Smoak on the Water

Justin Smoak draws a fantastic matchup against A.J. Griffin at home so fantasy owners will not want to leave him out of their lineups tonight. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.

Infield:

Matt Carpenter, Cardinals – Normally, with a game being played in Coors Field tonight, the focus would be to load up on bats from the game. However, each team is tossing arguably their best pitcher tonight so the overall appeal of the game is limited. Still, the game is unlikely to finish 1-0 or anything close so there is still some appeal to a contest that still sports a 10.5 over/under…and the road team (Cardinals) is favored. To this point, Antonio Senzatela has done a solid job limiting hard contact to RHHs, despite not forcing a ton of ground balls, but he has not enjoyed similar success against lefties. This season, lefties have posted a decent .331 wOBA against him, 11.1-percent BB rate, .240/.328/.446 slash line and 31.0-percent hard hit rate. Since he does not strike out many left-handers (14.5-percent K rate) and allows a fair amount of fly balls (33.7-percent), it should only be a matter of time until his numbers regress especially at home. Against a hitter who sports a career .376 wOBA against RHP (18th amongst hitters with at least 500 career at-bats against the handedness), the advantage goes to the man in the batters’ box. Go ahead and start Matt Carpenter in both cash games in tournaments.

Justin Smoak, Blue Jays – Since the start of last season, left-handers have teed off against A.J. Griffin to the nth degree; they have posted a ridiculous .393 wOBA, .283/.349/.610 slash line, 42.9-percent hard hit rate (second to only Chris Young) and hit 22 bombs (second most behind only Jerad Eickhoff) off Griffin during that span. Rogers Centre plays as an above average power park to LHHs so it is no wonder Justin Smoak has made himself at home this year: .303/.387/.652 slash line with six homers (out of 10 total), .432 wOBA and .348 ISO. Overall, Smoak’s .225 ISO leads the team against RHP this year and he has also hit the ball hard a whopping 42.0-percent of the time against the handedness. While Kendrys Morales is the bigger name of the Blue Jays’ duo of first basemen, Smoak has put up superior numbers this year and is the preferred play of the twosome once again on Friday (although both are in play).

Outfield:

Bryce Harper, Nationals – Starting one of the best hitters in the game is hardly ever a bad idea but especially against a pitcher who has struggled to retire lefties this year. Luis Perdomo is one of my favorite starting pitchers to roster in daily fantasy baseball because he is rarely properly priced for his skill set but his game does have a glaring weakness: his inability to retire left-handers. Thus far, lefties have posted a ridiculous .460 wOBA, .403/.471/.613 slash line, 24.0-percent line drive rate, 36.0-percent hard hit rate and 1.42 HR/9 rate against Perdomo despite the fact he has forced them into a 56.0-percent ground ball (GB) rate. On the other hand, Bryce Harper leads the Nationals in wOBA against RHP (.467), ISO (.383) and SLG (.708) plus he hits the ball hard 37.9-percent of the time against the handedness. The Nationals are not simply listed as -250 favorites because of Max Scherzer; their bats should show up as well in this spot. As per usual, do not be afraid to pay Harper’s hefty price tag and just move on with a lineup. He is that good.

Matt Adams, Braves – Another day, another extra-base hit for Matt Adams yesterday who now has smoked an extra-base hit in four consecutive games with the Braves after doubling on Thursday afternoon. Over the course of his last four games, Adams is 7-18 (.389) with two doubles, a triple and two bombs. Tonight, the en fuego lefty and the rest of the Braves will travel to pitcher-friendly AT&T Park to take on gas can Matt Cain. Over the course of the last year-plus, Cain is one of the few pitchers whose horrendous numbers surrendered to left-handers compare to those of the aforementioned Griffin’s. In his last 56.1 IP against lefties, they have lit Cain up to the tune of a .382 wOBA and .306/.397/.493 slash line even though he plays half his games in one of the worst hitting atmospheres in the league. Not even AT&T Park should be able to contain the power of Adams who ranks second amongst Braves regulars with a .379 wOBA and .214 ISO against righties this season. If Cain is not careful, Adams is going to launch one into McCovey Cove past the right field fence. At this price tag, Adams is too solid of a value to pass on despite the extreme negative ballpark shift.

Pitchers:

Max Scherzer, Nationals – Max Scherzer at home versus the lowly Padres? Sign me up. Unsurprisingly, Vegas is listing Scherzer as the heaviest favorite of the slate because it is difficult to imagine a scenario in which this Padres lineup gets to him. Thus far, the Padres rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, BB Rate, AVG, OBP, SLG and hard hit rate against RHP while striking out at the second highest percentage against the handedness. Nothing more really needs to be said other than the fact Scherzer should be set to dominate in one of the best possible setups at home against a dumpster fire of an offense.

Alex Wood, Dodgers – In 2017 so far, Alex Wood has been nothing short of brilliant as he has held both right and left-handers below a .245 wOBA and has forced each side of the plate into at least a 64.9-percent GB rate. Those numbers are absurd and Dodger Stadium is not going to do hitters any favors…especially of the right-handed variety. In all likelihood, Manager Joe Maddon is going to stack the lineup full of RHHs (the Cubs have a ton of switch hitters) but Wood has struck them out at a 30.7-percent rate and they have only produced a measly .214 wOBA against him. Vegas lists the Dodgers as -135 favorites against arguably the Cubs’ ace (Jake Arrieta) so Vegas seems to believe in the talent as much as I do. While Scherzer stands out as the safest investment at the position, Wood could easily give him a run for his money in terms of raw fantasy point output in a sneakily solid spot.

Dan Straily, Marlins – Rostering pitchers against the Angels has been absolute money over the course of the last week or so as each of the Rays’ four pitchers in the last series strung together productive starts against them. Other than Mike Trout, there are simply no scary hitters in the lineup as evident by the fact Cameron Maybin ranks second in wOBA against RHP with a .320 tally. Basically, one hitter rates above average against the handedness and the rest are about replacement level hitters (even Albert Pujols). For that reason, Dan Straily can be deployed at a reasonable mid-tier price tag at home where Pujols may not even make the lineup.

*Stats are accurate as of Wednesday, May 24

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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