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.
Editors Note: CLE SP Corey Kluber has been scratched from his start tonight. Right-hander Josh Tomlin will start in his place.
Colin McHugh ($9,100) – Houston Astros – Something interesting has happened with McHugh of late. He’s back to pitching like he did last year. Over the last 30 days, he’s made four starts spanning 26.1 innings and totaled a 26.2% strikeout rate, 2.54 FIP, 3.59 xFIP and 3.53 SIERA. During that time frame, he’s reeling off an impressive 11.6% swinging strike rate, per FanGraphs, that supports his gaudy strikeout total. McHugh’s modest full-season numbers will likely suppress his ownership a bit, but he’s in great form, a huge favorite (-194, per Pinnacle Sports) and facing a Twins offense that has been bad against righties (89 wRC+) and on the road (78 wRC+, the lowest in the majors).
Martin Perez ($4,500) – Texas Rangers- Perez doesn’t carry nearly the strikeout upside that McHugh does, but he, too, is in good form. Over the last 30 days, the lefty has made four starts spanning 23.1 innings. In that time frame he owns just a 14.1% strikeout rate, but he’s succeeded despite his low strikeout rate for a variety reasons. The first is that he’s not issuing many walks (5.1% walk rate). His sky-high ground-ball rate of 60.8% has been helpful, too. Finally, he’s allowing very little hard contact (20.3% hard hit ball rate over the last 30 days, second to McHugh on this slate in that time frame). It could be a small sample size issue, but I’m inclined to give Perez some credit since a ton of contact is being made on his pitches outside of the strike zone. If batters are swinging at and making contact with non-strikes, it stands to reason their quality of contact would be poor. The result of Perez’s approach is a useful 3.27 FIP, 3.65 xFIP and 3.61 SIERA over the last 30 days. I expect Kris Medlen to gobble up most of the ownership in the bargain bin price range, making Perez a nice swerve who will also provide salary relief to squeeze some big bats into your lineup.
Blake Swihart ($3,800) – Boston Red Sox – Quietly, Swihart is tearing the cover off of the ball in the second half. He’s still saddled with a crummy lineup spot, but in 102 plate appearances in the second half, he has a .130 ISO, .388 wOBA and 146 wRC+. To put that in perspective, his wOBA is higher than fellow rookie Carlos Correa, and they are tied in wRC+ in the second half. He’s facing a bad southpaw, Adam Morgan, and he should add to his juicy second half stats thanks to Morgan’s .350 wOBA allowed to right-handed batters in his career.
Jose Abreu ($4,800) – Chicago White Sox- As I stated above, I expect Medlen to be a fairly popular GPP SP2, therefore driving down the ownership of hitters on the White Sox. Medlen has pitched fairly well, but his batted ball data is flirting with disaster as he’s allowed a staggering 33% hard hit ball rate. A hard hit ball off of Abreu’s bat has a chance to do big damage, and he’s done a nice job of distancing himself from a slow start to the season by finishing up with a bang (.246 ISO, .374 wOBA and 140 wRC+ in the second half).
Jose Altuve ($4,800) – Houston Astros – Spending on Altuve is usually reserved for when he’s facing a lefty, but tonight marks an exception. The Astros are facing Mike Pelfrey, and Pelfrey hasn’t been good of late. The result is a robust 4.5 run over/under total for the Astros, which should immediately drum up interest in using their leadoff hitter. That said, there’s a game at Coors Field, so spending on anyone outside of the thin Rocky Mountain air can be viewed as somewhat contrarian tonight, making Altuve a strong play. He’s having yet another banner year, and in the second half, he’s sporting a .377 wOBA and 142 wRC+.
Danny Valencia ($3,800) – Oakland Athletics – Valencia has continued to excellent season since the A’s claimed him off of waivers and thrust him into the heart of their order. He’s at his best against lefties, and since 2013, he owns a .180 ISO, .381 wOBA and 144 wRC+ against southpaws. Rookie Edgar Olmos is making just his second big league start (sixth appearance in the majors overall), and his lackluster minor league numbers provide optimism that Valencia and the A’s can rough him up a bit.
Carlos Correa ($5,000) – Houston Astros – Back to Houston for this contrarian pick. As I noted before, there is a game at Coors Field, and that means spending on premium players will largely be reserved for nabbing hitters from that contest. The result should be an under owned Correa. The rookie has been brilliant (16 homers, 11 steals, .236 ISO, .368 wOBA and 136 wRC+) and a compelling case can already be made that he’s the best shortstop in baseball. I’m all for picking on Pelfrey, and I love the Astros’ double-play duo tonight.
Adam Jones ($4,000) – Baltimore Orioles- Jones is facing a righty tonight, and because he hits lefties harder, he could fly below the radar. Interestingly, Drew Hutchison is displaying a steep reverse platoon split this year. The right-handed hurler has allowed a .302 wOBA to lefties this year, but righties have rocked him and posted a .370 wOBA. Add in the awesome park factors at Rogers Centre, and Jones makes for a really strong play at a reasonable price.
Others to Consider – Adam Lind ($4,500), Marcus Semien ($3,200), Lorenzo Cain ($5,100)