Daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Saturday

Jesus Aguilar has been swinging a hot bat for the Milwaukee Brewers lately, but will it continue on Saturday? AP Photo/Morry Gash

With only one hurler (Alex Wood) topping the 60 Game Score threshold, Saturday's full slate is not top-heavy. From a streaming perspective, that's perfectly fine -- it just leaves us with more options to consider. Since that's why we're all here, let's go ahead and get to it.

Here's a look at the day's most interesting streaming options, focusing on players rostered in less than 50 percent of ESPN leagues.


Pitchers to stream

Jake Odorizzi (R), rostered in 47 percent of ESPN leagues, Minnesota Twins at Seattle Mariners: Odorizzi has been lights out of late. In his last three starts, he's allowed just two earned runs on 11 hits while striking out 20 in 16 2/3 innings. In fact, one of those starts came against this Seattle team, a start in which he twirled six shutout frames with seven whiffs. Odorizzi's 4.81 FIP and 4.63 xFIP suggest his 3.17 ERA is due for some regression. However, that regression is unlikely to rear its head on Saturday against a middle-of-the-road Mariners offense in a pitcher-friendly environment.

Jack Flaherty (R), 43 percent, St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates: Frankly, it's surprising Flaherty still comes in under the 50 percent threshold. The young right-hander threw 7 2/3 innings of two-hit, one-run ball against the Phillies in his last outing, racking up 13 K's in the process. Flaherty now sports a 2.31 ERA and 30.3 percent strikeout rate over his four big league starts this season. Some growing pains are sure to arise eventually, but his stuff is legit. While the Pirates have been above average against right-handed pitching this season, I'm still taking my chances with Flaherty as one of the day's high-upside streamers.

Daniel Mengden (R), 18 percent, Oakland Athletics vs. Arizona Diamondbacks: Speaking of high-upside streamers, Mengden is, well ... not one of them. The right-hander sports a 16.1 percent strikeout rate that ranks eighth worst in baseball this season. However, his 2.5 percent walk rate is second best in baseball, and he's allowed two or fewer runs in six of his past seven starts, resulting in a 2.18 ERA. Mengden provides a nice floor against a Diamondbacks team that sports an MLB-worst 51 wRC+ in May.

Jordan Lyles (R), 13 percent, San Diego Padres at Los Angeles Dodgers: Lyles has generated some fantasy interest since sliding into the Padres' starting rotation. While he was roughed up a bit in his last outing, he carried a perfect game into the eighth inning against the Rockies his previous time out. All told, he owns a 2.50 ERA and 10.0 K/9 over three starts. Against the Dodgers offense that sports a bottom-10 wOBA over the past two weeks (.297), Lyles makes for an appealing streaming option.

Pitcher to avoid

Sean Newcomb (L), 87 percent, Atlanta Braves at Boston Red Sox: Newcomb looks unstoppable right now, as he sports a 0.36 ERA in his past four outings. If you want to continue riding the Atlanta lefty on Saturday, I'm not going to talk you out of it. That said, it is worth nothing that those last four starts have come against the Mets, Rays and Marlins (twice). Not exactly a murderer's row. The Red Sox, obviously, pose much more of a threat. Just something to keep in mind if you're trying to protect your ratios as we head into the weekend.


MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported on Thursday that the Royals have been letting teams know that they plan on selling at the trade deadline. Fantasy managers who have rostered closer Kelvin Herrera may want to consider selling too. The right-hander has been terrific this season, nailing down 10 saves with a 0.96 ERA. However, he's headed for free agency at the end of the season, making him one of the more likely candidates to get dealt. It's certainly possible that another team will acquire him to handle the ninth inning, but it's just as possible that he'll be shifted into a setup role, which would severely dampen his fantasy value. Something to keep in mind as the trade deadline draws closer.

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.



Nick Hundley (R), 3 percent, San Francisco Giants at Chicago Cubs (LHP Jose Quintana): Hundley has been getting regular playing time against lefties (with Buster Posey shifting to first base), and it's easy to see why. In 21 games, he's batting .351/.400/.649 versus southpaws. Quintana was effective his last time out, but he's still allowing a .368 wOBA to righty batters this season.

