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Daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Thursday

Four consecutive quality starts makes Miguel Gonzalez a pitcher to consider going forward. Photo by Quinn Harris/Icon Sportswire

The final day of August brings us a 10-game slate and, thankfully, there are some pretty interesting options to consider if you're in the streaming market. They aren't all safe options, but you should be used to that by now. In any event, there's a decent amount of upside to be found on Thursday's schedule, so let's take a look!


Pitching

Pitchers to stream

Collin McHugh (R), 40 percent rostered in ESPN leagues, Houston Astros vs. Texas Rangers: McHugh has made only seven starts this season since returning from the DL, but the results have been encouraging. His K/9 (8.9) and BB/9 (2.7) rates are nearly identical to what he posted in 2016, he's getting more swinging strikes, and he's allowing less hard contact. The strong peripherals are also translating to the box score, as McHugh has allowed two or fewer earned runs in five of his past six outings. Against the Rangers, who whiff 24 percent of the time, McHugh makes for one of the day's more appealing plays.

Miguel Gonzalez (R), 13 percent, Chicago White Sox at Minnesota Twins: Gonzalez has, very quietly, become a fantasy asset over the past two months. Since July 1, the right-hander owns a 2.94 ERA over eight starts. If you remove a nightmare start at Fenway Park on Aug. 3, his ERA over that stretch drops to 1.71. Although Gonzalez doesn't generate many swings, he sports an improved 6.4 K/9 in the second half (compared to 5.1 before the break). It's not much, but every little bit helps. On Thursday, he matches up well with the Twins, who have been middle of the road against righties this season and are without Miguel Sano.

Eduardo Rodriguez (L), 42 percent, Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees: On the surface, there's plenty here to give fantasy owners pause. Rodriguez owns a 5.08 second-half ERA, he's allowing more hard contact than last season, and the Yankees are never an easy opponent. On the bright side, the 24-year-old lefty boasts a career-best 9.7 K/9 and is generating more ground balls. Plus, the matchup is actually quite favorable on paper, as the Yankees have been well below average against southpaws this year, striking out at a 23 percent clip. There's risk here, but there's ample upside too.

Robert Stephenson (R), 2 percent, Cincinnati Reds vs. New York Mets: For all of his flaws, Stephenson has carved out a nice August for himself so far. The 5.81 ERA, 6.0 BB/9 and 1.9 HR/9 all catch your attention, but over four August appearances (three starts), the young right-hander has managed a 1.96 ERA with 21 strikeouts in 18 1/3 frames. He's in a good spot to continue that run of success against a Mets team that sports an 87 wRC+ and a 25 percent K-rate in August. Stephenson's peripherals mean he's still a volatile starter, but he's a high-upside one in this matchup.

Bullpen

The fact that Felipe Rivero is still available in nearly 30 percent of leagues is astonishing. Despite only 16 saves, the left-hander has been a top-five fantasy reliever this season, according to the ESPN Player Rater. He has posted a 1.25 ERA, an 0.80 WHIP and a 10.7 K/9 over 62 appearances. This is what an elite reliever looks like, folks. Whether you need saves or not, Rivero can help you. The Pirates are off Thursday, but don't let that stop you from scooping him up.


Hitting

Catcher

Evan Gattis (R), 48 percent, Houston Astros vs. Texas Rangers (LHP Cole Hamels): There aren't many chances to attack Hamels, but this is one of them. The lefty has a 6.23 ERA and 1.73 WHIP over his past three starts, and his 15 percent whiff rate is also a career low. For his part, Gattis has managed a .232 ISO versus left-handed pitching this season. In fact, half of his hits against southpaws have gone for extra bases.

First base

Joe Mauer (L), 12 percent, Minnesota Twins vs. Chicago White Sox (RHP Miguel Gonzalez): We like Gonzalez as a streaming option Thursday, but his effectiveness against left-handed batters (.351 wOBA) still leaves something to be desired. Mauer doesn't get much fantasy attention because of his lack of power, but he has quietly hit .344/.402/.458 so far in August.

Second base

Ben Zobrist (B), 36 percent, Chicago Cubs vs. Atlanta Braves (LHP Sean Newcomb): Zobrist has struggled against lefties this season, but we're still buying into his track record (.324/.403/.482 against LHPs from 2014-2016). Newcomb, meanwhile, has posted a 5.76 ERA over the past two months and is less effective against hitters from the right side.

Third base

Matt Davidson (R), 5 percent, Chicago White Sox at Minnesota Twins (RHP Bartolo Colon): Davidson won't have the platoon advantage here, but that's OK. Twenty-five of his 51 hits versus righties have gone for extra bases, all contributing to a .278 ISO against right-handed pitching. Yes, his 38 percent whiff rate is a concern, but not against a hurler like Colon, who pitches to contact. The 44-year-old veteran is allowing a .383 wOBA to same-side hitters this season.

Shortstop

Freddy Galvis (B), 24 percent, Philadelphia Phillies at Miami Marlins (RHP Odrisamer Despaigne): The switch-hitting Galvis draws a very favorable matchup against Despaigne, a swingman forced into starting after Justin Nicolino pitched in relief earlier this week. Despaigne is stretched out, but still isn't likely to work deep, giving Galvis the platoon edge against a pedestrian bullpen. It also should be noted the Phillies are one of the top offenses in the league over the past few weeks.

Corner infield

Adam Lind (L), 2 percent, Washington Nationals vs. Milwaukee Brewers (RHP Zach Davies): When he's in the lineup against a right-hander, Lind is usually an under-the-radar streaming option. He's batting .306/.362/.526 against such pitching this season, including .309/.349/.505 in the season's second half. Davies is a quality pitcher, but he's more vulnerable against lefties and has not pitched well at Miller Park this season (4.72 ERA).

Middle infield

Yolmer Sanchez (B), 4 percent, Chicago White Sox at Minnesota Twins (RHP Bartolo Colon): We're double-dipping against Colon on Thursday. Can you blame us? The big righty has surrendered a .388 average to left-handed bats this season and, prior to August, his lowest monthly ERA was 5.59 -- back in April. Meanwhile, the switch-hitting Sanchez has settled into a starting role with the White Sox and has rewarded them with a .318/.380/.545 slash line over his past 12 games.

Outfield

Keon Broxton (R), 23 percent, Milwaukee Brewers vs. Washington Nationals (LHP Gio Gonzalez): Broxton has been up and down this season, but he's still a great upside play against left-handed pitching. The 27-year-old sports a .500 slugging percentage against lefties this season -- and .528 so far in August. Gonzalez has pitched well this year, but his 2.40 ERA isn't supported by his 3.86 FIP and 4.28 xFIP. Plus, all 17 of the homers he has allowed this year have been hit by righties.

Brandon Nimmo (L), 1 percent, New York Mets at Cincinnati Reds (RHP Robert Stephenson): It's a small sample size to be sure, but Nimmo is batting .308/.419/.442 versus right-handed pitching this season. The Mets also have shown confidence in him, batting him in the top third of the order versus righties. Stephenson has done some good things lately, but he's still a highly volatile starter who has seen lefty batters hit .288/.398/.526 against him this year.

Ezequiel Carrera (L), 1 percent, Toronto Blue Jays (RHP Jeremy Hellickson): Carrera is a platoon-only bat, and there's a good chance he'll be in there against Hellickson on Thursday. The 30-year-old outfielder sports a .327/.390/.486 slash line against righties this season and is batting .358 so far in the second half. Hellickson has a 5.90 ERA since the All-Star break and is very hittable.