Daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Wednesday

Rain on Tuesday has pushed back the scheduled start of Vince Velasquez. Who takes his place atop the Wednesday recommendations? Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rockies and San Diego Padres are absent from Wednesday's schedule, which starts with two games at 12:35 p.m. ET. The Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays lose the designated hitter in their interleague contests, but the Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals gain one.

However, expected inclement weather in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, New York and Pittsburgh could wash away many of these suggestions, so keep an eye on the news and be prepared to shift your lineups.


Pitchers to stream

Nick Pivetta (R), rostered in 24 percent of ESPN leagues, Philadelphia Phillies at Baltimore Orioles: Pivetta bounced back from his worst start of the season (1 IP/6 ER at Washington) with five shutout innings against the Giants, including seven strikeouts. He's had fewer than five strikeouts just three times this season. The Orioles are ill-equipped to expose Pivetta's heavy platoon split all that much with just two lefties in their regular lineup, including Chris Davis and his .527 OPS. Pivetta has allowed an .849 OPS to lefties and just a .571 to righties. His 33 percent strikeout rate against righties will make life tough on the Orioles lineup.

Jacob Faria (R), 36.3 percent, Tampa Bay Rays at Kansas City Royals: The often homer-prone right-hander was showing signs of a turnaround with just one earned run allowed in 13.1 innings in two starts before his disastrous seven-run outing Friday. He'll draw another punchless offense (.310 wOBA, 26 homers against righties rank in the bottom 10) in one of the league's best parks for restricting big flies, which could hide Faria's biggest flaw.

Bartolo Colon (R), 9.6 percent, Texas Rangers at Seattle Mariners: Colon hasn't gone fewer than five innings in any of his past five starts, and though the outings haven't always been pretty, he's still trustworthy to plow through innings. Against an M's lineup that has posted a suboptimal .304 wOBA at home and is now missing Robinson Cano, Colon should position himself for a useful spot outing.

Matt Harvey (R), 9.3 percent, Cincinnati Reds at San Francisco Giants: Harvey's debut with Cincinnati was abbreviated on a pitch count, but it was promising, as he allowed just one hit across four shutout innings against the Dodgers. Continuing the theme of lineups that come up short against righties, the Giants hold the fifth-highest strikeout rate (25.5 percent) in that category. The fact this outing comes in one of the league's pitcher paradises, AT&T Park, helps his cause.

Pitcher to avoid

Since it's pointless to recommend that season-long fantasy players bench perennial Cy Young candidate Max Scherzer against the scorching-hot Yankees ...

Miles Mikolas (R), 83.6 percent, St. Louis Cardinals at Minnesota Twins: Mikolas' pristine 0.58 walk rate unfortunately doesn't have an overpowering K/9 to come with it (6.75) to inspire confidence in that 2.51 ERA. His 85.1 percent strand rate looks ready to drop with his ERA moving toward his 3.57 FIP. Minnesota's lineup (plus that designated hitter) and Target Field are just dangerous enough to expect at least a slip-up, if not a harsh correction.

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.



Devin Mesoraco (R), 1.2 percent, New York Mets vs. Toronto Blue Jays (LHP J.A. Happ): I'm all but obligated to pair Harvey with the other name involved in his swap. The Mets' new primary backstop has struggled to recapture his offensive promise, but Mesoraco's .787 career OPS against lefty pitching can at least make him worthy in such matchups for deeper fantasy lineups. For all his success this year, Happ has run into trouble against righty batters with a .372 wOBA.

First base

Mitch Moreland (L), 24.4 percent, Boston Red Sox vs. Oakland Athletics (RHP Trevor Cahill): Moreland enjoyed a recent five-game run in which he went 11-for-21 with four homers and eight RBIs. Though the veteran bat has calmed down, Moreland has continued plastering righties in 2018 (.328/.395/.642 with five homers in just 76 plate appearances). Cahill's slight reverse-split trend isn't enough to poke significant holes in this plan.

