Graded on a Bell Curve

Rookie Davis has allowed an absurd .553 wOBA to left-handed hitters so far this year so Josh Bell has a great chance to flash some power in this fantastic matchup tonight. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.

Infield:

Josh Bell, Pirates, $6,600 – Tonight is a great night to play on FantasyDraft because the first base position is loaded and multiples can be played. If spending up for pitching, Josh Bell rates as an excellent source of salary relief as he is loaded with upside at just a miniscule cost. Amongst pitchers slated to the toe the mound on Wednesday’s slate, Rookie Davis’ .553 wOBA allowed to LHHs ranks by far the worst. The numbers he has allowed to left-handers so far is mind-blowing: .455/.556/.773 slash line, 4.50 HR/9 and 29.4-percent line drive rate. Meanwhile, Josh Bell enjoys the platoon advantage hitting from the left side of the plate (he is a switch-hitter) as he has posted a wOBA nearly 100 percentage points higher against righties (.362) compared to lefties. Hitting in one of the most power-friendly environments in the league (Great American Ballpark), Bell is an elite play for his price point.

Martin Prado, Marlins, $6,000 – Speaking of affordable price tags, Martin Prado is insanely cheap for a guy who hit over .400 against the pitcher’s handedness he is facing tonight (LHP) last season. In 2016, Prado posted a whopping .452 wOBA, .424/.500/.568 slash line, 36.3-percent hard hit rate and 26.5-percent line drive rate against southpaws and even walked at a 13.0-percent clip. For a pitcher like Blake Snell who often struggles with control, and is failing to miss bats, Prado is going to be a damn near impossible out. Prado very likely is either going to hit a ball hard or reach base via a walk in just about every at-bat (AB) so start him in cash games and sleep like a baby.

Outfield:

Mookie Betts, Red Sox, $10,000 – Arguably the best individual play of the slate is Mookie Betts as he will square off against Kevin Gausman in hitter-friendly Fenway Park. So far this year, right-handers have crushed Gausman to the tune of a .432 wOBA, 2.55 HR/9, .342/.412/.613 slash line and 31.7-percent hard hit rate. He also has struck them out at a mediocre 18.8-percent rate, and Betts strikes out less than virtually any hitter in the league, so contact is going to be made. With the Green Monster only 310 feet away in left field, it does not take much to hit it out of the park. Other than catcher Christian Vasquez (in a limited sample size), Mookie Betts leads all Red Sox righties in wOBA this year (.361) so all the stars align here. Deploy Betts in both cash games and tournaments with confidence.

Jayson Werth, Nationals, $7,200 – The best stack of the entire slate is the Nationals by a large margin so literally all their staples are in play. Robbie Ray is an awfully talented pitcher, and can miss bats with the best of them, but the man continues to allow hard contact at astounding rates. To this point, LHHs have hit the ball hard at a 50.0-percent rate off Ray and righties are not far behind (47.4-percent). Quietly, Jayson Werth ranks 14th in career wOBA against LHP amongst active hitters, slightly behind Buster Posey and slightly ahead of Nelson Cruz. Last year alone, Werth produced a hefty .432 wOBA against the handedness, or nearly 50 percentage points higher than anyone else on the team. A guy who produces a .322/.411/.620 slash line should be priced around $10,000 and Werth can be rostered for nearly a $3,000 discount from that level. When all said and done, I think the Nationals score the most runs on the slate once again.

Pitcher:

Jacob deGrom, Mets, $20,100 – No player has produced a superior swinging strike rate this season than Jacob deGrom which basically means his stuff is just nasty. This version of deGrom is a lot closer to the 2015 dominant version compared to the solid but unspectacular version that showed up in 2016. Virtually all of deGrom’s numbers suggest he is not pitching over his head and he has posted a 34.4-percent K rate, 2.84 ERA, 2.90 FIP, 2.63 xFIP and 1.17 WHIP, although the hard hit rate is admittedly mildly concerning (35.6-percent). Thus far, the Braves have hit the ball hard at about the league average rate (31.1-percent) against RHP and they have rated below the league average in terms of both wRC+ and BB rate. This is excellent news because deGrom’s BB rate has risen slightly to 8.6-percent in 2017 and yet the Braves are unlikely to rack up baserunners against him. As icing on the cake, the Braves swing at pitches outside the zone at the third highest rate so deGrom is even that much more likely to miss bats. He rates as the best pitcher on this slate by a large margin.

Julio Urias, Dodgers, $16,500 – Even though 6.0 innings may be Julio Urias’ upside, all the guy has done since joining the MLB is miss bats. In 82.2 IP at the Major League level, Urias has struck out 9.58 batters per nine innings plus he has only allowed hard contact at a 26.7-percent rate. Clearly, Urias is going to be an ace someday soon and it does not take long for him to rack up the strikeouts. On paper, the Giants rank 28th in wOBA against LHP and they also rank in the bottom 10 of wRC+, ISO, BB rate, AVG, OBP, hard hit rate, SLG against the handedness. Hell, they even hit the ball on the ground at the second highest rate. The capped innings potential is basically priced into Urias’ tag so go ahead and start the -157 favorite everywhere (although he is a better play in cash games).

Drew Pomeranz, Red Sox, $16,000 – Did you see what Chris Sale did to the Orioles last night? Okay, so Drew Pomeranz is not quite Sale but he too dominated the Orioles in his first start against them (then posted an unimpressive outing in the second meeting). Only the Rays have struck out at a higher rate against LHP than the Orioles and they rarely ever walk (7.3-percent BB rate) or even reach base (.300 OBP as a team). Since the start of last season, Pomeranz has posted a K rate around 27.0-percent so he can miss bats with the best of them. In other words, the sky is the limit in this matchup especially because they now have not seen him for a few weeks.

*Stats are accurate as of Tuesday, April 2

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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