J.C. (Barely Costs a) Penny

In order to make roster construction work tonight, rostering a cheap SP2 is of the utmost importance. For a guy priced down around $13,200, J.C. Ramirez certainly possesses a solid skill set and a solid amount of potential upside. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.


Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks, $10,800 – The pricing algorithm went bullish on both Paul Goldschmidt and Bryce Harper tonight as they are tied for the most expensive players on the slate. Both are in excellent spots, and worthy of consideration, but Goldschmidt gets the nod if a lineup can only fit one. Not only will Goldschmidt play in the superior hitters’ park of the two but he also will square off against one of the worst pitchers on the slate: Tommy Milone. Amongst all probable pitchers tonight, Milone’s .412 wOBA allowed to RHHs this season ranks third worse behind only Jason Hammel (.432) and Rich Hill (.422). Of all those pitchers, only one will have the pleasure (or exact opposite) of facing the active career leader in wOBA against LHP. Yes, Goldschmidt is statistically the best active hitter against southpaws and this game will be played in one of the most favorable hitting environments in all of baseball. Oh by the way, Milone has allowed 2.84 HR/9 to righties and has only struck out 15.7-percent of them. Advantage: Goldschmidt.

Nolan Arenado, Rockies, $9,200 – Since the beginning of 2015, Phil Hughes has allowed the seventh highest HR/9 rate (1.64) amongst all starting pitchers who have thrown at least 100 innings during that span. As has become the norm with Hughes in recent years, he has hardly missed any right-handed bats this season (10.3-percent K rate) while hardly walking any (5.2-percent BB rate) either. Furthermore, Hughes has surrendered a ridiculous 46.9-percent fly ball rate to RHHs and Nolan Arenado has produced fly balls at the ninth highest rate of any qualified hitter. Most only think about using Arenado at home but Hughes will give up bombs in any atmosphere and Target Field is especially conducive to right-handed power. If Hughes is going to pound the strike zone and rely on fly balls to attempt to retire a hitter like Arenado, well, it is not going to end well for the pitcher.


Yasmany Tomas, Diamondbacks, $8,000 – Last season, Yasmany Tomas proved he and Goldschmidt are both similarly dangerous weapons against LHP as Tomas actually produced a superior wOBA than the career active leader in the category against the handedness. When all said and done, Tomas posted a .460 wOBA, .326 ISO, .364/.423/.690 slash line and 46.9-percent hard hit rate against lefties. Simply put: numbers do not get much better than that. Additionally, it is not like Milone will be able to take advantage of Tomas’ Achilles heel which is his tendency to strike out. Since Milone struggles to miss bats, he is going to be pitching into the barrels of some very powerful hitters. Vegas is implying a whopping 5.2 runs from the Diamondbacks and that numbers would likely have been even higher if the team was fully healthy. Luckily, the two staples against left-handers are just fine so go ahead and pair them in all formats.

Joey Rickard, Orioles, $5,400 – In order to fit the pricey bats alongside aces, concessions are going to need to be made somewhere. Joey Rickard presents fantasy owners with a fair degree of upside at a bargain price tag so he should not be overlooked. In 114 career at-bats (ABs) against LHP, Rickard has managed a .352 wOBA, .298/.344/.474 slash line and 21.6-percent line drive rate…and he is expected to hit in the leadoff spot. Assuming the team does not pinch-hit for him, which is a bit of a risk, Rickard is guaranteed to at least equal the most ABs of anyone on the team. Opposing starter Matt Boyd has pitched reasonably well this year but he has still walked righties at a 12.0-percent rate and given up hard contact to them 38.0-percent of the time. In fact, the .335 wOBA allowed to RHHs by Boyd is still worth targeting, especially with a player of Rickard’s skill set at an absurdly cheap cost. Lock Rickard in and play just about anyone else you want.


Stephen Strasburg, Nationals, $22,200 – The Pirates offense is devoid of overly scary hitters especially against RHP so Stephen Strasburg could potentially cruise through this excellent matchup. Amazingly, the Pirates do not possess a single hitter who has produced a wOBA of .375 or greater against right-handers this year and only two hitters who currently sport wOBAs over .350 (David Freese and backup catcher Chris Stewart). Otherwise, hitters like Josh Harrison, Gregory Polanco and Andrew McCutchen have all produced wOBAs of .319 or worse and the team consequently ranks 29th in wOBA against the handedness. Although the Pirates have struck out at the fourth lowest rate versus RHP, they rank in the bottom 10 of wRC+, ISO, AVG, OBP, SLG and hard hit rate. Since Strasburg has allowed a hard hit rate of 38.3-percent to RHHs this year, it is comforting to see an opponent who rarely ever hits the ball hard. If looking for the safest pitching option of the entire slate, look no further than Strasburg.

Yu Darvish, Rangers, $21,900 – If needing a slightly cheaper option, or searching for a tournament pivot from the aforementioned Strasburg, Yu Darvish’s matchup is not too shabby either. On Tuesday, the Phillies will come to town, gain a designated hitter and try their best to manufacture some offense against Darvish and his elite swing-and-miss stuff. There is some inherent downside here considering the struggles Darvish has had with LHHs this year; in 23.0 IP against them, Darvish has surrendered 1.57 HR/9, a 30.5-percent line drive rate and 39.0-percent hard hit rate. Inarguably, some of the Phillies’ best hitters are of the left-handed variety (Cesar Hernandez, Michael Saunders to name a few) so they could give Darvish troubles. Still, the Phillies have struck out at the sixth highest rate against RHP this year and Davish has produced the 22nd highest K rate amongst qualified starters so he should at least possess a safe K floor. Throughout the course of his career, Darvish has actually pitched slightly better at home, so it is easy to envision a scenario where he dominates tonight. He may need more to go right than Strasburg but he also could easily strike out more batters. Choosing between the two is a tough decision.

J.C. Ramirez, Angels, $13,200 – For whatever reason, the pricing algorithm decided to show J.C. Ramirez no love tonight and that is great news for roster construction. Ramirez, who has forced opponents into a respectable 10.4-percent swinging strike rate, has faced two difficult matchups in a row but came into this recent tough stretch having topped 19.50 fantasy points in three straight starts. The matchup gets easier tonight as he will face a White Sox team that still ranks in the bottom five of wOBA against RHP and also ranks in the bottom 10 of wRC+, ISO, BB rate, AVG, OBP, SLG, hard hit rate and line drive rate against the handedness. As a team, they have produced a swinging strike rate (10.5-percent) above the league average so there is some solid correlation here for Ramirez to potentially miss bats. In this game, the park should only Ramirez’s cause as well and Ramirez has much preferred pitching in the friendly confines of home in 2017 (.300 wOBA allowed at home compared to .329 on the road). There is no better bargain at the starting pitcher position tonight so roster him and laugh your way all the way to the PayoutZone because this price tag is a steal.

*Stats are accurate as of Monday, May 15

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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