Daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Saturday

Miguel Andujar has a promising matchup ahead of him Saturday that could result in quality fantasy production. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday's slate looks good on multiple levels. There are some bona fide aces at the top, with Justin Verlander, Jacob deGrom and Zack Greinke leading the way. There are multiple quality streaming options with legit upside, highlighted by Caleb Smith and Vince Velasquez. Then, of course, there's a Coors Field matchup, which is always a good place to look when streaming bats.

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


Pitchers to stream

Caleb Smith (L), rostered in 33 percent of ESPN leagues, Miami Marlins at Arizona Diamondbacks: Smith deserves to be rostered in more than 33 percent of leagues. During the past 30 days, the lefty has been a top-30 starting pitcher. In fact, he's allowed two or fewer runs in six of his past seven starts, culminating in a 2.21 ERA and 10.5 K/9. Smith matches up well with a Diamondbacks team that owns the third-highest strikeout rate in baseball (25.6 percent). The humidor has also been as advertised in terms of suppressing offense. Compared with 2017, the Diamondbacks' offensive numbers are down across the board at Chase Field, which is another mark in Smith's favor.

Trevor Cahill (R), 29 percent, Oakland Athletics at Kansas City Royals: Cahill's numbers don't tell the story of a pitcher rostered in less than 30 percent of leagues. In seven starts this season, all Cahill has done is post a 2.25 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and 4.6 K/BB ratio, which would rank in the top 20 in baseball if he qualified. He sports a career-best 13.3 percent swinging strike rate. Cahill should keep rolling against a below-average Royals offense that lacks thump (.133 ISO is worst in the American League).

Vince Velasquez (R), 28 percent, Philadelphia Phillies at San Francisco Giants: Since the beginning of May, Velasquez owns a 2.30 ERA with 36 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings. While he's still not showcasing great control, his 3.3 BB/9 is a big improvement over last season's 4.3 mark. As long he keeps missing bats at this rate, he can get by without pinpoint control. On Saturday, Velasquez gets a nice park upgrade as he goes to AT&T Park to face the Giants, who are whiffing at a 24.9 percent clip against right-handed pitching. If he's on his game, the 25-year-old righty could flirt with double-digit K's in this matchup.

Jhoulys Chacin (R), 18 percent, Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago White Sox: Chacin stumbled his last time out (5 ER in 6.1 IP), but let's not ignore what he did before that. In his previous five starts, he posted a 1.54 ERA with an 8.5 K/9 and just 11 hits allowed in 23.1 innings. Against a White Sox team that strikes out a ton (24.8 percent) and rarely walks (7.5 percent), Chacin finds himself in a favorable spot on Saturday.

Pitcher to avoid

Gio Gonzalez (L), 95 percent, Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves: If I have Gonzalez rostered, I'd have a hard time benching him here. After all, he owns a 2.10 ERA on the season, including a 1.47 ERA in May, with nearly a strikeout per inning (8.8 K/9). That being said, I'm certainly lowering expectations here. Gonzalez hasn't pitched as well as his 2.10 ERA suggests (3.07 FIP, 3.85 xFIP), his 83.8 LOB% is due for regression, and the Braves have been the best offense in baseball against lefty pitching this season (.355 wOBA, 124 wRC+).


The Marlins' bullpen is getting a bit of a makeover. Brad Ziegler, the owner of a ghastly 7.83 ERA, is out as the team's closer. Manager Don Mattingly hasn't named a new ninth-inning man, but all signs point to Kyle Barraclough being handed the job. The right-hander sports a 1.48 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 10.0 K/8 in 25 appearances this season. Even with his control issues (5.55 BB/9), he's clearly the most qualified candidate for the job. Barraclough is available in 94 percent of ESPN leagues.

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.



Tucker Barnhart (B), 22 percent, Cincinnati Reds at San Diego Padres (LHP Eric Lauer): Lauer's move into San Diego's starting rotation has gone ... not well. He holds a 7.67 ERA across seven starts, and he's been hammered by both righty (.428 wOBA) and lefty batters (.410 wOBA). This makes for a mouth-watering matchup for Barnhart, who has crushed lefties to the tune of a .400/.486/.567 slash line this season.

