Jameson Taillon will square off against a Reds team on Tuesday night that is implied to score the fewest runs on entire slate. After a Pirates’ starter struggled against them last night, feel free to go back to the well with a more fine-tuned option. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.
Nolan Arenado, Rockies, $10,200 – Oh my lord: Jered Weaver is going to pitch in Coors Field on Tuesday evening. This should be a red alert to all those playing daily fantasy baseball because Weaver ranked dead last amongst all qualified starters in ground ball (GB) rate. Giving up fly balls in Coors Field is quite obviously a dangerous proposition especially when taking into consideration Weaver also rarely ever misses bats. Amongst those same qualified group of starting pitchers (SPs), only Martin Perez struck out fewer batters per nine innings (4.67) than Weaver (5.21). Amazingly, lefties and righties both produced the exact same excellent wOBA against him in 2016: .365. In other words, it does not matter which side of the plate opposing hitters bat from because both are equally as successful against Weaver and his 83 mph fastball. As noted in yesterday’s article, Arenado is an absolute beast against the handedness as he slashed .310/.369/.610 with a .341 ISO and .420 wOBA against RHPs in Coors Field just a season ago. Once again, it is all aboard the Arenado train tonight.
Adam Frazier, Pirates, $6,000 – Rookie Davis’ minor league numbers were not exactly pretty and yet he somehow still made the Reds’ rotation this year (mostly because their pitching staff as a whole is complete disaster). There is an extremely limited sample size on him in the big leagues but his one start did show he likes throwing off-speed pitches an awful lot. In his first start, he threw his changeup 13.5-percent of the time which would have ranked 22nd amongst qualified starters in 2016. Furthermore, he threw his slider 18.9-percent of the time which would have ranked 24th in qualified starters, just ahead of Justin Verlander. According to FanGraphs’ pitch type linear weights, Adam Frazier graded as the team’s best hitter on a per-pitch basis against each one of those pitches last season. Yes, both of them. Oh by the way, Frazier will likely lead off and draw at least the most possible at-bats (ABs) against Davis and he led the team in line drive percentage against RHP last year at 34.3. All of these factors point to Frazier as an elite cash game play, especially at his price tag, with upside for tournaments as well. If he hits lower in the order, still go ahead and fire him up in GPPs because he connects most of the necessary dots.
Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies, $9,600 – Not being able to miss bats is going to be very troublesome for Weaver, especially against a guy like Carlos Gonzalez who has hit the ball hard 35.7-percent of the team against RHP throughout the course of his career. To go along with the excellent hard hit rate, Gonzalez leads the team in career wOBA versus righties as well and he also sports a .252 career ISO, .302/.367/.554 slash line and a 19.4-percent line drive rate against the handedness. Other than Trevor Story’s ridiculous numbers in his short period with the Rockies, there is no better candidate to go deep against a RHP than Gonzalez. Since the splits dictate each side of the plate is equally as likely to hit the ball hard against him, Gonzalez stands out as the absolute must-play of the bunch (although they are all pretty much mandatory starts).
Charlie Blackmon, Rockies, $10,000 – Last but not least, Charlie Blackmon will complete the Rockies stack in this article as he slashed a cool .308/.380/.544 against righties in Coors Field last year with a .236 ISO and .389 wOBA. Even more appealing is the fact he stole 13 bases against RHPs last year which was a steep decrease from 30 the year before. Why is this important? Well, Weaver allowed the ninth most steals of any pitcher last season and base stealers were only caught at a 29-percent rate against him. Essentially, he is one of the easiest pitchers to run on so if Blackmon gets aboard then he will likely be attempting to swipe a base…which only enhances his potential upside. Blackmon legitimately has the potential for multiple base-hits, a home run (HR) and/or multiple stolen bases so there is no reason to avoid him in virtually any format.
Jameson Taillon, Pirates, $16,200 – Last night, Tyler Glasnow was heavily owned on a brutal pitching slate but Jameson Taillon is basically the pitcher everyone wanted Glasnow to be. Unfortunately, Glasnow came with the walks downside that Taillon simply does not possess; he only walked 1.47 batters per nine innings last year. The Reds still rate as a favorable matchup on paper as only Joey Votto was the only player to top a .339 wOBA against RHP last year. Additionally, the Reds ranked in the bottom 10 of wRC+, ISO and hard hit rate against the handedness last year while striking out at about the league average rate (20.3-percent). Vegas is implying the Reds will score a slate-low 3.4 runs tonight, and Taillon is listed as the second heaviest favorite of the night, so there is a whole lot to like here. Since he is only the fifth most expensive starter of the day (including early slate), he also will help open up salary in order to fit Coors bats as well. Dollar-for-dollar, he is probably my favorite play of the night.
Matt Harvey, Mets, $16,200 – Second on the fantasy-points-per-dollar list for the night is Matt Harvey who is listed at an identical price point as Taillon and he will square off against the lowly Phillies. In his first start, Harvey’s velocity sat at virtually identical numbers to last year so there is no reason to worry about any lingering effects from his shoulder injury last season. The Phillies are just putrid against RHP as well; they ranked in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB Rate, AVG, OBP and hard hit percentage last year while striking out at the seventh highest percentage. I expect Harvey to be popular tonight and rightfully so against a team only implied to score 3.7 runs at home. Do not overthink this and go ahead and just fire up Harvey with confidence.
Joe Musgrove, Astros, $15,300 – If feeling lucky, Joe Musgrove is the pivot at SPs at least he will have a large ballpark to work with. This is especially notable because Joe Musgrove is a fly ball pitcher as evident by his 43.4-percent GB rate just a season ago. The thing to like about Musgrove is he misses bats at a solid clip and is typically beaten by the long ball (1.31 HR/9) when he is not at his best. Well, Safeco Field is one of the top pitchers’ parks in all of baseball and it has been especially unfavorably to opposing LHHs. In other words, Robinson Cano and/or Kyle Seager will have to hit the ball a ton in order for it to leave the yard. With the park playing in his favor, Musgrove can more comfortably rely on fly balls because they will not routinely be flying out of the park like they do in Minute Maid Park (especially in left field). Although the Mariners ranked second in wOBA against RHP last year and top 10 in wRC+, ISO, AVG and OBP, the team is off to a poor start this year (28th in wOBA versus the handedness). As long as the team is cold, and Musgrove is playing in one of the perfect parks to enhance his skill set, why not take a shot on him in tournaments (especially because he saves more salary than either Taillon or Harvey)?
*Stats are accurate as of Monday, April 10