Zimmerman Vs. Food

Ryan Zimmerman has rated as one of the best hitters in the league against knuckleballs for the entirety of his career so go ahead and lock him in against R.A. Dickey tonight. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.

Infield:

Nolan Arenado, Rockies, $10,000 – Fading Coors Field due to the crazy high ownership is generally a decent idea on smaller slates if playing to win tournaments but failing to roster Nolan Arenado tonight could be a death wish. Not only is Arenado playing in the friendly confines of home but he and the Rockies will square off against a lefty pure fly baller: Derek Holland. Beyond leading the team in wOBA against LHP this year (.519), Arenado also posted excellent numbers at home this season (.386 wOBA). If looking at his splits specifically at home versus lefties, they are otherworldly: .421/.450/.868 slash line, .447 ISO, .539 wOBA, 221 wRC+ and a 33.3-percent line drive rate. Essentially, he is the best hitter in baseball in the split so Holland is in deep trouble. Combine Holland’s .380 wOBA allowed to RHHs with his 43.1-percent fly ball rate against them and it is easy to see why Arenado is likely the best bet on the entire slate to go deep. Roster him in all formats.

Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals, $8,400 – The last time R.A. Dickey toed the mound against the Nationals, he was roasted for eight earned runs (ERs) in just 5.0 IP on Jun. 13. According to FanGraphs’ pitch type linear weights, Ryan Zimmerman has rated as a top two overall hitter in the league against knuckleballs since the start of the 2010 season and the aforementioned Jun. 13 start was a microcosm of his success. In that game, Zimmerman hit not one but two bombs off Dickey and finished with three total hits and three RBI. Batter versus pitcher (BvP) data is typically overrated but a knuckleball is such a specialized pitch that all this data is necessary in the research process. When one of the best knuckleball hitters faces Dickey, do not hesitate to lock him in and move on.

Outfield:

Ryan Braun, Brewers, $9,000 – Now that Ryan Braun has been activated off the disabled list and is one again healthy, there is no reason to waste any time getting him back into lineups when facing a lefty. Amongst active hitters, Braun’s career .432 wOBA against LHP tops them all and he will now be blessed with the opportunity to face on in hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium. Sure, Jordan Montgomery is amidst a solid season but he has also yielded a 1.06 HR/9 rate and 43.3-percent fly ball rate to RHHs. Meanwhile, Braun owns a .410 wOBA, .235 ISO and a whopping 53.3-percnet hard hit rate against the handedness this year. Maybe most importantly, he has only struck out at a 10.0-percent rate and Montgomery’s strength is his ability to miss bats (13.5-percen swinging strike rate). If he is not able to miss Braun’s bat, then he will be borderline defenseless, and Braun should have himself a day.

David Peralta, Diamondbacks, $7,600 – Ideally, Jake Lamb would be the Diamondbacks hitter discussed in this article but the infield was filled with the top two plays on the slate. Therefore, David Peralta will have to suffice at a much more affordable cost. Opposing starter Tim Adleman has been blasted to the tune of a 2.50 HR/9 rate and .504 SLG by LHHs this year probably because he has allowed a 50.5-percent fly ball rate.  Technically, his ERA against the handedness is 5.00 so far but his 7.04 FIP and 6.10 xFIP suggest he has pitched worse than the numbers on the surface. Hell, Adleman has struck out righties at a 27.9-percent rate compared to just a 14.7-percent rate to lefties. It is fair to say they have been his Achilles heel and Chase Field is doubtful to help his cause much more so than his hitter-friendly home park (Great American Ballpark). Consequently, all Diamondbacks lefties are in play and are on red alert to either go deep or at least produce extra base-hits against the middling right-hander.

Pitchers:

Max Scherzer, Nationals, $25,500 – If spending up at starting pitcher, Max Scherzer is a great place to start as per usual. Although Scherzer has given up the longball on occasion to LHHs, he also has held them to a .258 wOBA this year and struck them out at a 32.0-percent rate. Looking at the Braves lineup, at least four lefties (Ender Inciarte, Freddie Freeman, Nick Markakis and Matt Adams) will draw the start so Scherzer should be able to mow them down. Additionally, righties have only managed a .276 wOBA and 26.2-percent K rate him as well so he just dominates everyone who steps into the batters’ box. The great part about rostering Scherzer is he ranks second in pitches per start behind only Chris Sale so he quite often pitches into the seventh and even eighth inning. With the Braves implied to score a slate-low 3.0 runs, Scherzer is unsurprisingly a rock solid investment once again.

James Paxton, Mariners, $16,500 – Although he is priced significantly cheaper than the elites, James Paxton should possess a similar amount of upside in a matchup against the strikeout-prone Athletics. Other than Ryon Healy, no hitter on the Athletics has posted a wOBA greater than .327 against LHP so the individual matchups are all in Paxton’s favor other than one. Cumulatively, the Athletics have struck out at the third highest rate against southpaws and rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, AVG, OBP and SLG. Oh by the way, Paxton’s home park (Safeco Field) is one of the most pitcher-friendly in the league. On a per-dollar basis, it does not get any better than Paxton on Friday evening.

Dan Straily, Marlins, $15,600 – If there were ever a time to roster Dan Straily, this would be it. Seriously, there is no better ballpark in the league for a fly baller to pitch because the fewest number of homers have been hit out of AT&T Park comparatively to all other stadiums. In fact, 51 homers have been launched out of AT&T Park compared to 70 in Fenway Park (second fewest). On a per-game basis, only 1.34 are hit at AT&T Park compared to 1.70 in Fenway Park and 1.86 in Kauffman Stadium. Essentially, there is a gigantic difference between AT&T Park and the next worst power park in the league. This should be music to fantasy owners’ ears when considering a player who has allowed the fifth highest fly ball rate of all qualified starters. Throughout Straily’s career, he has shut down LHHs, and the Giants’ lineup is filled with them. As icing on the cake, the Giants are a completely power devoid offense so this is shaping up to be a very productive start from a pitcher who could go overlooked. At this mid-tier price tag, Straily is a no-brainer.

*Stats are accurate as of Thursday, July 6

 

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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