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Daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Saturday

Adalberto Mondesi is a major threat on the basepaths and enters the weekend as one of the hottest hitters in baseball. AP Photo/Jim Mone

Saturday presents us with the usual 15-game slate, with a roughly equal assortment of day and night tilts. While there aren't necessarily any marquee pitching matchups to look forward to, there are plenty of games with playoff implications, most notably the St. Louis Cardinals' home matchup against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

There's lots of exciting baseball left, both for real-life and fantasy purposes, so let's dig in.

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

Reynaldo Lopez (R), rostered in 28 percent of ESPN leagues, Chicago White Sox at Baltimore Orioles: Lopez has provided loads of inconsistency in 2018, but it's possible that he's finally settling down and showcasing some of the upside that made him such an intriguing prospect. Not only does the right-hander sport a 1.40 ERA over his last four starts, but he's also put up an impressive 10.2 K/9. Lopez should continue his hot run against the Orioles, one of the worst offensive teams in the league. The O's rank 25th or worse in both wOBA and wRC+, while their 23.3 percent whiff rate is third-worst in the American League.

Vince Velasquez (R), 29 percent, Philadelphia Phillies vs. Miami Marlins: First off, it's just impossible to ignore the matchup here. The Marlins enter the weekend ranked dead last in ISO and wOBA and 28th in wRC+. This is a lineup just waiting to be exploited, and Velasquez has the stuff to do it. The Phillies righty may struggle with start-to-start consistency, but he misses plenty of bats (9.9 K/9) and has shut down right-handed batters this season (.204/.290/.308), which matches him up well with a righty-heavy Marlins lineup.

Andrew Heaney (L), 40 percent, Los Angeles Angels vs. Seattle Mariners: Heaney is coming off his most dominant performance of the season, an outing in which he spun seven shutout innings against the White Sox with 12 K's. While the 27-year-old has been up and down this season, this speaks to the kind of upside he possesses. Against a Mariners team that sports an 87 wRC+ over the last month, Heaney is in a fine spot to put up another quality start here. The fact that this outing takes place at Angels Stadium, where he has a 3.26 ERA this season, is another check in Heaney's favor.

CC Sabathia (L), 36 percent, New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays: Sabathia just keeps going and going. After producing a 3.51 ERA in the first half, he's followed it up with a 3.63 ERA in eight starts since the break. What's most impressive is that he owns an 11.6 K/9 in those eight second-half starts. On Saturday, Sabathia gets a positive draw against the Blue Jays, who rank 21st in MLB with a .303 wOBA versus lefties.

Bullpen

If you're still trying to pick up saves down the stretch, there are likely some intriguing names available. Trevor Hildenberger, available in 86 percent of ESPN leagues, is a perfect example. The Minnesota right-hander owns a 0.77 ERA with five saves over the last month. In fact, he's been a top-seven fantasy reliever during that stretch. The Twins don't provide a ton of save chances, but there's a good chance Hildenberger will see one against Ian Kennedy and the Royals, who sport the second-worst record in baseball.

We have a battle of the bullpens in Tropicana Park, as the Athletics and Rays will both use openers. Liam Hendriks will start for Oakland the fifth time this season, but don't expect any more than one frame followed by a parade of short stints from a loaded relief corps. Tampa Bay will have Ryne Stanek do the honors, though he did pitch an inning in Friday's affair. Yonny Chirinos is likely to work the bulk of the middle innings, as he's pitched at least five frames in his past seven appearances, sporting a 3.43 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in those 39.1 frames. If your league has separate designations for starters and relievers, Chirinos is in play. Though, he could be in play regardless.

Projected game scores


Hitting

Hitting

Catcher

Francisco Arcia (L), 4 percent, Los Angeles Angels vs. Seattle Mariners (RHP Erasmo Ramirez): While Arcia's numbers don't jump off the page, he sports an excellent 41.5 hard-hit rate, and half of his hits against righties (9-of-18) have gone for extra bases. Ramirez provides a nice complement, as he's surrendered a 1.021 OPS to lefty batters this season.

First Base

Yonder Alonso (L), 38 percent, Cleveland Indians vs. Detroit Tigers (RHP Michael Fulmer): This matchup is ripe for Alonso. The lefty swinger is in a bit of a funk right now, but he does the majority of his damage against right-handed pitching. Over the last two seasons, 41 of his 50 homers have come against righties. Fulmer, meanwhile, is allowing a .217 ISO to righty hitters in 2018.

Second Base

Adam Frazier (L), 16 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates at Milwaukee Brewers (RHP Zach Davies): Frazier has been crushing since the All-Star break, turning in a .331/.379/.564 slash line. He also has a .285/.356/.471 triple slash against righty pitching, which puts him in a positive spot against Davies, who's allowing an .823 OPS to lefty batters.

Third Base

David Bote (R), 3 percent, Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds (LHP Cody Reed): Bote has registered just 44 at-bats versus lefties this season, but he's made the most of them, batting .295/.377/.922. That impressive triple slash comes with an equally impressive 40.4 hard-contact rate. Reed will have his hands full here, as righty batters have blasted him for a .301/.355/.506 slash line this season.

Shortstop

Adalberto Mondesi (B), 25 percent, Kansas City Royals vs. Minnesota Twins (RHP Chase De Jong): Over the past month, Mondesi has been a top-10 fantasy hitter. During that time, the 23-year-old has hit .321 with three homers and 10 stolen bases. In short, this is a skill set that fantasy managers need to pay attention to. On Saturday, the switch-hitting Mondesi gets the platoon advantage against De Jong, one of the lowest-ranked hurlers on the slate.

Corner Infield

Luke Voit (R), 33 percent, New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays (RHP Sean Reid-Foley): With the Yankees battling a bevy of injury issues in the second half, Voit has stepped up to fill the void. The 27-year-old slugger is batting .304/.375/.582 since the break with seven dingers in his last 18 games. Voit should be licking his chops here, with Reid-Foley, who is allowing a 1.039 OPS to righty hitters, slated to take the mound for Toronto on Saturday.

Middle Infield

Jonathan Villar (B), 47 percent, Baltimore Orioles vs. Chicago White Sox (RHP Reynaldo Lopez): We already mentioned how Adalberto Mondesi has been a top-10 fantasy hitter over the last month. Well, Villar has been top-five. Not only is he batting .290/.363/.470 over the last month, but he's whacked six homers and stolen 11 bases. Villar figures to be off to the races if he reaches base here, as the White Sox have allowed more stolen bases (123) than any team in baseball.

Outfield

Jake Cave (L), 3 percent, Minnesota Twins at Kansas City Royals (RHP Ian Kennedy): Cave gets a promising matchup against Kennedy, who continues to serve up homers with regularity. The right-hander's 1.61 HR/9 ranks sixth-highest in the American League, which is actually a significant improvement over last season's 2.0 HR/9. For his part, Cave sports an .822 OPS versus righties this season, with 21 of his 25 extra-base hits.

Jay Bruce (L), 13 percent, New York Mets at Boston Red Sox (RHP Rick Porcello): This has been a season to forget for the 31-year-old Bruce, but at least he's finishing on a strong note. The veteran slugger has a .931 OPS over the past 30 days, with three homers in the past week. Bruce matches up well against Porcello, who has a 5.82 ERA over his last seven starts.

Travis Jankowski (L), 3 percent, San Diego Padres vs. Texas Rangers (RHP Ariel Jurado): Jurado has struggled during his time in the big leagues, particularly against left-handed batters, who have put up a .373/.447/.597 slash line against him. The lefty-swinging Jankowski offers plenty of streaming potential at the top of the Padres lineup.

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.