The Turning Point

Justin Turner has unsurprisingly posted some reverse splits this season and he faces a reverse splits pitcher tonight so go ahead and take advantage of the uncanny correlation. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.

Infield:

Justin Turner, Dodgers, $8,800 – Quietly, Justin Turner is hitting .393 very close to the All-Star Break and he is less than 20 at-bats (ABs) from qualifying for the batting title. Since he only has five home runs (HRs), he does not get too much national attention but he is putting together a phenomenal season. On Monday, the Dodgers will square off against the in-state rival Angels at home and Ricky Nolasco will toe the mound against them. In 42.1 innings against RHHs this year, Nolasco has yielded a hefty .391 wOBA, 2.98 HR/9 rate (!), .308/.337/.606 slash line, 41.5-percent hard hit rate and 32.5-percent fly ball rate. In other words, Nolasco has made every right hander look like, well, Turner. Like last year, Turner has crushed RHP this year to the tune of a .426 wOBA, .390/.468/.512 slash line, 33.0-percent hard hit rate and 42.9-percent fly ball rate. When a reverse pitcher squares off against a reverse hitter and all the stars align, fantasy owners will not want to miss out on the results. Roster Turner in both cash games and tournaments tonight.

Jose Abreu, White Sox, $8,400 – Jordan Montgomery is typically one of my favorite pitchers to roster on days he pitches but today the matchup today is too difficult to chance. Tonight, Montgomery will head to Guaranteed Rate Field to do battle with the MLB’s leading offense against LHP (at least in terms of wOBA). Additionally, the White Sox have only struck out at an 18.8-percent rate versus the handedness and their active hitters are cumulatively slashing a whopping .320/.381/.508 versus southpaws. Although Jose Abreu does not lead the team in wOBA, he ranks second amongst their qualified hitters with a .469 tally and he has slashed .406/.461/.652 in the split with a team-leading 47.4-percent hard hit rate. Furthermore, Montgomery throws his off-speed pitches a combined 57.8-percent of the time including a changeup he throws 20.9-percent of the time. Amongst qualified pitchers, that is the seventh highest rate and Abreu rates as the team’s best changeup hitter on a per-pitch pitch basis by a large margin (amongst regulars), per FanGraphs’ pitch type linear weights. Despite the matchup against a talented pitcher, Abreu should still come through for those who roster him.

Outfield:

Bryce Harper, Nationals, $10,400 – If spending up for one hitter on this slate, Bryce Harper stands out above the pack in a matchup against subpar righty Eddie Butler. Heading into this game, Butler has very nearly walked hitters of the left-handed variety at the same rate (14.7-percent) as he has struck them out (16.2-percent). The real reason to like this matchup for Harper is the fact lefties have posted line drives at a 27.7-percent rate off Butler this year to go along with a 38.3-percent hard hit rate and 46.8-percent fly ball rate. Harper is an elite hitter in the split who hits the ball hard (34.0-percent hard hit rate) and in the air (42.2-percent) which explains why he leads the potent Nationals offense in HRs against RHP. Another bomb should be coming here tonight against a guy whose career numbers show he is far worse against lefties (.417 wOBA) than he has even shown this year. Build around Harper in all formats.

Melky Cabrera, White Sox, $6,400 – On a per-dollar basis, Melky Cabrera is even a superior investment than the aforementioned Abreu because the White Sox outfield is dirt cheap…but the favorability does not end there. As noted in the Abreu tidbit, Montgomery misses bats at a respectable rate (13.2-percent swinging strike rate) and Cabrera’s swinging strike rate (5.3-percent) is more than three percentage points lower than the team’s starting first baseman (8.6-percent). Not only does Cabrera swing and miss less often but he actually rates as the team’s second best hitter (behind Yolmer Sanchez) against curveballs; the off-speed pitch which Montgomery throws the most often (23.3-percent). Amongst qualified pitchers, Montgomery throws his curveball at the ninth highest rate, behind the likes of Adam Wainwright, Scott Feldman and Robbie Ray. Cabrera is no slouch against the handedness either as he has produced a .368 wOBA, .244 ISO, .295/.337/.538 slash line and 36.4-percent hard hit rate while only striking out 15.5-percent of the time. Cheap bats are few and far between on this slate so Cabrera quite easily rates as the top “punt” hitting play.

Pitchers:

Chris Sale, Red Sox, $25,200 – Admittedly, Chris Sale is not the only top talent on this slate as Carlos Carrasco is coming off a dominant performance and Jose Berrios will pitch on this slate as well. However, Sale does draw by far the best matchup of the bunch as he will take on the Twins at home in a game where he is listed as a -199 favorite. Only Rich Hill is listed as a heavier favorite and he has been way too inconsistent to rely on with any level of confidence. On the other hand, Sale has been arguably the best pitcher in the league and the Twins have fared as a rather mediocre offense against lefties. Thus far, the Twins rank in the bottom half of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, AVG and SLG versus LHP. The Twins are a reasonably tough team to strike out but Sale quite literally has induced the highest swinging strike rate of any qualified pitcher (tied with Max Scherzer at 16.0-percent). As per usual, Sale should dominate.

Jeff Samardzija, Giants, $16,400 – There are barely any cheap hitters worthy of consideration which means bargain SP2 options will be needed in order to construct a roster with the most possible upside. Only 44 total HRs have been hit in AT&T Park this season which rates as 16 lower than any other stadium (Fenway Park is next lowest). While the Rockies are perennially one of the scariest offenses in the league when playing in Coors Field, they have not struck fear into the heart of opponents on the road this year. On the road against righties specifically, the Rockies have slashed .271/.329/.439 with a .327 wOBA and 81 wRC+ (28th lowest of any team) while striking out at a 22.8-percent rate. Their best aspect of the offense on the road has been the power and this ballpark just saps the power potential out of every offense. By default, Jeff Samardzija appears to be the top per-dollar investment at the position.

German Marquez, Rockies, $14,800 – If looking to differentiate from Samardzija, German Marquez makes a ton of sense in the same game as Samardzija as Vegas is only projecting a 7.5 run over/under. Whereas Marquez has only struck out 16.4-percent of opposing batters in Coors Field this year, he has struck out 24.8-percent of opponents on the road. The most interesting split is the K rate difference to righties: 13.5-percent at home versus 25.5-percent on the road. The Giants rank 29 in both wOBA and wRC+ against RHP this year plus they rank dead last in ISO. To round out the stat line, they also rank in the bottom 10 of BB rate, AVG, OBP, SLG, hard hit rate and line drive rate but they are a reasonably tough offense to strike out (19.1-percent). Still, Marquez should be able to limit the damage enough where he should prove to be usable, so go ahead and pivot to him from Samardzija if necessary.

*Stats are accurate as of Sunday, June 25

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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