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.
Anthony DeSclafani ($7,700) – Cincinnati Reds – Fellow right-hander Mike Leake tied up the Braves last night, and rookie DeSclafani will look to do the same tonight. The former Marlin has twirled a 1.04 ERA in four starts spanning 26.0 innings. No, he won’t continue to be that good, but his 3.36 FIP isn’t an overly crazy expectation. The 25-year-old righty has totaled a 21.2% strikeout rate, 6.1% walk rate and he’s limited hard contact — 10.3% line drive rate, per FanGraphs. He’s struggled with lefties in his young big league career, but only Freddie Freeman stands out as a scary left-handed batter in this lineup (sorry, Nick Markakis and A.J. Pierzynski).
Chris Heston ($5,600) – San Francisco Giants – First of all, look at Heston’s price point. He will allow for a ton of spending flexibility on bats. A 27-year old with a pedestrian fastball isn’t the type of player to elicit excitement among DraftKings gamers, but what he lacks in a power arsenal he makes up for by keeping the ball on the ground (56.3% groundball rate) and pounding the strike zone (5.6% walk rate). Despite a lack of a power arsenal, he does have a couple of bat missing breaking balls when he needs a punchout. According to Brooks Baseball, his slider has an 18.42% whiff rate and and his curve checks in at 17.39%. He’s a modest betting favorite, per Pinnacle Sports, pitching in a run-suppressing ballpark against an Angels squad that’s likely without Albert Pujols. Heston looks like a bargain pick for gamers looking to go against the grain.
Others to Consider – A.J. Burnett ($8,1000)
Evan Gattis ($3,900) – Houston Astros – The rationale for using Gattis is simple. He has huge power, especially against lefties. In 194 plate appearances against southpaws in his career, he owns a .230 ISO. That kind of power plays really well at Minute Maid Park, where right-handed batters enjoy a park factor for homers of 117, per StatCorner. Expect Buster Posey to be the most owned backstop on the slate since he’s priced similarly and facing a lefty, and Stephen Vogt is probably going to be the second most owned catcher at a bit cheaper than Gattis and facing a bad righty. Both backstops have merit for usage, but Gattis’ low ownership and similarly high ceiling make him the epitome of what a contrarian pick should be.
Mark Teixeira ($4,600) – New York Yankees – Adrian Gonzalez, Victor Martinez and Freddie Freeman are all the same price as Teixeira, which should drive the Bronx Bomber’s ownership rate down. One would hope Teixeira has an unlimited plan since he’s sending out text messages — as John Sterling would say — with regularity this year. Teixiera has reached the seats eight times, hitting six of his homers against right-handed pitchers. The righty he’s facing, Justin Masterson, struggles mightily with lefties. Masterson has allowed a .347 wOBA to the 58 lefties he’s faced this year and a staggering .400 wOBA to the 317 lefties he faced in 2014.
Dustin Pedroia ($3,900) – Boston Red Sox – Pedroia is one of two second basemen I like as contrarian picks from the likely more popular selections of Jose Altuve and Robinson Cano. Since 2012, Pedroia owns impressive marks of a .164 ISO, .372 wOBA and 134 wRC+ in 594 plate appearances against lefties. His success meshes well with CC Sabathia’s eroding skills from his peak years of holding right-handed batters in check. Sabathia allowed a .401 wOBA to righties last year has been hammered to the tune of a .374 wOBA by them this year.
Brian Dozier ($4,200) – Minnesota Twins – If you’re not digging Pedroia, Dozier is a sweet pick. He hit leadoff against southpaw Chris Sale last night, and he should be slotted atop the order for the Twins again tonight. Since 2012, his 134 wRC+ posted against southpaws is identical to Pedroia’s, but he offers more power with a .218 ISO. Jose Quintana has struggled out of the gate as evidenced by his 4.45 FIP. Don’t expect Dozier to make life easy on Quintana turning things around.
Aramis Ramirez ($3,600) – Milwaukee Brewers – Your lone afternoon contrarian pick is Ramirez, but boy is he a dandy. He’s super cheap, and he’s downright dirty against lefties. Since 2012, he owns a .291 ISO, .416 wOBA and 164 wRC+ in 357 plate appearances against them. His swan song hasn’t been in key yet, but that should help keep his ownership level low and profits high for those rolling the dice with him on the cheap.
David Peralta ($4,000) – Arizona Diamondbacks – Chip Hale’s consistently shuffling outfielders, so it’s necessary to check-in on Peralta being in the lineup before using him on rosters. That said, if he’s playing for the Diamondbacks, he should be playing for you. He’s hit fifth in back-to-back games and will be taking cuts against Carlos Frias. Frias has very little time in the bigs, but lefties have touched him up with a .346 wOBA (65 batters faced). His struggles with lefties extend back to the minors. According to Minor League Central, he’s allowed a .767 OPS to left-handed batters since 2011.