Dylan Bundy is way too cheap for a pitcher allowing a .222/.296/.443 slash line and striking out 9.2 batters per nine innings as a starter this season. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.
Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks, $11,100 – All aboard the Diamondbacks offense in Coors Field on Friday as they’ll square off against the subpar Jorge De La Rosa. Despite surprisingly producing a superior ERA and wOBA allowed at home so far this season, De La Rosa has still surrendered 11 HRs in Coors compared to just six on the road. Furthermore, RHHs have whacked 14 of the 17 HRs he has allowed to complement a .266/.351/.449 slash line against him and .346 wOBA. August turned out to be a reasonably productive month for De La Rosa yet he still allowed a 22.6-percent line drive rate and 34.7-percent hard hit rate. Opponents only hit for a .267 BABIP in the month so it appears he caught an extended string of good luck. Only the Red Sox and Cubs have managed a wOBA higher than the Diamondbacks’ .353 tally this year so all signs point to a De La Rosa beat-down in the altitude. Considering Paul Goldschmidt leads all active players in career wOBA against LHP (.434), he is the absolute definition of a must-start.
Logan Forsythe, Rays, $8,800 – Speaking of guys who rake against left-handers, Logan Forsythe’s .365 wOBA against the handedness leads the team so far this year. While Evan Longoria (also an excellent play) edges him out in career wOBA, Forsythe has slashed a respectable .281/.347/.486 against southpaws in 619 career ABs against them. Other than the strikeout rate (9.18 K/9), virtually all of Francisco Liriano’s 2016 statistics stink. In 136.1 IP, Liriano has allowed a 5.22 ERA, 5.14 xFIP, 4.50 FIP, 1.58 WHIP, 1.45 HR/9, 5.22 BB/9 and a career-worst 34.8-percent hard hit rate. Both Forsythe and Longoria have struck out at 20-plus percent rate against lefties this year but Forsythe has also hit the ball hard a whopping 40.9-percent of the time (compared to just 31.8-percent for Longoria). For that reason, Forsythe is the superior play of the two against a pitcher struggling through his worst year as a Major Leaguer. UPDATE: Marcus Stroman will make the start on short rest instead as Francicso Liriano has been moved to the bullpen, Consider Brian Dozier against Carlos Rodon instead of Forsythe, or if looking for a Ray, turn to Evan Longoria.
Yasmany Tomas, Diamondbacks, $9,600 – Although Yasmany Tomas is a free-swinger regardless of who he is facing, it’s clear he is much more comfortable in the batters’ box when facing pitchers of the left-handed variety. While Tomas is slashing a mediocre .246/.283/.467 with a .316 wOBA against RHP, those numbers balloon to .304/.372/.637 and a wOBA exactly 100 percentage points higher (.416) against LHP. Hell, maybe the most impressive jump is from his .221 ISO against righties to .333 against lefties. Any player with a .300-plus ISO is viable in any game versus any pitcher but especially in the ultra-HR-friendly atmosphere of Denver, Colorado. To review, De La Rosa has allowed 14 HRs to RHHs overall, including nine to RHHs at home, so powerful righties are in an excellent spot against him. One Diamondback is simply not enough and they are easily the more preferable option of the two teams in this game. I would go so far as to say I would probably rather roster the Diamondbacks’ third most enticing option (either Rickie Weeks or Yasmany Tomas) than Nolan Arenado against Robbie Ray.
Nelson Cruz, Mariners, $9,000 – When Nelson Cruz is facing a weak left-hander, roster him and move on…and tonight is no different. Despite Cruz’s wOBA 126 percentage points lower against LHP at home compared to on the road (.452-.326), the matchup against Brett Oberholtzer is too juicy to pass on. In only 38.1 IP against RHHs this year, Oberholtzer has already allowed a ridiculous nine HRs, which equates to a 2.11 HR/9. In fact, lefties are actually homering off him at a slightly higher rate (2.14 HR/9) thus far so all hitters are a threat to go deep against him. However, Cruz notably leads the league in average exit velocity at 95.4mph so he is no stranger to producing hard contact. Vegas lists the Mariners as -125 home favorites despite Ariel Miranda and his 5.70 ERA toeing the mound for him. In other words, Vegas expects the Mariners bats to come alive and Cruz is the prime suspect to lead the charge. UPDATE: Cruz has missed the past few games due to a nerve injury in his hand but is expected to return to the lineup on Friday. He’s good to go.
