Can’t Thame a Beast

Eric Thames is heating up once again and now will match up against a pitcher that has allowed a .442 wOBA to left-handed hitters this year. At just $7,600, Thames is worth building around on tonight’s 15-game slate. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.

Infield:

Eric Thames, Brewers, $7,600 – Once again, Eric Thames finds himself on a mini tear as he has now homered in back-to-back games heading into Friday night. Although I am not a believer in hot streaks, Thames clearly warrants a much more expensive price tag when he is feeling it. Thames burst into the league on a tear, pitchers adjusted to him and now it seems he is adjusting right back. If so, pitchers who get in his way are in deep trouble. Tonight, the pitcher who will be tasked with slowing him down is Miguel Diaz and he has not exactly been successful in shutting down left-handers thus far. Of all pitchers on the slate, Miguel Diaz’s .442 wOBA allowed to LHHs this year ranks second worst (behind only Drew Pomeranz) and the rest of his line is not much better: 12.0-percent K rate, 10.0-percent BB rate, 2.79 HR/9 rate, .349/.440/.619 slash line, 32.4-percent hard hit rate and a 40.5-percent fly ball rate. Now, Diaz will be dealing with a negative park shift and will step into Miller Park which plays as one of the most power-friendly parks to left-handers. Good luck.

Jedd Gyorko, Cardinals, $7,200 – Speaking of pitchers with a glaring weakness against a certain side of the plate, opposing starter Kevin Gausman has been blasted by RHHs this year to tune of a .430 wOBA, 1.79 HR/9 rate, .378/.431/.581 slash line, 24.8-percent line drive rate and a 32.9-percent hard hit rate. Normally, Chris Carpenter would be the first name that comes to mind against a right-hander but these reverse splits simply cannot be overlooked. Therefore, it is pretty reasonable to infer Jedd Gyorko is actually the best play of the bunch because, as a righty, he has posted a .368 wOBA, .204 ISO, .303/.359/.507 slash line, 34.8-percent hard hit rate and 41.1-percent fly ball rate against the handedness. Sometimes a correlation is too strong to ignore and this is one of those occasions.

Outfield:

Charlie Blackmon, Rockies, $10,500 – Any time Charlie Blackmon steps in the box at hitter-friendly Coors Field, he is immediately worthy of consideration. When facing a pitcher who has yielded a .378 wOBA, 1.87 HR/9 rate, .263/.309/.521 slash line and 27.0-percent line drive rate to LHHs, Blackmon is a virtual auto-play. At home this year, Blackmon is slashing .395/.444/.833 with a .439 ISO and .515 wOBA…and he is not even the most expensive hitter on the plate. Go ahead and lock him in as the first player into all lineups and do not look back.

Aaron Altherr, Phillies, $7,600 – After getting absolutely shut down by Chris Sale last night, the task will get a little bit easier with Patrick Corbin and the Diamondbacks heading to town. Corbin has struggled with hard contact this season, and throughout the course of his career, but the numbers specifically against RHP are extra concerning this year: .393 wOBA, 1.82 HR/9 rate, .329/.385/.546 slash line, 37.6-percent hard hit rate and a 30.6-percent fly ball rate. Meanwhile, Aaron Altherr is the only Phillies hitter who has really crushed southpaws this year (at least amongst members of the team with an extensive sample size). In 57 at-bats (ABs) in the split this year, Altherr has produced a .398 wOBA, a whopping .368 ISO, .263/.333/.632 slash line, 37.5-percent hard hit rate and 43.8-percent fly ball rate. In other words, despite a positive park shift for Corbin, he should be borderline defenseless against a hitter who has done nothing but rip the ball against left-handers in 2017. Advantage: Altherr.

Pitchers:

Luis Severino, Yankees, $22,400 – On paper, Max Scherzer’s matchup is extremely difficult, and while Luis Severino’s is no walk in the park either, he at least should possess a similar strikeout floor. Heading into tonight, Severino has struck out seven-plus batters in five consecutive games and has managed at least 18.45 fantasy points in every one of those starts. Now, he will face an Athletics team that has struck out over 27.0-percent of the time over the course of the last month and one that sports a 23.9-percent K rate overall against the handedness (third highest in the league). The issue here is the Athletics possess a fair amount of power so if he makes a mistake they could easily hit one out. All-in-all, the strikeout potential supersedes the rest, and the Athletics are only being implied to score a measly 3.7 runs at home…so Vegas clearly is intrigued by Severino in this spot as well. Start him with confidence in all formats.

James Paxton, Mariners, $17,100 – Instead of spending up for Max Scherzer or the aforementioned Severino, James Paxton presents an interesting alternative, especially in a matchup he dominated earlier this season. The last time Paxton toed the mound against the Rangers, he struck out nine in 8.0 IP and finished with an impressive 38.20 fantasy points. Although this game will be played in a much more hitter-friendly park, the wind is expected to be blowing in at 12-17mph which should only help Paxton’s cause. As icing on the cake, the Rangers literally rank dead last in all of baseball in terms of wOBA against LHP. Fading Paxton is a very scary proposition as he could easily compete for the positional lead in terms of fantasy-points-per-dollar tonight.

Jesse Chavez, Angels, $12,000 – If needing a punt at the position, look no further than Jesse Chavez at home against the Royals. Despite allowing a 45.2-percent hard hit rate on the road this year and a 22.6-percent line drive rate, Chavez has held hitters to a 26.2-percent hard hit rate and 15.9-percent line drive rate in Angels Stadium. On the other hand, the Royals rank 26th in wOBA against RHP this year and rank in the bottom 10 of wRC+, ISO, BB rate, AVG, OBP and SLG against the handedness. If they are not going to put up much resistance, look for Chavez to cruise all the way to a quality start at a crazy bargain price tag.

*Stats are accurate as of Thursday, June 15

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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