Big League Choo

Shin-soo Choo is an excellent fastball pitcher and opposing starter Kevin Gausman throws the pitch at the fifth highest rate of any starting pitcher who has thrown at least 90 innings this season. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.

Infield:

Nolan Arenado, Rockies, $10,800 (Early) – Coors Field has not played as hitter-friendly this season as it has in recent years but yesterday reminded the masses why targeting hitters there is still an excellent idea. While the Rockies keep the baseballs used in their ballpark in humidors prior to games, the atmosphere is still thin and the ball still carries there as well as any park in the league. Many of the team’s hitters have still excelled at home this year and Nolan Arenado is one of those guys…especially against left-handers. At home against LHP specifically, Arenado has posted a ridiculous .404/.429/.830 slash line, .426 ISO, .516 wOBA, 205 wRC+ and an otherworldly 35.1-percent line drive rate. Opposing starter Clayton Richard has induced a ton of ground balls this season (57.3-percent ground ball (GB) rate) and yet righties have still posted a .381 wOBA, 1.47 HR/9 rate, .316/.373/.527 slash line, 24.8-percent line drive rate and 35.5-percent hard hit rate against him. Amazingly, these numbers include him playing half his games in pitcher-friendly Petco Park which is one of the most difficult parks to hit the ball out of. Coors Field, on the other hand, is a hitters’ haven so expect Arenado to feel right at home in all his at-bats (ABs) against this middling lefty.

Jake Lamb, Diamondbacks, $10,000 (Late) – Normally, this article has sought to target Jake Lamb in the friendly confines of Chase Field but an exception can certainly be made in Great American Ballpark. Probable starter Tim Adleman relies on fly ball outs in a small ballpark so it is no wonder he has allowed 2.35 homers per nine innings to LHHs this year. In fact, Adleman has hardly missed any left-handed bats this year so he has relied on both fly balls and contact which is a big no-no in this park. Altogether, lefties have posted a .331 wOBA, 10.1-percent BB rate, .216/.310/.478 slash line and a 51.4-percent fly ball rate. If Lamb can lift one in the air, and he almost assuredly should be able to put the ball in play against Adleman, then the Diamondbacks third baseman could hit one out by accident. With the team being implied to score 5.4 runs on the road, Lamb is a rock-solid play in all formats.

Outfield:

Mike Trout, Angels, $10,400 (Late) – Last night, Mike Trout reminded the DFS community as to why he is one of the best players in all of baseball. In his first AB, Trout launched a no-doubter and proved his finger injury is well behind him at this point. With that being the case, he can be safely inserted into lineups moving forward, starting with Wednesday evening against Gio Gonzalez. Sure, Gonzalez is amidst one of his better seasons in the league, but righties are still habitually able to lift the ball against him. While he has held lefties to a minuscule 24.3-percent fly ball rate, righties have hit the ball in the air 38.8-percent of the time against Gonzalez which has led to a 1.36 HR/9 rate. The outfield is very difficult on the night slate so this is one of those cases where playing the talented hitter in a reasonably difficult spot makes more sense than forcing in scrubs. Trout proved yesterday evening he is still the same old superstar so he can be started against talented opponents and still get it done.

Shin-soo Choo, Rangers, $7,200 (Late) – Kevin Gausman has thrown his fastball 65.9-percent of the time this year which ranks fifth amongst pitchers with at least 90 IP. Another fact about Gausman: he has allowed LHHs to post a .390 wOBA against him this year. His struggles against the handedness have not ended there as they have also produced a 13.5-percent BB rate, 1.83 HR/9 rate, .311/.404/.503 slash line, 36.5-percent hard hit rate and a 40.0-percent fly ball rate off him in 2017. Looking at the Rangers, Shin-soo Choo rates as the Rangers’ best fastball hitter amongst the lefties since the start of last season and he will be leading off. Additionally, he went deep yesterday, so maybe he is ready to go on a little bit of a streak. One thing is for sure: Rangers bats are worthy of rostering against Gausman. With Choo hitting first in the order, he theoretically should be the safest of the bunch and the pitch data correlates nicely.

Pitchers:

Jacob deGrom, Mets, $24,600 (Late) – In Jacob deGrom’s last meeting against the Cardinals a few weeks ago, he only managed 16.95 fantasy points on the heels of eight hits allowed, including four solo homers, and only five strikeouts. However, this time around he will be pitching in Citi Field where he has excelled this year to the tune of a .189/.279/.315 slash line allowed, .257 wOBA and an excellent 2.37 ERA. In each of his last four games at home, deGrom has exceeded 30 fantasy points and he is one of the few pitchers on the slate who is a threat to complete every game in which he starts. Although he will not come cheap, he is the worth the price, especially in cash games, because of how much safety he provides (at least 17 fantasy points in seven consecutive starts).

Jacob Faria, Rays, $18,300 (Early) – Probably my favorite pitching value of the entire day is Jacob Faria in Oakland Coliseum in a matchup against the Athletics. Faria has been nothing short of lights out in his short tenure in the majors: 2.00 ERA, 3.47 FIP, 4.26 xFIP, 4.04 SIERA, 22.8-percent K rate and a 6.1-percent BB rate. He will bring his 4-0 record into Wednesday afternoon and will now square off against an Athletics team that has struck out at the highest rate in the league against RHP. The real reason to like Faria is due to his dominance against LHHs (.238 wOBA, 21.9-percent hard hit rate) and the Athletics lineup will likely five left-handers (Matt Joyce, Yonder Alonso, Jed Lowrie, Bruce Maxwell and Jaycob Brugman). Finally, factor in the pitcher-friendly ballpark, and it is easy to see why Faria’s upside far exceeds his mid-tier price tag.

Kenta Maeda, Dodgers, $15,200 (Late) – One of the unluckiest pitchers this season has undoubtedly been Kenta Maeda. Through 78.0 IP, Maeda’s ERA currently sits at 4.38 despite a 3.96 FIP, 4.09 xFIP and 3.97 SIERA. Hell, the man has only allowed a 26.6-percent hard hit rate and yet his HR/FB rate is up a full percentage point from last year. Maeda rarely walks hitters and he strikes them out at a respectable rate so he should be due for some positive regression over the second half of the year…beginning with his matchup against the White Sox tonight. As a whole, the White Sox rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate, AVG, OBP, SLG, hard hit rate and line drive percentage against RHP and they now traded one of their better hitters (Todd Frazier). In his absence, a hitter with zero MLB experience will be called up (Yoan Moncada) and he struck out at a 28-plus rate in Triple-A. All-in-all, this is an excellent spot to deploy the underperforming right-hander, and Vegas agrees (White Sox only implied to score 4.1 runs).

*Stats are accurate as of Monday, July 17

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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