Jameson Taillon, Pirates, $16,400 – With so many expensive bats worthy of rostering, diving into the middle-priced tier of pitchers is going to be absolutely necessary to make them fit. In Jameson Taillon’s last start, he was roasted by the Brewers to the tune of nine baserunners, five ERs and three Ks in just 3.0 IP. He will yet again square off against the same opponent this evening except this game will be played at home instead of Miller Park. Strangely, this will actually be the third time over the course of his last eight starts that he will face this familiar foe. Prior to last start’s blowup, Taillon had pitched rather well against Milwaukee, having thrown two straight quality starts before the Aug. 27 implosion. On paper, the Brewers rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, AVG, OBP and line drive rate while striking out at the highest percentage of any team in baseball against RHP. Maybe most importantly, many of their hitters sport vastly superior numbers at home compared to on the road. For example, Chris Carter has hit .236 at home with 21 HRs compared to just .200 on the road with nine HRs. The same trend holds true for guys like Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Scooter Gennett so this matchup is actually very beatable. Due to disappointing against the same team his last time out, Taillon should go drastically under-owned and I think that would be a mistake. To me, he is roster-able in any and all formats.
Julio Urias, Dodgers, $18,600 – Since losing Matt Kemp and Melvin Upton, the Padres’ numbers against left-handers have predictably been tumbling like snow rolling down an avalanche. After ranking in and around the top 10 in wOBA against the handedness for the majority of the year, the Padres have slid all the way down to 18th and their K rate has risen to 24.0-percent. Of the remaining players on the roster, the only one earning consistent playing time who has produced a wOBA greater than .340 against the handedness is Wil Myers. Otherwise, their roster is mostly a wasteland and it includes six total players striking out a rate of 26.5-percent or higher against the handedness: Ryan Schimpf, Adam Rosales, Oswaldo Arcia, Luis Sardinas, Jemile Weeks and Brett Wallace. Regardless of what lineup Manager Andy Green decides to roll out, it will be filled with strikeout potential for Julio Urias. If rostering Urias, it’s for his ability to strike out a lot of batters in a short amount of time. Amazingly, Urias’ 10.00 K/9 ranks 28th among all pitchers (min. 60 IP) and he’s just 20 years old still. The team says this will be his final start before they make a decision on whether to shut him down or even possibly send him to the bullpen…and he is coming off two straight starts with at least 94 pitches and 6.0 IP. Essentially, there is no reason to believe Urias shouldn’t finish around a similar total of pitches, allowing him some serious K potential. Even though he is a bit pricy, the 3.1 implied runs allowed are lowest on the slate and he’s listed as a hefty -195 favorite. Expect Urias to go out with a bang.
Dylan Bundy, Orioles, $9,300 – Quietly, Dylan Bundy has posted some admirable numbers as a starter: 4.21 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, .222/.296/.443 slash line allowed and a 9.2 K/9…yet the pricing algorithm still shows him no respect. Okay so his opponent, the Yankees, only strike out 19.5-percent of the time versus RHP but they produce a ton of weak contact as well. In total, they rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, AVG, OBP and hard hit percentage against righties even with Gary Sanchez’s numbers factored in. Although his home park is hitter-friendly, Bundy has cruised to a 3.04 ERA and .299 wOBA allowed in Camden Yards this year. For only slightly more than minimum price, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where Bundy doesn’t at least compete for the fantasy-point-per-dollar leader on the slate. If all goes well, his ceiling could reach 30 fantasy points. At this price tag, that makes him a no-brainer, especially considering the hitters that can be fit alongside him.
*Stats are accurate as of Thursday, September 1