This movie doesn’t star Jack Nicholson but it does star a superb talent facing a bad pitcher with some substantial reverse splits. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.
Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks, $10,400 – Over the course of his career, Paul Clemens has fared as a reverse splits pitcher. Amazingly, Clemens has thrown 65.1 IP against LHHs and 65.0 IP against RHHs and righties have mashed 19 of the 31 total HRs he has allowed. Additionally, right-handers have slashed .291/.363/.570 against Clemens to go along with a .397 wOBA and he’ll now take his talents (or lack thereof) to Petco Park. While Jake Lamb handily leads the team in wOBA against RHP, Paul Goldschmidt ranks second in wOBA and makes a lot more sense in this given matchup. Although Goldschmidt favors the platoon split against LHP, his numbers against right-handers aren’t too shabby: .366 wOBA, .185 ISO, 14.5-percent BB rate and .282/.388/.467 slash line. Unsurprisingly, Goldschmidt has also produced a superior wOBA tally at home (.396) compared to on the road (.381) but it’s not like he forgets to hit on the road…and tonight is the perfect night for him to put his skills on display. The Diamondbacks stack as a whole is in play but Goldschmidt is above and beyond the top priority to roster in cash games.
Mike Napoli, Indians, $9,600 – Multiple numbers jump off the page for Mike Napoli beginning with his statistics against LHPs this season: .298/.396/.570 slash line, .270 ISO and .409 wOBA. The next set of noteworthy splits are his monstrous numbers since the All-Star Break. After hitting just .243 in the first half, Napoli has slashed a hefty .337/.420/.712 since the break with a ridiculous .375 ISO, .469 wOBA and 45.2-percent hard hit rate. Opposing starter Carlos Rodon doesn’t stand out as one of the top starters to target against on this slate but his 16 HRs, .365 wOBA allowed to RHHs is notable. Rodon has pitched slightly better on the road (3.99 ERA, .336 wOBA allowed) compared to at home (4.67 ERA, .341 wOBA allowed) but the Indians rate as one of the MLB’s top teams against lefties and are listed as -178 favorites. With Cleveland implied to score around 4.5 runs, Napoli should be expected to make his mark on this game before all is said and done.
Lorenzo Cain, Royals, $7,200 – Like Goldschmidt, Lorenzo Cain is a player typically targeted against LHP. However, I’ll be targeting Cain for many of the same reasons I like Goldschmidt. Probable starter Tyler Duffey has been hit much harder by RHHs than LHHs as evident by his 14 HRs allowed to RHHs (19 overall). Hell, his .317/.366/.592 slash line allowed to RHHs would actually rank as one of the three worst slash lines allowed to the handedness if he qualified (not enough innings). By comparison, Chase Anderson leads qualified pitchers having allowed a .315 AVG to righties. On paper, Cain’s numbers aren’t pretty versus right-handers this year (.279 wOBA) but his career numbers suggest he should experience some positive regression (.313 wOBA). Cain should go extremely low-owned in tournaments so you can probably roster a hitter in a superb matchup for less than five-percent ownership. I’ll take that any time.
Alex Dickerson, Padres, $6,600 – Going from a hitter only roster-able in GPPs to one worth starting in all formats, Alex Dickerson continues to be one of the most underappreciated hitters in DFS. In a limited sample size, Dickerson has ripped RHPs to the tune of a .282/.327/.534 slash line and .358 wOBA. His opponent, Archie Bradley, continues to display one glaring weakness: the inability to retire LHHs. You might call left-handers his “kryptonite” because he has surrendered a whopping .415 wOBA to them (.318/.419/.573 slash line)! The trio of Travis Jankowski, Ryan Schimpf and Dickerson are all in play but I continue to believe Dickerson is the most talented of the bunch (although Schimpf possesses the most power and Jankowski is the speed demon). Dickerson hits for both average and power while hitting in the cleanup spot in the order. Arizona is only favored in this game because the Padres will toss Paul Clemens but both offenses should be expected to put up some runs. Left-handers can never be overlooked against the youngster Bradley and this matchup is no different.
Madison Bumgarner, Giants, $26,400 – With a fair number of viable value hitters on the slate, spending up for Madison Bumgarner becomes a no-brainer. Without Yoenis Cespedes, the Mets simply aren’t the threat they once were against LHP. Their active roster combined ranks in the bottom 10 of wOBA, BB rate, AVG, OBP and line drive percentage against southpaws while striking out at a substantial 23.1-percent rate. Bumgarner has been damn near automatic at home (1.47 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, .220 wOBA allowed) and he has only failed to go six innings just once since the beginning of May. You know Bumgarner is pitching deep into the game and he’s listed as a -145 favorite in a game with a 6.5 over/under so there isn’t much not to like about this matchup.
Danny Salazar, Indians, $17,400 – In his first start since returning from the disabled list, Danny Salazar may be on a bit of a pitch count. The likelihood of him pitching into the eighth inning isn’t very high but I also don’t think they put a hard count of 80 pitches or anything like that. Salazar will probably end up making a start that resembles the usual for him and he’ll do so against a mediocre opponent: the White Sox. To this point, Chicago ranks in the bottom half of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate, AVG, OBP, hard hit rate and line drive percentage against RHP while striking out at around the league average of 20.7-percent. Jose Abreu is amidst a down season, Todd Frazier hits a bomb every once in a while and otherwise remains quiet and the rest of the offense just isn’t very good. Vegas thinks very highly of him as well as he opened as a -178 favorite in his return from an elbow issue. All-in-all, Salazar is best left for cash games, but I still believe he’s a rock solid option in the format.
Dan Straily, Reds, $15,300 – One pitcher who simply does not get enough recognition for the respectable numbers he has posted this season is Dan Straily. In 139.1 IP so far this year, Straily sports a 3.75 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 7.56 K/9. Okay, so both Straily’s peripherals (4.57 FIP, 4.97 xFIP) and BABIP when compared to his hard hit numbers both suggest regression is coming but it is unlikely to begin in this tilt against the Marlins. Since the All-Star Break, Miami’s active roster has only hit for a .313 wOBA, which of course does not include the recently injured Giancarlo Stanton. In fact, they have hit the fewest homers in the second half so far with only 17. One of Straily’s weaknesses is his 32.5-percent GB rate which has led to a 1.23 HR/9 rate. If the Marlins aren’t going to take him deep, it is a solid bet to think he should outperform his peripherals for yet another game. While the odds-makers do not love his prospects in this start, I think he makes for a great under-the-radar GPP play.
*Stats are accurate as of Wednesday, August 17