<
>

Daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Saturday

Although Williams is 3-1 with an 0.82 ERA in his last four starts, he's pitched more than six innings in a game only once since May 16. AP

Saturday's slate of games offers plenty of things, but high-profile, head-to-head pitching matchups isn't one of them. Despite it being a full 16-game schedule with the Red Sox and Orioles playing a double-header, there's not a single game on the board that features two pitchers with 55-plus game scores. The closest we get is Aaron Nola squaring off against -- Walker Lockett? Yes, it's that kind of day. The good news is that lots of mediocre and lower-level hurlers means lots of favorable hitting matchups and plenty of scoring.

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


Pitching

Pitchers to stream

Trevor Williams (R), rostered in 31 percent of ESPN leagues, Pittsburgh Pirates at San Francisco Giants: You wouldn't know it based upon the rostered percentage, but Williams has been quite effective of late. Over his past four starts, he's surrendered just two runs across 22 innings (0.82 ERA). Will a Giants team that ranks 23rd or worse in ISO, wOBA and wRC+ be able to muster up enough offense to derail the San Francisco right-hander? It's unlikely.

Dan Straily (R), 5 percent, Miami Marlins vs. New York Mets: Straily may be an unexciting, low-upside arm, but sometimes that's where streaming value is found. The Miami right-hander has surrendered three or fewer earned runs in seven of his past eight starts, and he should be able to stay on track against a lackluster Mets offense which ranks 23rd in ISO, 24th in wRC+ and 26th in wOBA. It doesn't hurt that Saturday's tilt comes at Marlins Park, one of the most pitcher-friendly venues in the majors.

Lance Lynn (R), 46 percent, New York Yankees vs. Texas Rangers: Lynn has been a poor fantasy option this season, but he's been "lights out" since joining the Yankees, tossing 11.2 scoreless innings with 14 strikeouts and -- most importantly -- only one walk. On Saturday, Lynn gets a Texas team that's been below-average against right-handed pitching this season (95 wRC+) with an inflated 25.3 percent strikeout rate that ranks fourth highest in baseball.

Kyle Gibson (R), 43 percent, Minnesota Twins at Detroit Tigers: As far as matchups go, it doesn't get much better than this one. The Tigers have been the worst team against right-handed pitching this season, sporting an MLB-worst 74 wRC+ and .282 wOBA. For his part, Gibson has posted a 3.23 road ERA and has shown incredible consistency, with an ERA of 3.75 or lower in every full month this season. His 8.7 K/9 in 2018 is by far a career best.

Pitcher to Avoid

Jon Lester (L), 95 percent, Chicago Cubs vs. Washington Nationals: Lester has gotten by on "smoke and mirrors" for much of this season, and it's finally catching up with him. His 6.9 K/9 is his worst mark since 2008 and his 3.5 BB/9 is his worst mark since 2010. He's also allowing more hard contact than ever (33.7 percent) and his 3.44 ERA isn't supported by his 4.82 FIP and 4.78 xFIP. After holding a sterling 2.58 ERA before the break, he now has an 8.53 ERA in his last four starts. Against a Nationals team that sports the best second-half wRC+ (123) in the National League, I'm steering clear of Lester here.

Projected game scores


Hitting

Catcher

Robinson Chirinos (R), 32 percent, Texas Rangers at New York Yankees (RHP Lance Lynn): We like Lynn as a streaming option today, but Chirinos still stands out as one of the better options at a weak position. The Texas backstop has a .997 OPS since the break, has hit 11 of his 15 homers against righties, and is playing in a park that inflates right-handed power.

First base

David Freese (R), 5 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates at San Francisco Giants (LHP Ty Blach): Freese has been crushing during the past month, slashing .353/.400/.618. He does his damage primarily facing southpaw pitching, making him one of the best pickups on the day facing Blach and his 1.53 WHIP with only 52 strikeouts in 94.2 innings.

Second base

Daniel Descalso (L), 14 percent, Arizona Diamondbacks at Cincinnati Reds (RHP Matt Harvey): After putting together a nice six-start stretch between mid-June and mid-July (2.38 ERA), Harvey has since fallen on hard times. He's surrendered 15 runs over his last 12.2 innings, including six homers allowed. This makes for a great time to fire up Descalso, who has a .359 wOBA versus right-handed pitching in 2018.

Third base

Miguel Sano (R), 35 percent, Minnesota Twins at Detroit Tigers (LHP Francisco Liriano): While Sano has been a colossal disappointment this season, he still carries a career .269/.361/.538 slash line against lefty pitching with a 42.9 percent hard-hit rate. Liriano has kept left-handed batters in check this season (.441 OPS), but right-handed batters have been a different story (.819 OPS). With a 5.1 BB/9 and a career-worst 7.3 K/9, Liriano has very little margin for error.

Shortstop

Ketel Marte (B), 37 percent, Arizona Diamondbacks at Cincinnati Reds (RHP Matt Harvey): We've picked on Harvey once already and, well, we're going to do it again. Harvey is allowing an .849 OPS to left-handed batters, and Marte has been red-hot since the All-Star break, slashing .361/.451/.508. Marte also gets a nice boost going to Great American Ballpark, which boosts left-handed power.

Corner infield

Yonder Alonso (L), 50 percent, Cleveland Indians at Chicago White Sox (RHP James Shields): While Shields put together a nice stretch between May and June (3.59 ERA), he's predictably come crashing back down to earth. The right-hander has a 5.70 ERA over his last six outings, with five home runs allowed over his last three starts. This creates a nice opportunity for Alonso and his .340 wOBA against right-handed pitching.

Middle infield

Joey Wendle (L), 13 percent, Tampa Bay Rays at Toronto Blue Jays (RHP Sam Gaviglio): Wendle has been a sneaky little fantasy player this season, hitting for average and showing both double-digit homer and steal potential. He's been particularly productive over the last month, as demonstrated by his .338/.465/.526 slash line. Gaviglio, who holds a 7.62 ERA over the last month, presents a favorable matchup for the lefty-swinging Wendle.

Outfield

Harrison Bader (R), 6 percent, St. Louis Cardinals at Kansas City Royals (LHP Danny Duffy): Bader has seen limited action this season, but he's stung left-handed pitching to the tune of .303/.376/.500. He's also swiped 12 bags thanks to a 30.0 sprint speed (ft/sec) that ranks third-best in baseball behind only Billy Hamilton and Byron Buxton. Duffy, meanwhile, has put up a 5.18 ERA since the break and has been a disaster at Kauffman Stadium this season (6.48 ERA in 50 IP).

Adam Duvall (R), 26 percent, Atlanta Braves vs. Milwaukee Brewers (LHP Wade Miley): With Duvall, it's all about chasing upside. With a career .228 ISO against left-handed pitching, the Atlanta slugger offers great power potential against Miley. While Miley's 2.10 ERA tells one story, his 3.91 FIP and 4.73 xFIP tell another. It's only a matter of time before his bloated 46.1 percent hard-hit rate catches up with him.

Steve Pearce (R), 16 percent, Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles (RHP Yefry Ramirez): While Boston's lineup features arguably the most dangerous trio in baseball with Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi and J.D. Martinez, Pearce's contributions shouldn't be ignored. Dating back to June 22, Pearce is batting .342/.430/.671 with six homers and 17 RBI in 24 games. He finds himself in a highly appealing spot on Saturday, matching up with Ramirez, who has been blasted for a 10.80 ERA over his last three starts.

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.