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.
Carlos Carrasco ($8,800) – Cleveland Indians – The pitching options feel limitless tonight. There are aces abound, and with so many options, ownership should be well spread out. Max Scherzer is almost certainly going to be the highest owned arm, but beyond that, the mix will be nice allowing gamers the option to pick their favorite hurlers. Even still, I expect Carrasco to fly below the radar a bit given similar pricing to “better performing” starters. When I say better performing, I’m referring to ERA. Strand rate issues and a bloated .359 BABIP have masked some sterling underlying numbers that point to brighter days ahead. The righty ranks 11th in FIP (2.73), fifth in xFIP (2.65), eighth in strikeout rate (27.9%) and K-BB% (22.4%), according to FanGraphs. Those are ace numbers that have been undone by some poor luck and poor timing of hits allowed.
Scott Kazmir ($7,600) – Oakland Athletics – Kazmir’s price point will make him an appealing SP2, but the level of success the Rays have enjoyed against southpaws this year (116 wRC+) is likely to scare some gamers off. The Rays, however, aren’t bulletproof. They’ve posted a gaudy 24.8% strikeout rate against lefties this year, and if Kazmir’s on point, he’ll have ample opportunities to pile up punch outs. The lefty ranks tied for 15th in swinging strike percentage (11.3%) and checks in 25th in strikeout rate (23.7%). Kazmir provides a high ceiling at a fraction of the cost of the aces toeing the slab tonight.
Others to Consider – Jeff Samardzija ($8,700), Alfredo Simon ($5,500)
Tyler Flowers/Geovany Soto ($2,900) – Chicago White Sox – There are a handful of cheap-ish catchers and less “punty” (yes, I made that word up) options around whoever starts for the White Sox at catcher. The result will be very few people owning whichever backstop gets the nod for tonight’s start. Either is a great tater-chase option thanks for the right-handed batter park factor of 115 for homer presented at U.S. Cellular Field, according to StatCorner. They’ll also get a lift from Phil Hughes’ shortcomings against righties. The former Yankee has a reverse platoon split that’s resulted in a .354 wOBA since 2012. Furthermore, the odds of a homer are up for either catcher thanks to Hughes’ 44.6% flyball rate allowed to righties.
Jose Abreu ($4,600) – Chicago White Sox – If you’re licking your chops thinking about starting either of the Pale Hose’s catcher against Hughes, you’ve got to be downright giddy about the prospects of starting Abreu. Others such as Paul Goldschmidt and Anthony Rizzo figure to get more GPP love tonight, but Abreu is my preferred choice. In addition to loving the matchup with Hughes and the park factors, I love Abreu’s excellence against righties since becoming a major leaguer last year. He’s totaled 589 plate appearances against righties and tallied a .240 ISO, .392 wOBA and 151 wRC+.
Robinson Cano ($4,500) – Seattle Mariners – Second base will be a popular place to skimp some money to budget for arms tonight, and Cano’s slow start to the year serve as another means of depressing his ownership tonight. Look at the bigger picture, though, and Cano’s been one of the best hitters in the game over the last three-plus years when facing right-handed pitchers. He’s totaled a .231 ISO, .408 wOBA and 163 wRC+ against righties since 2012. He’ll get a breather from hitting at run-suppressing Safeco Field and play at the run-amplifying Rogers Centre. Left-handed batters’ value is buoyed by a 123 doubles/triples park factor and a 121 park factor for homers. The park factor for homers pairs nicely with the tater giving nature of Marco Estrada. Since 2012, Estrada has served up a 1.47 HR/9 to left-handed batters.
Chris Davis ($4,300) – Baltimore Orioles – Davis’ calling card is his light-tower power, but that will be done no favors by a 62 park factor for homers awarded to left-handed batters at Marlins Park. Thankfully, Davis’ raw power is prodigious. He ranks 16th in average home run and flyball distance at 309.62 feet, per Baseball Heat Maps. Henderson Alvarez does a poor job of missing bats (11.6% strikeout rate against left-handed batters since 2012) and has allowed a .341 wOBA to lefties since 2012. Davis has some serious strikeout issues, but Alvarez might not have the goods to exploit them.
Jung-ho Kang ($3,500) – Pittsburgh Pirates – Kang is quickly proving worth the modest free-agent investment the Pirates made to sign him this offseason. He opened the year but totaling a 133 wRC+ has essentially forced manager Clint Hurdle’s hand to use him on a nearly everyday basis. Kang has been better against lefties than righties, but it’s hard to argue with a 108 wRC+ facing same handed foes. Shortstop is light on offense, Kang offers salary relief with a nice lineup spot (typically fifth of late) and some punch. He’ll face fellow impressive rookie Noah Syndergaard, but on a slate loaded with top flight starting pitchers, Syndergaard actually represents one of the more favorable pitching matchups for an opposing hitter.
Dexter Fowler ($4,900) – Chicago Cubs – Fowler represents a great price point contrarian pick. He’s pricey, and stars such as Michael Brantly, Giancarlo Stanton, Andrew McCutchen and Carlos Gomez are all priced very similarly. Many gamers will immediately cast Fowler aside for a shinier option — with the exception of those gamers stacking Cubs. I’m completely enamored with the toolsy switch-hitting outfielder though. He sits atop the Cubs order and gets to take advantage of Josh Collmenter’s struggles with left-handed batters. The righty has allowed a .328 wOBA to lefties since 2012. He’ll also get the opportunity to play in a hitter-friendly environment at Chase Field. The ballpark has left-handed batter park factors of 115 for doubles/triples, 114 for homers and 120 for runs. Oh, and did I mention Fowler is a pretty darn good hitter as well? He has a 110 wRC+ against righties since 2012, and manager Joe Maddon has allowed him to run wild. Fowler has stolen nine bases in 13 attempts this year while adding in four homers. He sports a well-rounded profile that is capable of posting a big fantasy point total tonight.
Others to Consider – Brandon Moss ($4,100), Kyle Seager ($4,400), Khris Davis ($3,500)