Bellingers and Whistles

Cody Bellinger will square off against a pitcher whose SIERA ranks second worst in all of baseball. In other words, Bellinger is in a great spot to go deep once again. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.


Cody Bellinger, Dodgers, $10,400 – Only one pitcher (min. 100 IP) owns a worse SIERA than Miguel Gonzalez thus far: Matt Cain. Otherwise, Gonzalez’s tally in the category ranks worse than every other pitcher in the league and a majority of the damage done against him as come on the road. Away from Guaranteed Rate Field, opposing hitters have posted a .319/.380/.538 slash line against Gonzalez to go along with a .387 wOBA, 23.1-percent line drive rate and 34.5-percent hard hit rate. Comparatively, those numbers are all significantly worse than the respectable numbers Gonzalez has produced at home. Unfortunately for Gonzalez, he has fared worse against lefties this year (especially on the road), and the Dodgers lineup is filled with powerful ones. Of course, the most powerful of them all is Cody Bellinger who has already launched a team-high 25 bombs off the handedness. One of their hitters is likely not enough and they rate as my top stack on Tuesday’s slate.

Jose Ramirez, Indians, $8,700 – Speaking of enticing stacks, the Indians against Bartolo Colon are likely to be amongst the most popular teams, and why not? To this point, only the Astros have swung and missed at a lower rate than the Indians and Colon has induced the second lowest swinging strike rate of any pitcher (min. 90 IP). Amongst the Indians’ active hitters, none have made contact at a higher rate than Ramirez (87.5-percent). When LHHs make contact against Colon, they typically make substantial contact as evident by the 41.9-percent hard hit rate and 43.2-percent fly ball rate allowed. Hell, lefties are slashing .303/.351/.521 against Colon this year with a 1.57 HR/9 rate, and the Indians are loaded with above-average lefties. Feel free to use multiple hitters from their lineup but do not forget to include Ramirez.


Lorenzo Cain, Royals, $8,400 – On a 14-game slate that includes Coors Field, Lorenzo Cain is destined to fly under the radar despite the fact he quietly draws an elite matchup against Chris Smith. In a limited sample size, Smith has posted some significant reverse splits. All righties have done against Smith this year is roast him to the tune of a .381 wOBA (second highest allowed by any pitcher on the slate behind only Colon), 3.72 HR/9 rate (!), .253/.272/.671 slash line, 35.8-percent hard hit rate and 42.4-percent fly ball rate. Over the course of the last two weeks, only Mike Moustakas has produced superior wOBA (.415) than Cain (.392) amongst the Royals regulars. During that span, Cain is slashing .396/.418/.491 and has hit the ball hard a whopping 42.9-percent of the time. The correlation here is unmistakable: a hard-hitting RHH versus a RHP allowing hard contact to hitters of Cain’s handedness. If looking for a fantastic way to differentiate in tournaments, look no further than Cain.

Dexter Fowler, Cardinals, $8,400 – Prior to Dexter Fowler’s pinch-hit strikeout on Sunday, the Cardinals center fielder had managed at least 10 fantasy points in five of his previous six games. After posting just a .285 wOBA over the span of 49 July at-bats (ABs), Fowler is now en fuego in the month of August: .400/.586/.850 slash line, .450 ISO and .558 wOBA in 20 ABs. Most importantly, Fowler has hit the ball hard at a ridiculous 50.0-percent rate this month. Why is this noteworthy? Well, Rick Porcello has yielded a healthy 44.1-percent hard hit rate to LHHs (highest of any pitcher on the slate) and they also own a .344 wOBA, 1.78 HR/9 rate and 45.8-percent fly ball rate against him. From the left side of the plate this year (aka in the matchup against RHP), Fowler has pulled the ball 44.2-percent of the time. In Fenway Park, the Pesky Pole is only 302 feet away from home plate. In other words, it is arguably the easiest place for a lefty who pulls the ball to hit one out. All aboard the Fowler train in all formats.


Danny Salazar, Indians, $23,700 – No pitcher was unluckier in the first half of the season than Danny Salazar. Despite a 5.40 ERA, Salazar’s underlying numbers did not look so terrible: 30.9-percent K rate, 4.57 FIP, 3.56 xFIP and 29.6-percent hard hit rate. Since his return from the disabled list, Salazar has put it all together and the results have been much more positive. In 25.1 IP since the All-Star Break, Salazar has struck out 37.1-percent of the hitters he has faced and no that is not a typo. Although both Max Kepler and Eddie Rosario are red-hot, the Twins still strike out at the 11th highest rate against RHP. It is mildly concerning that Salazar has fared worse against LHHs but the strikeout potential is massive. While he may be a better fit for tournaments, he has SP1 upside.

Dinelson Lamet, Padres, $16,500 – Like Salazar, it is a legitimate concern that Dinelson Lamet struggles against lefties, but he has pitched much better at home this year. While his wOBA allowed on the road currently sits at .336, he has limited opponents to a .259 wOBA in the friendly confines of Petco Park. Unfortunately, LHHs have produced an eye-popping .430 against Lamet in Petco Park and the Phillies lineup features four of them in the top five. Still, the Phillies offense overall is miserable against RHP; they rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate, AVG, OBP, SLG and hard hit rate while striking out at the eighth highest rate. Lamet has struck out lefties at a 23.6-percent rate and righties at a 34.5-percenr rate. In a ballpark darn near impossible for a lefty to hit the ball out of, Lamet is worth the risk in all formats. If all goes right, Lamet could easily exceed double-digit strikeouts, and strikeouts are quite important on FantasyDraft. Take the risk and roster Lamet in all formats.

Luis Castillo, Reds, $15,600 – Another pitcher with the ability to miss bats is Luis Castillo and the Cubs are not as daunting of a matchup as they seem. Yesterday, they teed off of Asher Wojciechowski but Castillo is a much better pitcher (even at this point in his career). Amazingly, Castillo has whiffed righties at a 26.2-percent rate and lefties at a 21.0-percent rate. The Cubs are loaded with lefties and Castillo has held the handedness to a .276 wOBA this year. According to the weather report, the weather is supposed to be blowing in, so Wrigley should play like a big ballpark (instead of a hitters’ haven when the wind is blowing out). Since the Cubs have struck out at the 10th highest rate against RHP, Castillo could potentially cruise, especially because Kyle Schwarber could not hit a beach ball right now. If Castillo can limit the walks, he should be able to rack up the Ks and finish with a quality start. At this price point, that would lead to him competing for the positional lead in terms of fantasy-points-per-dollar.

*Stats are accurate as of Monday, August 14

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, 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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