Carlos Rodon has already allowed 16 HRs to RHHs so do not hesitate to deploy Franklin Gutierrez and his .398 road wOBA against LHPs. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.
Trea Turner, Nationals, $9,600 – Sunday is expected to be an offensive barrage as six games opened with an over/under of 9.5 runs and an additional six games are projected at 8.5-9 runs. In other words, spending up for hitting is going to be of the utmost importance on the slate. One guy who literally gets it done every day is the Nationals’ Trea Turner. Heading into Saturday, Turner had produced at least double-digit fantasy points in 12 of his last 15 games (at least 12 fantasy points in each game he eclipsed double-digits). During that span, Turner has managed at least 15 fantasy points seven times and has only homered twice. Turner steals bases (eight over the last two weeks), drives in runs and scores a healthy amount of runs so he is virtually guaranteed not to goose egg. Due to the consistent production, it’s not difficult to believe Turner now ranks second on the team in wOBA (.410) against RHP behind Daniel Murphy (.428). Now, he’ll square off against a RHP who has allowed some substantial reverse splits both this season and over the course of his career. In fact, RHHs are slashing .288/.344/.483 against him this year with 13 HRs (out of 18 total) and a .353 wOBA. There really isn’t much of a case for fading him in cash games.
Mike Napoli, Indians, $7,800 – When thinking about Mike Napoli, he just feels like one of those guys who is boom or bust. Remember, this is a guy who has now hit 20-plus HRs in three seasons since 2011 and his AVG didn’t reach .260 in any of those seasons (including this year). However, Napoli is slashing .295/.380/.535 against LHP this year to go along with a .240 ISO and .387 wOBA. Even more impressively, he has hit the ball hard a whopping 48.8-percent of the time against the handedness. Probable starter Derek “I’m from Holland, isn’t that weird?” looked good in his first start since Jun. 20 his last time out…but it was against a lowly Reds team that ranks 25th in wOBA against southpaws. Overall, including his healthy starts from earlier in the year, RHHs are slashing .275/.335/.468 against Holland, have hit 90-percent of the homers he has allowed and sport a .341 wOBA against him. In a game where Cleveland is listed as a slight favorite (-103) and are implied to score around 5.0 runs, Napoli is worthy of consideration in all formats.
J.D. Martinez, Tigers, $9,600 – On a team full of respectable hitters versus LHP, J.D. Martinez leads the bunch in wOBA (.410), AVG (.337), SLG (.618) and 48.0-percent hard hit rate. Of all the teams listed as favorites in 9.5-plus run games, only the Blue Jays are listed as larger favorites than the Tigers. Basically, the Tigers’ 5.2 run implied total is the second largest on the slate. It’s difficult to disagree with Vegas’ assessment here because Tyler Skaggs will toe the mound in Comerica Park. The last time Skaggs threw a quality start was Jul. 31. Since that time, Skaggs has allowed four-plus runs in four consecutive starts and hasn’t made it past 5.1 IP in any of them. Basically, there is no reason to think this outing shouldn’t be more of the same against a Tigers team that ranks in the top 12 of wOBA against the handedness. If only starting one hitter against him, Martinez stands out above the pack.
Franklin Gutierrez, Mariners, $6,800 – Using home/away splits sometimes constitutes overanalyzing hitters but not when the player’s home park is arguably the worst hitters’ park in all of baseball. It makes sense that Gutierrez would perform worse at home…and he has. Although Gutierrez has only hit .232 against LHP at home, he sports a .300 AVG on the road against the handedness. Furthermore, he has managed a .188 ISO and .341 against lefties at home versus .288 ISO and .398 wOBA on the road. Meanwhile, opposing starter Carlos Rodon has struggled with the long ball this season (1.24 HR/9), allowed too many runners (1.43 WHIP) and pitched worse at home (4.15 ERA at home and 3.90 on the road). Most importantly, RHHs have hit 16 HRs (out of 17 total) with a .291/.354/.466 slash line and .350 wOBA. Nelson Cruz is obviously an elite play in this game as well but Gutierrez is by far the better value.
Madison Bumgarner, Giants, $24,800 – Not only is Madison Bumgarner listed as by far the heaviest favorite on the slate (-280) but the game is projected at the lowest over/under. Spending up for pitching has not been my forte over the past few weeks but it’s hard to argue against rostering Bumgarner in this spot. The Braves rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+ and ISO against LHP and will start a guy (Rob Whalen) with a 6.57 ERA. As icing on the cake, Bumgarner’s ERA at home is nearly a run and a half better for the year and he has allowed a wOBA 80 percentage points lower at home. Yeah, he’s an absolute lock.
Doug Fister, Astros, $16,400 – If attempting to fit hitters alongside Bumgarner, a bargain SP2 is mandatory. Only three teams have struck out at a higher percentage against RHP than the Rays and they also rank in the bottom 10 of BB rate, AVG, OBP and line drive percentage. The good news for Doug Fister is he strikes out right-handers are a higher rate (6.12 K/9) than left-handers (5.77 K/9) and the Rays aren’t exactly chock-full of formidable lefties. In a game with a reasonably low 8.0 run over/under, the Astros are listed as -112 favorites against Chris Archer. Coming off a game where Fister struck out six Pirates, Fister should be able to approach a similar strikeout total in this game. If he can cap it off with a win, he should be worth the price tag.
Eduardo Rodriguez, Red Sox, $12,600 – Yesterday David Price personified the upside a pitcher possesses when facing the Royals these days. Other than Lorenzo Cain, there just isn’t much there, especially against left-handers. On the other hand, Eduardo Rodriguez is incredibly cheap, has allowed three runs or less in seven consecutive starts and has struck out at least six of five of his last six starts. Unfortunately, he is not a lock to make it through the fifth inning, as he has failed to do so in two of his last three starts…but that’s because he has been racking up the pitcher count by K-ing opponents. Starting Rodriguez requires both relying on his talent and putting faith in the Royals’ weak contact numbers so far. Assuming you’re a believer, and you think the hitters you can fit by rostering him are necessary, then feel free to deploy him.
*Stats are accurate as of Saturday, August 27