Daniel Murphy’s got a magic bat and it will be on display once again in a dream matchup against Ubaldo Jimenez. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.
Daniel Murphy, Nationals, $10,200 – So Thursday’s slate is one of the more interesting slates in the long time because literally four of the worst starters in the game will toe the mound on the same night. The tough part is going to be choosing the right bats as there’s zero question a healthy amount of hitting points are going to be the key to winning. Targeting Nationals against Ubaldo Jimenez and his 6.94 ERA is an excellent place to start. Not only is Jimenez walking 5.61 batters per nine innings but opponents are hitting him hard at a career-worst 32.4-percent rate which has led to a .372 BABIP. Although Jimenez hasn’t exactly slowed down right-handers (.343 wOBA), LHHs have absolutely torched him to the tune of eight HRs (out of 11 total), a .335/.431/.566 slash line and .423 wOBA allowed. You simply cannot overlook left-handers against Jimenez ever and he’ll now face two of the best in the world (Daniel Murphy, Bryce Harper). Rostering the National League’s leading hitter, who sports a .426 wOBA against RHP, is the absolute top priority on the slate.
Robinson Cano, Mariners, $10,000 – The terrible starting pitcher numbers on this slate are just astounding and Anthony Ranaudo’s statistics certainly apply: 9.42 ERA, 9.43 FIP, 7.36 xFIP, 1.74 WHIP, 8.16 BB/9 and 4.40 K/9 so far in 14.1 IP (and his career numbers aren’t much better). While Robinson Cano doesn’t walk much comparatively to the other sluggers on the team, he continues to make hard contact against RHPs. Cano is one of the more difficult hitters to strike out, so even an opposing ace didn’t have much chance of K-ing him, but Ranaudo’s chances can be described as “slim-to-none.” Therefore, we can reasonably infer Cano will get to put his team-leading .267 ISO against right-handers on display as well as his .390 wOBA and .304/.364/.571 slash line against the handedness. Add the Mariners stack to the list of teams with monstrous potential and do not construct a cash lineup without including Cano.
Jose Bautista, Blue Jays, $8,700 – Batter versus pitcher (BvP) data be damned because Jose Bautista is just 1-15 (.067) in his career against Jered Weaver but remains an elite play on the slate regardless. Why? Weaver has long preferred pitching at home in Angel Stadium compared to on the road…until this year where his numbers are basically equally as bad at home as one the road. Still, Weaver has allowed 14 HRs (out of 30 total) on the road to complement a miserably .311/.365/.547 slash line and pathetic 3.50 K/9. Most of the Blue Jays hitters’ kryptonite is their propensity to swing and miss as evident by their 24.7-percent K rate against RHP. Since Weaver literally rarely ever misses a bat (especially on the road), there is a greater likelihood the Blue Jays showcase their .193 team ISO and 33.9-percent hard hit rate against RHP. Although Toronto’s career numbers against Weaver do not jump off the page to this point, Weaver is a pitcher with vastly diminished skills. All the statistics suggest the team will finally get the best of him and I would be shocked if multiple balls do not leave the yard off the 33-year old shell of his former self.
Adam Frazier, Pirates, $7,200 – Okay, so Adam Frazier is no lock to make the lineup, but if he does he likely will lead off. If so, this price tag is simply too cheap. Assuming he does not draw a start, literally all of the other Pirates hitters are in play anyways so just use them as Frazier alternatives. The Pirates are not a formidable offense as a whole but they will square off against notorious gas can Wily Peralta. Each side of the plate has produced a wOBA of at least .396 against him so literally any and all hitters are viable. Whoever leads off is guaranteed to at least tie for the most opportunities against Peralta and that’s why they are an intriguing investment to me. Again, this slate is going to be both fun and difficult because there are so many offenses in ideal spots to succeed. My strategy in cash is going to just be to combine a smorgasbord of the best bets on each team facing a scrub and pray.
Max Scherzer, Nationals, $22,400 – Filling out a roster full of high upside hitters is of the utmost importance on this slate so there are two ways to attack pitching: either roster Max Scherzer and a near minimum priced SP2 or rely on two mid-tier pitchers. Scherzer’s opponent, the Orioles, are no walk in the park as they rank second in all of baseball in wOBA against RHP. Although they possess serious power, they strike out at a 21.9-percent rate, only walk at a rate of 7.7-percent and have produced a weak 19.0-percent line drive rate against the handedness. If Scherzer’s opponent is susceptible to the strikeout, then his upside in that given matchup is immense. As long as he can avoid the long ball, which is questionable versus a powerful lineup, he should be able to cruise to one of the top fantasy point totals on the slate. If you believe his talent will overcome then he can be rostered as a SP1 in any and all formats.
Tom Koehler, Marlins, $14,000 – Suddenly, the Royals aren’t such an impossible team to strike out, and opposing pitchers consequently possess some nice upside against them these days. On the other hand, Tom Koehler has thrived in Marlins Park this year as he has allowed an ERA more than 80 points lower at home (3.36 at home compared to 4.19 on the road). Since the All-Star Break, Koehler has only allowed a .208 AVG in 43.0 IP en route to a 2.30 ERA. Over the past 15 days, Kohler’s 197 foot average batted ball distance over the past 15 days ranks third lowest of all starting pitchers on the slate. Combine Koehler’s recent success with the fact that the Royals rank in the bottom dead last amongst all American League teams in wOBA, wrC+, ISO, BB rate and OBP and there is a lot to like here. The price tag is cheap enough that there is plenty of value to be had here and Koehler has the potential to finish the night as the best point-per-dollar producer at the starting pitcher position.
Adam Wainwright, Cardinals, $13,800 – Recommending Adam Wainwright is a little painful due to his recent struggles but it’s hard to overlook a -164 favorite at a sub-$14,000 price tag. The good news is Wainwright struck out five for the first time in three starts in Philadelphia his last time out. Strangely, the hard contact numbers against Wainwright are way down in August to the point that his 17.7-percent line drive rate allowed is nearly five percent lower than any other month. In other words, he’s suffered through a string of bad luck lately and he is bound to rebound in the near future. A Mets team ranked in the bottom 10 of wOBA, BB rate, AVG and OBP while striking out at a 21.1-percent rate presents a perfect situation for his positive regression to begin. For those reasons, Wainwright can be used as a SP2 in both cash games and tournaments, plus he’s so cheap that a plethora of bats can be rostered alongside him.
*Stats are accurate as of Wednesday, August 24