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.
Michael Pineda ($8,900) – New York Yankees – The last time Pineda took the mound against the O’s he struck out 16 while allowing just one earned run on six hits and zero walks in seven innings. That will net him some ownership, but failing to complete seven innings in any of his four starts since then and sharing the same start day as King Felix, Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner will serve to depress his ownership a bit. The Orioles own the third highest strikeout rate (23.3%) in the league against right-handed pitchers this year, per FanGraphs, so another double-digit strikeout showing from Pineda is very attainable with his well above average bat-missing ability resulting in a 26.3% strikeout rate for him this season.
Yordano Ventura ($7,600) – Kansas City Royals – The Cardinals have been a good offense against right-handed pitchers this year, but their lineup took another hit with their number-three hitter, Matt Holliday, hitting the disabled list. Without him, it looks a bit more exploitable. Ventura’s 4.62 ERA is a bit misleading as he’s tallied a 4.03 FIP — still not exactly good — and a 3.72 xFIP. He’s cut down his walk rate this year and bumped up his ground-ball rate to a hearty 52.7%, but his 19.8% strikeout rate checks in a little bit below the league average of 20.2%. He continues to throw premium, mid- to upper-90s fastballs and back it with decent secondary offerings, so an uptick in punch outs could be around the corner. Regardless, a depleted Red Birds’ lineup isn’t overly intimidating, making Ventura a nice SP2 at a reasonable price who will probably be under owned as a result of his ugly ERA.
Others to Consider – Jesse Chavez ($7,300)
Mike Zunino ($3,200) – Seattle Mariners – This is strictly a power grab of sorts. Catcher stinks tonight, by and large, and Zunino has homer upside. Since reaching the majors, he’s totaled a 100 wRC+ against southpaws, making him exactly an average hitter. His .169 ISO is solid-ish, though, and he’s ripped eight homers in 224 plate appearances against lefties.
Mark Trumbo ($3,800) – Seattle Mariners – Another M’s hitter gets the nod facing southpaw Brett Oberholtzer. The southpaw’s 3.75 ERA has been extremely fortunate as he’s yet to allow a homer in three starts. He’s generating a ground ball on just 42.9% of balls put in play against him this year, and has a 37.0% ground-ball rate in his career, so don’t expect that to last. Trumbo is beatable if you can punch him out, but if he puts the bat on the ball, he can send it a long way, namely against lefties. Since 2012, Trumbo has a staggering .280 ISO against left-handed pitchers. Unlike teammate Zunino, he’s also been a well above average hitter and is more than a power grab with a 138 wRC+ to show for his work in that time.
Brian Dozier ($5,300) – Minnesota Twins- Dozier’s price tag is rather large, and with plenty of affordable and supremely talented options such as Dee Gordon ($4,600), Neil Walker ($3,700) and Kolten Wong ($3,600) available at a fraction of the cost, Dozier will be low owned. Wandy Rodriguez has been surprisingly effective this year, but let’s not lost site of the fact he’s a 36-year-old starter with a 4.11 FIP and 3.96 xFIP who is getting the ball on a day where a number of very talented hurlers are as well. Dozier is a terror for lefties, and since 2012, he sports marks of a .238 ISO, .377 wOBA and 142 wRC+. Those numbers would fit at a corner infield spot, and Dozier provides them from the keystone position.
Trevor Plouffe ($4,200) – Minnesota Twins – Today’s hitters selections are apparently the teammate edition with Plouffe making it a pair of Twins joining a pair of M’s. Like Dozier, he’s excellent against southpaws, though, not as good. That said, a .209 ISO, .362 wOBA and 131 wRC+ against them since 2012 is nothing to sneeze at. Plouffe will be under owned because, well, he won’t even be the most popular player at the position at his price tag of $4,200 since he shares that price point with Josh Harrison, Manny Machado, Alex Rodriguez and Maikel Franco. Furthermore, Matt Carpenter is $200 cheaper and Evan Longoria will likely check in as the most rostered third baseman at just $3,800 facing lefty John Danks. You can’t go against the grain much more than grabbing Plouffe.
Kyle Blanks ($4,300) – Texas Rangers – Blanks was activated from the disabled list yesterday. Check the lineup to be 100% certain he gets the start, but I expect him to settle into a platoon at first base with left-handed hitting Mitch Moreland. Moreland hasn’t embarrassed himself against southpaws this year, but we’re talking about a guy with a 72 wRC+ against them in his career. In other words, he hasn’t been good against them at all, and to put things bluntly, Blanks has been outstanding against lefties. Since 2012, he’s piled up a .226 ISO, .391 wOBA and 156 wRC+ in 177 plate appearances against lefties. Tommy Milone is a pedestrian lefty who has allowed a .327 wOBA to right-handed batters over the last three-plus years.
Steven Souza Jr. ($4,100) – Tampa Bay Rays- Souza is a three-true-outcomes machine. More than 50% of his plate appearances this year have ended by strikeout, walk or homer. In his very young big league career he’s accumulated 69 plate appearances against lefties. That’s a small sample size, no doubt, but it’s also a damn impressive one with him recording a .389 ISO, .449 wOBA and 200 wRC+. His track record in the minors isn’t as impressive, but according to Minor League Central, he owns an .819 OPS against lefties since 2011 and he posted a much more impressive .940 OPS against them last year.
Others to Consider – Michael Cuddyer ($3,400), Delino DeShields ($3,800)