Daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Wednesday

Toronto has struggled against lefties so far this season, which bodes well for Eduardo Rodriguez on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

The fourth Wednesday of the 2018 regular season carries plenty of aces but also batting-practice machines, with little in between that can be used as a fun streamer. At least we're back to a full 15-game schedule and then some, including the continuation of a Coors Field series and a weather-induced doubleheader in Pittsburgh. DFS cash game players likely will use at least one player there.

Fantasy star Clayton Kershaw is on the hill, and two more southpaws are worth a look as rentals, with the potential for longer stints of value.


Pitchers to stream

Eduardo Rodriguez (L), rostered in 35 percent of ESPN leagues, Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays: The high-strikeout, high-walk hurler has lived up to that name so far with 20 and seven, respectively, through three starts, but he's flashing the brilliance he showed through various injuries and mechanical issues in recent seasons. Even if Josh Donaldson (shoulder) returns, he might not be at 100 percent, and the Jays have scuffled to a .352 slugging percentage against left-handers so far.

Steven Matz (L), 19.4 percent, New York Mets at St. Louis Cardinals: Matz remains a bit of an incomplete project: He's produced 23 strikeouts in his first 18 innings of 2018 and has posted solid command rates in the past, but early on, he's getting a bit fortunate with called strikes, as he's induced an underwhelming 7.4 percent strikeout rate. His 4.42 ERA and five homers allowed show his early issues, which may partially stem from New York's adjustment to catcher injuries. Still, St. Louis' .292 wOBA against lefties entering Tuesday's action ranks 23rd, and Matz deserves season-long interest in many mixed leagues.

Matt Wisler (R), 2.7 percent, Atlanta Braves at Cincinnati Reds: Wisler held the Mets to one run on just two hits and no walks - while striking out eight - over seven innings on April 19 after being called up from Triple-A Gwinnett. The righty enjoyed a smidge of prospect hype in recent seasons, but hasn't converted it as a major-leaguer, fanning just 6.4 per nine with a 5.16 ERA in 68 appearances. He worked at a quick pace in his 2018 debut, which may go a long way to dispatching the hapless Reds, who make plenty of contact, but haven't produced much from it.

Pitchers to avoid

Aaron Sanchez (R), 66.6 percent, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Boston Red Sox: He's logged three straight quality starts, but made them eventful with seven walks and just six strikeouts across the past two. If he continues nibbling, Boston's unforgiving lineup will punish him.


Kenley Jansen was unavailable for Monday's save situation, having worked a pair of scoreless outings over the weekend, including Sunday's save. The Dodgers called upon Josh Fields, who worked around a hit to record a scoreless conversion. This all but confirms he's the top backup plan should Jansen have to give up the closer role for any reason. Jansen's improved form has soothed early-season concerns, but the Dodgers did help fantasy players by clarifying the replacement pecking order, and Fields remains a decent stash.

Projected game scores

GS is the projected game score for the pitcher. The "*" symbol means the pitcher lacks requisite career major league data to produce an accurate rating. These are the author's ratings.



Welington Castillo (R), 49.8 percent, Chicago White Sox vs. Seattle Mariners (RHP Felix Hernandez): Castillo has been quiet since his two-homer April 2 output, but this could cure his woes. His 39 percent hard-contact rate finished second among catchers with 350-plus plate appearances in 2017, and at 2018's outset, he boasts a healthy average of 9.4 barrels per plate appearance, per Statcast. Hernandez's punch around the strike zone continues to erode, giving all White Sox bats a positive outlook.

First base

Chris Davis (L), 29.6 percent, Baltimore Orioles vs. Tampa Bay Rays (RHP Jacob Faria): Trust a .169 batting average and an ugly 26.5 hard-hit rate? Davis could at least run into one from Faria, who's a fly ball pitcher struggling to throw strikes early on. Faria can't afford a mistake, especially at homer-friendly Camden Yards..

