Hanley Your Business

Hanley Ramirez draws a date with the pitcher who missed bats at the lowest rate of any qualified starter just a year ago so he should be licking his chops at the prospect of the hard contact he could potentially make in this matchup. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.

Infield:

Hanley Ramirez, Red Sox, $8,800 – One day after the Red Sox finally stuck it to Andrew Cashner (it had been a long time coming for a pitcher pitching way over his head), they will face a struggling pitcher who has imploded just about every time out. Opposing starter Martin Perez literally posted the lowest strikeout rate of any qualified starting pitcher last season (12.1-percent) and he is only striking out righties at a 14.7-percent rate so far this year. Even more importantly, they have hit him hard a whopping 37.7-percent of the time and he has only forced a ground ball (GB) rate of 42.5-percent. In other words, right-handers often hit the ball hard and in the air against him which is fantastic news for Hanley Ramirez at home in the friendly confines of Fenway Park. Not only is the left field wall only 310 feet away but Ramirez possesses the power to reach it as evident by his .345 wOBA and 41.7-percent hard hit rate against LHP this season. If there ever were a spot for a Ramirez double dong, this would be it.

Adam Frazier, Pirates, $7,600 – Okay so Adam Frazier does not possess the most upside of any player on the slate or anything close but he is a very safe cash play and that is the reason for him being mentioned. On Wednesday evening, Frazier and the Pirates will square off against Julio Teheran in brand new SunTrust Park which is proving to be incredibly hitter-friendly. By his normal standards, Teheran is struggling this year and it is partially due to the fact his velocity is down just a bit from last year but also because he has had serious trouble retiring lefties. In 25.0 IP against LHHs, Teheran has yielded a .399 wOBA, 12.0-percent K rate, 16.8-percent BB rate (not good), 2.16 HR/9 rate, .284/.416/.515 slash line, 40.2-percent hard hit rate and 43.0-percent fly ball rate. Although Frazier has only hit one homer and stolen one base against RHP this year, he leads the team in wOBA against the handedness (.376) and he is slashing a healthy .338/.397/.465 against them. Hitting in the leadoff spot means he should see 4-5 plate appearances in an upper-echelon matchup so start him with confidence in cash games.

Outfield:

George Springer, Astros, $8,100 – Daniel Norris was traded as part of the Blue Jays trade for David Price once upon a time but Norris has yet to develop into the ace the Tigers thought he may be able to become. Instead, Norris has been mediocre at best this year and has been hit pretty hard by RHHs: .354 wOBA, 18.4-percent K rate, 10.1-percent BB rate, .305/.380/.426 slash line, 24.3-percent line drive rate and a ridiculous 46.4-percent hard hit rate. Minute Maid Park is not a park you want to be allowing hard contact in, especially to right-handers, because the short porch in left field is easy to hit the ball out of. In tune, this is a great matchup for George Springer who leads off and leads the team in hard contact rate against southpaws this year. If Norris grooves one in there, Springer is going to hit it out, and he is underpriced considering the team is being implied to score a respectable 5.1 runs. With Springer leading the charge, the Astros stack is a fine play because the team is filled with powerful righties beyond just Springer.

Ben Gamel, Mariners, $6,600 – The price tag does not match the skill set in this case so Ben Gamel is purely a price point play on this slate. In order to fit the top ace, concessions will need to be made, and starting a talented hitter against an overrated hitter is a great situation to take a chance. Last year, Tanner Roark was not a starting pitcher to target against but this year has been a different story…especially to LHHs. Roark has been roasted to the tune of a .365 wOBA, 2.28 HR/9 rate, .266/.355/.500 slash line and 43.2-percent fly ball rate by lefties. Gamel, who is a powerful lefty that will draw the start in the two hole, should be able to hold his own weight at this price tag hitting near the top of a pretty stacked Mariners lineup. All he has done is post a .409 wOBA against RHP this year so do not hesitate to deploy him in both cash games and tournaments at this bargain cost.

Pitchers:

Chris Sale, Red Sox, $26,100 – Like last night, there is an ace above and beyond the others and this time that man is none other than Chris Sale. Sure, this game will be held in a difficult ballpark to pitch in but the Rangers swing outside the zone at the fifth highest rate in baseball and they swing-and-miss at the fifth highest rate as well. Furthermore, most of their top hitters are of the left-handed variety and they only possess two hitters with a wOBA greater than .332 wOBA against LHP this year: Robinson Chirinos and Jonathan Lucroy (both their catchers). Since both will not start at the same time, Sale should not have a difficult time mowing down a bunch of subpar hitters against the handedness. Lock and load him as your SP1 as per usual.

Rich Hill, Dodgers, $17,200 – In his first start in exactly a month, Rich Hill allowed just one run and six hits over 5.0 innings with six strikeouts his last time out. The team pulled him after 82 pitches and his pitch count is likely to rise at least slightly this go-around. There are certainly some concerns to rostering him as always including the possibility of the recurring blister on his pitching hand to pop up once again. However, the risk is factored into his price and this is simply way too cheap for a player who has nearly been as effective as Clayton Kershaw on a per-inning basis since the beginning of 2016. On paper, the Cardinals represent a juicy matchup for Hill: they rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, AVG, OBP and SLG against LHP while striking out at the ninth highest rate in the league against the handedness. If Hill can simply make it through the start without an injury popping up, he should be worth every penny at this bargain cost.

Erasmo Ramirez, Rays, $11,200 – If attempting to fit bats alongside Sale, Erasmo Ramirez is the perfect pitcher to pair him with. Not only is Ramirez insanely cheap but he packs a ton of talent for a pitcher of this miniscule price tag. Like Alex Cobb yesterday, the reason to like him was because he dominated RHHs, and Ramirez has dominated them even more so than Cobb. Righties have only managed a pathetic .234 wOBA off Ramirez this year while he has struck out 21.1-percent of them and has only walked them at a 1.4-percent rate. Virtually all the best hitters on the Angels are of the right-handed variety so Ramirez could potentially cruise through this team while priced like a scrub. If things go well, there is no question Ramirez will compete for the fantasy-point-per-dollar lead at the position and will prove to be a top-notch punt play.

*Stats are accurate as of Tuesday, May 23

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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1 Response

  1. Steve Robertson says:

    Great call on Frazier! 🙂

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