Jung Ho Kang, who has produced reverse splits, will draw a favorable matchup against a pitcher (Tyrell Jenkins) sporting reverse splits of his own. This is simply a match made in heaven. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.
Brad Miller, Rays, $7,800 (Early) – After erupting for 12 runs yesterday night, the Rays offense once again highlights the early slate on Thursday. On the road, opposing starter Ian Kennedy has produced an ERA (4.52) nearly three-quarters of a run higher than at home (3.78) this season. Of the 26 HRs he has allowed thus far, 18 of them have been blasted off of him on the road. In other words, this is an excellent matchup for a Rays offense that ranks second in ISO against RHP (behind only the Orioles). In yesterday’s article, I eluded to Miller’s power numbers at home: “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).” Guess what? He went ahead and hit a homer off of Edinson Volquez last night to add to those numbers. There’s clearly something he loves about the home park, and the team will be facing a HR-prone righty, so just keep continuing to roll him out there.
Jung Ho Kang, Pirates, $7,800 (Late) – While the sample size is admittedly limited on Braves youngster Tyrell Jenkins, a disturbing trend is developing. In 17.1 IP against RHHs, Jenkins has already allowed four HRs (out of six total) to go along with a .282/.370/.549 slash line and .390 wOBA. Basically he appears to be showing early signs of faring like a pitcher with reverse splits and he’ll draw a date with a RHH possessing reverse splits as well: Jung Ho Kang. With Andrew McCutchen set to sit this entire series in order to clear his head, Kang hit in the three spot in the order last night. He should be expected to hit in the middle of the order once again although the team faced a left-hander last night…so you would think he’d remain in the three spot in his platoon advantage. Assuming he does, or at least hits in the middle of the order, he’s way underpriced for a matchup with a gas can, especially considering his .221 ISO against righties. Vegas implies the Pirates will score 4.8 runs which is a pretty healthy total for a team without one of their best hitters. Due to the sub-$8,000 cost, Kang provides enough value to deem him a viable play in any and all formats.
Ian Desmond, Rangers, $8,800 (Late) – At the trade deadline, the Orioles acquired Wade Miley to attempt to “bolster” their starting staff. I put the word bolster in quotations because it’s hard to imagine Miley drastically improving any staff with his 4.98 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. In fact, Miley will head from an extreme pitchers’ park to a ballpark that has played as a top 10 hitters’ park over the past few seasons, per ESPN Park Factors. Furthermore, Miley has been torched by RHHs this season to the tune of 15 HRs, a .282/.342/.472 slash line and .349 wOBA. No one on the Rangers is a better bet against LHP than Ian Desmond as he’ll head into Thursday sporting a .443 wOBA, .233 ISO and ridiculous .398/.427/.631 slash line against the handedness. This is quite simply a David versus Goliath situation and David (Miley) isn’t carrying a sling shot. Expect a big day from Desmond with a distinct possibility for him to cap off a productive day with a dong.
Hyun Soo Kim, Orioles, $7,200 (Late) – Assuming Hyun Soo Kim draws a start in the two spot in the order, I really like him as a bargain play on this night slate. Pitching is so horrendous that you almost have to spend up for the top guys and Coors Field bats are also available on the slate. Therefore, you’ll have to save money somewhere and Kim makes a ton of sense. Look at these crazy split numbers from probable starter A.J. Griffin this season: one HR, .190/.290/.256 slash line and .253 wOBA allowed to RHHs versus nine HRs, .262/.333/.543 slash line and .368 wOBA allowed to LHHs. Other than the ice cold Chris Davis, Kim is the only other left-hander in the lineup and he quietly leads the team with a .394 wOBA against RHPs this season. A player with a .400 wOBA against the handedness of the pitcher he’s facing usually demands a $9,000-plus salary. To be able to roster him for nearly $2,000 less, don’t even think about it and just plug him in (especially in cash games).
J.A. Happ, Blue Jays, $22,400 (Late) – Over the course of his last five games, here are J.A. Happ’s respective strikeout totals by start: 11, nine, five, six and 11. After not striking out more than 18.9-percent of batters in any previous month this season, his K rate sky rocketed to 34.7-percent in July. Last season, Happ experienced a similar phenomenon as his ERA dropped from 4.14 in the first half to 2.95 in the second half. It is possible he’s just a second half pitcher or it’s a coincidence and he’s just locked in right now. Either way, he’s a pitcher worth rostering with those kind of K totals. The matchup won’t be easy tonight in Houston as many of their big boppers prefer hitting at home. However, the Astros surprisingly rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, AVG and OBP this season while striking out at the fourth highest rate against LHP. The strikeouts should provide Happ with a safe floor and honestly most of the other pitching options are just complete crap shoots. For those reasons, I prefer the safety of rostering Happ in cash games and just sacrificing some salary to spend on hitters.
Drew Pomeranz, Red Sox, $18,300 (Late) – As a member of the Red Sox, Drew Pomeranz has thrown one quality start in three attempts. Consequently, I’m expecting his ownership percentage to be lower than it should be on this slate, which means less than 100-percent owned in cash games. Clearly Pomeranz is the best bet of the evening against Ariel Miranda and the Seattle Mariners. According to FanGraphs, Miranda has flashed big-league stuff in Triple-A this season despite a 3.93 ERA. He was the return for Seattle in the Wade Miley deal right before the deadline. Apparently he projects as a back-end starter at best with inconsistent second pitches, so it’s unsurprising Vegas implies the Red Sox will score 4.7 runs off of him and lists Pomeranz as a -140 road favorite. Both Nelson Cruz and Franklin Gutierrez have produced vastly inferior numbers at home compared to on the road which is to be expected in arguably baseball’s most pitcher-friendly ballpark. On a slate without much to choose from, Pomeranz stands out above the pack despite his recent struggles.
Drew Smyly, Rays, $15,200 (Early) – As mentioned in the Miller tidbit, the Rays offense is in an excellent position to score some runs, meaning Drew Smyly should expect significant run support. His opponent, the Royals, rank in the bottom half of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate, OBP, hard hit rate and line drive percentage against LHP. They actually are under-the-radar climbing the ranks of strikeout percentage as well (up to 18.6-percent, which still isn’t very much). The team gives away a lot of easy outs and Lorenzo Cain is the only real threat in the lineup. Assuming Smlyly can keep him quiet, he’s listed as a -138 favorite in a game with a projected 7.5 over/under, he should be able to string together a quality start. Pairing him with either Matt Moore or Jordan Zimmermann and loading up on bats is the smart play.
*Stats are accurate as of Wednesday, August 3