Ryan Braun and the Brewers are set to explode against one of the game’s worst pitchers and you want a piece of them. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.
Mike Napoli, Indians, $9,900 – Generally speaking, Mike Napoli is a superior play against LHP compared to RHP as he sports a .407 wOBA versus lefties and .355 wOBA against righties. Nevertheless, there are exceptions to every rule and the matchup against Jered Weaver is definitely one of them. In 73.0 IP against RHHs this season, Weaver has allowed 15 bombs to complement the .306/.344/.538 slash line and .371 wOBA. While Weaver has struggled to get just about everyone out, right-handers have hit him substantially harder. In 32 career ABs against Weaver, Napoli is slashing .344/.432/.688 with three HRs and four RBI. As if that weren’t enough, Napoli is on an absolute tear since the All-Star Break: 11 HRs, .322/.408/.744 slash line with a 1.152 OPS, .422 ISO, .474 wOBA and a whopping 46.8-percent hard hit rate. What more needs to be said other than “start him”?
Chris Carter, Brewers, $9,300 – Opposing starter Cody Reed is a prime target any time he takes the mound because he has allowed at least a .311 AVG and .346 wOBA to each side of the plate this season. Clearly though, right-handers are the ones to target against them as they have hit 10 of the 11 HRs he has allowed to go along with a .312/.381/.576 slash line and ridiculous .401 wOBA. On the other hand, Chris Carter is a difficult player to ever trust in cash games due to his .217 AVG and .309 OBP. However, the guy has fared much better at home considering he has posted a .239/.321/.593 slash line and hit 20 of his 27 HRs overall at home (.191/.295/.360 slash line on the road). Carter has also posted a .408 wOBA against LHP compared to just .313 against RHP. While I prefer to play Carter against opponents who miss bats at a league-average level or worse, and Reed has struck out 20.0-percent of RHHs he has faced, all the splits are working in his favor. The Brewers stack is firmly in play and you cannot complete the stack without including the double-dong upside of the team’s first baseman.
Ryan Braun, Brewers, $10,200 – As mentioned in the Carter tidbit, the Brewers are my favorite offense to target on this slate in tournaments, but Ryan Braun stands out as a guy who can and should also be played in cash games. Among all active pitchers who have thrown at least 30 innings against RHHs, Reed’s .401 wOBA ranks fourth worst behind only Wily Peralta, Chase Anderson and Brett Oberholtzer. Meanwhile, Braun leads the team with .312 AVG at home and is easily their best hitter against LHP. For his career, Braun’s .433 wOBA ranks second among all players with at least 35 ABs against the handedness (behind only Paul Goldschmidt). He has not disappointed this season either as he’s slashing .365/.440/.576 against lefties with a .212 ISO and .425 wOBA. He stands out as above and beyond the best hitter on the slate and needs to be rostered in all formats.
Adam Duvall, Reds, $9,200 – Man this is a perfect spot for Adam Duvall in all ways, shapes and forms. No matter how you spin it, Wily Peralta has pitched like one of the worst handful of pitchers in the league. Among all pitchers who have thrown at least 70 innings, Peralta’s SIERA ranks 13th worst (4.65), his FIP ranks ninth worst (5.34), his WHIP ranks third worst (1.82), his ERA ranks fourth worst (6.38), his hard hit rate allowed ranks 17th worst (35.6-percent) and his opponents’ AVG ranks absolutely dead last (.338). As eluded to in the last tidbit, no pitcher has allowed opposing RHHs to produce a superior wOBA than the one allowed by Peralta so far this season. Miller Park has ranked as a top eight hitters’ park over the past two seasons (per ESPN Park Factors) so the atmosphere is conducive to run scoring. As if all that weren’t enough, Duvall already homered in the first game of the series to bring his total to 27 on the season, so he now is tied for first in the big leagues with Jay Bruce, Chris Carter and Trevor Story. If there were ever a predictable game for him to go deep, this would be the one.
Chris Sale, White Sox, $23,200 – Chris Sale is a strange case because it feels like he has pitched terribly this season but his overall numbers are still impressive: 3.16 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, .218 AVG allowed, 1.99 BB/9 and 8.77 K/9. In a nutshell the numbers aren’t so bad but the 39.8-percent GB rate, 3.54 FIP, 3.74 xFIP and even the strikeout rate are uncustomary for a guy used to flat-out dominating. On Sunday, the ballpark shift he’ll experience is technically minimal, but he’ll head to one of the most difficult parks to hit the ball out of. Now when Sale has struggled this year, it has come via the long ball as evident by his career-worst 1.05 HR/9 rate. This park should help hold balls in that would easily leave U.S. Cellular Field and that could limit the potential damage against Sale. Really, there aren’t any other top pitchers worth considering on the slate, so Sale stands out by default. The White Sox are listed as -132 road favorites against Tom Koehler so I have a high degree of faith in a high floor for Sale. In other words, he is a perfect SP1 for cash games.
Steven Matz, Mets, $17,200 – The Padres are no schlubs against LHP but the loss of Matt Kemp certainly hurt their potency against the handedness. After ranking in the top 10 of wOBA against them for a majority of the season, they now rate as a neutral opponent nearly across the board. One major reason to roster opposing starters against them is their 24.3-percent K rate against LHP. Steven Matz’s 3.31 ERA at home easily tops his 3.92 road ERA although he has allowed virtually the same wOBA at home and on the road. One thing he has done is consistently strike out batters at a rate of around 23.0-percent regardless of venue as well. Other than Travis Jankowski, who only owns a .151 wOBA against LHP thus far, the Padres do not really possess any real running threats. Since Matz has allowed the second most steals of any starting pitcher thus far (2), this is a big deal. Oh and the Mets offense will draw a matchup against gas can Clayton Richard so it’s no wonder the Mets are listed as -178 favorites. Matz has begun to look better over his past two starts after elbow soreness near the end of June so he can be started with confidence.
Jake Odorizzi, Rays, $16,000 – After the Yankees hit five HRs in yesterday’s game, I’d be lying if I didn’t have a bit of hesitation to recommending Jake Odorizzi in Yankee Stadium. The call ups of Aaron Judge and Tyler Austin appeared to have sparked the offense yesterday which badly needed a spark. With that being said, Odorizzi has absolutely shut down the Yankees offense in two prior meetings this season to the tune of eight base runners, two ER and 11 Ks in 13.2 IP this season. Odorizzi has also been on a tear in the second half having only allowed a 1.13 ERA and .255 wOBA overall in 32.0 IP. While the atmosphere is unfavorable and the Yankees offense just recently got a little bitter, Odorizzi still possesses the potential to dominate. Therefore, he rates as a superb GPP play and should probably go low-owned with more people looking forward to rostering the Yankees youngsters.
*Stats are accurate as of Saturday, August 13