Pax Man

James Paxton is priced at a strangely affordable price tag against a Twins team that has produced just a .263 wOBA against left-handed pitching on the road this year. In pitcher-friendly Safeco Field, Paxton is a stone-cold lock on Tuesday. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.

Infield:

Nicholas Castellanos, Tigers, $7,200 – Opposing starter Jesse Chavez has not particularly cared for pitching on the road this season. In five starts away from Angel Stadium, Chavez has yielded a 5.46 ERA, .295/.352/.559 slash line, .380 wOBA, 36.4-percent hard hit rate and 23.3-percent HR/FB rate. Specifically against right-handers on the road, he has allowed a .323/.344/.590 slash line and .388 wOBA. All of this is a long-winded way of saying the right-handed heavy Tigers are one of the best stacks on the entire slate. Amazingly, the Tigers currently have nine hitters on their team who own a hard hit rate of 43.5-percent or better against RHP this year (some of which are small sample size). Nicholas Castellanos is holding his own with a 46.7-percent hard hit rate against the handedness although he has been quite unlucky with the results. He only owns a .299 wOBA against righties this year although he is starting to come around; he has posted a .386 wOBA over the course of the last week with a .407 OBP and .238 ISO. All Tigers are in play on this slate but Castellanos presents the best value of the bunch (and J.D. Martinez is the one worth spending up for).

Tommy Joseph, Phillies, $6,400 – Last night, Tommy Joseph enjoyed the matchup thoroughly against a pitcher who hardly ever misses bats and pounds the zone (Bartolo Colon). Tonight, the matchup gets a bit more difficult against Jaime Garcia who pounds the zone at the 45th highest rate of all qualified starters (out of 90 total) and sports a decent 9.4-percent swinging strike rate. However, in his young career, Joseph has preferred hitting against left-handers (although the numbers do not show it so far this year). Like the aforementioned Castellanos, Joseph has hit the ball hard plenty and only owns a .156/.220/.511 slash line to show for it. Somehow, someway, he still leads the team in ISO despite his bad luck as he has flashed a fair amount of power against the handedness this year (to go along with his .355 career wOBA against LHP). While he is sort of a boom-or-bust option, SunTrust Park is proving to be an elite hitting environment and he has homered in two of his last three games heading into Tuesday. Start him at this bargain price tag.

Outfield:

Charlie Blackmon, Rockies, $10,800 – Someone who is not priced cheaply is Rockies leadoff man Charlie Blackmon who will playing in the friendly confines of Coors Field against Mike Clevinger. At home against RHP this year, Blackmon is slashing a cool .413/.457/.905 with a .492 ISO, .548 wOBA and 49.1-percent hard hit rate. If consistently hitting the ball hard in the most hitter-friendly environment in the league, good things are quite obviously going to happen. Although Clevinger has pitched pretty well this season, he has still allowed a 51.9-percent fly ball rate to LHHs and a 1.50 HR/9 rate. No one hits the ball harder than Blackmon, so if Clevinger comes into his wheelhouse, Blackmon is going to do similar damage as he usually does at home.

Kris Bryant, Cubs, $8,800 – Assuming the wind projection for tomorrow holds true, a similar wind pattern to today should be in order (about 15mph blowing in from left center). Yesterday, in similar conditions, Kris Bryant is so powerful that he hit one out rather easily despite the factors working against him. Now, Bryant and company will square off against Jeff Locke and his .367 wOBA allowed to RHHs since the start of the 2016 season. Over that same period, righties have slashed .295/.361/.501 against Locke with 13 homers and a 34.9-percent hard hit rate in 93.1 IP. It should also be noted Locke has only struck out 13.7-percent of RHHs during that time because Kris Bryant is going to make pitchers pay if they pitch to contact. For the season, Bryant owns a .492 wOBA, .400 ISO, .300/.509/.700 slash line and 40.0-percent hard hit rate against the handedness so hard contact should be on the horizon in this matchup. If so, the advantage goes to Bryant even if the wind is working against his favor.

Pitchers:

Max Scherzer, Nationals, $25,200 – On paper, the Dodgers rate as a reasonably difficult matchup for opposing RHPs and yet Max Scherzer is still worthy of consideration in all formats against them. In his last two starts combined, Scherzer has struck out 38.7-percent of opposing hitters to go along with a 2.03 SIERA and a miniscule 22.9-percent hard hit rate allowed. It does not matter who Scherzer is facing right now because he is completely mowing down hitters regardless of which side of the box they are standing on…plus he will enjoy a positive ballpark shift in this one. The Dodgers strike out at a 23.1-percent rate so Scherzer is certainly capable of missing their bats and he is on another level right now. Spending up for him means concessions will need to be made in the hitting department but he is the closest thing to guaranteed double-digit strikeouts.

Chris Archer, Rays, $20,400 – Other than Scherzer, the next safest strikeout investment is none other than Chris Archer, who has been absolutely dominant at home since the beginning of last year. After only allowing a .272 wOBA and striking out 29.6-percent of hitters at home last year, Archer has followed up that performance by allowing just a .261 wOBA at home and he has struck out 35.2-percent of opposing hitters in Tropicana Field this year. On the other hand, the White Sox have smoked pitchers such as Chris Sale, Michael Fulmer and Justin Verlander lately although there are caveats in each start. Sale is a lefty so that is not applicable, Fulmer pitched deep into the game before falling apart in the sixth inning and Verlander supposedly was pitching through an injury. The White Sox still rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, AVG, OBP, SLG and hard hit rate against RHP this year while walking at the lowest rate of any team in the league. In other words, Archer should be able to beat them with pitches outside the strike zone because they are not willing to take those pitches. All-in-all, he is still in a fantastic spot and is my favorite pitcher on the slate other than this next guy…

James Paxton, Mariners, $17,100 – Yes, James Paxton stands out as the best per-dollar pitching investment on the entire slate as even his manager admitted he is turning into an ace. Fortunately, he is not priced in the same range as some of the other upper-echelon starters despite his 30.2-percent K rate, 3.09 SIERA and 28.0-percent hard hit rate allowed this year. His home park is one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in the league and the Twins rank below average in wOBA and rate in the bottom 10 of ISO against LHP this year. On the road versus southpaws this year, the Twins have only posted a .206/.278/.316 slash line, .263 wOBA and 62 wRC+. Essentially, they are atrocious in the split and facing one of the best pitchers in the league, so Paxton should cruise in this spot.

*Stats are accurate as of Monday, June 5

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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