Luis Severino is priced so cheaply that you can legitimately fit any bat you want alongside him. Combine that with his excellent matchup and rostering him makes all the sense in the world. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.
Logan Forsythe, Dodgers, $7,200 – After returning to the lineup yesterday, it is safe to assume that Logan Forsythe’s hamstring is feeling better and he is good to go moving forward. He came back just in the nick of time because the team will square off against an awfully mediocre LHP on Tuesday evening. Yes, Kyle Freeland and the Rockies will head to town and this is a pitcher who has not posted a sub 3.87 ERA at any level since the beginning of 2015. As a whole, the matchup against the Dodgers is not overly imposing for him but he will need to deal with lefty killer Logan Forsythe. Amongst active Dodgers, Forsythe’s .356 career wOBA ranks fourth best but he had a down season against the handedness last year even though he posted an incredibly solid 39.3-percent hard hit rate and absurd 29.2-percent line drive rate. Basically, it was just a season of BABIP bad luck and things should only get better this season. Furthermore, Forsythe hits in the leadoff spot which is obviously ideal for the daily fantasy game because it guarantees he will end up with at least a tie for the most at-bats (ABs) on the team…and opportunities are key. Facing a mediocre pitcher whose secondary pitches have all graded well below average (per FanGraphs), Forsythe should prove to be an excellent value at just $7,200.
Mike Moustakas, Royals, $6,400 – Speaking of excellent values, what is up with the pricing algorithm’s unwillingness to raise Mike Moustakas’ price? His price has been hovering at this exact spot for a while and yet he has managed at least 7.0 fantasy points in four consecutive games and 14-plus fantasy points in two straight. Now, Moustakas will draw a borderline elite matchup against Matt Cain who surrendered a whopping .386 wOBA to LHHs last season to go along with a .312/.384/.517 slash line and 28.9-percent line drive rate. So far this year, Moustakas is leading the Royals with a .451 wOBA against RHP and his other numbers are impressive as well: .394 ISO, .303/.378/.697 slash line and 42.9-percent hard hit rate. All of these numbers are high because of the small sample size but this former top prospect is a talented hitter and only improving as time goes on. One thing is for sure: he is worth more than $6,400 in this matchup. For that reason, he is worth starting as a prime value in any and all formats.
Adam Jones, Orioles, $8,800 – Opposing starter Bronson Arroyo is a strange case because he is 40 years old and proving to play like a different pitcher in his elder days than he was as a youngster. In his last season on record (2014), Arroyo allowed a .378 wOBA to RHHs and that trend has continued early into this season (.568 wOBA). Sort of like Jered Weaver, he has simply lost the giddy up on all of his pitches so retiring any and all hitters is becoming more and more difficult for him. Vegas absolutely loves the Orioles in this spot and it is difficult to disagree considering their current active hitters cumulatively ranked eighth in wOBA against RHP last season and also ranked in the top 10 of wRC+, ISO, ACG and OBP. One of the team’s many reverse splits righties happen to hit out of the two spot in the order and this is a great situation for him to succeed. For his career, he is one of just three righties on the team who has fared above average against sliders and Arroyo has thrown the pitch over 25-percent of the time since the beginning of the 2013 season. Only Manny Machado leads him in wOBA amongst the team’s RHHs and he is the other righty who has produced some solid numbers against the pitch type. Both of these guys are in play but Jones has hit the ball too hard (31.8-percent) recently to keep producing mediocre numbers so he is due. With the team implied to score 5.0 runs, I have high hopes for the Orioles’ outfielder.
Jay Bruce, Mets, $7,200 – In 2016, Zach Eflin could not retire LHHs to save his life. In 29.1 IP against them, Eflin allowed a .285/.336/.603 slash line, .388 wOBA, 35.1-percent hard hit rate against them and only struck out 2.76 lefties per nine innings. That is not a typo! Eflin legitimately never ever misses lefty bats which means he will be relying on some pretty powerful Mets to get themselves out. Last year, that did not work out so well as he allowed 2.76 HRs per nine innings to hitters of the left-handed variety and the Mets are absolutely loaded with them. If targeting one Mets’ lefty, Jay Bruce stands out above the pack as he posted the highest wOBA of the bunch last season and he has launched a team-high three bombs (tied with Yoenis Cespedes) off of RHP this year. Impressively, the Mets have three lefties on the roster sporting career hard hit rates of 36-plus percent against southpaws so all of them are in play: Bruce, Lucas Duda and Michael Conforto. With all of Eflin’s horrendous numbers working in these hitters’ favor, all of them are drastically underpriced.
