Dillon Overton’s brutal numbers suggest rostering hitters against him is absolutely necessary so Mike Napoli’s power stroke should be on full display tonight. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.
Mike Napoli, Indians, $8,800 – Through three starts in the majors this season, probable starter Dillon Overton has strung together some absolutely porous numbers. In 15.0 IP, Overton has produced an 8.40 ERA, 1.93 WHIP, 8.01 FIP, 6.35 xFIP, 3.00 BB/9, 6.00 K/9 and absolutely pathetic 22.4-percent GB rate. Virtually all contact he induces are of the fly ball variety so it’s no wonder hitters have managed a 3.60 HR/9 rate against him! Of all hitters on the Indians, one stands out above all others in terms of a skill set that fits this matchup: Mike Napoli. Generally, Napoli is a boom-or-bust type hitter at the plate, meaning he takes a big swing in order to make substantial contact. Sometimes he connects and sometimes he does not (132 Ks) but that’s the risk he is willing to take. A majority of his contact is of the fly ball variety as evident by his 42.4-percent fly ball rate (second highest on the team to only Carlos Santana) and his team-leading 49.2-percent hard hit rate against LHP this season. Napoli’s big swings have led to a team high 17 HRs against the handedness and this obviously is the perfect matchup for a HR hitter. Multiple Indians are in play on Saturday evening but I’m predicting Napoli hits one out.
Zack Cozart, Reds, $8,100 – If rostering Zack Cozart you’ll need to stay tuned because he has been involved in trade talks as of late but this is a plus matchup for him and some of his compadres. People will likely overlook Reds hitters due to the negative park shift but that didn’t affect them last night in putting four runs on the board in the first inning alone. Sometimes the opponent is more important than the atmosphere and this is certainly the case against a recently struggling Christian Friedrich. After a 1.65 ERA in May, it has been all downhill since then: 5.08 ERA and 7.85 ERA in June and July respectively. How poorly has he fared this month? Opponents have produced a .321/.391/.520 slash line and .384 wOBA against him cumulatively. Cozart, who typically bats atop or near the top of the order, sports a .345 wOBA and .313 AVG against the handedness. While it’s doubtful he takes Friedrich deep, he should be able to reach base multiple times, possibly drive in a run or two and score at least a run. At this price tag, that’s more than enough to make the case for him as a rock solid cash play.
Lorenzo Cain, Royals, $9,900 – Welcome back Lorenzo Cain who was activated from the disabled list on Friday after missing exactly a month with a strained hamstring. Who is this Cain fellow? Well, if it’s been too long and you have forgotten, Cain leads the Royals in all the following categories (58 ABs) against LHP this season: runs (14), AVG (.397), OBP (.462), SLG (.638), OPS (1.099), ISO (.241), wOBA (.455) and wRC+ (190)…so basically everything. When a player with a formidable skill set such as this squares off against a subpar starter (Martin Perez) in a hitters’ ballpark, (metaphorical) fireworks can erupt. The Rangers are listed as -140 favorites but the game’s over/under is projected at 10.0 runs. Away from Coors Field, a 10 run line is a huge deal and means a hefty amount of runs are on the horizon. Taking into consideration Perez’s 12 HRs allowed, .298/.367/.460 slash line and .356 wOBA allowed to RHHs this season, Cain is in a prime spot to succeed. In fact, he’s my favorite hitting play on the entire slate as all the splits align, and I see the potential for him to go absolutely nuts.
