Shark Tank

Jeff Samardzija, who is often referred to as “Shark,” will toe the mound against the lowly Padres in the friendly confines of AT&T Park. Consequently, he can be deployed in all formats because he should cruise through this matchup. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.

Infield:

Corey Seager, Dodgers, $9,300 – Last night, the Dodgers squared off against a pitcher who has struggled against LHHs throughout the entirety of his career, and tonight will be more of the same. However, Aaron Blair has racked up significantly fewer career innings than Mike Foltynewicz and he will be pitching in his first Major League game this season. In 70.0 IP in the big show last year, Blair registered an ugly 7.59 ERA, 6.15 FIP, 5.66 xFIP, 5.49 SIERA, 14.2-percent K rate and 10.5-percent BB rate. Most notably, lefties managed a .432 wOBA, 13.8-percent BB rate, 1.95 HR/9 rate, .316/.433/.600 slash line, 25.2-percent line drive rate and 31.6-percent hard hit rate against Blair while only striking out 10.1-percent of the time. In other words, he was incredibly susceptible to the handedness, so the individual matchup against one of the game’s best lefties (Corey Seager) should not be kind to him. Seager’s 49.1-percent hard hit rate against RHP this year ranks second amongst qualified hitters, behind only Alex Avila’s 60.0-percent rate. Essentially, he is going to make Blair pay if the opposing righty fails to miss his bat. Considering Blair only struck out 17.3-percent of opponents in Triple-A prior to his call-up, he is in trouble against the very left-handed Dodgers on Friday.

Eric Hosmer, Royals, $7,800 – Do not look now but it appears the Royals lineup has woken up beginning with first baseman Eric Hosmer. Prior to last night’s 25 fantasy point explosion, Hosmer was already slashing .306/.342/.472 over his last 14 days with a .339 wOBA and .167 ISO. Just a season ago, Hosmer launched 25 homers and drove in 104 runs and his numbers have actually improved this year. Still, the fantasy community rarely talks about them, but they should today in a matchup against James Shields. All lefties have done against Shields this year is roast him to the tune of a .426 wOBA, 12.8-percent BB rate, 3.86 HR/9 rate, .278/.394/.646 slash line, 32.4-percent hard hit rate and a ridiculous 55.9-percent fly ball rate while striking out at just a 11.7-percent rate. Unsurprisingly, on this mediocre Royals offense, Hosmer leads the bunch with a .364 wOBA against RHP. Literally all the Royals lefties are in play in this spot, including the recently red-hot Brandon Moss for cheap, but Hosmer is the safest play of them all.

Outfield:

Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins, $10,400 – Instead of sounding like a broken record and writing up Charlie Blackmon at home against a righty again, Giancarlo Stanton rates as a solid pivot for a slightly cheaper price tag. Heading into Friday, Stanton has homered four times in his last three games and all four have come off RHPs. While he is a guy most prefer to play against lefties due to his career splits, he is not slouch against righties either. Probable starter Homer Bailey has been crushed by righties since returning from the disabled list: .515 wOBA, 2.89 HR/9 rate, .447/.500/.739 slash line and 28.2-percent line drive rate over the span of 9.1 measly innings. Although the sample size is small, the numbers clearly signify Bailey is not yet at full strength/health. Until he proves he is half the pitcher he once was, targeting righties against him will continue to be a smart idea…especially powerful righties. Of course, Stanton is arguably the most powerful righty, so lock and load him in all formats.

Josh Reddick, Astros, $8,400 – Ubaldo Jimenez has many weaknesses as a pitcher but one glaring weakness is his ineptitude against opposing lefties. In 38.2 IP against the left side of the plate this year, they have torched him for a .426 wOBA, 12.0-percent BB rate, 3.26 HR/9 rate, .292/.383/.654 slash line, 32.8-percent hard hit rate and a 38.1-percent fly ball rate. Most of the Astros’ top hitters are of the right-handed variety but Josh Reddick is left-handed and excels against righties. Through 235 at-bats (ABs) versus RHP in 2017, Reddick sports a .373 wOBA, .226 ISO and .311/.359/.536 slash line. One aspect that may go overlooked is the fact he has stolen six bases against RHP this year which is the second most on the team. Why does this matter? Well, Jimenez has allowed the second most stolen bases of any active pitcher since the start of the 2013 season so he is quite easy to run on. With Reddick able to flash his five-tool ability in this matchup, he is worthy of consideration in both cash games and tournaments.

Pitchers:

Chris Sale, Red Sox, $26,100 – Amongst all the pitchers in the top tier, spending up for Chris Sale feels like the safest play as per usual. Even with Mike Trout back in the Angels lineup, the team’s active hitters still cumulatively rank third lowest in wOBA amongst American League (AL) teams. Altogether, the active hitters combined have produced a measly .299 wOBA, 90 wRC+, .128 ISO and .248/.315/.375 slash line against LHP. In theory, Sale will enjoy a positive park shift moving from Fenway Park to Angel Stadium, despite the fact Fenway has been a difficult park to hit the ball out of this season. For what it is worth, Clayton Kershaw, the game’s other top lefty, struck out 12 in 7.0 IP with only baserunners and zero earned runs (ERs) in his one start in Angel Stadium this year. To be fair, Trout did not suit up that game, but it just shows the potential upside for Sale.

Jeff Samardzija, Giants, $17,600 – If attempting to spend up for a few bats, rostering Sale and another ace together is darn near impossible. Instead, rostering a cheaper alternative like Jeff Samardzija makes more sense because he possesses similar upside to some of the expensive options. Not only will Samardzija be squaring off with one of the worst hitting teams against RHP (Padres) but he will be doing so in the most pitcher-friendly park in the league (AT&T Park). Furthermore, the Padres have struck out at a 24.8-percent rate and Samardzija has struck out both sides of the plate at a 24-plus percent rate this year. All-in-all, Samardzija is one of the best combinations of upside and floor on the slate, especially at his price point.

Trevor Cahill, Padres, $16,000 – If needing even more salary relief than Samardzija, why not simply choose the other starting pitcher in the same pitcher-friendly environment? Cahill has not only missed bats at an impressive rate this year (28-plus percent K rate to each side of the plate) but he has induced a 55-plus percent ground ball (GB) rate to both lefties and righties as well. The perfect recipe for success is forcing a power devoid team to hit ground balls in the least hitter-friendly park the MLB has to offer. Consequently, Cahill should compete for the position lead in fantasy-points-per-dollar.

*Stats are accurate as of Thursday, July 20

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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