Max Scherzer, Nationals, $24,900 – Typically, this price tag would be tough to stomach on such a large slate but a SP2 stands out as an excellent value so spending up for the best pitcher makes quite a bit of sense. Max Scherzer is, of course, a beast as evident by his 2.96 ERA, 3.24 FIP, 3.37 xFIP, 2.21 BB/9 and 11.19 K/9 rates last season and the matchup against the Braves is not overly concerning other than Freddie Freeman. Side note: it cannot be easy going from facing literally the slowest throwing pitcher in all of the league to Scherzer and his 93.9mph average fastball velocity in the span on back-to-back days. The Braves hitters are going to need to adjust, and if their numbers from last year tell any sort of story, it should be a difficult task for them. Last year, the Braves’ current active hitters cumulatively ranked below the league average in terms of wOBA against RHP and they ranked in the bottom 10 of both wRC+ and ISO. That, of course, was before Freeman morphed into one of the top 10 best hitters in baseball but his supporting cast is still rather weak. While this Braves team does not strike out a ton, they do not exactly tear it up either, so this is a fine matchup for a star pitcher. The long ball is what occasionally hurts Scherzer and the Braves do not really possess too many powerful bats (Freeman was the only regular to post a wOBA greater than .341 against RHP last year). In other words, Scherzer can be started with confidence as he should possess the highest floor of any pitcher on the night.
Yu Darvish, Athletics, $20,700 – The only reason why Scherzer is not an absolute must-play is because Yu Darvish is priced more than $4,000 cheaper and is similarly gifted with swing-and-miss type stuff. Amongst all starting pitchers who have thrown at least 100 innings since the start of the 2015 season, Darvish’s 11.36 K/9 ranks first during that span, edging out guys like Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw and Stephen Strasburg. On paper, Darvish’s matchup rates somewhat similarly to Scherzer’s as the Athletics in the middle of the road in terms of strikeout rate but did not produce much hard contact (bottom 10 in wOBA, AVG, OBP and line drive rate). Only the Royals posted an inferior wOBA total against RHP in the American League last year so over a long period of time this proved to be a pretty favorable matchup. However, the Athletics currently rank second in the AL in wOBA against RHP so far this year but that is largely due to it simply being a small sample size. When forced to face pitchers like Darvish, it is very likely they will struggle. As if that were not enough, Darvish will enjoy a sizeable positive park shift heading from hitter-friendly Ballpark in Arlington to the pitcher-friendly Oakland Coliseum. The environment should only help contribute to his success, combined with all the other factors Darvish is clearly a rock solid play in any and all formats.
Luis Severino, Yankees, $12,900 – This pains me to write because I am not a true believer in the talent here but Luis Severino is damn near impossible to pass on at this price point. Targeting the White Sox should be goal number one in fantasy baseball right now because their lineup is just a dumpster fire. The other night, the team batted Yolmer Sanchez sixth (.225 career AVG), Omar Narvaez seventh (.319 career SLG), Leury Garcia eighth (.191 career AVG) and Jacob May ninth (still not hits this season). To this point, only the Blue Jays rank worse in terms of wOBA and wRC+ against RHP and the White Sox have complemented those poor numbers with a ridiculous 26.4-percent K rate against the handedness. Meanwhile, Luis Severino is coming off of a dominant performance against a strikeout-prone Rays team and his velocity this season has been up nearly one half a mph on both his fastball and changeup. If he can continue to limit the walks, there is some breakout potential here, and there certainly is strikeout potential against the lowly White Sox bats. By rostering Severino, you allow yourself to fit literally any bat you want into a lineup, so it is worthwhile pretty much for that reason alone (plus he possesses plenty of upside himself). All-in-all, this is a great chance to take.
*Stats are accurate as of Monday, April 17