Daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Monday

Can Charlie Morton beat Baltimore at home for Houston on Monday? AP

Well, it didn't take Mother Nature long to wreak havoc with probable pitchers.

Monday's slate is devoid of an ace, but chock full of streaming goodness. Only two clubs have the day off, lengthening the choices when many team's third starters make their 2018 debut. With the nearly full schedule, there's a plethora of hitters to replace your Mariners and Giants, or just to upgrade your fringy hitters.

As will be the case all season, here's a slew of options, all on fewer than 50 percent of rosters in ESPN leagues.


Pitchers to stream

Tanner Roark (R), rostered in 28 percent of ESPN leagues, Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves: It's a little early to start fishing for wins, but every victory early is one fewer to chase later, and the Braves will be a big favorite. Atlanta's offense is improving while SunTrust Park is hinting at being a hitter's venue, but with the Nationals bats facing Sean Newcomb, run support shouldn't be an issue. Roark relies on batted balls finding leather, so he's always a risk, but he's one worth taking this time around.

Miles Mikolas (R), 14 percent, St. Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee Brewers: The set-up could have been softer for Mikolas' official return to The Show, but balancing the potent Brewers lineup in hitter friendly Miller's Park is their strikeout potential. Mikolas' spring got off to a rocky start, but he settled down, finishing with six whiffs with just one hit allowed in three scoreless frames against the Blue Jays.

Tyler Mahle (R), 4 percent, Cincinnati Reds vs. Chicago Cubs: Mahle was an attractive option in deeper formats since he's healthy amidst a plethora of injured arms. That said, he earned a rotation spot with a stout spring. Don't expect a bunch of strikeouts, but Mahle won't beat himself with too many walks. This is admittedly a scary matchup and perhaps a bit of confirmation bias, but Mahle impressed me enough to get the nod.

Bryan Mitchell (R), 1 percent, San Diego Padres vs. Colorado Rockies: Now we're digging deep, with more confirmation bias leaking in. By season's end, the expectation is Mitchell settles into a mid-rotation spot, chewing up innings and fanning a decent number along the way. It's perfectly fair to take the wait-and-see approach, but there's also something to be said for taking some chances early while there's still plenty of time to fix mistakes. The venue drives the confidence as there aren't too many pairs of parks as opposite as Coors Field and Petco Park in terms of runs potential.

Brian Johnson (L), 1 percent, Boston Red Sox at Miami Marlins: Streaming pitching 101:
1. Check if Miami is on the schedule
2. Check if opposing pitcher is available
3. If yes, click "Add"

Yes, I know the Fish got to some Cubs starters over the weekend, but this will be the exception, not the rule.


It's probably just a coincidence and not the way relievers are treated in the spring, but there are more early season blow-ups that usual; at least it seems that way. Unless the closer is on a short leash, don't panic. Maybe be a bit concerned about Kenley Jansen's velocity, but just a little.

Projected game scores

GS is the projected game score for the pitcher. The "*" symbol means the pitcher lacks requisite career major league data to produce an accurate rating; these are the author's ratings.



Robinson Chirinos (R), 16 percent, Texas Rangers at Oakland Athletics (RHP Andrew Triggs): With injuries to Salvador Perez, Tyler Flowers and Mike Zunino, some fantasy managers are scrambling for a replacement. In one-catcher formats, Chirinos is a solid option, exhibiting some pop with good plate patience. Chirinos does fan at an above-average clip, but that shouldn't be an issue facing the hittable Triggs.

First base

Hanley Ramirez (R), 42 percent, Boston Red Sox at Miami Marlins (RHP Trevor Richards): Ramirez doesn't qualify at first yet, but he's on his way. Being an interleague affair, Alex Cora could opt for Mitch Moreland against the righty. Either way, both are in play. Ramirez is in good health -- and good spirits -- while Moreland hits right-handers well.

Second base

Kolten Wong (L), 9 percent, St. Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee Brewers (RHP Zach Davies): If you're looking for a stolen base option, check out Tristan Cockcroft's new color-coded rankings in the Forecaster: Hitting Matchups. Red means excellent, which is where Wong lands in this tilt with the Brewers. Davies has issues with control, feeding into the strong spot.

Third base

Cheslor Cuthbert (R), less than 1 percent, Kansas City Royals at Detroit Tigers (LHP Francisco Liriano): Liriano needs to prove he can carry over the success he enjoyed after working out of the bullpen in his return to starting ranks. The veteran southpaw struggles with righties. Cuthbert may not be a household name, but he has designs on returning to 2016 form, where he handled lefties well, sporting a respectable .819 OPS in 122 at bats.


Chad Pinder (R), 1 percent, Oakland Athletics vs. Texas Rangers (RHP Bartolo Colon): It isn't clear where Pinder will play, but what is apparent is the Athletics like his stick and will move him around to keep his bat in the lineup as often as possible. Colon had a solid, albeit short, spring, but there's a reason why he contemplated retirement last fall. Pinder's teammates Matt Joyce and Boog Powell should also be considered if you're in need of outfield reinforcement.

Corner infield

Yangervis Solarte (B), 46 percent, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Chicago White Sox (RHP Reynaldo Lopez): With multi-position eligibility and a full-time job, at least for now, it won't be long before Solarte eclipses the 50 percent roster plateau for inclusion. His strong suit is making frequent contact with a smattering of power. Lopez has the potential to be a fantasy asset but first needs to reduce the number of runners allowed.

Middle infield

Freddy Galvis (B), 8 percent, San Diego Padres vs. Colorado Rockies (RHP Chad Bettis): It's understandable why Galvis isn't rostered in a majority of leagues, but to be sitting in single-digits seems low. There's limited upside, but a solid contact rate with the likelihood of ending the season with both homers and steals in the teens can help more than 8 percent of fantasy managers. He's hit safely in his first three starts, receiving a day off on Sunday. As a switch-hitter, he always enjoys the platoon edge, which is more important than ever in today's reliever-heavy climate.


Jesse Winker (L), 7 percent, Cincinnati Reds vs. Chicago Cubs (RHP Tyler Chatwood): Two of the boxes to check when looking for a fill-in batter are platoon edge and a high spot in the batting order. Winker checks both as he's ticketed to lead off today. Leaving Coors Field is obviously good for Chatwood, though he still needs to demonstrate a lower walk rate. Winker has the patience to take advantage if Chatwood's control is still spotty.

Derek Fisher (L), 3 percent, Houston Astros vs. Baltimore Orioles (RHP Chris Tillman): Tillman is at the bottom of the pitching rankings, so it's obviously wise to have any possible Astros hitter active. Fisher is the most likely to be available.

Adam Engel (R), 1 percent, Chicago White Sox at Toronto Blue Jays (LHP Jaime Garcia): Engel beat out Ryan Cordell for the center field run in the South side. His game is hitting the ball on the ground then running really fast. This feeds into Garcia's groundball nature, though this isn't the easiest battery to run against.

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.