Bour-dwalk Empire

Justin Bour will do battle with an opposing pitcher who has allowed 25 home runs to left-handed hitters since the beginning of last year so Bour is on red alert to go deep. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.

Infield:

Justin Bour, Marlins, $8,700 – One played destined to go overlooked on Monday night’s slate is Justin Bour due to the plethora of other offenses in excellent matchups. Since the beginning of last season, only Max Scherzer (26) has allowed more home runs (HRs) to LHHs than probable starter Jerad Eickhoff. Of course, Marlins Park is one of the more difficult parks to hit the ball out of and yet Bour has launched 11 of his 20 total homers this year in the friendly confines of home. Against RHP this year, Bour is quietly slashing .323/.400/.645 with a .323 ISO and .434 wOBA and yet he rarely gets talked about amongst the top plays on a given slate. Tonight, overlooking Bour is simply a bad idea, as he possesses as much upside as anyone on the slate and should be less than 10-percent owned.

Brandon Phillips, Braves, $7,200 – Facing Jon Lester has not been such a treacherous task as of late as he has allowed 16 runs (nine earned) in his last two starts combined. Not only has Lester failed to limit baserunners as of late (20 in his last 5.2 IP) but he is physically incapable of holding them on once they reach base as well. Hitters matched up against Lester not only have felt comfortable at the plate recently but they should feel comfortable on the base paths as well. In other words, this is one of the best possible matchups for base stealers as Lester has allowed the most stolen bases to opposing base runners since the start of 2013 season (amongst active pitchers). Meanwhile, Brandon Phillips has managed at least one extra-base hit (XBH) in every game since the All-Star Break including three doubles and 23 fantasy points on Sunday afternoon. For his career, Phillips owns a respectable .337 wOBA against LHP and he has stolen seven bases already this year. In this matchup, Phillips should be able to flash his five tool skill set, and could end up with double-digit fantasy points in a variety of ways. Lock him in especially in cash games as he is just too cheap.

Outfield:

George Springer, Astros, $10,800 – The Astros present a scary matchup for any pitcher these days (.437 team wOBA over the last two weeks) but especially for a lefty fly baller at home in power-friendly Minute Maid Park. Seriously, Houston’s home park is just about the easiest park in the entire MLB for powerful righties to pull the ball out of and the Astros are loaded with them. On the other hand, opposing starter Ariel Miranda has allowed a 53.7-percent fly ball rate to RHHs this year and has only struck them out at a 19.2-percent rate. Even though he has played half his games in pitcher-friendly Safeco Field, this has led to a 1.91 HR/9 rate for righties against Miranda. This sets up incredibly well for George Springer who currently sports the sixth highest wOBA against LHP amongst players with at least 50 at-bats (ABs) in the split this year. In fact, he owns the sixth highest ISO in the league amongst hitters of the same qualifications as well. With Miranda attempting to retire Springer by forcing him to hit the ball in the air, Springer is as likely as anyone to hit a dinger.

Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies, $6,000 – As per usual, Charlie Blackmon is worth every penny of his insanely expensive price tag because he is a beast at home and this is a phenomenal matchup for all Rockies lefties. The Padres will toss Luis Perdomo who has been dominated by LHHs this year: .392 wOBA, 9.9-percent BB rate and a .343/.420/.497 slash line while only striking them out at an 11.7-percent rate. Carlos Gonzalez has been horrific this year, especially compared to the norm with him, but $6,000 is a criminal price tag for him at home against a susceptible righty. At some point, a fantasy owner can only bang their head into a wall so many times before it becomes a problem, but Gonzalez has both the advantage of playing in the best ballpark in the league and drawing an ideal individual matchup. Due to those combination of factors, Gonzalez is worth the risk at what equates to the price tag of a “punt” offensive player.

Pitchers:

Lance McCullers Jr., Astros, $22,400 – On this slate, one pitcher stands out above all the others and that man is Lance McCullers Jr. at home against the Mariners. While the Mariners rank eighth in wOBA against RHP this year, they also rarely walk (8.1-percent BB rate) and hardly ever hit the ball hard (30.9-percent hard hit rate and 19.7-percent line drive rate). For the second consecutive year, McCullers has posted vastly superior numbers at home compared to on the road. This season, he has shut down opposing hitters to the tune of a .205/.281/.329 slash line and .267 wOBA allowed in 42.1 IP at home. As icing on the cake, McCullers throws his curveball at by far the highest rate in the league and the Mariners rate as a below average offense against the pitch, per FanGraphs’ pitch type linear weights. Since no other pitchers on the slate are overly expensive, fitting McCullers onto rosters of all formats is rather easy (and probably a must in cash games).

Jake Odorizzi, Rays, $14,700 – Like McCullers Jr., Jake Odorizzi owns some drastic career home/road splits (although they are not so extreme in 2017) and he actually will be pitching on the wrong side of the splits on Monday evening. The strikeout upside against the Athletics partially cancels out the concern for Odorizzi pitching away from Tropicana Field because they have struck out at the highest rate in the league against RHP. Additionally, the Athletics rank in the bottom 10 of AVG and line drive rate against the handedness and Odorizzi opened as a slight road favorite (-101) against Daniel Gossett. Odorizzi, a fly baller, should enjoy playing in an extremely below average power park: Oakland Coliseum. Secondary starting pitchers all have their flaws on this slate, so risks will need to be taken, and Odorizzi at least comes equipped with the necessary strikeout upside (due to the matchup) to win tournaments assuming all goes right.

Chad Kuhl, Pirates, $11,100 – Probably my favorite SP2 option on this slate is Chad Kuhl of the Pirates who is not featured in this article very often. Kuhl is both priced at an extremely reasonable cost and has induced an eyebrow-raising 10.8-percent swinging strike rate this year. By comparison, Patrick Corbin and Carlos Martinez have induced swinging strike rates of exactly 10.8-percent and names like Drew Pomeranz, Jeff Samardzija and Marcus Stroman rank slightly below Kuhl in the category. Swinging strike rate is one of the most accurate gauges of future strikeouts, even more so than previous K rates, so it is a category I like to put a lot of stock in when analyzing a pitcher’s talent level. The Brewers are loaded with power, and Kuhl is a fly-baller, but the squad from Milwaukee will be dealing with a negative ballpark shift as they head to PNC Park. Both sides of the plate will have a much more difficult time hitting the long ball in this more spacious stadium. Vegas believes in Kuhl here as well considering the Pirates opened as -124 favorites in a game with a 9.0 run over/under. The Brewers can hit, but they have also struck out at the second highest rate in the National League (NL), and Kuhl misses more bats than his overlying numbers suggest. At a sub-$12,000 cost, Kuhl has the potential to crush value.

*Stats are accurate as of Sunday, July 16

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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