and only a few spots ahead of both Franklin Gutierrez (.369) and Todd Frazier (.369) against the handedness…and those are players who are worth considering every single time they face a southpaw. Honestly Mercer deserves the same sort of respect these days as he has had some of his monstrous days against a few of the best in the game (Madison Bumgarner, Jon Lester to name a few). James Paxton is a boom-or-bust starter meaning he other comes out with dominant stuff from the get-go or he gets blasted. Regardless, Paxton has allowed a .309 AVG to RHHs, so Mercer has an excellent chance for a multi-hit game out of the first spot in the order. While Mercer is best suited for cash games, he rates as one of my favorite plays in the format.
Kris Bryant, Cubs, $9,600 – One guy who should not be valued as a cash play only is powerful youngster Kris Bryant. Sure Bryant disappointed last night against James Shields but Shields now owns a 2.14 ERA over his last seven starts. Instead, Bryant and company will face Anthony Ranaudo tonight…and at home. There are limited statistics on Ranaudo during his short Major League career but his .377 wOBA allowed to RHHs jumps off the page (compared to .359 to LHHs). On paper, he just seems like a complete gas can, but Vegas has yet to release a line and/or over/under on this game yet. Until I see the line, I’m going to just focus on the one asset that coincides with the pitchers’ skill set: Kris Bryant. Like the aforementioned Diaz, Bryant is a hitter possessing reverse splits in a matchup against a pitcher with similar splits of his own. Regardless of how Vegas ends up assessing this game, the Cubs are one of the under-the-radar stacks with the potential to go crazy, and you won’t want to leave Bryant out.
Adam Jones, Orioles, $6,800 – After homering last night, the price tag depreciated $400 because the team will now square off against Colorado’s ace: Jon Gray. This is mostly a price point play because Jones is a better hitter than this price tag would suggest but other signs point to a productive way as well. First, in an ongoing trend, Gray has produced reverse splits as RHHs have managed a .304 wOBA off of him compared to .290 for LHHs. On the road specifically, right-handers have produced a wOBA 48 percentage points higher than left-handers off of Gray. Jones, on the other hand, owns a career .281/.319/.476 slash line against the handedness and hits in the ever important leadoff spot in the lineup. With four or so chances against Gray in an absolute worst case scenario, I think Jones comes through at this price tag. Considering Vegas implies the Orioles will score 5.2 runs, Jones will likely get to face other pitchers as well. One thing is for sure and that’s passing on him at this price tag would just be crazy.
Adam Wainwright, Cardinals, $21,200 – Adam Wainwright is absolutely the safest starting pitcher on the slate for a multitude of reasons. The expensive alternatives all come with serious negatives including Lance McCullers’ extremely unfavorable umpire draw (Ramon De Jesus) and Yu Darvish’s pitch count. Only one man checks all the boxes (other than pitching at home) and he, of course, is Wainwright. Heading to Citi Field is actually a positive ballpark discount and his opponent, the Mets, look like a juicy matchup on paper; they rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, AVG and OBP while striking out at 22.2-percent against RHP. Despite starting for the road team, Wainwright is listed as a -130 starter in a game with projected 8.0 run over/under. Over the course of Wainwright’s past four starts, he has pitched at least six innings in each and produced at least 21.30 fantasy points. Even though all of those starts were at home, Wainwright has clearly hit a groove, and I expect him to continue the momentum.
Jason Hammel, Cubs, $18,000 – The Cubs bats are in a bit of a funk so they’ll rely on starter Jason Hammel to provide them with a solid outing in order to salvage a win against the White Sox on Wednesday. Luckily for Hammel, he’ll be pitching at home where he owns a 2.70 ERA and .268 wOBA allowed this season. Although the White Sox have won two straight against the Cubs, those were in U.S. Cellular Field and not Wrigley Field. Furthermore, opposing starter Anthony Ranaudo simply isn’t good so this is a mismatch in nature. Brett Lawrie was placed on the disabled list on Tuesday night and the White Sox already ranked in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate, AVG, OBP, hard hit rate and line drive percentage before the injury. Hammel isn’t a giant strikeout guy but he is listed as a -230 favorite at home and should pitch deep into the game. As long as he seals the day off with a win, he should be a safe bet in cash games with 65-perecent of the public betting money already being put down on the Cubs.
Gerrit Cole, Pirates, $15,600 – Last time out, Gerrit Cole displayed the skill set of a pitcher once regularly priced around $20,000. However, before you deem Cole “back,” realize it was against one of the worst hitting teams in the league against RHP (Phillies). Now Cole will really be tested in a matchup against the Mariners at home. The intriguing part of this game is the fact that Nelson Cruz left last night’s contest because of a sore foot. Therefore, it’s unlikely he suits up on Wednesday, which takes one of Seattle’s top two hitters out of the lineup. Seattle is a formidable foe in most categories but they do rank in the bottom 10 of line drive rate and strike out at about league average versus the handedness. Additionally, Vegas lists Cole as a -155 favorite and only implies 3.6 runs for the visiting Mariners. Without a designated hitter and Cruz, Cole appears to have a prime opportunity to come through at a mid-tier price tag for the second consecutive game.
*Stats are accurate as of Tuesday, July 26