Lack of Respect

John Lackey will square off against a Giants team that ranks dead last in wOBA against right-handed pitching this year and his price tag is awfully affordable. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.

Infield:

Joey Votto, Reds, $9,600 – One of the many contributing factors to Joey Votto’s success is just how friendly his home park (Great American Ballpark) plays to left-handers…and really just hitters in general. In fact, the park plays favorably in terms of singles, AVG, OBP, SLG, wOBA, runs scored and especially home runs (HRs) to hitters of the left-handed variety. Today, yet another game will be played in the friendly confines of home, and this time he will take on Josh Tomlin who absolutely pounds the strike zone and gives up hard hits at an astounding rate. On paper, lefties have posted respectable numbers against Tomlin but they still have produced line drives at a 23.9-percent rate and hard contact at a 38.0-percent rate. No player currently sports a higher career wOBA against RHP than the Reds first basemen and he has slashed .318/.435/.553 against them in his career with a 38.8-percent hard hit rate (min. 250 at-bats (ABs) versus the handedness). Tomlin is going to struggle to contain Votto as virtually no RHP in the league has found a way to consistently quiet his bat so it is unlikely the trend will begin with a subpar talent. Start Votto in all formats as per usual.

Chris Davis, Orioles, $9,300 – Opposing pitcher Kyle Gibson has posted the seventh worst FIP and eighth worst xFIP amongst starters with at least 20 IP this year. Thus far, lefties have posted some monstrous numbers against him: .441 wOBA, 10.1-percent BB rate, 2.51 HR/9 rate, .344/.420/.623 slash line, 34.0-percent hard hit rate and 41.5-percent fly ball rate while striking out at just an 11.6-percent rate. Since he does not force opponents to swing-and-miss very often, Chris Davis’ weakness, a 38.0-percent strike out rate versus RHP, is essentially cancelled out. If not able to blow the ball by Davis, then he tends to hit the ball extremely hard; his hard hit rate (43.1-percent) against the handedness leads the Orioles. Vegas is unsurprisingly implying the Orioles will score the second most runs on this entire slate (5.2) so do not overlook their power bats in this elite spot.

Outfield:

Aaron Altherr, Phillies, $8,100 – Hard contact is an ongoing theme of this article because Aaron Altherr is another player who has consistently hit the cover off the ball this season. Overall, Altherr has posted a 36.8-percent hard hit rate and it has been pretty evenly distributed against righties and lefties (36.7-percent rate against RHP and 37.0-percent against LHP). Although Hoffman throws hard and looked excellent in his last start, he still gave up some hard contact to RHHs which is a troubling trend in his young career. In 18.1 IP against righties in his young career, Hoffman has been roasted to the tune of a .379 wOBA, 9.4-percent BB rate, 2.95 HR/9, .273/.341/.558 slash line, 23.2-percent line drive rate and a whopping 35.7-percent hard hit rate. Tonight, when these two’s paths collide, Altherr should be able to produce some laser beams. If those laser beams find some gaps, or even the bleachers, then Altherr should be able to crush his mid-tier $8,100 price tag.

Seth Smith, Orioles, $7,200 – One Orioles hitter is simply not enough against Gibson as he has proven time and time again to be a freaking gas can. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result and the same can be said for fading hitters against Gibson. If you have avoided stacking bats against him to this point, it has cost you money, so do not be foolish and make the same mistake again. Even if Manny Machado continues to sit with a hand injury, the rest of the team is still loaded with offensive talent…beginning with leadoff hitter Seth Smith. In 82 ABs against RHP this year, Smith owns a .367 wOBA, .183 ISO and .293/.379/.476 slash line. Like the aforementioned Davis, Smith struggles a bit with strikeouts (20.0-percent rate against righties), but not to the same extent as Davis. In this matchup, bats will rarely be missed, so Smith appears to be drastically underpriced in a situation where he should eat. Leadoff hitters on teams with substantial implied totals are rarely bad ideas to roster and Smith is no different.

Pitchers:

Zack Greinke, Diamondbacks, $23,400 – Over the course of the last week, the White Sox bats have awoken as they rank eighth in wOBA during that span. Now, they will travel to hitter-friendly Chase Field with a chance to build on that momentum, right? Wrong. Great pitching beats great hitting more times than not and the en fuego Zack Greinke will head into this matchup having won three consecutive starts. In those three games, Greinke has thrown 21.2 innings combined, struck out 26 batters and allowed nine earned runs (3.74 ERA). At this point, the overall season numbers do not matter a whole lot for the White Sox considering they have improved but the 3.8 run implied total is low for Chase Field. With a struggling Miguel Gonzalez toeing the mound for the White Sox, Greinke should receive a healthy amount of run support. Vegas agrees considering they list Greinke as a -196 favorite at home. While Greinke does possess the highest floor of any pitcher, he is still safe, and he could dominate an overall weak hitting team against RHP. Due to a lack of top tier alternatives, Greinke is both a viable cash play and tournament.

John Lackey, Cubs, $17,400 – There is no line on the Cubs game as of writing this but John Lackey should be expected to open as a heavy favorite. The probable starter listed for the Giants is Ty Blach and he has only struck out 9.5-percent of the righties and 2.6-perfect of the lefties he has faced this year. Essentially, the Cubs offense should tee off on him and Lackey only has the pushover Giants lineup to deal with. On back-to-back days, Carlos Martinez and Adam Wainwright have shut the Giants down and they have sunk all the way to dead last in wOBA against RHP. Additionally, the Giants rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate, AVG, OBP, SLG, hard hit rate and line drive percentage against the handedness and they even hit the ball on the ground at the highest rate. Lackey has forced lefties specifically into a 47.1-percent ground ball (GB) rate this year and most of the Giants’ best hitters are of the left-handed variety. All signs point to a solid outing from Lackey at a surprisingly affordable price tag.

Jake Odorizzi, Rays, $16,000 – Other than Mike Trout, the Angels’ leader in wOBA against RHP this year is a tie between Cliff Pennington and Andrelton Simmons (.315). , Trout is literally the only hitter to worry about in the lineup, and although the team does not strike out very much, they are extremely beatable. Meanwhile, Jake Odorizzi has allowed a significantly lower wOBA at home going on three consecutive seasons and his wOBA allowed at home so far this year currently sits at .275. Odorizzi does not possess elite swing-and-miss stuff but he is a solid pitcher who rarely gets roughed up. The mid-tier of pitchers is filled with potential landmines and Odorizzi is a pitcher who is very unlikely to get lit up. It does not get much safer on this slate than Odorizzi and his price tag allows plenty of bats to be fit alongside him.

*Stats are accurate as of Sunday, May 21

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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