Think Troutside the Box

Mike Trout has dominated Felix Hernandez throughout the course of his career and now Hernandez is a pitcher with diminshed skills. Start the Angels leader in wOBA against RHP with confidence. 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.

Infield:

Nolan Arenado, Rockies, $10,200 – After dominating out of the bullpen all year, the Marlins have decided to insert David Phelps into the starting rotation. How considerate of them to make the move with the team heading into Coors Field to face a formidable Rockies offense in the worst pitching atmosphere. Prior to this upcoming start, Phelps has made 50 appearances this season (all out of the bullpen) that total 54.1 IP. During that tenure, he limited LHHs to a .304 wOBA and RHHs to a measly .230 wOBA. Over a larger sample size, his career numbers tell a different story. Over the course of 465.2 IP total, Phelps has allowed a .325 wOBA to LHHs and .304 to RHHs. The splits are as expected for a RHP but this should be a rude awakening for a guy who has been used to just facing hitters just once (longest outing of the season was four innings back on Apr. 7 and hasn’t gone over 2.2 IP since). Nolan Arenado is the main suspect among Rockies hitters to roast Phelps considering he owns a .298/.357/.674 slash line and .425 wOBA against RHPs at home this year. Basically, Phelps’ numbers should begin regressing immediately especially with this tall task as his first assignment…So in the battle of a RHP who has dominated RHHs versus a RHH who has dominated RHPs, the advantage goes to the hitter.

(D.J. LeMahieu is in play for similar reasons as he is slashing .384/.469/.608 against RHP at home this season)

Outfield:

Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins, $10,000 – Friday is a special slate where outfield is aplenty so I’m going to make an exception and write up three outfielders and only one infielder on this slate (as opposed to the normal two and two). The first outfielder is the easiest play on the entire night and someone you do not want to get caught fading: Giancarlo Stanton. Among all active hitters with at least 100 ABs against LHP, Stanton’s .413 career wOBA ranks eighth. Furthermore, he is slashing .288/.381/.610 with a ridiculous .322 ISO against the handedness in 670 career ABs. Now, he’ll square off against the left-handed Jorge De La Rosa in Coors Field who has allowed a .283/.385/.476 slash line and .374 wOBA to righties at home this season. Stanton possesses the ability to hit the ball out of any stadium so he certainly has an excellent chance in the most hitter-friendly park in the majors. Do not get cute and just simply insert him into lineups.

Mike Trout, Angels, $10,000 – The name Felix Hernandez is a lot scarier than it sounds when it comes to rostering opposing hitters against him…especially when that hitter is Mike Trout. In 72 career ABs against Hernandez, Trout has managed a hefty 27 hits, including five HRs, en route to a .375/.405/.694 slash line against him. These numbers make perfect sense considering Trout is arguably the best hitter in baseball and he sports a .423 wOBA and .324/.436/.574 slash line against RHP this season. Meanwhile, Felix Hernandez is amidst the worst season of his career since at least 2006 (and arguably overall). Hernandez has produced a career 8.48 career K/9 yet he is only striking out 7.36 batters per nine innings this year. Additionally, his 3.79 BB/9 rate is the worst of his career which helps explain his 1.31 WHIP (worst since 2008). Essentially, the 30-year old Hernandez is just a mediocre starting pitcher after all the innings that have worn on his arm over the years. Add up all the factors and Trout equals an absolute elite play who demands consideration in any and all formats…despite the fact he’s facing a former Cy Young Award winner.

George Springer, Astros, $9,200 – Probable starter Martin Perez possesses some of the most extreme splits in the MLB right now; he has allowed a .239 wOBA to LHHs compared to a .350 wOBA to RHHs. Of the 13 HRs Perez has given up this year, 12 of them have come off the bat of righties. As if that weren’t enough, RHHs are slashing .294/.363/.449 against Perez. Yes, powerful righties are the prime talents to target against this susceptible starter and George Springer certainly fits the bill. Although Jose Altuve is the best hitter on the team against LHPs in a nutshell, Springer’s .286 ISO easily edges out Altuve’s .253. Springer has smoked lefties to the tune of a .402 wOBA and .276/.387/.562 slash line against the handedness so he’s the perfect kind of hitter to take advantage of this fantastic matchup. You would think a leadoff hitter with a skill set of this ilk would cost $10,000-plus but he actually comes at a slight discount (especially in Minute Maid Park with a short left field porch). Both Altuve and Springer are among the top handful of plays on the slate but Springer actually gets the slight edge due to the more favorable price and the higher likelihood for a bomb.

Pitcher:

Jon Lester, Cubs, $18,400 – Three pitchers are listed as more expensive than Jon Lester on Friday: Justin Verlander, Noah Syndergaard and Josh Tomlin. Of the trio, only Verlander draws a respectable matchup, but his salary is nearly $5,000 more than any other pitcher on the slate. The other two starters (Syndergaard and Tomlin) draw difficult matchups in Comerica Park and Yankee Stadium respectively. Therefore, Lester wins as the top pitcher worth paying for on the slate by default because a lineup cannot fit bats alongside Verlander. Lester will face a respectable Athletics team in Oakland that doesn’t strike out much and has registered the 11th best wOBA against the handedness. So why roster him? Athletics starter Dillon Overton is one of the worst in the game so Vegas implies the Cubs should win this game with 5.1 runs to Oakland’s 3.5. Yes, Lester is a whopping -211 favorite on the road with nearly 70-percent of the early public money being bet on the Cubs, so he has an excellent chance to win this game. Lester is among the league’s best pitchers (2.95 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 8.77 K/9) so his skill set alone deems him a price play at this bargain price. Add in how heavy of a favorite he is and you have yourself a safe SP1 for cash games.

Blake Snell, Rays, $16,800 – In contrast to the other two starters mentioned in the article, Blake Snell is better suited for GPPs. The Twins offense is on absolute fire right now so they are a team many will look to avoid. In fact, many will probably look to roster their bats considering Brian Dozier and Max Kepler lead the league in homers since mid-July. Snell is a pitcher whose skill set absolutely intrigues me so I cannot even overlook him in a game against a team firing on all cylinders. Over the past three games, Snell has struck out exactly nine hitters twice and hasn’t walked more than three hitters in any contest. Admittedly, the Achilles Heel with Snell is the walks and the Twins walk at about a league-average rate. Still, Snell has struck out 8.88 batters per nine innings with a 3.08 ERA and 3.20 FIP. The splits suggest he has pitched better on the road yet Vegas lists him as a -128 favorite at home in a game with only a 7.5 run over/under. Something is up with this line and I think Vegas agrees with my assessment of the skill set. Lock and load him at sub-10 percent ownership as he could easily manage a solid quality start with nearly double-digit Ks any time out.

Jaime Garcia, Cardinals, $13,600 – “Set it and forget it” was the motto for a rotisserie chicken machine in the 2000s but it should also be your attitude towards rostering Jaime Garcia tonight. No other pitcher is listed as a heavier favorite (-217) than Garcia as he’ll draw a matchup against one of the worst handful of hitting teams against LHP (at home, no less): the Braves. On paper, Atlanta ranks in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate, OBP and hard hit percentage with the newly acquired Matt Kemp’s numbers being taken into consideration. Even with a new slugger in the order, the team still rates as one of the worst, so the Kemp addition to the lineup shouldn’t change much. At this price, all the bats in the world can be fit next to him, so why not take the shot for a player nearly guaranteed to win the ballgame? Use him in any and all formats.

*Stats are accurate as of Thursday, August 4

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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