Crown Royal

Danny Duffy has only faced one team that has struck out at a higher rate than the league average against left-handers so far so look for him to rebound against the Orioles in a big way tonight. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.

Infield:

Justin Turner, Dodgers, $9,900 – With the Dodgers down 10-0 at one point yesterday, Manager Dave Roberts pulled Justin Turner early, presumably just to give him rest in a game the team had no real chance to win. On Friday, a refreshed Turner will square off against Tyler Chatwood and his .355 wOBA allowed to RHHs this season. Both Chatwood and Turner have produced reverse splits this season as Turner is slashing .392/.464/.527 against RHP with a .433 wOBA thus far. In other words, this is a perfect matchup for the Dodgers’ only real formidable right-handed bat in the hitters’ haven of Coors Field. With Clayton Kershaw toeing the mound for the Dodgers, this game is a not as stackable as per usual, but Turner is a borderline must-play as a one-off.

Josh Harrison, Pirates, $7,600 – Chase Field is commonly referred to as “Coors Lite” because it is just about the best hitting environment outside of Denver, Colorado. Of course, that means Josh Harrison and company will enjoy a positive ballpark shift from what they are used to…although that did not help last night against Zack Greinke who threw an absolute gem. Luckily for the Pirates, Patrick Corbin is not Greinke in terms of skill level or handedness, which bodes well for the team. Harrison, much like a few other members of the squad, excels against LHP; he has produced a whopping .446 wOBA, .306 ISO, .333/.415/.639 slash line and 31-percent hard hit rate against the handedness. Meanwhile, Corbin has allowed a .358 wOBA to RHHs this season to complement a 1.55 HR/9 rate, .296/.353/.488 slash line and 32.4-percent hard hit rate to the handedness. In fact, his hard hit rate allowed this year is even slightly below his career 34.4-percent rate to righties. Hitting in the leadoff spot, Harrison should have plenty of opportunities to produce, so he can be locked and loaded in all formats.

Outfield:

Jay Bruce, Met, $8,800 – Gas can Matt Garza has been absolutely torched by LHHs this season to the tune of a .442 wOBA, 3.0 HR/9, .346/.393/.654 slash line, 43.5-percent hard hit rate and just a 10.7-percent K rate. Furthermore, Miller Park plays as one of the most favorable parks to left-handed power so guys like Jay Bruce and Michael Conforto have an excellent chance to go deep. Both players have produced a wOBA greater than .450 against lefties but Bruce leads the team with an otherworldly .470 wOBA, .393 ISO and 47.9-percent hard hit rate. The term “elite” does not do this matchup justice because it is far more favorable than ever that word describes.

Andrew McCutchen, Pirates, $7,600 – Like the aforementioned Harrison, Andrew McCutchen’s price point is awfully difficult to overlook against a pitcher who allows oodles of hard contact to RHHs. McCutchen is the only hitter on the team who has produced a higher wOBA than Harrison against lefties (.488) and he also leads the team in ISO (.400), AVG (.343), OBP (.439) and SLG (.743) as well. Sure McCutchen is aging but he clearly is not done yet and Vegas is implying the Pirates for 4.5 runs. Most will flock to the Diamondbacks against Tyler Glasnow but the Pirates could easily score as many (or more) runs. Since they are the underpriced team, they are easier to fit, and guys like Harrison and McCutchen possess pretty substantial ceilings.

Pitcher:

Johnny Cueto, Giants, $24,600 – On paper, this is not a great matchup against a Reds team that ranks sixth in wOBA against RHP and ranks in the top 10 of wRC+, ISO, AVG, OBP, SLG and line drive rate while striking out at the seventh lowest rate versus the handedness. The good news is they rank bottom 10 in hard hit rate and this guy will be played in one of the most pitcher-friendly environments in the league: AT&T Park. After allowing just a .265 wOBA at home last season, Johnny Cueto has only allowed a .279 wOBA at home this season compared to .334 on the road. Although Cueto has allowed a concerning amount of hard contact early this season, his xFIP and SIERA in line with his career numbers suggest he has been a bit unlucky. If looking for a safe cash game option, Cueto should possess a substantial floor and rates as an excellent play in the format.

Lance McCullers Jr., Astros, $18,300 – If searching for upside, Lance McCullers Jr. is the ceiling play due to his ridiculous 28.9-percent K rate (10th highest in the league). Like Cueto, McCullers’ matchup is not exactly ideal as he will be battling both the ballpark (Yankee Stadium) and a solid opposing team (Yankees rank first in wOBA against RHP). The Yankees rank smack dab in the middle of swinging strike rate and McCullers’ 12.5-percent swinging strike rate ranks 12th best amongst qualified starters. In other words, there is reason to believe McCullers should be able to miss bats fairly consistently in this spot (if he is able to last reasonably deep into the game). Vegas believes in him as well as he is listed as a -127 road favorite in a game with just an 8.0 run over/under. As long as you are comfortable with an implied level of risk, there is certainly a scenario in which McCullers finishes as the highest scoring pitcher on the slate.

Danny Duffy, Royals, $16,800 – Here is a case of talent level outweighing price tag because Danny Duffy is a borderline ace and yet is only priced as a mid-tier pitcher. Only the Rays, Rangers, Rockies and Brewers have struck out at higher rates against LHP than the Orioles and they rank in the middle of the road against the handedness in just about every other category across the board. Despite an 11.5-percent swinging strike rate, Duffy has only struck out a measly 5.98 batters per nine innings thus far. To be fair, his last three outings have come against the White Sox twice (third lowest K rate against LHP) and Indians (seventh lowest K rate against LHP) so it is a little early to be overly concerned. In a way more favorable matchup, such as tonight’s, Duffy should be able to recoup his strikeout stuff. If willing to take the shot on an underperforming pitcher, Duffy could pay off huge.

*Stats are accurate as of Thursday, April 11

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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