Mr. 3000

Adrian Beltre is only four hits away from 3,000 and he will face a beatable opposing pitcher on Friday: Chris Tillman. At home with Vegas showing the Rangers love, he could potentially reach that mark tonight. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.

Infield:

Adrian Beltre, Rangers, $8,700 – Currently, Adrian Beltre is on the quest for 3,000 hits and it seems to have him extra motivated as of late. Heading into Friday, Beltre has hit safely in seven of his last eight games including nine hits over the course of his last three games (and that includes getting ejected from Wednesday night’s game). Luckily for Beltre, Friday’s matchup jumps off the page, as the Rangers will square off against gas can Chris Tillman. Although Tillman has yielded a higher wOBA to RHHs this year, LHHs have hit the ball in the air at a rate about 15 percentage points higher against him (41.3-26.6-percent). Additionally, Tillman has not exactly excelled against right-handers: .399 wOBA, 2.60 HR/9 rate, .338/.367/.591 slash line, 25.6-percent line drive rate, 36.9-percent hard hit rate and only a 3.2-percent BB rate. In other words, Tillman pounds the zone and gets hit hard, which helps because Beltre if a free-swinger. If Tillman comes into Beltre’s wheelhouse, the star third baseman is going to make him pay.

Justin Turner, Dodgers, $8,100 – What in the world is this price tag? Seriously, why is Justin Turner underpriced by about $2,000 in a matchup against a middling lefty? Amongst qualified hitters, only J.D. Martinez has posted a superior wOBA against LHP this season (.650) than Justin Turner (.535). Hell, Turner comes into this game sporting a ridiculous .376 ISO, .430/.513/.806 slash line, 47.1-percent hard hit rate and a 41.2-percent fly ball rate in the split as well. The last time Matt Moore squared off against the Dodgers, he lasted just 3.1 IP due to allowing 11 baserunners and a whopping nine earned runs (ERs). Thus far, the Dodgers rate as the number one offense in the league against LHP and Moore’s underlying numbers against righties (34.7-percent hard hit rate, 45.3-percent fly ball rate) are worrisome…especially outside of AT&T Park. At this price point, one would have to be crazy to fade the red-headed wonder.

Outfield:

Mike Trout, Angels, $10,200 – Oh, by the way, the best hitter in baseball is not too shabby in the split against southpaws either. Mike Trout is always a reasonably popular pick in daily fantasy baseball (for good reason) but he may not prove to be popular enough on Friday in a matchup against J.A. Happ. Normally, Happ is not at the top of the list for pitchers to target against but he has been downright awful this month. In 21.0 July innings, opponents are slashing .281/.354/.539 against him with seven bombs (season-high), a .376 wOBA, 7.59 FIP, 5.71 xFIP and a 39.2-percent fly ball rate (also season-high). There are only 10 active hitters (min. 250 at-bats in the split) who have topped Trout’s career .402 wOBA against LHP and Trout has produced a .412 wOBA this month. If spending up for one hitter, Trout is above and beyond the top option.

Mookie Betts, Red Sox, $9,000 – Opposing starter Jason Vargas is a fraud. Despite a 3.08 ERA to this point, Vargas owns an ugly 4.12 FIP, 4.90 xFIP (worse than his mediocre career number) and 4.74 SIERA; none of which are impressive tallies. Sure, Vargas throws a solid changeup but neither of his other pitchers are overly impressive (per FanGraphs’ pitch type linear weights) and he has only induced a 9.8-percent swinging strike rate. When hitters make contact, 43.6-percent of the contact is via the fly ball variety, so he can be susceptible to the long ball at times. Unfortunately for him, Mookie Betts rates as a well above average hitter against the pitch throughout the course of his career, even though his numbers are down a bit this year. Still, he owns an 86.5-percent contact rate overall, and the left field wall is only about 310 feet away, so an extra-base hit (XBH) or two is very likely. Fire up Betts in all formats.

Pitchers:

Alex Wood, Dodgers, $22,800 – There is no safer pitching option on Friday than Alex Wood at home against the lowly Giants. Wood’s numbers are elite in every sense of the word as his ground ball rate (61.9-percent), K rate (29.0-percent), swinging strike rate (13.2-percent) and SIERA (3.08) are all fantastic. The guy both misses bats and induces ground balls so it is incredibly difficult to sustain a rally against this stud. In 2017, the Giants rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, AVG, SLG and hard hit rate against LHP so the matchup is not exactly unbeatable. Assuming Manager Dave Roberts allows Wood to pitch into the seventh inning, Wood could possess both the highest floor and upside of any starter on the slate.

Danny Salazar, Indians, $18,400 – All Danny Salazar did in his first start since being activated off the disabled list was strike out eight hitters in seven scoreless innings en route to 31-plus fantasy points. Now, Salazar arguably draws the best possible matchup for a RHP as he will toe the mound against the White Sox. Not only do the White Sox’ current active hitters cumulatively rank dead last in wOBA against righties this year but they also rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate (important), AVG, OBP, SLG, hard hit rate and line drive percentage while striking out at a solid 21.7-percent rate. If the White Sox are going to opposed to walking, that basically eliminates Salazar’s Achilles heel. Consequently, Salazar should be able to cruise for the second consecutive game.

Chad Kuhl, Pirates, $12,400 – If looking to alleviate some salary concerns in the hitting department while rostering a pitcher with upside, Chad Kuhl is the answer. Okay, so the Mets rookie did work out last night, but this is not Kuhl’s first Major League start. Furthermore, Kuhl struggles mightily against LHHs, but the Padres only will have one fearsome lefty in the lineup: Hector Sanchez. Otherwise, Carlos Asuaje and Cory Spangenberg are rather mediocre talents and Kuhl should not have too difficult of a time. The Padres have struck out at a whopping 25.7-percent rate against the handedness, and Kuhl has induced a swinging strike rate over 10-percent, so he should be able to produce an outlier K performance. With that being the case, Kuhl is one of the better per-dollar investments at the position and he has the potential to absolutely crush value.

*Stats are accurate as of Thursday, July 27

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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