I’m About to Go HAM-els

The Orioles own the American League’s worst wOBA against LHP this season so start Cole Hamels with confidence…cuz he’s about to go HAM! Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.

Infield:

Carlos Santana, Indians, $9,200 – Carlos Santana is a unique case of a pure power hitter manning the leadoff spot in the order. Therefore, he is guaranteed to at least equal the most plate appearances of anyone on the team while possessing HR upside in each and every AB. Tonight, the Indians draw a matchup against Tyler Duffey…and this is excellent news for their entire offense. Duffey will head into the game sporting a 6.12 ERA and 1.74 WHIP in 89.2 IP this season. The batter versus pitcher (BvP) crowd is going to the look at past results from the Indians offense and avoid because the Indians active players are only slashing .213/.297/.313 off Duffey cumulatively in 80 ABs. Have no fear because the Indians just faced Duffey on Jul. 16 and produced four runs and nine baserunners off of him in 6.1 IP. Now that they’ve recently seen him, and seem to be clicking as a team, this could be a bloodbath. Santana’s .378 wOBA and .282 ISO both rank second on the team to only Tyler Naquin and the big first basemen is slashing .245/.363/.527 against the handedness. If you roster Santana at this price tag, you’re looking for extra bases, and specifically a HR. I like his chances with the Indians implied to score the most runs on the slate (5.2) outside of Coors Field.

Brad Miller, Rays, $8,400 – Opposing starter Edinson Volquez is amidst a bit of a down season as he currently sports a 4.70 ERA and 1.41 WHIP heading into Wednesday’s tilt against the Rays. This game will be played in Tropicana Field and the road has not been kind to Volquez so far this season; he sports a 5.92 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, .276/.361/.435 slash line against and .348 wOBA on the road. More specifically, left-handers have walloped him to the tune of five HRs (14 allowed overall), a .280/.374/.486 slash line and .372 wOBA on the road. While the Rays’ home park isn’t among the most hitter-friendly, Brad Miller has put on a power display at home this year. 13 of Miller’s 17 bombs have come at home which explains the superior wOBA in Tropicana even with an AVG nearly 50 points lower (.229) than on the road (.272). Like the aforementioned Santana, you roster Miller for the power, and he’s an all-or-nothing type investment. Against a pitcher in an unfavorable split, and considering the power he has displayed in Tampa Bay, Miller is one of my favorite bets for a bomb on the entire slate…and he should go under-the-radar.

Outfield:

Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies, $10,400 – According to Baseball America, probable starter Brock Stewart projects as a “workhorse, back-end type” in the rotation. In other words, he’s a mediocre prospect who will draw his second ever Major League start in Coors Field. Good luck. The Rockies are fresh off dropping seven runs on the Dodgers in Tuesday’s matchup against a much superior talent (Brandon McCarthy) so this is looking like a day you do not want to fade Colorado bats. Against a right-hander who allowed four hits to lefties in 10 plate appearances (including a dong) in his first game, the logical Rockies player to start a roster with is Carlos Gonzalez. This season, Gonzalez leads all regulars on the team with a .398 wOBA against RHP to go along with a .329/.393/.551 slash line…and those numbers only increase to a .464 wOBA and .359/.418/.695 slash against right-handers in Coors Field. This is simply an elite matchup for one of the game’s best.

David Dahl, Rockies, $6,000 – One Colorado hitter simply isn’t enough especially when the team’s top prospect is priced at $6,000 in the friendly confines of home. For reference, yesterday David Dahl was approximately 70-percent owned in all cash games on FantasyDraft, and that was against McCarthy. His ownership should only grow (even though he only managed a measly five fantasy points) against an inferior starter in theory. He’s a powerful kid so if he happens to go deep, you will not want to be that guy without him. Players hitting in the top six of their respective orders in a solid matchup in Coors Field are no-brainers as price plays in cash games always. This example is no difference so plug him in and move on.

Pitcher:

Johnny Cueto, Giants, $23,100 – Well, the Madison Bumgarner play backfired yesterday night as he was blown up by a lowly Phillies offense. While many of the Phillies enjoy a platoon advantage against RHP, they still rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, BB rate, AVG, OBP, hard hit rate and line drive percentage. Look, every once in a while the Phillies offense is going to get theirs. The return of Aaron Altherr has clearly helped but the offense is still amongst the worst in baseball, even against RHP. Johnny Cueto has allowed exactly a 2.63 ERA and on the road so there is no split to worry about in this case. Cueto is viable in solid matchups and this certainly applies. On this slate, Cueto may be better suited for GPPs because cheaper pitchers are going to be necessary to roster Coors bats, and I think that’s the way a majority of DFS players will lean.

Cole Hamels, Rangers, $21,600 – A cheaper pitcher with similar upside is none other than Cole Hamels. The split statistics show Hamels has pitched much better on the road (1.71 ERA) this season than at home (4.22 ERA) and this game will be played in Camden Yards. People generally consider the Orioles a potent offense but they have flat-out stunk against LHP this season; they rank dead last in wOBA in the American League while also ranking in the bottom 10 of wRC+, AVG, OBP and line drive percentage. As icing on the cake, they have struck out at a rate of 22.9-percent against lefties. Vegas cleverly is eluding to a solid Hamels start by listing him as a -105 road favorite in a game with an over/under of 8.5. A matchup between these two teams would generally be accompanied by an over/under of around 9.5 so they seem to believe this will be a lower-scoring affair. Hamels is a rock-solid SP1 in all formats and could easily out-produce Cueto for a cheaper price.

Jake Odorizzi, Rays, $17,600 – Hamels is my favorite pitcher on the slate but Jake Odorizzi may be the best pitcher on a points-per-dollar basis. Over Odorizzi’s last three starts, he has been nothing short of dominant, as he has only allowed two ERs in 18.2 IP. He seems to have hit a stride and Odorizzi will now face a beatable Royals team at home. Unlike Hamels, Odorizzi has preferred pitching at home (3.45 home ERA versus 4.42 on the road), so this matchup is in his sweet spot. Arguably the Royals best two hitters are Eric Hosmer and Kendrys Morales and both are left-handed. Maybe the biggest selling point for Odorizzi is the fact that he has dominated LHHs: .203/.252/.349 slash line allowed and .262 wOBA. If Hosmer and Morales are shut down, this Royals offense doesn’t have much of a chance. While there isn’t much strikeout upside, Odorizzi should pitch deep into this game and have an excellent chance for a win against Edinson Volquez.

*Stats are accurate as of Tuesday, August 2

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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