Marwin, Win, Win No Matter What

Marwin Gonzalez faces a pitcher who has notoriously struggled against left-handers throughout the course of his career so start the vastly improved hitter in all formats. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.

Infield:

Jake Lamb, Diamondbacks, $10,000 – The industry acts like Jake Lamb is Babe Ruth at home and his talent just depreciates on the road as he is rarely ever mentioned when playing away from Chase Field. This year, Lamb owns a .302 ISO and .389 wOBA at home compared to a .264 ISO and .380 wOBA on the road. While his numbers are not quite as good, they are still excellent in the grand scheme of things. Tonight, Lamb and the Diamondbacks will square off against Jordan Zimmermann and his 6.24 FIP (second worst amongst qualified starters) and miniscule 14.0-percent K rate (eighth lowest amongst qualified starters). Zimmermann has been hit harder by lefties this year as they have roasted him to the tune of a .404 wOBA, 2.43 HR/9 rate, .336/.385/.581 slash line, 29.4-percent line drive rate, 43.3-percent hard hit rate and 41.2-percent fly ball rate. There is a huge talent disparity between Lamb and the probable pitcher so go ahead, roster Lamb and enjoy the results.

Marwin Gonzalez, Astros, $8,100 – Whenever Andrew Cashner toes the mound, targeting lefties against him is a must. Although Cashner has limited the hard contact to LHHs this year, they have managed a 34.5-percent hard hit rate off him over the course of his career to go along with a .336 wOBA, 1.15 HR/9 rate, .260/.340/.438 slash line and 36.9-percent fly ball rate. By the way, these career numbers include his four-plus year stretch with the Padres who play in extremely pitcher-friendly Petco Park. In fact, it is arguably the most difficult park for lefties to hit the ball out of, so one can argue his numbers would be much worse in almost any other stadium. In 2017, Cashner has only struck out lefties at an 8.4-percent rate and control has been a huge issue as evident by his 11.5-percent walk rate. Marwin Gonzalez leads the team in pitches per plate appearance and he also leads all regulars in wOBA against RHP this year (.439). Pretty quietly, he is slashing .324/.422/.639 against the handedness with a 31.4-percent hard hit rate and 38.6-percent fly ball rate. It would be nice if Josh Reddick were to suit up because most would rush to roster him in cash in this spot when Gonzalez is quite clearly the superior play of the two.

Outfield:

Charlie Blackmon, Rockies, $10,800 – On tonight’s slate, there is really only one overly expensive starting pitcher, which means plenty of pricey bats can be fit into any lineup. One of the best plays on Wednesday is none other than Rockies’ leadoff hitter Charlie Blackmon in a matchup against Chad Kuhl. To put it mildly, Kuhl’s numbers this season against LHHs are rather ugly: .434 wOBA, 11.4-percent BB rate, 1.78 HR/9 rate, .333/.415/.6521 slash line, 39.0-percent hard hit rate, 48.8-percent fly ball rate and a 9.59 ERA. Sure, Blackmon has been a monster at home this year, but he also is slashing .308/.356/.505 with a .196 ISO and .362 wOBA against RHP on the road this year as well. Blackmon very nearly belted a ball out of PNC Park yesterday and the matchup gets a lot juicier in this spot. Do not overlook this bearded wonder.

Seth Smith, Orioles, $7,200 – When Miguel Gonzalez toed the mound against the Orioles earlier this year, Gonzalez threw an impressive game: 6.2 IP, seven baserunners, two earned runs (ERs) and five Ks. Since that start, Gonzalez has struggled in virtually every start as he has allowed four-plus runs in five of his six outings over that span. Like most of the pitchers mentioned in the article so far, Gonzalez has fared worse against pitchers of the left-handed variety this year; they have managed a .364 wOBA, 1.50 HR/9 rate, .291/.335/.533 slash line, 22.8-percent line drive rate, 34.4-percent hard hit rate and 39.4-percent fly ball rate while only striking them out at a 14.3-percent rate. Meanwhile, Seth Smith has produced the fourth best wOBA on the team against RHP this year and he will hit in the first spot in the order. With all these opportunities against a pitcher who does not miss bats, he is bound to come through in one of his plate appearances. The Orioles are sneaky stackable on this slate after letting everyone down last night and Smith is arguably the safest option in the team (since Manny Machado is still battling a wrist injury).

Pitchers:

Corey Kluber, Indians, $24,400 – Pitching on this slate is brutal so spending up for Corey Kluber makes all the sense in the world. Unlike the second most expensive pitcher, Michael Pineda, Kluber finds himself in a matchup with a fair degree of strikeout potential. Thus far, the Dodgers have struck out at a 22.8-percent rate against RHP despite the fact they rank in the top 10 of wRC+, BB rate, OBP and hard hit rate versus the handedness. Since returning from the disabled list, Kluber has been virtually unhittable and has posted 35.70 and 22.10 fantasy points in back-to-back starts respectively. Although Kluber has shut down RHHs this year, and the Dodgers lineup will start very of them, he still has whiffed lefties at a 24.7-percent rate as well. Admittedly the matchup is not incredibly ideal but Kluber still should be able to succeed. It would be difficult to project anyone other than Kluber for the highest raw fantasy point output at the position on this slate.

Dylan Bundy, Orioles, $15,200 – Unfortunately, all pitchers against the White Sox are chalky these days and yet this matchup is too favorable to ignore. While he may eclipse 50-percent ownership in cash games and 35-percent in tournaments, it is for good reason. Not only has Dylan Bundy pitched exceptionally well in four straight games against three very difficult opposing teams (Yankees twice, Red Sox and Twins) but the White Sox also rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate, OBP and SLG against the handedness. Bundy is virtually the only safe pitcher in the mid-range pricing tier so there is no reason why he should not be popular.

Francisco Liriano, Blue Jays, $11,400 – Wow, this price tag is incredibly difficult to pass on. Anyone would be lying if they said they expected to see Francisco Liriano priced this cheaply in an elite strikeout matchup…and the price tag is exactly what makes him so enticing. Some of the best hitters on the Rays, including Corey Dickerson and Logan Morrison, are left-handed and Liriano has dominated lefties this year: .239 wOBA, 3.2-percent BB rate, .207/.258/.276 slash line and a 22.2-percent hard hit rate while striking them out at a 35.5-percent rate. Only five teams have struck out at a higher rate against southpaws than the Rays so Liriano should at least possess a safe strikeout floor. He could even flirt with double-digit strikeouts here so it is very difficult to pass at this price point.

*Stats are accurate as of Tuesday, June 13

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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