First base

Justin Bour (L), 50 percent, Miami Marlins vs. Washington Nationals (RHP Tanner Roark): Bour boasts a .310 ISO versus right-handed pitching this season. More impressive is that he's showing improved plate discipline, drawing 23 walks in May, second to only Mike Trout. Meanwhile, Roark has surrendered a .203 ISO to lefty batters this season, including 11 of the 15 extra-base hits he's allowed.

Second base

Rougned Odor (L), 45 percent, Texas Rangers vs. Kansas City Royals (RHP Ian Kennedy): Odor has done very little offensively since returning from the disabled list. Still, this is a middle infielder with big power playing in a hitter-friendly park with the platoon advantage. He finds himself in a favorable spot on Saturday, squaring off against Kennedy, who has trouble keeping the ball in the park.

Third base

Daniel Descalso (L), 27 percent, Arizona Diamondbacks at Oakland Athletics (RHP Daniel Mengden): Descalso has been a pleasant surprise of late, putting up a .367 wOBA against right-handed pitching. As highlighted above, Mengden has pitched very well of late. However, he is a pitch-to-contact hurler, and Descalso is sporting a career-best 41.1 hard contact rate this season, putting him in a good spot to produce on Saturday.


Jose Iglesias (R), 8 percent, Detroit Tigers vs. Chicago White Sox (LHP Hector Santiago): While Iglesias isn't exactly known for his offensive prowess, he has mashed lefties this season, putting up a .290/.343/.516 slash line against them. He finds himself in a favorable spot against Santiago, the owner of a 7.11 ERA as a starter this season.

Corner infield

Jesus Aguilar (R), 35 percent, Milwaukee Brewers vs. New York Mets (LHP Jason Vargas): Aguilar's bat is smoking right now. He's blasted four homers with nine RBIs in his past six games. And it's not just the last six games. He's sporting a 40.7 percent hard-hit rate and is crushing both righties (.329/.371/.588) and lefties (.308/.419/.538). Then we have Vargas, who has given up a .386/.426/.632 slash line to righty hitters this season. Make sure Aguilar is in your lineups on Saturday.

Middle infield

Ben Zobrist (B), 24 percent, Chicago Cubs vs. San Francisco Giants (RHP Chris Stratton): Stratton received some buzz as a late-round sleeper this spring, but it hasn't panned out. He owns a 4.92 ERA in 10 starts and has been particularly brutal in May (6.53 ERA). Zobrist, meanwhile, continues to get his licks in against right-handed pitching, producing a .299/.407/.429 slash line against them in 2018.


Adam Duvall (R), 50 percent, Cincinnati Reds at Colorado Rockies (LHP Tyler Anderson): Even with his struggles this season, Duval owns a .227 ISO and is close to a 30-homer pace for the third straight season. He's also still hitting lots of fly balls (49.1 percent) and making lots of hard contact (39.8 percent), both of which will suit him well at Coors Field. For his part, Anderson is sporting a 5.48 ERA in May and is allowing a .218 ISO to right-handed batters.

Aaron Altherr (L), 5 percent, Philadelphia Phillies vs. Toronto Blue Jays (LHP Jaime Garcia): Garcia's visit to the DL for shoulder inflammation was the minimum, as he's been cleared to return to the Jays' rotation without requiring a rehab stint. Before being sidelined, Garcia was allowing an inordinately high number of base runners, with high hit and walk rates. Altherr's early season woes have him sitting often, but he has been active versus southpaws, usually batting cleanup. Despite looking up at the Mendoza line, Altherr's been walking at a 15 percent clip, most useful in points leagues.

David Dahl (L), 9 percent, Colorado Rockies vs. Cincinnati Reds (RHP Tyler Mahle): This one is too easy. Mahle is surrendering a .408 wOBA to lefty bats this season, and Dahl is batting .314/.375/.490 against righties. Oh yeah, and this matchup is taking place at Coors Field. If Dahl isn't in the lineup, pivot over to Carlos Gonzalez (18 percent rostered) in this highly appealing matchup.

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.