Daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Wednesday

Jose Bautista is off to a hot start with his new team. Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP

Wednesday features some dandy pitching matchups, including Patrick Corbin vs. Alex Wood and, of course, the Gio Gonzalez-Joey Lucchesi showcase. (Who thought of that one in March?)

Continue double-checking lineups due to increasing interleague play, with some designated hitters possibly losing at-bats due to playing in National League parks.

We're also at the point in the fantasy baseball season when proactive players know who to target when on a favorable streaming assignment, so there'll be one pitcher of significance who's a bit above our "50 percent rostered" limit but deserves attention nonetheless.


Pitchers to stream

Trevor Williams (R), rostered in 55.1 percent of ESPN leagues, Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago White Sox: Five of Williams' first six starts fit the "quality" category, but he slipped up against the capable Nationals last Thursday. Though Williams' 2.63 ERA doesn't jibe with his 4.17 FIP and 5.71 K/9 doesn't befit sustained success, he should stave off regression against a White Sox lineup that holds the third-worst BB/K (0.30) against righties and looks much lighter without Yoan Moncada (hamstring).

Chris Stratton (R), 20.5 percent, San Francisco Giants at Philadelphia Phillies: The Phillies have the second-highest strikeout rate against right-handers on the season (26.8 percent), and despite unsettling command peripherals (33 strikeouts, 16 walks in 38⅓ frames), Stratton has churned out a quality start in four of his past five outings, the lone setback being an April 28 disaster against the Dodgers. Remove that outing and Stratton would carry a 2.68 ERA.

Francisco Liriano (L), 25.3 percent, Detroit Tigers at Texas Rangers: How desperate are you to win your head-to-head matchup? Liriano hasn't allowed more than three runs in an outing all year but has had to work around his trademark control woes. Though they welcomed Delino DeShields Jr. back into the lineup this past weekend, the Rangers carry the second-highest strikeout percentage (27.4) and second-lowest BB/K (0.27) against southpaws.

Pitchers to avoid

Masahiro Tanaka (R), 97 percent, New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox: Tanaka has rattled off three consecutive quality starts, with a 19-4 K-BB ratio, but he's still allowed at least one home run in five of seven outings this year. It's difficult to confidently throw even a top-end arm against this Red Sox lineup, let alone one who's prone to the long ball. Even a setback here could wind up as a fine springboard to buy low, however, on what could become an unsightly ERA.

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.



Brian McCann (L), 48.9 percent, Houston Astros at Oakland Athletics (RHP Daniel Mengden): Whether it's McCann or the sometimes-useful Max Stassi (1 percent) behind the dish for Cy Young candidate Gerrit Cole, Houston's backstop games should play well against Mengden, who according to Fangraphs has allowed a whopping 40.2 hard-contact percentage. McCann comes into play against the majority handedness, his typical preference for an opposing pitcher (.814 career OPS).

First base

Lucas Duda (L), 8.3 percent, Kansas City Royals at Baltimore Orioles (RHP Andrew Cashner): The Royals' parade of opposing righties continues, meaning Duda gets more run in mixed leagues. In the first month-plus, the Duda is abiding by that strength (.765 OPS, compared to .445 against lefties). The outlook strengthens with Cashner's .401 wOBA allowed to lefty bats this year.

Second base

Jose Pirela (R), 18.1 percent, San Diego Padres vs. Washington Nationals (LHP Gio Gonzalez): San Diego has cleared its outfield glut by giving the keystone keys to Pirela, who rattled off a .305/.367/.561 line with four homers in 90 plate appearances against lefties last year. Gonzalez's success hides the fact he still labors, with 4.07 pitches per plate appearance so far, and right-handers have a slightly better shot to leave the yard at Petco Park.

Third base

Zack Cozart (R), 56.5 percent, Los Angeles Angels at Colorado Rockies (LHP Tyler Anderson): His rostered percentage should continue to climb as he starts extracting more of his power, particularly as he climbs out of his rut against lefties and more toward the .337/.426/.633 line against them last year. Anderson typically performs better at Coors Field, bucking the typical trend, but as is typically the smarter bet, side with the batter in Denver.


Addison Russell (R), 34.3 percent, Chicago Cubs vs. Miami Marlins (LHP Wei-Yin Chen): Check the wind report at Wrigley Field, though Chen has allowed three homers in his first two starts since returning from elbow issues and might provide the helium of his own, considering he's never posted a HR/9 lower than a 1.11 in a full season. Russell hasn't yet left the yard in 2018 but has a good chance to do so now, and he rode a modest three-game hit streak into Tuesday's action.

Corner infield

Danny Valencia (R), 0.4 percent, Baltimore Orioles vs. Kansas City Royals (LHP Eric Skoglund): Among the typical Orioles righty bats to click Wednesday, the 33-year-old has occupied the bottom side of a platoon at the hot corner and pestered left-handers last year with an .804 OPS in 149 plate appearances. Through Monday, Skoglund has allowed the second-most hard contact (52.9 percent) to righty bats.

Middle infield

Lourdes Gurriel (R), 2.7 percent, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Seattle Mariners (LHP Wade LeBlanc): Gurriel has earned at least a temporary lockdown on a lineup spot after the Jays shifted Aledmys Diaz (ankle) to the disabled list. Gurriel will likely receive a new qualification at shortstop soon, increasing his long-term utility in deeper formats. The soft-tossing LeBlanc carries a 4.51 ERA and 1.31 HR/9 in his career as a starter, and Rogers Centre is generally neutral or better for hitters in ballpark metrics.


Bradley Zimmer (L), 16.9 percent, Cleveland Indians at Milwaukee Brewers (RHP Junior Guerra): Following an outstanding four-outing start to 2018, Guerra crashed back in his last start. Zimmer is harboring a bruised left shoulder but doesn't appear in jeopardy of missing extended time. Though early numbers don't back it up, it's always better to deploy him against righties. He launched seven of his eight homers against them last year. If he's inactive, consider Tyler Naquin (0.5 percent), owner of a career .298/.362/.486 split in that role and who enjoyed a four-game hit streak entering Tuesday.

David Dahl (L), 13.5 percent, Colorado Rockies vs. Los Angeles Angels (RHP Jaime Barria): Your Coors Field rental of the day, Dahl sports a .500 BABIP - obvious regression alert, considering it's just 43 plate appearances -- but Barria's 3.46 ERA in three outings is equally absurd, considering his matching 4.15 K/9 and BB/9. Dahl should be part of the parade to help correct that outlandish trend.

Jose Bautista (R), 16.6 percent, Atlanta Braves at Tampa Bay Rays (LHP Ryan Yarbrough): Now 3-for-10 in his first three games since being called up from Triple-A Gwinnett, Joey Bats probably still needs more games at third base to start qualifying there in fantasy games, but even with modest expectations for his offense, guessing that he'll run into one against likely hill occupant Yarbrough, who's posted a mere 6.2 percent swinging-strike rate and could be exposed upon expanding his pitch count as Tampa Bay's bridge starter.

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.