In order to fit aces in your lineup, salary concessions will need to be made at the hitter positions and Jake Lamb certainly packs a punch for an unusually affordable $7,600 price tag. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.
Jake Lamb, Diamondbacks, $7,600 – Despite the unfavorable hitting atmosphere in Petco Park, the matchup against Jhoulys Chacin is simply too good to pass on here. If rostering an ace or two on this slate, concessions will need to be made offensively and Lamb lets you roster a hitter with a ton of upside at a reasonable price. Thus far, Chacin has been nothing short of a gas can as evident by his 7.80 ERA, 1.73 WHIP, 4.90 FIP, 4.97 xFIP, 4.20 BB/9 and 6.00 K/9 rate. In other words, even this ballpark should not be able to save him because he simply is not very good. Specifically, Chacin has been ripped by LHHs to the tune of a .333/.421/.656 slash line and .442 wOBA after allowing a .262/.337/.425 slash line and .327 wOBA to the handedness last year. Meanwhile, Jake Lamb broke up last season and ended up leading the Diamondbacks in wOBA against RHP while also posting a .281 ISO, .271/.346/.552 slash line and 42.3-percent hard hit rate versus RHP. Legitimately the only thing working against Lamb is the negative ballpark shift and that is already factored into his price. Therefore, go ahead and roster Lamb at this fair price tag in any and all formats.
Trey Mancini, Orioles, $6,800 – While this guy is probably more of a tournament than a cash play, Trey Mancini is going to be an awfully sneaky start on this slate. As a whole, the Orioles are not an incredibly formidable bunch against LHP and yet they are being implied to score 4.9 runs on Wednesday evening (second most on the slate). If they are going to be able to get to such a total against a mediocre opposing pitcher, they are going to need production from young, up-and-coming outfielder (who qualifies as an infielder because he happens to DH a bit as well). So far in his young Major League career, Mancini has produced a .537 wOBA in 25 at-bats (ABs) against southpaws and is slashing a hefty .360/.385/.920. Overall as a professional (36 ABs), Mancini is slashing .361/.410/1.000. However, this is more than just riding a heater as Mancini hit the crap out of the ball at every level he went to in the minors basically dating back to 2013. The bat on this kid looks legit and opposing starter Amir Garrett’s Minor League numbers seem to suggest his numbers should come crashing down over time. His control has been solid so far but he did not miss a ton of bats in the minors and he walked a decent amount of hitters so expect more of that moving forward. If his regression starts today, and Vegas believes it will, then Mancini will need to do his part at an incredibly affordable price tag. Oh by the way, Mancini has already homered twice in different games this season.
Billy Hamilton, Reds, $8,100 – As always, the perfect time to roster Billy Hamilton is when he is in a great spot to steal multiple bases and this matchup against Ubaldo Jimenez certainly fits the bill. In 2016, only Noah Syndergaard (48), Jimmy Nelson (30) and Jon Lester (28) allowed more stolen bases than Ubaldo Jimenez (26) and runners were only caught at a pathetic 13-percent against him (or the worst amongst the bunch). To put it differently, players stole bases off of him with absolute ease so all Hamilton needs to do is get on base and it should be a monster game for him in no time. If he is able to get on multiple times, well, then the sky is the ceiling. As icing on the cake, Jimenez allowed a .378 wOBA and .292/.378/.506 slash line to LHHs last year. Start Hamilton.
Brett Gardner, Yankees, $7,600 – Building on the theme of speedsters, Brett Gardner is in play for his speed upside but he also simply is just squaring off against a subpar pitcher: Dylan Covey. Vegas disrespects this guy so much that they have the lowly Yankees implied to score the most runs on the entire slate. Okay fine, so this game is being played in hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium, so that certainly contributed to it, but that is still a lot of runs for an offense missing Gary Sanchez. All there is to know about Dylan Covey is the fact that he has posted a FIP of 4.14-plus at every Minor League level he has been at since the middle of the 2014 season and basically has hovered around 6.30 K/9 at every level as well. There is nothing to be scared of here especially when taking into consideration Omar Narvaez, the White Sox’ catcher, is one of the worst throwing catchers in the entire league. If Gardner gets on, he should be able to swipe a bag with relative ease. Combine that with the fact he will hit leadoff, the ideal spot for cash games in daily fantasy baseball, and you have yourself an excellent bargain.
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers, $26,700 – Any time Clayton Kershaw toes the mound, he is automatically in play. Even if he were facing the 1927 Yankees on a daily basis, he would still be the number one pitcher in the game. Fortunately for Kershaw, the Rockies outside of Coors are not exactly the 1927 Yankees or even close. Last year, the Rockies posted a miserable 69 wRC+ away from home against LHP to go along with a .227/.290/.354 slash line and miniscule .279 wOBA…and now they will face Kershaw. At home last season, Kershaw posted a 1.08 ERA and allowed just a .151/.171/.195 slash line and .161 wOBA. What else is there to say? This man is simply the best and worth spending up for just about every single time (including tonight).
Masahiro Tanaka, Yankees, $17,400 – Admittedly, this slate is loaded with options so starting a struggling pitcher like Masahiro Tanaka is a little unnerving. Nevertheless, what really is there to be scared of with this White Sox team? Heading into Tuesday night, they were striking out at a 26.4-percent rate against RHP and Luis Severino struck out 10. Additionally, they ranked in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate, AVG, OBP, hard hit rate and line drive rate prior to last night and their 8.0 innings of three hit ball probably did not increase those numbers much (if at all). Basically, this is the easiest possible matchup in the game because the White Sox are by worst the worst hitting team that the league has to offer at this point. Sure Tanaka has had his issues to this point but he is too good of a pitcher to struggle for long. Since his velocity and swing rates against seem pretty much in line with his career numbers, this is a reasonable spot to expect a bounceback. There is very little chance the White Sox will be able to hit a crafty pitcher like Tanaka.
Zack Greinke, Diamondbacks, $16,800 – Last but not least, Zack Greinke rates as an excellent start in this spot for a multitude of reasons. For one, he will enjoy a positive ballpark shift heading from hitter-friendly Chase Field to Petco Park. Basically, the aforementioned Lamb’s downgrade in parks equals an upgrade in park for the team’s pitcher. Furthermore, the Padres’ current active hitters cumulatively struck out at a 22.4-percent rate against RHP last year and also rated in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, AVG, OBP and line drive rate as well. Greinke’s were not as dominant as usual last season but he still only surrendered a .301 wOBA overall on the road (compared to .335 at home). Facing a below average hitting team in an elite pitchers’ park should only bode well for Greinke so he should be in an excellent situation to go out and spin a gem.
*Stats are accurate as of Tuesday, April 18