Daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Monday

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Monday checks in as a typical truncated slate, featuring an interleague matinee between the Orioles and Brewers at 2:10 PM ET, so set your lineups accordingly. The evening highlight pits Steven Matz against Stephen Strasburg in a battle to determine the proper way to spell their first name.

This is the last week before the All-Star break, so teams are more likely to shuffle their rotations as well as play it safe with injuries. We'll be on top of all the last-minute changes so be sure to check with the updates posted each day before setting your lineups.

Finally, before I share some players to pick up to keep your lineups strong, since I won't be back with you (outside of the updates) until the weekend, have a happy and safe Fourth of July.


Pitchers to stream

Aaron Nola (R), 45 percent ownership in ESPN leagues, Philadelphia Phillies vs. Pittsburgh Pirates: It shouldn't be long before Nola eclipses the 50 percent ownership plateau used to identify players to highlight in this space. In fact, it may be less than 24 hours, once others realize what a nice matchup the 24-year old righty has on tap. The Pirates are one of the weakest clubs in the league with a righty on the hill while Nola has been getting it in gear, fanning 17 over his last two outings, spanning 14 1/3 innings.

Jharel Cotton (R), 6 percent, Oakland Athletics vs. Chicago White Sox: It's not the breakout campaign many envisioned for Cotton back in the spring, as he's had issues with walks and especially homers. Recently, he's had issues with a blister but is slated to start Monday. Facing the light-hitting White Sox in The Coliseum may be accelerating the healing process.

Adalberto Mejia (L), 2 percent, Minnesota Twins vs. Los Angeles Angels: The rookie southpaw is coming off a pair of scoreless outings, on the road, against division-leading clubs (Indians and Red Sox). Now he's at home, set to take on the Angels and the league's second-lowest weighted on base average (wOBA) versus left-handers.

Andrew Moore (R), less than 1 percent ownership, Seattle Mariners vs. Kansas City Royals: With Hisashi Iwakuma still sidelined, Moore's stay in the Mariners rotation has been extended at least through the All-Star break. He begins the week squaring off at home against a Royals club toting one of the league's lowest wOBA versus right-handers into Safeco Field.

Pitcher to avoid

Steven Matz (L), 72 percent, New York Mets at Washington Nationals: Lefties, righties, it doesn't matter. The Nationals are ambidextrous when it comes to bashing pitching. Matz has thrown well since coming off the disabled list, but he doesn't have the strikeout or win upside in this tilt against Strasburg.


On the heels of fill-in closer Cam Bedrosian having a rough week, Angels surprising closer Bud Norris came off the disabled list Saturday and looks to slot right back into ninth-inning duties. Other than Norris, the only consistent cog in the Halos bullpen has been Blake Parker. If Norris goes down again, or is ineffective, look for Parker to get the next chance.

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.



Mike Zunino (R), 37 percent, Seattle Mariners vs. Kansas City Royals (RHP Ian Kennedy): It's obviously too much to ask Zunino to repeat his scorching June, but he's in a great spot to keep the power roll going, facing the homer-generous Kennedy.

First base

Kennys Vargas (B), 1 percent, Minnesota Twins vs. Los Angeles Angels (RHP Alex Meyer): Picking on Meyer is a feast-or-famine scenario. On one hand, the Angels righty misses a bunch of bats, but on the other he also misses the strike zone excessively. If you're feeling frisky, teammates Eddie Rosario and Joe Mauer join Vargas as good plays against the inconstant hurler.

Second base

Jed Lowrie (B), 43 percent, Oakland Athletics vs. Chicago White Sox (LHP Carlos Rodon): It'll be interesting to see what the Athletics do with Lowrie once Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder come back, though Franklin Barreto isn't doing much to be in the mix. At the very least, Oakland will want to continue to showcase Lowrie for a potential deal. Hitting in the three-hole, Lowrie's in a good spot to do some damage against Rodon, who is still shaking the rust off after a long DL stint.

Third base

Joey Gallo (L), 34 percent, Texas Rangers vs. Boston Red Sox (RHP Rick Porcello): Porcello has done a better job of keeping the ball in the yard lately, but to be honest, Gallo is a threat to take any right-hander deep, let alone one not nearly as sharp as in previous seasons.


Freddy Galvis (B), 11 percent, Philadelphia Phillies vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP Ivan Nova): With the light schedule, it's tough finding a shortstop to spot start if yours has the day off. Galvis fits the bill since his game is contact while Nova doesn't miss many bats.

Corner infield

Deven Marrero (R), less than 1 percent, Boston Red Sox at Texas Rangers (LHP Martin Perez): Hitting ninth, Marrero isn't going to see that fifth plate appearance very often. However, with the balanced Red Sox lineup getting it in gear, he's in a better run-producing spot than most bottom-of-the-order batters.

Middle infield

Wilmer Difo (B), less than 1 percent, Washington Nationals vs. New York Mets (LHP Steven Matz): With the unfortunate injury to Trea Turner, Washington will call on a platoon with Stephen Drew and Difo. With a lefty on the hill, Difo should get the nod.


Randal Grichuk (R), 22 percent, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Miami Marlins (LHP Jeff Locke): A visit to Triple-A seems to have done its work as Grichuk returned with a bang, or three, smashing a trio of long balls since returning to the Redbirds a little over a week ago. Hitting second, Grichuk's in a prime spot against the vulnerable Locke. Joining Grichuk as options against Locke are fellow righty swingers Tommy Pham and Paul deJong, both also available in a majority of ESPN leagues.

Keon Broxton (R), 43 percent, Milwaukee Brewers vs. Baltimore Orioles (LHP Wade Miley): It took a little while for regression to kick in, but Miley's penchant for bases on balls has thrust his ERA northward. Broxton's power has increased each month, making him a double threat. Other Brewers meeting the pick-up criteria are Domingo Santana and Jesus Aguilar, both of whom are capable of sending Bernie Brewer down the Miller Park slide.

Raimel Tapia (L), 2 percent, Colorado Rockies vs. Cincinnati Reds (RHP Luis Castillo): Get ready for an onslaught of low-owned Rockies this week as Colorado has a full seven games on the docket, all at home in Coors Field.

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.