Second base

Howie Kendrick (R), 31.1 percent, Washington Nationals vs. New York Yankees (LHP CC Sabathia): Carrying a six-game hit streak into Tuesday, Kendrick still occupies a near-everyday place in the Nats' injury-rattled lineup, and his standout contact skills keep him in fantasy discussions. Sabathia's cutter-fueled revival aside, his 2.23 ERA is due for correction, and since the start of last season, Kendrick boasts a 40.5 hard-contact percentage and a 21.1 percent HR/FB against left-handers. Don't hesitate to use Wilmer Difo (10.7 percent) if he displaces Kendrick, either.

Third base

Ryan Flaherty (L), 8.3 percent, Atlanta Braves vs. Chicago Cubs (RHP Tyler Chatwood): The top-side platooner likely will start in place of Jose Bautista against RHPs. Since the start of last season, Chatwood has been carved up by lefty bats (.356 wOBA and 60 walks since the start of last season). Plus, SunTrust Park pumps up left-handed pop.


Orlando Arcia (R), 21.7 percent, Milwaukee Brewers at Arizona Diamondbacks (RHP Matt Koch): Sometimes a hitter struggling with contact needs help from a pitching machine to get going. Koch's early success is defined not by dominance but by peppering the strike zone, with a whopping 53.0 percent of his pitches residing there, per Pitch Info data. Arcia has scuffled early in the year but could run into some inviting offerings.

Corner infield

John Hicks (R), 2.1 percent, Detroit Tigers vs. Cleveland Indians (RHP Trevor Bauer): It's a bit of a "fingers crossed" play against a pitcher as sparkling as Bauer has been, but he still walks too many batters (3.71 per nine innings) and allows a bit too much hard contact (a career-high pace of 39.4 percent). Hicks has surprisingly kept the Tigers' offense afloat during Miguel Cabrera's disabled list stint with a .333/.375/.529 line, two homers and seven RBIs over 13 games while churning out a 50.9 hard-contact percentage on the season.

Middle infield

Kolten Wong (L), 2.6 percent, St. Louis Cardinals at Minnesota Twins (RHP Lance Lynn): In his abbreviated season, Lynn continues to suffer from his career-long woes against lefty bats, surrendering a .443 wOBA in 64 such plate appearances. It's a fitting spot if you must scrape the barrel bottom to use the platoon-leaning Wong (career 0.52 BB/K against them), who's stuck in a 0-for-16 rut but often wakes up against a pitcher like this.


Enrique Hernandez (R), 5.2 percent, Los Angeles Dodgers at Miami Marlins (LHP Caleb Smith): Since the start of the 2017 season, Hernandez has 12 homers, a .370 wOBA, a 13.6 walk percentage and a 19.9 strikeout rate in 236 plate appearances against left-handers. Smith has looked weaker against lefty bats in his short 2018 performance, but Hernandez and fellow lefty masher Matt Kemp (46.2 percent) may help the regression gods correct Smith's 3.63 ERA.

Nick Williams (L), 1 percent, Philadelphia Phillies at Baltimore Orioles (RHP Andrew Cashner): Williams was slotted to hit fifth against Cashner prior to last night's postponement, so there's no reason to believe he won't do the same today. He's off to a sluggish start, though many hitters have found success facing Cashner. The veteran right-hander has surrendered 10 homers in just 44.2 innings, six to lefty swingers. Despite the early struggles, Williams is walking a bit more this season, which could come into play as Cashner is issuing over four walks per nine frames.

Ben Gamel (L), 0.7 percent, Seattle Mariners vs. Texas Rangers (RHP Bartolo Colon): The light-hitting 25-year-old doesn't usually attract attention in most mixed-league formats, but churn-and-burn leagues could use him. Since the beginning of the 2017 season, Colon has allowed the sixth-highest rate of hard contact to left-handed bats (a whopping 41.2 percent). Texas also holds the third-lowest caught-stealing percentage (14.29), so perhaps Gamel can finally translate his attractive speed metrics into more production on the base paths.

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.