<
>

Daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Saturday

Andrew Suarez has pitched well in June and gets a favorable matchup with the San Diego Padres on Saturday. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Saturday doesn't bring us any marquee matchups, but it's still a pretty decent slate headlined by Aaron Nola, Zack Greinke and Trevor Bauer. While the streaming options aren't necessarily of the high-upside variety, they all have solid-to-good matchups, which is equally important.

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

Pitching

Pitchers to stream

Joe Musgrove (R), rostered in 37 percent of ESPN leagues, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Arizona Diamondbacks: Since returning from the disabled list, Musgrove owns a 3.68 ERA and 1.26 WHIP over five starts, showing pinpoint control (1.8 BB/9) and whiffing nearly a batter per inning (8.9 K/9). What's most encouraging, however, is that his velocity (93.2 mph) is actually up slightly from 2017 (92.9 mph), which is no small thing considering he missed the first two months of the season as he recovered from a shoulder injury. On Saturday, Musgrove draws a Diamondbacks club that's one of the worst in baseball against right-handed pitching, sporting an 80 wRC+ that ranks 29th in MLB and a 25.3 percent strikeout rate that ranks 28th.

Dylan Covey (R), 20 percent, Chicago White Sox vs. Oakland Athletics: Covey quietly has been fantasy-relevant over the past month. The right-hander sports a 2.36 ERA and 8.4 K/9 over his past six outings, allowing two or fewer earned runs in all but one start. The key to his success has been keeping the ball on the ground (60 percent ground ball rate) and in the yard (0.22 HR/9). Covey's skill set doesn't necessarily match up with a sub-3.00 ERA, but he should be able to hold down an A's team that sports an 87 wRC+ over the past 30 days.

Jaime Barria (R), rostered in 20 percent of ESPN leagues, Los Angeles Angels vs. Toronto Blue Jays: Barria was roughed up a bit his last time out (6 ER in 4 IP against Arizona). Prior to that, however, he'd held a 2.61 ERA over his previous eight starts. While Barria is not a big swing-and-miss guy (7.4 K/9), he has good control (2.0 BB/9) and a favorable home park that suppresses both runs and homers. The Blue Jays, meanwhile, are not a team to fear. They've been league average against righty pitching this season with a 23.5 percent whiff rate.

Andrew Suarez (L), 5 percent, San Francisco Giants vs. San Diego Padres: While Suarez's 4.70 ERA in 11 starts is an eyesore, the underlying numbers suggest he deserves some attention. The lefty's 3.58 FIP, 3.28 xFIP, and 63.7 LOB% tell us he's had some bad fortune, while his 4.8 K/BB ratio ranks top-10 in the National League (minimum 50 IP). Plus, the results have begun to improve in June, with a 3.18 ERA and 1.01 WHIP over four starts. Suarez is a good bet to continue trending in the right direction on Saturday against the Padres, who struggle against left-handed pitching (91 wRC+, 25.1 K%).

Bullpen

Wilmer Font will serve as the Rays' opener on Saturday in another bullpen game. The right-hander has fared well his past couple of times out, tossing eight innings of one-run ball across two appearances. Against the Yankees, however, there's no reason to roll the dice here.

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.

Hitting

Catcher

Yan Gomes (R), 17 percent, Cleveland Indians vs. Detroit Tigers (LHP Francisco Liriano): Gomes has quietly been on a heater, slashing .306/.405/.694, smoking five doubles and three homers over this stretch. Liriano returns to the Tigers' rotation after rehabbing a sore hamstring. Over his career, Liriano has been vulnerable to righty power bats.

First base

Mitch Moreland (L), 46 percent, Boston Red Sox vs. Seattle Mariners (RHP Mike Leake): Moreland is flat-out mashing against right-handed pitching this season, putting up a .291/.365/.567 slash line. He's been even more impressive at Fenway Park, where he's batting .322/.392/.598. This is a tough draw for Leake, the owner of a 6.75 ERA and 1.57 WHIP in five career games against Boston.

Second base

Starlin Castro (R), 50 percent, Miami Marlins at Colorado Rockies (LHP Tyler Anderson): Castro has been pretty ho-hum from a fantasy perspective this season. He's batting just .272/.319/.376 and ranks 17th among second basemen on the ESPN Player Rater. The good news is that this weekend brings the Marlins to Coors Field, where Castro is a career .321/.360/.524 hitter in 20 games. He also gets the platoon advantage against Anderson, who sports a 5.13 ERA at Coors this season.

Third base

Christian Villanueva (R), 31 percent, San Diego Padres at San Francisco Giants (LHP Andrew Suarez): All Villanueva has done this season is hit .328/.379/.885 versus left-handed pitching. No big deal. Villanueva has been an inconsistent source of production, but he's proved he can do damage in the right matchups. Suarez and his .358 wOBA allowed to righty batters looks like such a matchup.

Shortstop

Yairo Munoz (R), 4 percent, St. Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee Brewers (RHP Chase Anderson): Munoz doesn't have the platoon advantage here, but that's not a bad thing. While the rookie is batting just .160 against southpaws, he's hitting .305 versus righties. He heads to the hitter-friendly Miller Park, where he'll square off against Anderson and his 5.91 ERA since May 1.

Corner infield

Greg Bird (L), 35 percent, New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays (Bullpen game): You're looking for upside when streaming batters, and Bird certainly brings that to the table. While he's yet to really get going this season, he's whacked 23 homers in 382 career at-bats, showcasing his high-end power potential. He may get only an at-bat or two against opener Wilmer Font on Saturday, but that could be enough (.446 wOBA allowed to lefty batters). Matt Andriese is likely following Font, so Bird will continue to have the platoon edge through the middle innings.

Middle infield

Rougned Odor (L), 28 percent, Texas Rangers at Minnesota Twins (RHP Jake Odorizzi): Odor has been a mess at the plate this season, but he's hitting better in June and popped his first homer of the month on Wednesday. Despite his struggles, Odor still has big-time power from the middle infield, and he matches up well with Odorizzi, who's vulnerable to left-handed power (.281 ISO this season).

Outfield

Carlos Gonzalez (L), 27 percent, Colorado Rockies vs. Miami Marlins (RHP Trevor Richards): Gonzalez may not be the All-Star slugger he was a few years ago. Then again, he still does a pretty good impression of the old Cargo when he's at Coors Field, where he's batting .329/.370/.632 this season. Gonzalez is a good bet to tee off against Richard on Saturday. The right-hander sports a 7.40 road ERA this season, and Coors doesn't figure to help matters.

Gorkys Hernandez (R), 7 percent, San Francisco Giants vs. San Diego Padres (RHP Jordan Lyles): Lyles is a hurler you want to attack. Not only has he been tagged for multiple homers in four of his past six starts, but he's allowed a whopping 27 hits over his past 17 1/3 innings. The right-hander has shown reverse splits this season (.323/.353/.543), which suits Hernandez just fine (.309/.350/.509 vs. RHP).

Max Kepler (L), 38 percent, Minnesota Twins vs. Texas Rangers (RHP Yovani Gallardo): Sure, it's a small sample, but it's hard to get past the fact that Gallardo has allowed 13 runs in just 7 1/3 innings this season with more walks (7) than strikeouts (6). Needless to say, this is a hurler I want to get some exposure against on Saturday. Fire up Kepler, who gets the platoon advantage in a very enticing 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.