I’m always on the hunt for creative ways to reduce expected ownership without giving up much (if any) value. One of the tricks I’ve been using more of late is starting certain batters against the same handedness of pitcher.
Obviously there are a lot of hitters who excel versus the opposite handedness, but there are some who are more or less “even splits.” Whereas Josh Donaldson mashes lefties to a far greater degree than righties, a player like A-Rod has been far more even in his splits. Mike Trout is another player who crushes both hands of pitcher about the same.
The thing is, when A-Rod or Trout face a righty, they almost always see lower ownership than versus a lefty, but they shouldn’t. More and more, I’ve been trying to identify these players who superficially appear to be in sub-optimal situations, but really aren’t.
Houston Astros (vs Nick Martinez)
The Astros are projected by Vegas at 5.2 implied runs, so I don’t think they’re going to be an under-the-radar play tonight. However, I like the middle and bottom portions of Houston’s order in GPPs, which I think should give you exposure to a high-upside offense in a great spot without running into high ownership. Specifically, I think a Tucker/Gattis/Rasmus/Valbuena/Gonzalez/Castro stack will be very low-owned, but still possess more upside than many other offenses’ top of the order. Note that Tucker got hit by a pitch yesterday, so be sure to check on his status.
NY Mets (vs David Phelps)
My favorite contrarian stack is the Mets. Granderson and Duda are obvious plays against a weak right-hander in Miami, but Cespedes, d’Arnaud, and Flores are all right-handers who have hit right-handed pitching better than southpaws over the past 12 months. Only Uribe is far superior against left-handed pitching, so I might just run a five-man New York stack without the third baseman.
C Travis d’Arnaud, NY Mets (vs David Phelps) – $4600
As mentioned, I really like d’Arnaud as a contrarian GPP play. He’s overpriced at $4600, but I don’t think he’s that overpriced, and I know he’ll be low-owned. d’Arnaud has a running 12-month wOBA of .379 and ISO of .247 versus right-handers, so he has serious upside in this game.
2B/3B Anthony Rendon, Washington (vs Rubby De La Rosa) – $3300
Rendon is another player who excels versus the same handedness of pitcher, posting a .369 wOBA and .179 ISO over the past year versus righties. Vegas likes Washington a bit, projection them at 4.2 implied runs, and Rendon is one of those opportunities to get both quality value and potentially low ownership.
SS Johnny Peralta, St. Louis (vs David Holmberg) – $4000
Peralta is right there in the top tier of shortstops when he’s facing a lefty, but ownership typically doesn’t reflect that. The clear-cut top shortstops plays tonight, I think, are Tulo and Correa. That’s pretty much every night. I put Peralta right in that class, but I think he’ll be much lower-owned than the two more popular options. His .248 ISO versus southpaws is elite, and he’s almost always very underpriced versus lefties.
P Carlos Martinez, St. Louis (vs Cincinnati) – $8700
Madison Bumgarner, Matt Harvey, and Johnny Cueto are the top pitchers tonight and will likely be among the highest-owned. I like all of them, especially Bumgarner, but I will have Martinez is almost all of my GPP lineups.
There’s a lot to like. First, Vegas has Cincy at only 3.3 implied runs. Second, the Cards are -151 to win and currently getting 83 percent of public bets—both predictors of fantasy value for pitchers. Finally, Ben May is behind the plate; he’s an ump who has historically added 2.1 points above expectation to pitchers’ DraftKings scores.