Nomar Mazara, Rangers, $7,200 – As mentioned in the previous tidbit, Vegas expects a slugfest in Texas and you’ll want more than just one offensive piece. No team is implied to score more runs (5.5) on the slate than the Rangers and the weather (90 degrees and sunny) will only help the hitting environment. Against RHP this season, Mazara is slashing .295/.352/.466 to go along with a .349 wOBA and .171 ISO. While the numbers aren’t unbelievable, they are a bargain at this price tag, especially considering his team looks primed to go bonkers. Furthermore, 14 of the whopping 26 HRs opposing starter Ian Kennedy has allowed this season have come off the bats of LHHs. Kennedy is more likely to succeed in larger, more pitcher-friendly ballparks and this certainly is not one of those. On a hot night in Arlington, balls will be leaving the ballpark in a hurry, and it wouldn’t be surprising if Mazara was one of the guys to hit one out. However, even if he does not, Kennedy is walking guys at a rate (3.07 BB/9) above his career rate, so it’s likely Mazara reaches base at least once. If looking for tournament options, Rougned Odor and Joey Gallo are the more preferable options, but I think Mazara possesses the safest floor of the bunch. One thing is for sure: you’ll want to roster some Rangers hitters.
Julio Teheran, Braves, $18,300 – A number of expensive bats were mentioned earlier in this article because I am comfortable with Julio Teheran with my SP1 on this slate. Although he’ll head into the game sporting a 2.71 ERA, he’s priced more than $4,000 cheaper than the most expensive pitcher on the slate (Justin Verlander). Oh by the way, he draws one of the best possible matchups for a RHP: the Phillies. Philadelphia ranks in the bottom three of wOBA, wRC+, BB rate, AVG and OBP while striking out at a rate of 22.2-percent. As if that weren’t enough, Teheran is listed as a -127 favorite in a game with a projected 7.5 over/under. There is very little risk in rostering Teheran against an offense without much potency and plenty of upside. Dollar-for-dollar, he’s my favorite pitching play on the entire slate and I’ll probably have 100-percent of him in my lineups.
Jameson Taillon, Pirates, $16,000 – The chalk play is going to be rostering Scott Kazmir as a huge (-224) favorite at home against Braden Shipley but I’m worried about the matchup. Right now, the Diamondbacks rate as the top team in terms of wOBA against LHP. In other words, even if Kazmir does manage to win, it likely will not be pretty (although it’s still viable in cash games). Instead, I’m going to the “Danger is my middle name” route with Jameson Taillon. After back-to-back starts failing to eclipse six fantasy points at the end of June, Taillon appears to have turned a corner and has now managed at least 14.50 fantasy points in three consecutive games. During that stretch, he has pitched six innings in each game while striking out at least six hitters in two of three. Coincidentally, Taillon will get another shot at the team who didn’t strike out much against him (only three times) last time out: the Brewers. Failing to strike out many Brewers doesn’t make much sense because they strike out at the highest percentage against RHP so the only explanation is he just didn’t have his best stuff. Ryan Braun is hurting and it’s possible Jonathan Lucroy is traded before the start of this game so Milwaukee may be without two of their top offensive weapons. All of this is a long-winded way of saying Taillon is pitching in a solid matchup and, with his talent, should find a way to put together a respectable outing.
Bartolo Colon, Mets, $11,400 – Gulp…recommending this guy always makes me nervous but on this slate and at this price tag it makes a ton of sense. Bartolo Colon’s opponent, the Rockies, are a totally different ball club on the road; they rank second to last in both wOBA and wRC+, are slashing .236/.294/.380 and only sport a .143 team wOBA. Meanwhile, Colon has unsurprisingly produced a superior ERA at home (3.25) compared to the road (3.43) considering the pitcher-friendly atmosphere of Citi Field. Sure Colon’s peripherals, along with his career-high line drive percentage (23.1-percent) and hard hit rate (36.8-percent), suggest a regression but this likely isn’t the game. Opposing starter Jorge De La Rosa will head into this game with a 5.70 ERA and has somehow been worse away from Coors Field (6.54 ERA). Therefore, I agree with Vegas’ assessment of listing Colon as a -135 favorite in a game with an 8.0 run over/under. While Colon certainly isn’t the safest option, this feels like one of those contests where he magically strings together six-plus solid innings.
*Stats are accurate as of Friday, July 29