The Yankees have struggled to hit left-handers all season long so rostering Blake Snell against them on Sunday is a no-brainer. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.
Brian Dozier, Twins, $7,800 – On Sunday, probable starter Carlos Rodon will take the mound for the first time since Jul. 5 due to a wrist injury that sent him to the disabled list (DL)…he slipped and fell in the dugout and broke his fall with his wrist. Anyways, the White Sox are likely to be cautious with their up-and-coming youngster and it’s doubtful he pitches into the seventh inning. Still, that leaves a solid six innings or so for Brian Dozier and the Twins bats to get to him while he is likely still a bit rusty. Dozier is quietly an elite hitter versus LHP as he’s produced a .453 wOBA, .370 ISO and .321/.411/.691 slash line against the handedness this season. Among all hitters with at least 50 ABs against lefties this year, Dozier’s wOBA ranks 11th, or right above Jose Altuve. Essentially you’re getting a $10,000 hitter at a sub-$8,000 cost so fading him doesn’t make much sense.
Ryan Schimpf, Padres, $6,800 – In July, Ryan Schmipf has set a Padres rookie record by hitting a whopping nine HRs…and there’s still a day left. Like Dozier, Schimpf and company will be facing a pitcher fresh off the DL, except Homer Bailey is making his first start since Tommy John surgery. Pitchers almost always struggle immediately following activation from this major surgery. If we want to take Bailey’s career statistics at face value, he has always fared worse against LHHs (.331 wOBA) than RHHs (.310 wOBA). It is only reasonable to infer he’ll have a harder time than usual against everyone in his first start after more than a year-long layoff. Yesterday, the Padres moved Schimpf into the two hole against a right-hander so I would assume that is the plan once again today. If so, Schimpf is guaranteed a healthy number of plate appearances against a pitcher destined to either struggle or not last long (or both). Considering Schimpf leads the team in wOBA (.396) against RHP, I’ll take him all day long for a sub-$7,000 cost, even in an extreme pitcher-friendly ballpark (Petco Park).
Jose Bautista, Blue Jays, $7,600 – Almost regardless of opponent, Jose Bautista is worth rostering at this ridiculous bargain price tag. Bautista has otherworldly power and can exceed value with one swing of the bat. However, Bautista isn’t just a price play on this slate because the Blue Jays are implied to score 4.8 runs at home against a pitcher they have crushed in the past. Active Blue Jays hitters have managed a .303/.373/.618 slash line off of opposing starter Chris Tillman and Bautista has done his fair share of the damage. In 42 career ABs versus Tillman, Bautista is 11-42 (.262) with three HRs and seven RBI (.548 SLG). This year, Bautista has produced reverse splits, meaning his .352 wOBA against RHP is superior to his .335 tally against LHP. To review, Bautista makes sense in terms of price tag, batter versus pitcher data (BvP), splits data and his raw powerful skill set. There is simply too much value packed into this bargain price tag to pass on.
Franklin Gutierrez, Mariners, $6,400 – The Cubs have decided to at least temporarily go with a six man rotation so they’ll call up left-handed starter Brian Matusz to make Sunday’s start against the Mariners. Although weather changes rapidly, early forecasts indicate it should be a warm, humid evening in Wrigley Field, meaning the ballpark should play more hitter-friendly than normal. While Matusz has only thrown 6.0 innings in the majors this season, there are 525.2 IP on his resume that tell a more accurate story. In 344.0 career IP, RHHs have slashed .295/.370/.487 with a .371 wOBA against Matusz…and Franklin Gutierrez is Seattle’s lefty specialist. There is some risk in rostering Gutierrez because he is likely pinch hit for if a left-handed reliever is summoned into the game but it’s hard to overlook his .379 wOBA and .248 ISO against the handedness. After factoring in the positive park shift, Gutierrez possesses plenty of upside even though he is priced as a bum. By rostering him, constructing a roster that includes both one ace and other hitters with upside becomes much easier.
Noah Syndergaard, Mets, $23,200 – The reason all of the hitters in this article are of the “bargain” variety is because rostering one of the top two pitchers on the slate is going to be essential in order to win. Unsurprisingly, Noah Syndergaard opened as a -193 favorite in a game where his opponent (the Rockies) are only implied to score 2.9 runs. As mentioned throughout the course of the weekend, Colorado’s numbers away from home are porous. Only two teams have hit for a worse AVG on the road than the Rockies’ .239 tally and their .296 OBP and .384 SLG aren’t much better. Meanwhile, Syndergaard ranks fourth among all qualified starters with an 11.05 K/9. As icing on the cake, he has absolutely dominated at home to the tune of a 2.36 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and .263 wOBA allowed in Citi Field. Deciding between Syndergaard and Kluber will not be easy but, for me, the edge goes to Syndergaard slightly if only because he faces the pitcher as opposed to a designated hitter.
Corey Kluber, Indians, $22,800 – Corey Kluber has pitched better at home this season (3.32 ERA) than on the road (3.53 ERA) even though his home park has played as a top five hitters’ park over the past two seasons, per ESPN Park Factors. Part of the reason Kluber rates as option 1B as opposed to 1A is because his K rate is only (sarcasm) 9.13 and his opponent only Ks at a rate of 18.5-percent against RHP. Essentially, Kluber does not possess the K upside of Syndergaard in this specific matchup, but most other aspects of the matchup are equally as juicy. The Athletics rank in the bottom half of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate, AVG, OBP and hard hit rate against RHP although the return of Josh Reddick has given their offense a boost. With Syndergaard pitching on the slate, Kluber is going to go criminally under-owned in GPPs, so that’s where I’d focus my attention on him. For cash games, I’d rather spend down at SP2 in order to fit bats with upside.
Blake Snell, Rays, $16,800 – The man I’m locking and loading at SP2 on Sunday is rookie left-hander Blake Snell at home against the Yankees. How bad are the Yankees against left-handers? Drew Smyly snapped an 11-game winless streak against them yesterday by going 6.0 IP with a sub-1.00 WHIP and six Ks. Last week, Eduardo Rodriguez brought a 7.00-plus ERA into a matchup with them and shut them down for just one run across 7.0 IP. For the season, the Yankees rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate, OBP and hard hit rate against LHP. Hell, only the Orioles have produced a lower wOBA against lefties among all American League teams. Snell on the other hand is awfully talented and it shows in his numbers: 3.05 ERA, 3.12 FIP, 4.43 xFIP and 8.12 K/9. His Achilles heel this season has been the abundance of walks (4.47 BB/9) but the Yankees hardly ever draw a base on balls when facing southpaws. All-in-all, Snell possesses the most bang for his buck of all the starting pitchers on his slate, and I feel ultra-confident heading into any format riding the Syndergaard/Snell duo.
*Stats are accurate as of Saturday, July 30