<
>

Daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Thursday

Boston's Mitch Moreland has a favorable matchup against Philadelphia right-hander Nick Pivetta. Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

As usual, Thursday brings us another abbreviated slate. The good news is that there are still a handful of intriguing streaming options, some with legitimate upside. This isn't always the case, so it's worth taking advantage. After all, we can't all own Chris Sale, whose matchup against Nick Pivetta and the Phillies looks about as lopsided as you can get.

Here's a look at the day's top streaming options.


Pitching

Pitchers to stream

Ariel Miranda (L), 56 percent ownership in ESPN leagues, Seattle Mariners at Minnesota Twins: Since giving up eight earned runs to the Phillies on May 9, Miranda has posted a 2.17 ERA over his last six starts. More impressive is that he's whiffed 33 batters over 32 innings and hasn't allowed more than four hits in any of those outings. Against a Twins club that ranks 24th in wOBA against southpaws this season, Miranda should keep his run of success going.

Jeff Hoffman (R), 44 percent, Colorado Rockies vs. San Francisco Giants: Hoffman has made pitching to big league hitters look easy this season. He's made four starts for the Rockies and is 4-0 with 2.10 ERA, 0.74 WHIP and 11.2 K/9. Granted, three of those four starts have come on the road, and dominating the Padres (7 IP, 1 ER, 9 K's) and Phillies (7 IP, 1 ER, 7 K's) isn't exactly saying much. His last outing against the Cubs (6 1/3 IP, 1 ER, 8 K's), however, holds more weight. Thursday's outing takes place at Coors Field, so the obvious caveats apply. That said, his matchup against the Giants, the worst team in baseball versus right-handed pitching (78 wRC+), is still very favorable.

Jordan Montgomery (L), 27 percent, New York Yankees at Oakland A's: Montgomery draws a road date with an Oakland team that's below average against lefties (90 wRC+) and whiffs 25 percent of the time. The lefty has been on a nice little roll of late, holding a 1.50 ERA and 0.96 WHIP with 24 whiffs in 24 frames. The fact that the Oakland Coliseum is extremely friendly to pitchers is an added bonus.

Ricky Nolasco (R), 5 percent, Los Angeles Angels vs. Kansas City Royals: Nolasco typically isn't a pitcher we target for streaming, but a matchup against Kansas City is hard to ignore. The Royals are the worst team in the AL against righty pitching (80 wRC+) and rank dead-last in baseball in ISO versus righties since the start of 2016. That last stat is particularly relevant for Nolasco, who has had a big homer problem this season. It's not flashy, but the righty has delivered Game Scores of 50 or higher in five of his last seven starts.

Pitcher to avoid

There are no high-profile names I'm avoiding on this shortened slate.

Bullpen

Corey Knebel's ownership is on the rise. At 66 percent owned, however, he's still too widely available. Over the last 30 days, the right-hander sports a 1.35 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and a whopping 28 K's in 13 1/3 innings. His eight saves in that span are third-most in baseball. In shallow leagues, some established closers are still left hanging on the waiver wire. Knebel shouldn't be one of them.


Projected game scores

GS is the projected game score for the pitcher. A "*" means that the pitcher lacks requisite career major league data to produce an accurate rating; these are the author's ratings. A 50 typically earns the pitcher a "quality start" by this measure, while a 70 is considered a dominant start.


Hitting

Catcher

Yan Gomes (R), 4 percent, Cleveland Indians vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (LHP Rich Hill): Gomes hasn't done much this season from a fantasy perspective, but his work against lefties stands out. Among qualifiers, Gomes' .373 wOBA versus southpaws this season is second-best in baseball at the catcher position. Hill has shutdown stuff when he's on, but we haven't seen much of that so far in 2017. His 6.1 walk rate is terrible, and even his 3.77 ERA appears to be luck-induced (5.01 FIP, 5.37 xFIP).