Second base

Scooter Gennett (L), 30.5 percent, Cincinnati Reds vs. Atlanta Braves (RHP Matt Wisler): Some of the shine has worn off from his 2017 breakout early this year, as his dipping shareholder percentage shows supporters leaving in droves. Still, Gennett has a pair of two-RBI efforts in the last three games, which may mean he's waking up. Though Wisler is a streamer option, Gennett, an established platoon specialist, could be one of several Reds left-handed sticks to make the assignment more difficult.

Third base

David Freese (R), 0.5 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Detroit Tigers (LHP Matthew Boyd): Lefty on the hill? Don't Freese the platoon wizard out of your lineup. Boyd's early 1.40 ERA comes with tepid dominance at just 5.1 K/9. He's bound to falter soon, and Pittsburgh's righty-hitting piece is an ideal rental to sneak in a productive day.


Jurickson Profar (B), 2.1 percent, Texas Rangers vs. Oakland Athletics (RHP Kendall Graveman): That percentage is way too low. Likely locked into a starting role for at least the next several weeks with Elvis Andrus (arm) sidelined -- and freshly eligible at shortstop as a result -- Profar is riding a four-game hit streak heading into Tuesday. Graveman has paid for mistakes against lefty bats so far this year by allowing the third-highest wOBA in that split (.519) and generally pitches to contact (career 14.8 strikeout percentage).

Corner infield

Ryan McMahon (L), 3.7 percent, Colorado Rockies vs. San Diego Padres (RHP Tyson Ross): The celebration of David Dahl's callup has hid the fact that McMahon has been assigned nine starts in the Rockies' past 12 games. He hasn't done much with them, going 6-for-32 with just two RBI and 13 strikeouts, but a 10th start may help him catch the often walk-happy Ross with a little less zip, following his Friday gem that taxed him for 127 pitches.

Middle infield

Carlos Asuaje (L), 0.9 percent, San Diego Padres at Colorado Rockies (RHP Jon Gray): He homered in the series opener at Coors Field, so why not ride it? With three two-knock games in his last five, he's cementing at least the top-side platoon role at the keystone. Deep players could do worse than trying to capitalize on Gray's early issues.


Aaron Hicks (B), 48.8 percent, New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins (RHP Lance Lynn): Lynn can't retire left-handed bats. They slapped a .349 wOBA on his resume last year with 17 homers in just 85 innings. Hicks, who's scored six runs over his last five contests, was typically more effective against lefties last year but still boasted a .382 wOBA against righties at hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium.

Stephen Piscotty (R), 45.8 percent, Oakland Athletics at Texas Rangers (RHP Doug Fister): Though he's left the yard just once in his first 22 games, Piscotty has enjoyed an uptick in batted-ball force (35.3 hard contact percentage) during the initial stages of his homecoming, and the new Athletic is 16-for-47 (.340) over his last 12 contests. He's not particularly split-leaning, which lines him up to test Fister, who himself has coughed up a 34.9 hard-hit rate and must work in hitter-friendly Globe Life Park.

Ben Gamel (L), 1.5 percent, Seattle Mariners at Chicago White Sox (RHP James Shields): The smidge of thump Gamel boasts typically comes against righties. Ten of his 11 big flies last year fell within that split. Left-handed bats pummeled Shields to a .388 wOBA in 2017.

Hitter matchup ratings

Hitter ratings account for the opposing starting pitcher's history (three years' worth), as well as ballpark factors. "LH" and "RH" ratings account only for left- and right-handed batters, respectively.

Weighted on-base average (wOBA) is the primary statistic used in the calculation. Ratings range from 1 to 10, with 10 representing the best possible matchup, statistically speaking, and 1 representing the worst. For example, a 10 is a must-start rating, while a 1 should be avoided (if possible); a 1-2 is poor, 3-4 is fair, 5-6 is average, 7-8 is very good and 9-10 is excellent.