Down Peri-Schoop

Jonathan Schoop crushes changeups and he will face the pitcher who throws it at the second highest rate tonight. Feel free to roster him in both cash games and tournaments. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB contests.

Infield:

Jonathan Schoop, Orioles, $9,000 – Opposing starter Marco Estrada relies heavily on his changeup and it used to be a pitch that induced a ton of swings-and-misses for him. Thus far in 2017, his whiffs per swing percentage on the changeup is down over five whole percentage points from last year (40.66 to 35.31). In fact, the whiff percentage is significantly down on his curveball as well (nearly seven percentage points) so it is not wonder he has struggled this year. The changeup is more noteworthy because Estrada throws his changeup 32.3-percent of the time which ranks second most in the league (behind only Jason Vargas). Amongst all active Orioles, Jonathan Schoop easily rates as the team’s best changeup hitters which is a perfect correlation because Estrada struggles against RHHs. All righties have done against Estrada this year is post a .361 wOBA, .280/.361/.491 slash line and hit the ball in the air at an outrageous 52.3-percent rate. Schoop has a healthy amount of power so if he gets lift under one it could easily leave the yard. Feel free to deploy Schoop in all formats as it would be surprising if he did not finish with at least one extra-base hit (XBH).

Hanley Ramirez, Red Sox, $7,200 – Quietly, Hanley Ramirez has homered in two straight games heading into Thursday’s tilt with the Yankees and C.C. Sabathia. When Sabathia last pitched against the Red Sox (Aug. 19), he lasted 6.0 IP and allowed just two earned runs (ERs) while striking out four. It should be noted that game was played in Fenway Park which has only averaged 1.92 home runs (HRs) per game this year. Meanwhile, Yankee Stadium has averaged 3.07 HRs per game this season and Sabathia’s HR/9 rate is unsurprisingly substantially higher at home. Ramirez leads the Red Sox in career wOBA against LHP and he is one of the streakiest hitters in the league. Since he is amidst an outburst and about to square off in a juicy individual matchup, Ramirez is a scary fade.

Outfield:

Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins, $11,400 – Facing a pitcher who rarely misses bats, Giancarlo Stanton is on red-alert to go deep (as per usual). Even though Stanton’s home park is one of the least power-friendly parks in the league, it does not matter because his power is otherworldly. Probable starter Ben Lively rarely ever misses right-handed bats (13.3-percent K rate) and he allows fly balls at a ridiculous 45.6-percent rate. While the hard hit rate (31.9-percent) leaves a little to be desired, Stanton hits the ball as hard as anyone in the league, so Lively’s numbers against other hitters are almost worthless. If Lively fails to miss Stanton’s bat, this monster is going to make him pay.

Albert Almora Jr., Cubs, $6,400 – If attempting to fit expensive bats alongside aces, concessions are going to have to be made at some point and Albert Almora Jr. is constantly underpriced. For a hitter who owns a .398 wOBA against LHP this year, he is always priced like a scrub. Even if the wind proves to be blowing in at a substantial rate, the Cubs should still find a way to get to Sean Newcomb. Almora owns a 29.3-percent line drive rate in the split anyways so the wind should not affect his sharply hit balls too much. The ceiling may be limited here but the floor is difficult to overlook for a hitter who is virtually free.

Pitchers:

Madison Bumgarner, Giants, $23,400 – Heading into tonight, Madison Bumgarner has now topped 20 fantasy points in five of his last six starts. Unsurprisingly, the outlier during that streak came on the road as Bumgarner is one of the more dominant starting pitchers in the league at home. In 37.1 IP in AT&T Park this year, Bumgarner has held opponents to a .263 wOBA and .222/.263/.354 slash line while relying heavily on fly ball outs (39.0-percent). In other parks, this would be a major issue, but AT&T Park is by far the most difficult park in the league to hit a ball out of. The Cardinals are a drastically improved team against LHP this year but they rely heavily on fly balls (37.4-percent) which mostly result in routine fly outs in this park. Combine all these factors and Bumgarner is easily the safest starting pitcher play of the night.

Gio Gonzalez, Nationals, $23,100 – Just behind Bumgarner in terms of raw fantasy point projection is Gio Gonzalez on the road in Miller Park. No team has struck out at a higher rate against LHP this year than the Brewers and they also rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+ and AVG in the split. On the other hand, Gonzalez comes into this game having eclipsed 22 fantasy points in five of his last six games. Vegas is listing Zach Davies as a -111 favorite in this game but I think they have it wrong. Over the course of the last two weeks, only five teams have posted a lower wOBA than the Brewers (.301). Even if Gonzalez gets hit around a little, he should miss enough bats to provide a safe floor for his fantasy owners, and the Brewers have not been doing a lot of hitting lately.

Michael Wacha, Cardinals, $14,700 – In the same game as Bumgarner, Michael Wacha is viable as well for a multitude of reasons. For one, the Giants possess almost no power so they normally must string together hits in order to score. Only the Padres are averaging fewer runs per game (3.82) than the Giants this season (3.96) and the Giants’ active hitters cumulatively rank second to last in wOBA against RHP this year (amongst National League teams). Additionally, the Giants rank in the bottom 10 of wRC+, ISO, BB rate, OBP, SLG and hard hit rate. Although Wacha has allowed at least three earned runs in four consecutive games prior to tonight, his underlying numbers suggest he has not pitched horrible in a few of those games. He is throwing strikes and has just given up four homers in his last three starts combined. However, in this ballpark against this offense, homers should not be an issue for him. Look for Wacha to right the ship tonight at an extremely reasonable price tag.

*Statistics are accurate as of Wednesday, August 30

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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