First base

Mitch Moreland (L), 26 percent, Boston Red Sox at Philadelphia Phillies (RHP Nick Pivetta): Moreland continues to be a poplar plug-and-play option when a righty is on the mound. The Boston first baseman is batting .288/.374/.514 versus right-handed pitching this season, and Pivetta is one of the worst hurlers on the slate, as both right- (.428 wOBA) and left-handed batters (.375 wOBA) have picked on him this year.

Second base

Eric Sogard (L), 5 percent, Milwaukee Brewers at St. Louis Cardinals (RHP Michael Wacha): Sogard has settled into the leadoff spot against righties, who he's batting .346/.485/.519 against this season. Wacha, meanwhile, has surrendered a .356 wOBA to lefty bats this season and has failed to pitch at least five innings in three of his last four starts.

Third base

Wilmer Flores (R), 6 percent, New York Mets vs. Washington Nationals (LHP Gio Gonzalez): This just in: Flores crushes lefties. Not only is he batting .412/.417/.647 against southpaws this season, but his .338 batting average versus lefties since the beginning of 2015 is third-best in baseball behind only Paul Goldschmidt and Martin Prado. Flores matches up well with Gonzalez, who has surrendered all 10 of his homers (and 20 of 22 extra-base hits) to right-handed batters in 2017.

Shortstop

Andrelton Simmons (R), 47 percent, Los Angeles Angels vs. Kansas City Royals (LHP Matt Strahm): Strahm, making his first start of 2017, opened the season in the bullpen where he was promptly shelled and sent to the minors. He's since righted the ship, sporting a tidy 1.74 ERA with a 1.02 WHIP in 20 2/3 innings after being brought back to the majors. However, while Strahm is more than a three-out reliever, he's obviously not stretched out, so the Royals will be relying heavily on their bullpen. Simmons, who's hitting .336/.381/.523 since May 15, gets the platoon advantage to start, then will see a parade of hittable relievers.

Corner infield

Matt Davidson (R), 4 percent, Chicago White Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles (RHP Chris Tillman): Davidson won't have the platoon advantage here, but he's still got a quality matchup against Tillman, who's been one of the worst pitchers in baseball this year and is allowing a .390 wOBA to righty bats. The third baseman is batting .282/.329/.620 at Guaranteed Rate Field, a park that is great for right-handed power.

Middle infield

Chase Utley (L), 2 percent, Los Angeles Dodgers at Cleveland Indians (RHP Josh Tomlin): Since May 9, Utley is batting .341/.441/.612 in 103 plate appearances. His .358 wOBA versus righties is also top-10 at the position. The veteran second baseman will get a crack at Tomlin, who owns a 6.49 ERA at Progressive Field this season.

Outfield

Joey Rickard (R), 1 percent, Baltimore Orioles vs. Chicago White Sox (LHP David Holmberg): Rickard isn't an everyday player, but he's a good bet to be in the lineup with a left-hander on the mound. He's a career .295/.340/.446 hitter versus lefties, while Holmberg has allowed a .380 wOBA to right-handed swingers this season.

Cameron Maybin (R), 33 percent, Los Angeles Angels vs. Kansas City Royals (LHP Matt Strahm): Maybin is the second Angels hitter we're targeting against the left-handed Strahm. The speedster is batting .333/.378/.405 versus southpaws this season, and has swiped six bases in his past three games, so he's certainly a name to target if you need some help in the steals department. Though, keep in mind, Salvador Perez is always among the league leaders in terms of nabbing would-be base stealers.

Melky Cabrera (L), 50 percent, Chicago White Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles (RHP Chris Tillman): It's been a rough season for Tillman. His 5.3 walk rate nearly matches his 5.9 whiff rate, and his 8.01 ERA is second-worst in baseball among hurlers in 30 or more innings. Worst of all is his bloated .450 wOBA allowed to lefty swingers. This is a tremendous matchup for Cabrera, who gets the platoon advantage in a very hitter-friendly venue.


Hitter matchup ratings

Notes: Hitter ratings account for the opposing starting pitcher's history (three years' worth, as well as the past 21 days) and 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. So, for example, a 10 is a must-start rating, whereas 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.