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.
James Shields ($9,800) – San Diego Padres – Shields is only $800 cheaper than Matt Harvey. That’s great news for driving his ownership down. His upside — today anyway — rivals that of Harvey. He’s pitching at pitcher-friendly Petco Park tonight and facing a middle of the pack Pirates offense. Shields is second among qualified starters in strikeout rate (31.5%) and leads the way in swinging strike percentage (15.0%), per FanGraphs. His strikeout upside is obviously immense as a result, and oddsmakers have Shields as a small betting favorite in a game with a low over/under betting total of six runs, according to Pinnacle Sports. It all adds up to a high floor, high ceiling hurler.
Rubby De La Rosa ($6,400) – Arizona Diamondbacks – With an over/under total of 8.5 runs, and hitter-friendly Miller Park hosting the Diamondbacks tonight, many gamers will turn their noses up to De La Rosa. He has a juicy matchup with a righty-heavy Brewers squad that ranks next to last in wRC+ (79) against right-handed pitchers this year and has a proclivity for punching out with a 22.7% strikeout rate against them (third highest). Cycling back to that righty-heavy note, De La Rosa has been nails against right-handed batters this year allowing just a .222 wOBA with a 29.8% strikeout rate. The lack of lefties to exploit De La Rosa’s susceptibility against them makes him a sneaky contrarian pick with a sky high ceiling.
Others to Consider – Anibal Sanchez ($8,400), Jimmy Nelson ($6,800)
Wilin Rosario ($3,100) – Colorado Rockies – Catcher isn’t very enticing tonight, but I’d expect some gamers to pony up for Evan Gattis, Brian McCann and, perhaps, Buster Posey, while others will totally punt the position. Rosario is much cheaper than the trio I highlighted, but he might not get the love he deserves away from Coors Field. Even on the road, Rosario is a monster against southpaws. Since reaching the majors in 2011, he’s totaled 182 plate appearances against lefties on the road and totaled a .239 ISO, .379 wOBA and 126 wRC+.
Chris Carter ($4,200) – Houston Astros – Carter can be deployed at first base or in the outfield, and because his price point is so similar to a handful of studs, he’ll go under owned. Carter’s season-long numbers are underwhelming — putting it mildly — and he’s slipped to seventh in the order as a result. That said, a down order homer counts just the same. Minute Maid Park provides right-handed batters a homer park factor of 120, according to StatCorner. Carter’s big raw power is best exemplified by his .230 ISO against lefties since 2012. He has the type of power to reach the seats multiple times.
Billy Butler ($3,700) – Oakland Athletics – Butler’s lack of game-changing power always leaves him out of the lime light, but the guy can rake against southpaws. Since 2012, he has a .197 ISO, .381 wOBA and 143 wRC+ against left-handed pitching. That cross references nicely against Chris Capuano’s numbers against right-handed batters. Since 2012, Capuano has ceded a .329 wOBA to right-handed batters.
Robinson Cano ($4,200) – Seattle Mariners – Jason Kipnis faces a righty. Brian Dozier faces a lefty. Jose Altuve faces a lefty. Kolten Wong faces a righty. Ian Kinsler faces a lefty. This is a very winded way of me highlighting that there are five top flight second basemen priced near Cano who will be highly owned as a result of having a favorable matchup and better numbers than the former Yankee has this year. Cano’s track record of success is too long and elite for me to ignore, and his batted ball profile indicates he’s been unlucky this year. Cano’s line drive rate of 23.9% is above his career mark of 21.3% and his hard contact rate of 33.5% this year also bests his career mark of 32.8% while his soft contact rate of 14.8% is below his career mark of 15.5%. A Juan Pierre-esque 2.6% HR/FB rate isn’t doing Cano any favors, but let’s not prematurely throw dirt on him. He was out of the lineup yesterday as a result of being under the weather, so make sure he’s in the M’s lineup before using him in yours.
Troy Tulowitzki ($4,000) – Colorado Rockies – Tulowitzki continues the theme of underachieving middle infielders. Even in a down year, Tulo has a 115 wRC+ against lefties this season. Over the last three plus years, Tulowitzki has a 156 wRC+ in 2012 and 175 wRC+ in 2014 against lefties on the road on his resume. For his career, He owns a 116 wRC+ and .225 ISO against lefties on the road. If you’re not sold on pouncing on Tulo’s reduced price tag, perhaps a 154 park factor for homers for right-handed batters at Citizens Bank Park will push you over the edge.
Matt Kemp ($4,100) – San Diego Padres – Kemp’s struggles this year haven’t resulted in a demotion in the lineup. He’s hit cleanup of late and has slotted third for much of the year. There isn’t an injury being reported that’s hampering his production, so I’m inclined to lean on his success in recent seasons against southpaws and cut him some slack for a rough quarter of the season with his new club. Since 2012, Kemp sports a .220 ISO, .380 wOBA and 146 wRC+ against left-handed pitchers.
Others to Consider – Michael Cuddyer ($3,800), Adam Eaton ($3,800), Steve Pearce ($3,900)