First base

Yonder Alonso (L), 40 percent, Cleveland Indians at Minnesota Twins (RHP Lance Lynn): Lynn has rebounded in May (3.76 ERA) after a terrible April (8.37 ERA), but he still hasn't been able to figure out lefty hitters, who have put up a .321/.411/.538 triple slash against him. Alonso, meanwhile, sports a .358 wOBA against righties this season with a .221 ISO.

Second base

Kolten Wong (L), 2 percent, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP Chad Kuhl): Kuhl has been vulnerable to left-handed batters his entire career. He has allowed a .515 SLG and .374 wOBA to lefty hitters in his career, and this season eight of the 11 homers he has allowed have been hit by lefties, which has resulted in a .280 ISO. This is a nice spot to fire up Wong, who is a .310/.392/.485 hitter at Busch Stadium since the beginning of 2017.

Third base

Miguel Andujar (R), 47 percent, New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles (RHP Alex Cobb): Andujar has fared much better against righties this season. While he sports an uninspiring .220/.259/.420 slash line against southpaws, he's hit .317/.331/.524 against righty pitching. That matches him up well with Cobb, who can't get hitters out on either side of the plate (.382 wOBA allowed to righty batters; .473 wOBA allowed to lefties).


Miguel Rojas (R), 15 percent, Miami Marlins at Arizona Diamondbacks (RHP Zack Greinke): Rojas' matchup against Greinke obviously isn't ideal. However, he deserves some attention for his quietly productive May, during which he's hit .298/.384/.440 with five homers and a pair of steals. With his multi-position eligibility (first base and shortstop, with third base coming soon), Rojas is an underrated option right now.

Corner infield

Mark Trumbo (R), 20 percent, Baltimore Orioles vs. New York Yankees (RHP Domingo German): Trumbo won't have the platoon advantage here, but that's actually a good thing right now. The Orioles' slugger has pummeled righties this season, putting up a .350/.371/.500 slash line against them. And German doesn't look like a pitcher who's going to slow him down. Since tossing six hitless innings in his first big league start, he owns a 9.42 ERA in his last three outings.

Middle infield

Jonathan Villar (B), 17 percent, Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago White Sox (RHP James Shields): Shields is one of my favorite pitchers to attack. While he has pitched better in May, he's still on thin ice, as he's not missing bats (5.8 K/9) and his control (3.9 BB/9) isn't good enough to make up for it. Meanwhile, Villar has been swinging a hot stick of late, batting .292/.340/.500 in his past 16 games.


Joc Pederson (L), 2 percent, Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies (RHP German Marquez): Not only does Pederson get the platoon advantage on Saturday against an exploitable pitcher, but the game also takes place at Coors Field. Yes, please. Pederson owns a career .224 ISO against right-handed pitching, while Marquez has been tattooed at Coors in his career, demonstrated by a 4.93 career home ERA and a 7.54 mark in 2018.

Michael Taylor (R), 17 percent, Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves (RHP Brandon McCarthy): McCarthy has shown reverse splits this season, allowing a .362/.386/.504 triple slash to right-handed batters. He has also surrendered at least nine hits and five runs in three of his past five starts, so there's certainly implosion potential here against a dangerous Nationals lineup. In addition to an 86.2 percent SB success rate against righties, Taylor has hit safely in five straight games, so now is the time to roster him while he's starting to heat up.

Travis Jankowski (L), 26 percent, San Diego Padres vs. Cincinnati Reds (RHP Matt Harvey): If it's speed you seek, Jankowski is your man. He owns a .393 OBP versus righties this season along with an 80 percent stolen base success rate when a right-hander is on the mound. Harvey is allowing a .306/.352/.653 slash line to lefty batters this season, and eight of nine potential base-stealers have been successful against him.

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.