Up-Hill Battle

Rich Hill is listed as the heaviest favorite of any pitcher all season against the defenseless Padres. Even at his expensive price tag, he is worth rostering in all formats. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.


Daniel Murphy, Nationals, $9,900 – Opposing starter Chris Stratton has only been in the Major Leagues for a limited time and yet a scary trend is emerging for him. In 11.0 total innings against LHP, Stratton has been roasted for a .417 wOBA, 17.9-percent BB rate, .333/.464/.500 slash line, 22.5-percent line drive rate and 35.0-percent fly ball rate. Considering he has walked hitters at the identical rate he has struck them out this year, a lot of his numbers suggest he is in for a beating on Friday against an excellent hitting Nationals team. Since Stratton has technically yielded line drives at a scarier rate than he has hard hits, Daniel Murphy feels like the proper correlation play here. Thus far, Murphy leads all Nationals regulars handily in line drive rate against RHP and he excels against Stratton’s main pitch. In 2017, Stratton has thrown his fastball over 64-percent of the time which would rank ninth if he qualified. Only Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon have rated as superior hitters against the fastballs amongst Nationals hitters this season but all of them rate well above average. Feel free to load up on Nationals lefties tonight beginning with Murphy (and then Harper).

Todd Frazier, Yankees, $7,600 – If looking for a value bat, look no further than Todd Frazier at home versus a fly ball prone lefty. Righties have managed a hefty 45.5-percent fly ball rate against Eduardo Rodriguez this season and Yankee Stadium plays as a well above-average power park to both sides of the plate. Whereas Fenway Park has only averaged 1.89 home runs (HRs) per game this season, 3.08 bombs have been launched in Yankee Stadium per game (most in the American League). While Frazier strikes out well over 20-percent of the time against righties, lefties have only whiffed him at an 18.3-percent rate. Furthermore, Frazier leads the team with a ridiculous 58.3-percent fly ball rate, so he may end up hitting one out by accident. Now, factor in his .351 wOBA and .303 ISO and it is easy to see why he is a fantastic play.


Mike Trout, Angels, $11,100 – Of course, Mike Trout is almost always in play, but it will be interesting to see his ownership percentage on the road in a pitcher-friendly environment at this outrageous price tag. Still, the pricing algorithm got this one right because Marco Gonzales is not yet a developed Major League pitcher. As he progressed, there will be bumps along the road, and there actually already have been to this point. In 5.2 IP against righties, which is an insanely small sample size, he has been crushed to the tune of a .518 wOBA, 4.76 HR/9 rate, .370/.393/.889 slash line, 40.9-percent hard hit rate and 36.4-percent fly ball rate. Facing one of the best hitters in the league, he is in a world of trouble. Trout leads the Angels with a .448 wOBA and his ownership percentage may be down on this slate. With Harper in a great spot and Trout having to hit in one of the best pitchers’ parks in the league, he may end up being around 15-percent owned compared to 25 or 30-percent for Harper. In tournaments, give me the lower owned superstar against an inferior talent.

Yoenis Cespedes, Mets, $8,000 – Nick Pivetta possesses strikeout upside but he also constantly struggles through his glaring weakness: his inability to consistently retire RHHs. All righties have done against Pivetta this year is a post a .412 wOBA, 3.12 HR/9 rate, .293/.361/.643 slash line, 44.7-percent hard hit rate (!) and 44.3-percent fly ball rate. Of course, those hard hit and fly ball numbers jump off the page and Yoenis Cespedes should be able to take full advantage. To this point, Cespedes has hit the ball hard 42.0-percent of the time against righties and has hit the ball hard at a whopping 48.7-percent rate. In all likelihood, Cespedes should be able to produce some hard contact that results in a fly ball. To put it differently, Cespedes is on red alert to go deep against a susceptible pitcher. Feel free to roster him in all formats.


Rich Hill, Dodgers, $23,700 – Holy smokes, Rich Hill is listed as an absurd -343 favorite against the Padres at home. Not only do the Padres present one of the most favorable possible matchups for Hill but also the bats should explode against Clayton Richard as well. Heading into tonight, Hill has struck out at least seven hitters in seven of his last eight games and his outlier start came against the Giants (who are incredibly difficult to strike out). Even including the Giants start, Hill has managed at least 17.05 fantasy points in every start during that span and he has topped 24 fantasy points five times. Meanwhile, the Padres’ active hitters cumulative rank dead last in wOBA against LHP and they have struck out at the fourth highest rate in the league. On this slate, it makes sense to just lock Hill in and move on.

Marcus Stroman, Blue Jays, $21,200 – If looking to pair Hill with another upper-echelon pitcher, Marcus Stroman is a very safe option. No qualified starter has induced a ground ball rate higher than Stroman’s 62.1-percent rate and the Pirates have hit the ball on the ground at the eighth highest rate against RHP. Additionally, the Pirates have produced fly balls at the fourth lowest rate against the handedness and they rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, AVG, OBP and hard hit rate as well. What Stroman lacks in strikeout upside (18.4-percent K rate for the Pirates in the split) he makes up for in the ability to pitch deep into the game. Although he has not been racking up the strikeouts, he is one of the few starters on the slate with the ability to toss a complete game. If all goes right, Stroman could completely shut down the Pirates, but he is unlikely to get rocked. For those reasons, he is a fine play in both cash games and tournaments.

Jose Urena, Marlins, $13,200 – The best cheap pitcher on the slate by far is Jose Urena at home against the lowly Rockies. Why are the Rockies “lowly”? Well, they own the lowest wRC+ tally of any team in baseball when on the road and against RHP. By comparison, the Royals (81), Giants (79) and Tigers (77) have all edged out the Rockies’ putrid output (76 wRC+) on the road against right-handers. Also, they have struck out at a 23.7-percent rate in the split and Urena appears to have righted the ship recently. Urena has lasted at least 6.0 IP in three of his last four games and has topped double-digit fantasy points in each. As icing on the cake, Marlins Park is a darn near impossible ballpark to hit the ball out of and the Rockies own the lowest ISO in the league on the road versus RHP. It would be shocking if Urena did not compete for the positional lead in terms of fantasy-points-per-dollar and he makes for an ideal SP2 if looking to spend up on bats.

*Stats are accurate as of Thursday, August 10

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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