Straw That Broke the Gamel’s Back

Ben Gamel draws one of the best possible matchups for a lefty (James Shields) so go ahead and roster him at the outrageously cheap price of just $6,400. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.

Infield:

Jean Segura, Mariners, $9,300 – The Mariners leadoff hitter has been en fuego since returning from the disabled list on Jun. 21. During that span, Segura is 27-75 (.360) with 12 runs, two bombs and two stolen bases in 17 games and he is slashing .436/.615/1.051 so far in just nine games this month. In other words, he is swinging a hot stick and now draws an elite matchup against gas can James Shields. While lefties have enjoyed more success against Shields this year, righties have still produced a respectable 1.33 HR/9 rate, 37.0-percent hard hit rate and 44.4-percent fly ball rate against him. After yielding a .409 wOBA in the month of June, opponents have posted a .483 wOBA against him in one July start. In other words, all hitters are usable against him, so there is no reason to avoid a streaking hitter like Segura. As icing on the cake, the Mariners are being implied to score a slate-high 5.4 runs. Start Segura with confidence in all formats.

Adrian Beltre, Rangers, $8,100 – For his career, Jason Hammel has posted some normal splits so it is interesting to see the trend switch in his elder age. Essentially, righties have posted a vastly superior wOBA against Hammel this year comparatively to lefties, which seems like a product of the dwindling effectiveness of his cutter. When his cutter was a positive pitch, he could shut down righties (at least to an ample level) whereas he is no longer able to consistently retire them with the pitch. Last year, Hammel did not allow an AVG greater than .281 against his fastball in any month and somehow opponents have managed a .333-plus AVG in three different months against the pitch so far this year. Additionally, opponents hit .279 against his sinker last year and that number has ballooned to .352 in 2017. All of this is a long-winded way of saying Adrian Beltre is a rock-solid investment against the aging veteran as he currently leads the Rangers in wOBA and SLG against RHP. Beltre is an excellent fastball hitter and he should go a bit overlooked with the team dealing with a ballpark downgrade in Kauffman Stadium.

Outfield:

Bryce Harper, Nationals, $10,800 – Bryce Harper in a power-friendly ballpark against a pure fly baller? Sign me up. Yes, Harper and the Nationals will take on Tim Adleman and his 51.4-percent fly ball rate to LHHs in a ballpark that has seen the second most homers fly out of it this season (behind only Target Field). Harper is undoubtedly one of the league’s best hitters, especially in the split, judging by his career .400 wOBA against the handedness (second highest amongst active hitters with a minimum of 350 career at-bats). Furthermore, Harper has produced a .249 ISO and .295/.404/.544 slash line against righties over the span of 1,848 at-bats (ABs) as well. Simply put: Harper is the number one overall hitter on Friday’s slate.

Ben Gamel, Mariners, $6,400 – As mentioned in the Segura tidbit, lefties are the higher percentage play against Shields as the right-hander has been amongst the worst pitchers in the league against the handedness since the start of last year. Only Bronson Arroyo (.437), Doug Fister (.403), Ubaldo Jimenez (.397), Kyle Gibson (.389) and Mike Pelfrey (.385) have allowed a higher wOBA to LHHs since the beginning of the 2016 than Shields and only five pitchers have given up more homers to the handedness during that span. Thus far in 2017, lefties have crushed Shields to the tune of a .430 wOBA, 13.4-percent BB rate, 3.94 HR/9 rate, .279/.402/.647 slash line and 57.9-percent fly ball rate while only striking out at a 13.4-percent clip. Of course, Robinson Cano is worth spending up for, but Ben Gamel can be rostered for significantly cheaper and he should hit second in this potent lineup. On a per-dollar basis, both he and Kyle Seager are easily two of the top investments on the entire slate, because they are loaded with upside and cost substantially less than $7,000. If attempting to roster a true ace and still load a lineup with talent, rostering the cheap Mariners is one way (and probably the best way) to make it happen.

Pitchers:

Carlos Carrasco, Indians, $23,600 – With the Mariners priced so cheap, it is rather easy to fit an ace onto a roster on Friday’s slate. Tonight, Carlos Carrasco will enjoy a positive park shift as he heads to the Oakland Coliseum to take on an Athletics team that has struck out at the second highest rate in the league against RHP. To be fair, they rank in the top 10 of wRC+, ISO andd BB rate against the handedness but also struggle in terms of AVG (.249) and line drive rate (20.0-percent). In Carrasco’s previous meeting against the Athletics this year, he limited them to just five baserunners and two earned runs (ERs) in 7.0 IP to go along with seven Ks…and that game was played in Progressive Field. Carrasco is the clear favorite to strike out double-digit hitters on this slate so feel free to roster him in both cash games and tournaments.

Jake Faria, Rays, $15,900 – Even with Mike Trout slated to return to the lineup for the Angels, Jake Faria is still too talented for this mid-tier price tag. His skills exceed the cost and he will be pitching in one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in the American League against the team that ranks dead last in wOBA against RHP. Three of Faria’s four pitches are upper-echelon caliber pitches so his sub-1.00 WHIP and nearly 2.00 ERA is not overly surprising. The Angels are a difficult team to strike out but they possess almost no pop and the ballpark is a tough one to hit the ball out of. Due to price tag alone, Faria is one of the most interesting options at the starting pitcher position on this slate.

Charlie Morton, Astros, $13,800 – Did you know Charlie Morton will head into this game sporting a respectable 24.9-percent K rate? Having said that, the $13,800 price tag seems way too cheap especially when considering he has struck out 29.2-percent of the LHHs he has faced in 2017. Looking at the Twins lineup, they very likely will throw out six lefties in their starting lineup and Morton has mowed down hitters of the handedness this year. Oh by the way, the offense behind his is not too shabby either, and they rank first in wOBA against RHP (and now face a righty). Morton opened as a healthy -165 favorite and is probably the best per-dollar investment at the position on Friday evening.

*Stats are accurate as of Thursday, July 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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