Super Nova

Ivan Nova is the best of a brutal batch of pitching options on Monday night so do not be bashful with inserting him into your lineups. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.


Joey Votto, Reds – Anytime the career leader in wOBA against RHP (min. 350 at-bats) is blessed with the opportunity to face a right-hander in the best hitting environment in baseball, fantasy owners must take notice. Although opposing starter Jeff Hoffman sports a 24.9-percent K rate overall, he has only struck out 18.7-percent of the hitters he has faced in Coors Field. Additionally, all aspects of his stat line at home are pretty terrible: 8.22 ERA, .324/.387/.529 slash line, .385 wOBA, 1.17 HR/9 rate, 38.9-percent hard hit rate and 37.0-percent fly ball rate. Meanwhile, Votto leads the Reds in wOBA this season and is slashing a cool .313/.434/.598 against the handedness while only striking out at a 10.2-percent rate. Essentially, Votto is going to put the ball in play, and if he gets a hold of one, he could easily hit it out in this atmosphere. There is no doubt Votto is the number one overall hitter on the slate.

Hanley Ramirez, Red Sox – Probable starter Martin Perez has posted the 12th lowest K rate amongst qualified starters this year (16.6-percent) and has walked hitters at the fourth highest rate of any pitcher in that grouping (8.7-percent). In other words, he does not present the world’s most difficult matchup to opposing hitters and righties specifically have taken full advantage: .356 wOBA, 9.2-percent BB rate, .302/.370/.468 slash line, 25.8-percent line drive rate, 36.4-percent hard hit rate and, most importantly, only a 43.0-percent ground ball (GB) rate from a pitcher who typically is amongst the best at inducing ground balls. With righties lifting the ball against him this year, Hanley Ramirez looks primed for a big day. Amongst all active Red Sox hitters, Ramirez’s .387 career wOBA against LHP leads the pack as does his 35.3-percent hard hit rate and .224 ISO. Although he is amidst a down year against the split, facing a gas can in hitter-friendly Ballpark in Arlington should prove to be the perfect elixir to turn things around. All aboard the Ramirez train tonight.


Charlie Blackmon, Rockies – Question: is Charlie Blackmon playing in Coors Field tonight? Whenever the answer to that question is “yes,” then go ahead and roster him. At this point, it is truly that simply because the man is slashing .390/.447/.816 at home with a ridiculous .426 ISO, 5.09 wOBA and 185 wRC+. Since tonight’s slate features zero pitchers worth spending up for, there is plenty of money available for loading up on bats. Of course, a great place to start with hitters is in the hitters’ haven of Denver and Luis Castillo is not exactly Cy Young. In fact, Castillo has allowed 1.69 HR/9 to lefties in a limited sample size so far and he has also walked them at a 17.4-percent rate while allowing a .321 wOBA. Admittedly, the guy throws hard (97.9mph average fastball velocity) but his fastball is a four-seamer and has actually rated as a below-average pitch according to FanGraphs’ pitch type linear weights. Since he throws it about 66.3-percent of the time, and Charlie Blackmon has rated amongst the best in the business against the pitch this year, the young RHP is in trouble. Lock in Blackmon in both cash games and GPPs.

Stephen Piscotty, Cardinals – One guy who just does not get enough love against LHP is Stephen Piscotty. Every single time he faces a southpaw, he seems to go drastically under-owned despite the fact he owns a career .375 wOBA in the split to complement his .280/.382/.490 slash line and 41.0-percent fly ball rate. Thus far, righties have smoked Jeff Locke to the tune of a .399 wOBA, 11.8-percent BB rate, 2.57 HR/9 rate, .300/.382/.567 slash line, 30.8-percent hard hit rate and 34.6-percent fly ball rate. The Cardinals’ home park, Busch Stadium, plays as a below-average hitters’ park overall but it is more conducive to hitters of the right-handed variety…especially in the power department. There is arguably not a better correlation play on the slate tonight so go ahead and take the inevitably under-appreciated Piscotty all the way to the bank.


Ivan Nova, Pirates – At first look, this looked like a porous pitching slate, but Ivan Nova against the Phillies is a nice place to start. The Pirates’ right-hander rarely ever strikes opponents out but he hard walks them either. Hell, Nova’s BB rate ranks second lowest amongst qualified starters (3.0-percent), just behind Josh Tomlin’s 2.9-percent. Since Nova hardly ever issues free passes, he has produced a respectable 1.11 WHIP to complement his 3.08 ERA, 3.82 FIP and 31.9-percent hard hit rate. Luckily for Nova, the Phillies rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA (tied for dead last), wRC+ (dead last), ISO, AVG, OBP, SLG and hard hit rate against RHP while striking out at a 23.6-percent rate. If Nova can whiff 5-7 hitters beyond just limiting baserunners as per usual then he is going to prove to be one of the best per-dollar pitchers on the slate. He is not overly exciting but he sure is safe.

Adam Wainwright, Cardinals – Over the course of Adam Wainwright’s last few starts, he has begun to resemble the Wainwright of old as he has pitched 13.1 innings during that stretch with 13 total baserunners, three earned runs (ERs) and 13 Ks during that span. In the friendly confines of home, Wainwright has held opponents to a .236/.315/.356 slash line, .294 wOBA, 25.7-percent hard hit rate and 29.6-percent fly ball rate this year. Now, Wainwright and the Cardinals will do battle with the Marlins who rank 20th in wOBA against RHP and rank in the bottom 10 of ISO, BB rate, OBP, SLG and line drive percentage. It also does not hurt that Wainwright is blessed with Yadier Molina as a catcher who is amongst the best at throwing out opposing base stealers. This should limit the potential of Dee Gordon to beat Wainwright and consequently saps some of the Marlins’ potential upside. While he is not an exciting name to roster these days, he is a rock-solid investment on Monday night.

Adalberto Mejia, Twins – Finally, Adalberto Mejia, coming off 5.0 shutout innings against the Red Sox, now draws a matchup against the team that ranks dead last in wOBA against LHP in the American League: the Angels. Mejia is not a household name but the price is right and the Angels also rank in the bottom 10 of wRC+, ISO (dead last), AVG, OBP, SLG and line drive rate against the handedness and they recently have moved out of the bottom 10 in K rate (meaning they are striking out more). If looking to stack Coors Field, or just genuinely expensive bats, Mejia rates as a reasonable alternative to the aforementioned pitching duo.

*Stats are accurate as of Sunday, July 2

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, 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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