<
>

Daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Friday

Jason Heyward should be in the lineup with the right-hander on the mound. Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Now coming out of the bullpen for Todd Zola: me.

Todd needs a well-deserved break, so I'll work through Friday's typically full 15-game slate. Keeping with my theme of being flexible, today's recommendations include two infielders with catcher eligibility.

Unfortunately, the Blue Jays' lineup thins out as they lose their designated hitter in a trip to Miami.

Fortunately, another pitcher-friendly environment features today's highlighted pitcher rental.

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

Andrew Suarez (L), 6.4 percent, San Francisco Giants vs. New York Mets: The Mets' .287 wOBA against lefties is tied for second to last, a continuation of the trend that's made them a target for these matchups nearly all season. Suarez also leaves his heart at AT&T Park (3.39 ERA, compared with 5.55 elsewhere).

Nathan Eovaldi (R), rostered in 47.9 percent of ESPN leagues, Boston Red Sox at Chicago White Sox: Lining up with former Red Sox prospect and immediate fantasy darling Michael Kopech, Eovaldi is looking to stop a four-start slide. Since throwing 15 scoreless frames over his first two Boston outings, he's stumbled with a 7.41 ERA in his past four. Still, the rebuilding White Sox own the highest strikeout rate (27.1 percent) in August, and even if Eovaldi and Kopech duel, the BoSox's arm should help with that important category.

Antonio Senzatela (R), 1.2 percent, Colorado Rockies at San Diego Padres: Senzatela's 5.46 ERA away from Coors Field bucks the trend of Rockies pitchers' splits, but it's difficult to stay away from Petco Park assignments when scrounging.

Pitchers to avoid

Tanner Roark (R), 53.7 percent, Washington Nationals vs. Milwaukee Brewers: Roark's brilliant run in his last seven starts (1.61 ERA, 36 strikeouts, five walks) started with an 11-strikeout gem July 25 against the Brewers. It's hard to bank on such success again on a second try at this suddenly loaded lineup, which has unleashed the second-highest wOBA in August (.349).

Projected game scores


Hitting

Catcher

Taylor Ward (R), 14.6 percent, Los Angeles Angels at Houston Astros (LHP Framber Valdez): Ward's added eligibility behind the dish immediately thrust him onto the fantasy scene, even as he's manned third base for nearly his entire major league tenure. Valdez has yielded just 0.45 homers per nine during his minors career but hasn't had lower than a 4.10 ERA at any of his last three farm stops.

First base

Tyler White (R), 23.7 percent, Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Angels (RHP Jaime Barria): White's recent up-and-down career has taken another quietly positive turn, as the Great White Shark has slugged nine homers in just 119 at-bats -- including a Wednesday walkoff -- with negligible platoon splits in an impressive .311/.393/.639 slash in 39 games. Barria isn't as good as his 3.67 seasonal ERA argues: His 1.34 HR/9, 81.3 LOB% and 4.58 FIP say correction is coming.

Second base

Neil Walker (B), 5.2 percent, New York Yankees vs. Detroit Tigers (RHP Jordan Zimmermann): Walker is much more effective against righties (eight of nine homers) and tearing it up in August (six homers) -- and in the second half in general (.834 OPS). After a tease of a first half (3.71 ERA, 8.71 K/9), Zimmermann has faded after the break (5.50, 6.45).

Third base

Colin Moran (L), 4.7 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates at Atlanta Braves (RHP Anibal Sanchez): Righty on the hill, Moran on the bill -- not a great rhyme, but you get the point. Platoon matchups dictate Moran's worthiness of most mixed-league lineups, though with his .294/.348/.419 slash against righties it's hard to ignore him. Sanchez's 3.05 ERA remains a bit too clean for his skills.

Shortstop

Greg Garcia (L), 0.1 percent, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Cincinnati Reds (RHP Homer Bailey): With Kolten Wong on the DL, Garcia has stepped into a bit more playing time in the Cardinals' revamped infield. The batting-practice-pitching Bailey is one of three Reds pitchers who rank in the bottom 10 with a .387 wOBA allowed to lefty sticks. This is assuredly a deep dig for help, but every hit counts if you're scrambling at this point in the season.

Corner infield

Hunter Dozier (R), 0.3 percent, Kansas City Royals vs. Baltimore Orioles (RHP Andrew Cashner): Cashner's .346 wOBA allowed to right-handers is the 11th-highest figure in the majors, and it's always a good trend to test with rentals. Dozier, who's been getting a near full-time run in the lineup for the rebuilding Royals, has hit all seven of his big flies against right-handers.

Middle infield

Isiah Kiner-Falefa (R), 10.3 percent, Texas Rangers vs. Minnesota Twins (LHP Stephen Gonsalves): IKF has a .354 wOBA and a .290/.372/.450 line against southpaws in 113 plate appearances, and Gonsalves has had a bit of trouble adjusting to major-league competition with his 11.37 ERA in 6.1 innings (two starts). That should play well in hitter-enhancing Arlington if Kiner-Falefa is in the lineup.

Outfield

Denard Span (L), 23.2 percent, Seattle Mariners at Oakland Athletics (RHP Mike Fiers): Span continues to occupy the "righties-only" lineup status, considering his stellar 0.79 BB/K and .343 wOBA against them. Fiers' 13 homers allowed to lefty bats is tied for the third-most in the majors. Of course, Span isn't all that powerful, but eight of his 10 big flies have come in similar matchups.

Billy McKinney (L), 15 percent, Toronto Blue Jays at Miami Marlins (RHP Dan Straily): Straily's .357 wOBA is the 16th-highest allowed to LHBs, and he's walked them 6.19 times per nine innings. McKinney, who has gradually carved out the top-side platoon role since being acquired from the Yankees, has homered three times in 31 at-bats against righties so far.

Jason Heyward (L), 34.1 percent, Chicago Cubs at Philadelphia Phillies (RHP Nick Pivetta): The Cubs will shuffle their lineup -- in fact, it's Joe Maddon's favorite hobby -- and that means Heyward should stick against a RHP. Heyward has been no slouch against lefties (.330 wOBA, compared with .322 against righties), but he's recorded six of his eight big flies against the latter.

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 for only 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.