The Contrarian Corner will provide a list of players that can separate your MLB lineups from the rest of the pack. We’ll take a look at those players that will likely be low-owned, who have high-upside for the day. Here is the list of today’s daily fantasy baseball picks in the Contrarian Corner at DraftKings.
Collin McHugh ($8,700) – Houston Astros – McHugh hasn’t followed up his breakout 2014 campaign the way the Astros would have liked, but he hasn’t been awful (4.02 FIP and 3.97 xFIP), either. The 28-year-old pitcher’s fourseam fastball velocity is down about a tick, but his changeup is missing bats at a greater rate as his his curveball, and his fourseam fastball’s whiff rate remains mostly unchanged. He isn’t missing as many bats with his slider, but overall, his 10.2% swinging strike rate is above the league average of 9.7%, per FanGraphs. Oddly, McHugh’s strikeout rate of 18.6% falls short of the league average (20.1%), but he should narrow that gap if he continues to produce his strong swinging strike rate, and he has been very good about limiting free passes (5.9% walk rate compared to a 7.5% league average). Tonight, he’s a small underdog on the road against the Rays, but his opponent owns just a 3.5 run over/under total, according to Pinnacle Sports. It’s pretty close to a pick ’em, and McHugh is in a good spot to turn in a quality start against a bad Rays offense that ranks tied for 21st in wRC+ (92) against righties with a 21.9% strikeout rate. Because he’s priced around sexier options such at Danny Salazar, Gio Gonzalez, Noah Syndergaard and Michael Pineda, I fully expect McHugh to be low owned.
Clay Buchholz ($6,900) – Boston Red Sox – Buchholz’s underlying stats are that of an elite pitcher, but you wouldn’t know it based on his sub-$7,000 price tag. Among qualified starters, Buchholz ranks 20th in K-BB% (17.9%), fifth in FIP (2.54) and 19th in xFIP (3.15). The Yankees aren’t the easiest assignment, but Buchholz has the goods to keep them at bay, and a 3.5 run over/under total shouldn’t scare DFS gamers away from using the only reliable arm in the rotation for the Red Sox. He’s priced like an SP2, but he’s plenty talented enough to deploy as your SP1 if another cheap arm is enticing or you’re simply looking to load up on pricey bats in your GPPs.
Others to Consider – Cole Hamels ($10,700)
Derek Norris ($3,700) – San Diego Padres – The beauty of a game at Coors Field is that a selection outside of the thin air can be viewed as contrarian. Norris against a lefty is a situation that DFS gamers can always be happy to take advantage of. Since 2012, Norris has compiled a .187 ISO, .368 wOBA and 139 wRC+ against southpaws. He’ll also enjoy a road tilt since Texas will provide him, a right-handed batter, with a park factor of 107 for runs scored, per StatCorner.
Prince Fielder ($4,700) – Texas Rangers – Fielder makes for another strong play from the same game. He’s clearly bounced back in a big way from an injury-shortened 2014 season as he owns a .178 ISO, .399 wOBA and 154 wRC+ through 365 plate appearances this year. Furthermore, he’s been nearly unstoppable against right-handed pitchers this year tallying a .173 ISO, .435 wOBA and 179 wRC+. A matchup with Ian Kennedy is worth getting excited about, too, since the right-hander has allowed a .335 wOBA to left-handed batters since 2012 and a .346 wOBA this year.
Rougned Odor ($4,100) – Texas Rangers – Odor is another lefty who is capable of exploiting Kennedy’s shortcomings against lefties. Unfortunately, since the return of Delino DeShields, Odor has slid back down the order. Should he remain near the bottom of the order for the Rangers, I expect his ownership to feel the squeeze. A move higher in the lineup would help his DFS value, but it could also result in an uptick in ownership. Regardless of where he hits in the lineup, his scorching hot bat is worth using. The 21-year-old second baseman was recalled from the minors on June 15. Since then, he’s racked up an eye-popping .200 ISO, .412 wOBA and 162 wRC+. It sure looks like his demotion got his bat going.
Kris Bryant ($4,900) – Chicago Cubs – If you’re playing the all-day slate, then Bryant makes for a huge upside swerve off of the more popular selections of Josh Donaldson and Nolan Arenado at the hot corner. Donaldson is facing a left-handed pitcher and Arenado is at home, therefore both will be extremely popular selections. Also, they are both less expensive than Bryant. Bryant, however, has done his own very impressive work against southpaws. In 57 plate appearances against lefties, Bryant has a .313 ISO, .415 wOBA and 167 wRC+. He’s already hit four homers off of left-handed pitching this year and could be in line to add to that total today.
Jose Reyes ($4,400) – Toronto Blue Jays – Troy Tulowitzki is at home, and his price isn’t terribly bloated. As a result, he’ll be a very popular tournament play. At just $300 less than Tulo, Reyes could easily get lost in the shuffle. His upside is huge, though, since he’s leading off against a lefty for a team that is better than any other when facing left-handed pitching this year. In addition to his awesome lineup spot, Reyes’ upside is bolstered by his base stealing prowess. The switch-hitter has 11 steals this year, and he even has a bit of thump left in his stick with four homers. Batting right-handed against Danny Duffy tonight, he’ll hold the platoon advantage over a hurler who has allowed a .321 wOBA to right-handed batters since 2012 and a .367 wOBA to them this year.
Cameron Maybin ($5,300) – Atlanta Braves – Maybin makes for a nice contrarian piece from the game at Coors Field. He’s priced with the elite outfielders, and he doesn’t hold the platoon advantage over right-handed pitcher David Hale. Maybin, however, has exhibited a reverse platoon split and hit righties better than lefties. This year, he has flourished and totaled a .117 ISO, .342 wOBA and 119 wRC+ against same-handed foes. The toolsy outfielder has also flashed an intriguing combination of power and speed with eight homers and 15 stolen bases. He’ll be lower owned than the cheaper outfielders for the Rockies and possibly even cheaper outfield teammate Nick Markakis, but his ceiling is on par with the outfielders for his opponent and exceeds that of Markakis.
Others to Consider – Yasmani Grandal ($4,100), Stephen Vogt ($3,400), Devon Travis ($3,700)