Starting pitching has been a challenge this year, thanks to the seemingly never-ending rash of injuries, but we focus Tuesday on three arms who could have some long-term viability, if your team's rotation has been ravaged by injuries. A couple of middle infielders from the Bay Area help us highlight their power surge as a team, and some strong corner infielders are making bids to stick on rosters in most league formats.
Pitchers to stream
Jesse Hahn (R), 20 percent ownership in ESPN leagues, Oakland Athletics vs. Miami Marlins: Hahn has yet to allow more than three earned runs in seven starts and an extended relief appearance (six innings), and he is looking a lot like the 2014 iteration who broke through with the Padres. The Marlins are toting a meager .694 OPS against righties, good for just 24th in the league.
Jordan Montgomery (L), 12 percent, New York Yankees vs. Kansas City Royals: The Royals popped Montgomery for five runs in his latest start, but he has been more good than bad in his seven starts as a rookie, while it was a rare big night for the Royals against a lefty. Their .627 OPS against southpaws is third-worst in the league.
German Marquez (R), 8 percent, Colorado Rockies at Philadelphia Phillies: On the road is obviously the best way to deploy Rockies pitchers, but they still don't always get the attention they deserve. Marquez has fanned 11 in 11 innings in his two road starts. He gets a Philly team that has struck out 22 percent of the time against righties, 10th-highest in the league.
Pitchers to avoid
Dylan Bundy (R), 91 percent, Baltimore Orioles vs. Minnesota Twins: It's easy to get clouded by Bundy's 2.97 ERA and 1.13 WHIP, as the former super prospect appears to be in the midst of a breakout season, but he has fanned three or fewer batters in five of his past six outings. Meanwhile, the Twins are a stronger offense than you probably realize, especially against righties. They are 10th in OPS, with a .768 mark. Bundy has undoubtedly pitched well for most of the season, but his 2.97 ERA isn't commensurate with his skills, and it'll be hard to maintain a sub-3.00 ERA without some improvements.
Don't look now, but the Los Angeles Angels have one of the better bullpens in the league. Their 4.17 ERA is only 16th in the league, but their 19 percent strikeout-minus-walk rate is fourth.
Projected game scores
Note: W-L, ERA and WHIP are full-year 2016 statistics. 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.
Tony Wolters (L), 2 percent, Colorado Rockies at Philadelphia Phillies (RHP Zach Eflin): Wolters gets to face the contact-loving Eflin with his comically low 11 percent strikeout rate. Eflin has allowed a 37 percent hard contact rate this year, while lefties have a career .533 SLG against him. For his part, Wolters has a career .283/.357/.420 line against righties.
Mitch Moreland (L), 24 percent, Boston Red Sox vs. Texas Rangers (RHP Andrew Cashner): No one can really fill David Ortiz's shoes, but Moreland has been solid, especially against righties. He has a .460 SLG against them, in line with his .449 mark from 2014-16. Cashner's 2.45 ERA is comically fraudulent, with more walks than strikeouts. Although he has held lefties to a .384 SLG so far this year, they have clubbed a .480 SLG off him since 2015.
Jed Lowrie (B), 19 percent, Oakland Athletics vs. Miami Marlins (RHP Jose Urena): Did you know the A's have the most homers in the American League and third-most in the league overall with 64? Lowrie is smashing righties with a .287/.358/.508 line and all six of his home runs, while Urena has a sharp reverse platoon split this year, with righties posting a .966 OPS off of him, including eight of 23 hits for extra bases.
Marwin Gonzalez (B), 57 percent, Houston Astros vs. Detroit Tigers (RHP Jordan Zimmermann): Gonzalez hit 13 homers in 518 plate appearances last year. He already has 10 in 115 this year. He managed only a .678 OPS off righties last year and has a .702 career mark, but he's up at 1.042 this year. He has been more selective and making more contact when he chooses to swing. His career-high 38 percent fly ball rate is driving the power surge. Zimmermann's 2016 struggles have carried over into 2017 and gotten worse, so any Astros are in play Tuesday.
Chad Pinder (R), 1 percent, Oakland Athletics vs. Miami Marlins (RHP Jose Urena): Pinder has been thrashing the opposition in a limited sample so far this year, especially righties. He already has four homers in 27 plate appearances, along with a 1.357 OPS. He will come down from this electric pace at some point, but Urena gives him a good shot to stay hot in the short term.
Logan Morrison (L), 28 percent, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Los Angeles Angels (RHP Matt Shoemaker): Since the start of 2015, Morrison has two more homers against righties than both Wil Myers and Andrew McCutchen. In fact, he has a 42 percent extra-base hit rate against righties in that span. Shoemaker has been sharp in his past two outings, with 16 strikeouts in 12.3 innings, but lefties have a .266/.310/.506 line against him this year.
Tim Anderson (R), 12 percent, Chicago White Sox at Arizona Diamondbacks (LHP Patrick Corbin): Although Anderson hasn't been great this year, we can leverage Corbin's inferiority against righties and hope to spike a big game. Corbin has allowed a .302/.354/.494 line against righties this year, with seven homers, which is nearly identical to the .300/.365/.485 line he allowed in 35 starts last year.
Nick Markakis (L), 28 percent, Atlanta Braves vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP Tyler Glasnow): Markakis isn't really a power threat, but he's still a batting average asset, even at age 33, especially against righties. He has a .310/.388/.403 against righties this year.
Jayson Werth (R), 28 percent, Washington Nationals vs. Seattle Mariners (RHP Christian Bergman): I know Bergman is coming off a strong outing with 7.1 shutout innings and nine strikeouts against Oakland, but I don't see a repeat coming against the Nats. Instead, I'll lean on Bergman's career .960 OPS against righties and slot Werth in for a spot start in any format. Werth has struggled greatly against righties the past two seasons, but he's back up at .821 OPS this year with five of his six homers.
Ezequiel Carrera (L), 2 percent, Toronto Blue Jays at Milwaukee Brewers (RHP Jimmy Nelson): Carrera has spent the bulk of his season in the top third of the order, particularly in the No. 2 spot (.815 OPS in 85 PA). He'll never be mistaken for a power bat, but he has a solid .311/.348/.434 line off righties this year, which will pair well with Nelson's career-long platoon split favoring lefty hitters (plus-100 points in OPS for LHBs).
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.