Daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Tuesday

Carlos Gonzalez's value bumps up with the Reds sending a right-hander to the mound. AP Photo/David Zalubowski

It's an interesting slate for Tuesday, with several pitchers whom you should consider holding beyond a one-time spot start. Neither directly ties to our picks, but Tuesday also marks the return of two elite arms, with Madison Bumgarner making his season debut and Carlos Martinez returning from the DL.

Let's skate by them and find some key picks in this 16-game slate (one doubleheader).


Pitchers to stream

Joe Musgrove (R), rostered in 36 percent of ESPN leagues, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Los Angeles Dodgers: Musgrove has thrown a pair of gems since coming off the DL. He's good for a spot start here but also someone who could be held on to after the start. Both his velocity (93.8 mph) and groundball rate (58 percent) are career-bests. All four of his pitches have been working. He has peeled back on his slider usage and funneled it into a 90 mph cutter and amped up his changeup usage. He hasn't allowed a homer in either of his two starts, which is only the second time he has gone back-to-back starts without a long ball.

Andrew Heaney (L), 29 percent, Los Angeles Angels vs. Kansas City Royals: Heaney got a late start to the season with some elbow inflammation, but he's finally healthy and pitched really well through nine starts. Even with a five-earned-run dud at Detroit his last time out, he managed a 2.41 ERA in six May starts. Heaney's standout changeup has been a key driver in his ability to limit homers, something he has struggled with throughout his career.

Jordan Lyles (R), 9 percent, San Diego Padres vs. Atlanta Braves: Our long-shot play of the day doesn't have an easy matchup, but the hype over the Braves exceeds their actual performance. They check in a solid-but-not-elite 13th in wOBA against right-handers (.316), but they are 20th in ISO (.155), so they aren't a huge threat to Lyles' biggest weakness (1.3 HR/9). He has been excellent at home, too, with a 2.01 ERA and 0.89 WHIP in 31 innings.

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), 20 percent, Cincinnati Reds vs. Colorado Rockies (LHP Kyle Freeland): It has been a small sample, but Barnhart is pummeling lefties so far (12-for-30) with a .567 SLG, and he got his bat going in May with a .293 AVG. Freeland has a 142-point platoon split favoring righties, with seven of his eight homers allowed against righties, and even accounting for the difference in plate appearances, he still allows homers against them at two times the rate.

First base

Adrian Gonzalez (L), 4 percent, New York Mets vs. Baltimore Orioles (RHP Alex Cobb): Gonzalez hasn't been abysmal against righties ... a rousing endorsement, I know. He has a .745 OPS, 246 points better than his work against lefties. Of course, just breathing as a lefty against Cobb is enough to get the job done lately. Cobb is allowing a .422/.444/.687 line to lefty batters so far. It's not like he's stifling righties, either (.909 OPS), so start any and all Mets.

Second base

Niko Goodrum (B), 6 percent, Detroit Tigers at Boston Red Sox (RHP Steven Wright): Goodrum has been a revelation for the Tigers this year with 5 homers, 5 steals, and a .778 OPS. He has been better against lefties, but I'm not sure splits matter all that much against knuckleballers. Goodrum had a big May, with an OPS of .893 and four of his homers, and he has garnered more playing time.

Third base

Max Muncy (L), 7 percent, Los Angeles Dodgers at Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP Joe Musgrove): It wouldn't be a Sporer entry of the Daily Notes if I didn't go against one of my pitchers. It's a time-honored tradition! OK, I don't actually do it every week and I have no idea how they actually perform when I do use a hitter going against one of the recommended arms, but I'm down to play the hot hand with Muncy. He has revamped his swing and revived his career. He has already popped nine homers in 126 PAs, nearly twice as many as the five he had in 245 PAs in 2015-16. He has 14 extra-base hits out of 22 total against righties.


Jurickson Profar (B), 38 percent, Texas Rangers vs. Oakland Athletics (LHP Sean Manaea): We still haven't seen a full-scale breakout from Profar, but he is trouncing lefties with a .945 OPS in 62 plate appearances and 11 extra-base hits out of 15. Righties still decimate the 25-year old switch-hitter, but he'll likely get a few at-bats against Manaea, who posted a 7.18 ERA in May.

Corner infield

Johan Camargo (B), 5 percent, Atlanta Braves at San Diego Padres (RHP Jordan Lyles): Camargo has been a surprise standout against righties with an .889 OPS, spurred by a 21 percent walk rate. He does also have a .228 ISO, including four of the five homers he has hit on the season. Lyles has actually been quite tough on lefties with a .585 OPS, but it does include a 10 percent walk rate, so Camargo doesn't necessarily need hits to get on base.

Middle infield

Ian Kinsler (R), 40 percent, Los Angeles Angels vs. Kansas City Royals (RHP Brad Keller): Is Kinsler's bat finally waking up? He has popped three of his five homers in the last six games, including four multihit games in that run. He still has a .215 BABIP that is sure to continue rising, especially since his plate and batted-ball skills remain strong. His 10 percent strikeout rate is a five-year best and he has almost a 1-1 strikeout-to-walk rate with 19 strikeouts and 16 walks. Kinsler is one of several candidates to hold beyond Tuesday's recommendation if you need a middle infielder.


Aaron Hicks (B), 46 percent, New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays (RHP Marco Estrada): Hicks has done his best work against righties this year with an .812 OPS and nine extra-base hits, including four of his five homers. The switch-hitter remains a strong power-speed combo, with health continuing to be his biggest hurdle. Everyone is hitting Estrada this year, and lefties are up at .875 OPS with a .257 ISO. Hicks is definitely one of those guys whose roster rate can skyrocket on a dime and may do so soon as he has a .981 OPS over the last two weeks. Consider holding him on your roster after a Tuesday spot start.

Carlos Gonzalez (L), 19 percent, Colorado Rockies at Cincinnati Reds (RHP Anthony DeSclafani): Our makeshift Coors game is a Rockies-Reds feature in Cincinnati with Sal Romano on the bump. The bulk of Cargo's work has come in the fourth and fifth lineup spots, which is likely where he will be Tuesday. He has a solid .792 OPS and all five of his homers against righties this year.

Teoscar Hernandez (R), 38 percent, Toronto Blue Jays vs. New York Yankees (LHP CC Sabathia): Hernandez has a strong .254 ISO against lefties, with eight extra-base hits (out of 15 hits) in 68 plate appearances. He did slow down in May after a huge April, but he's heating up again over the last week with .914 OPS and three multihit games.

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.