Daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Monday

Should savvy fantasy baseball owners buy into Derek Holland early this season? Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

If you own players on the Boston Red Sox or Tampa Bay Rays, or play in a league that locks all moves after the first pitch of the first game of the week, beware: Monday is Patriots Day in Beantown, meaning an 11:05 ET start so the Fenway Park attendees can catch the end of the Boston Marathon. Well, that's the theory. With most games eclipsing the three-hour mark, those taking in the matinee affair likely must leave early to head to Copley Square.

The rest of the typically truncated Monday docket will be played under the lights, with several enticing options to stream on a day your staff could be caught short. Of course, I'll also identify batters in a favorable spot to replenish a depleted travel day offense. As always, if you need an additional boost, feel free to ask a question in the comments or send a tweet to @ToddZola.


Starting pitching

Derek Holland (Chicago White Sox at New York Yankees, 3 percent ownership in ESPN leagues): One of the toughest chores early in the season is discerning a hot start from a new skill level. It's always nice when numbers support a narrative. Holland's narrative is he's been dealing with injuries for a few years, but previously, he was a solid starter for the Texas Rangers. The thought is that his stellar early 2017 is a result of better health. Well, the numbers corroborate, as his velocity is up from the past two seasons, on a par with his salad days in Arlington. In addition, the southpaw's pitch mix is different, as he's relying much more on off-speed and breaking stuff, which is more evidence he's finally injury-free. Topping things off is a nice matchup against a Yankees club whose better hitters take their stances in the left-handed batter's box.

Chase Anderson (Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs, 6 percent): ESPN Fantasy's Kyle Soppe keenly points out Anderson hasn't allowed more than three earned runs in an outing since last June 28, sporting a tidy 3.10 ERA in 87 innings since. That streak will be put to the test against the defending World Champs, but Wrigley Field usually favors pitchers in April.

Jharel Cotton (Oakland Athletics vs. Texas Rangers, 35 percent): With Sunday's rainout, Cotton goes from facing one Lone Star squad to the other. Like is the case with his original opponent, the Houston Astros, Cotton's pitch arsenal matches up well with a Rangers club with a lot of free swingers. It doesn't hurt this is a home affair in power-suppressing Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

Jaime Garcia (Atlanta Braves vs. San Diego Padres, 4 percent): It hasn't been the beginning Garcia wanted after a disappointing 2016, but perhaps his first home start in the new SunTrust Park against a weak Padres offense will be the elixir. The Friars tote one of the weakest attacks with a lefty on the hill.


Even if he finds his groove, Garcia isn't likely to throw more than six frames, putting the Braves' relievers in play. Jim Johnson is available in 35 percent of ESPN leagues, which is high for a closer secure in his job, at least for now. If Johnson falters or is traded, Arodys Vizcaino looms. The 26-year old setup man averages 97 mph on his fastball, throwing six innings so far, allowing one run with five whiffs and no free passes.

Projected game scores

Note: W-L, ERA and WHIP are full-year 2016 statistics. GS is the projected game score for the pitcher. A "*" means that the pitcher lacks requisite career major league data to produce an accurate rating; these are the author's ratings.



Austin Hedges, San Diego Padres (4 percent): I'm calling a personal moratorium on using Stephen Vogt in this space. If there's a righty on the hill, Vogt's in play. Let's dig deeper, landing on another backstop toiling for a Golden State squad. Hedges draws a favorable matchup, facing Garcia with the platoon edge.

First base

Josh Bell, Pittsburgh Pirates (12 percent): More of a line-drive, gap hitter than a slugging first baseman, the switch-hitting Bell makes good contact and displays patience, which could come in handy against Lance Lynn. The Redbirds' righty is exhibiting control woes typical of a Tommy John returnee.

Second base

Jed Lowrie, Oakland Athletics (11 percent): Injury-prone players usually have low ownership, but on a per-game basis, they're often roster-worthy. With A.J. Griffin on the hill for the visiting Angels, here's the perfect opportunity to deploy the A's three-hole hitter.

Third base

Adonis Garcia, Atlanta Braves (4 percent): Garcia doesn't enjoy the platoon edge facing Jered Weaver, but the Padres' right-hander is equally philanthropic to all batters.


Miguel Rojas, Miami Marlins (1 percent): Rojas, in for Adeiny Hechavarria, has been hitting low in the order, but since this is an interleague affair in Safeco Field, hitting eighth or ninth isn't as detrimental as it is in the Senior Circuit. Rojas will step in with the platoon bump with Ariel Miranda on the hill.

Corner infield

Tyler Moore, Miami Marlins (less than 1 percent): Let's go fishing again with Moore almost assuredly lined up to play first or designated hitter. The righty has some pop, facing an inexperienced left-hander.

Middle infield

Tyler Saladino, Chicago White Sox (5 percent): Saladino jumps to second in the order with a lefty on the hill, which is where he'll be facing Yankees rookie southpaw Jordan Montgomery in the Bronx.


Josh Reddick, Houston Astros (11 percent): Reddick routinely slots into the two-hole with a righty on the hill. The veteran fly-chaser matches up well against Los Angeles Angels Jesse Chavez, a righty who is vulnerable to power-hitting lefties.

Avisail Garcia, Chicago White Sox (24 percent): Using a hitter against a rookie often backfires. Montgomery was impressive in the spring, and on the farm to begin the season, but Garcia has begun the campaign locked in, fanning a little less often and hitting for more power than normal.

Matt Holliday, New York Yankees (29 percent): This call comes with some reticence, as discussed with respect to Holland above. That said, Holliday has faced and beaten the best over his career.