Daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Tuesday

Not only is Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty worth a look on Tuesday, he could stick for the long term. Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

It's a weird week with off days for teams on each weekday, so keep an eye on schedules and make sure you're getting a full lineup.

It seems to be only aces or streamers on Tuesday's slate, though all three starting pitcher picks could find themselves in this column regularly or even kept on as longer-term options. It's hard to make anything of early-season hitting numbers, so a few of the batter options are players you can consider holding beyond Tuesday.


Pitchers to Stream

Ty Blach (L), 8 percent, San Francisco Giants vs. Seattle Mariners: Blach enjoyed a sharp debut against Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers, earning the win with five scoreless innings, scattering three hits and three walks and fanning three. The Mariners registered just the 23rd-best slugging percentage against lefties in 2017, and Nelson Cruz could be out with an ankle injury that might lead to a stint on the disabled list. Blach doesn't miss a ton of bats, but he keeps the ball down (career 1.5 ground ball-to-fly ball ratio). With two key power hitters likely out (Mike Zunino is already on the DL and could be joined by Cruz) and the two others being lefties (Kyle Seager and Robinson Cano), this sets up nicely for Blach.

Jack Flaherty (R), 13 percent, St. Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee Brewers: Flaherty is the kind of early-season gamble who can turn into a full-on roster piece in short order. The 22-year-old got a chance when Adam Wainwright had to start on the DL, and Flaherty has the raw stuff to parlay that opportunity into an extended look. In the short term, he's a strikeout arm (24 percent career strikeout rate in the minors) facing the team that had the highest strikeout rate against righties last year (26 percent); so even if he doesn't put up a total gem, he should rack up some punchouts.

Tyson Ross (R), 1 percent, San Diego Padres vs. Colorado Rockies: He was a nightmare in 49 innings with Texas last year (7.71 ERA and horrible skills to "support" it), but he always has been someone who is quite good when healthy. And he looked healthy in a strong Cactus League performance that earned him a starting role. He has a career 2.81 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 257 innings at Petco Park, and he has been sharp against the Rockies, whether home or away, with a 3.44 ERA/1.27 WHIP combo in 55 innings.


It has been a haves/have nots league with bullpens thus far, as nearly half are touting a sub-3.00 ERA, while the other half is sitting at 4.60 or above (10 of those are north of 5.00) through a weekend. Of course, no contingent is more prone to volatility than bullpens, let alone the fact that there has been just a few days' worth of games. Injuries are still the driving force behind any changes, and any stars (let's say the top 12 or so drafted closers) should be given more than a bad outing or two before you consider cutting them from your team.

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.



Tucker Barnhart (B), 8 percent, Cincinnati Reds vs. Chicago Cubs (Jon Lester): Part of this relates to my overarching belief that Barnhart is going to have a breakout year with the bat, but it's also based on some general negativity toward Lester's outlook. This isn't just about his Opening Day look against the Marlins, but he just didn't look like Jon Lester throughout much of 2017. A Barnhart breakout will be driven by power and will likely require some improvement against lefties, so why not start here against Lester?

First base

Matt Adams (L), 1 percent, Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves (Julio Teheran): Keep a close eye on this one to ensure he's in the lineup, but the Nats definitely should start him. On his own merits, Adams is a monster against righties over his career with an .829 OPS in 1,516 PA, and it surged to .896 last year. Add in the issues that Teheran has with lefties in general (career .789 OPS) and that were only exacerbated in his new home venue, Suntrust Park (.927 vs. lefties last year), and Adams seems like an easy start both for the Nats and your fantasy team.

Second base

Kolten Wong (L), 9 percent, St. Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee Brewers (Brandon Woodruff): Wong holds a 149-point OPS advantage against righties with a .761 OPS from 2015 to 2017, including a big .810 mark last year. His plate approach continues to improve, as he walked a career-high 10 percent of the time last year. Woodruff had but a 46-inning cup of coffee last year, though it didn't take long for lefties to get comfortable with him, as he yielded a .345/.396/.476 line with 29 hits against just 13 strikeouts.

Third base

Derek Dietrich (L), 5 percent, Miami Marlins vs. Boston Red Sox (Chris Sale): I understand it's not the strongest expected value (EV) to go lefty-lefty against Sale, but I'm pushing a little beyond the boundaries of the column's title (Daily Notes) to put Dietrich on your radar. He's getting a full-time opportunity as the No. 2 hitter in Miami's lineup. He's a career plus-value hitter with a 108 wRC+ (8 percent better than league average). The Marlins aren't great, but the top four of Lewis Brinson, Dietrich, Starlin Castro and Justin Bour are capable. J.T. Realmuto will extend the lineup even more. As for this game specifically, Dietrich did manage an .816 OPS against lefties last year, and he already is 3-of-10 against them so far this year.


Tim Anderson (R), 50 percent, Chicago White Sox at Toronto Blue Jays (J.A. Happ): A bit overlooked because of his sketchy plate approach, Anderson did pop 17 home runs and swipe 15 bases last year (in 16 tries). He has a career .323/.336/.470 line against lefties in 258 plate appearances. He started the year off right with a homer against lefty Danny Duffy in a two-homer Opening Day (the other against Blaine Boyer). Happ isn't a big strikeout guy (21 percent since 2014), nor does he really walk guys (seven percent since 2014), so Anderson's free-swinging ways might go unchecked.

Corner infield

Matt Chapman, (R), 55 percent, Oakland Athletics vs. Texas Rangers (Cole Hamels): I've got to cheat a bit on the 50 percent threshold as a public service to ensure Chapman gets on more rosters and not just for a matchup against Hamels. He was a bit overshadowed by Matt Olson last year, but he also put together a great second half. He also did it on both sides of the ball, and while defense doesn't directly relate to fantasy -- in that it's not captured as a scoring device in many (or any?) leagues -- it does play a role in who starts. Chapman's Gold Glove-caliber defense ensures his lineup spot. Righties had a 266-point OPS advantage against Hamels, as compared to lefties last year with a .749 OPS.

Middle infield

Ryan Flaherty (L), 3 percent, Atlanta Braves vs. Washington Nationals (A.J. Cole): Flaherty is firing on all cylinders after securing a strong-side platoon role at third base in Atlanta (still needs a few games to earn that 3B eligibility), so let's play the hot hand a bit. The 31-year-old utility man always has been more of a defense-only than defense-first player, but he has hits in his first three games, including four on Saturday. Cole allowed lefties to hit .320/.421/.553 off him last year. He actually dominated righties, creating an interesting split, in which his batting average against lefties (.320) was greater than his slugging percentage against righties (.315).


Nick Markakis (L), 22 percent, Atlanta Braves vs. Washington Nationals (A.J. Cole): Markakis is not a power source, which is why he's so regularly available in most formats, but he has managed a solid .778 OPS against righties since 2015. He's batting cleanup too. A heart-of-the-order lineup slot for a solid hitter should mean he is on rosters in more than 22 percent of leagues. At worst, he'll club a ton of doubles to cash in the runners and become a points-league beast. Markakis' 431 doubles are third most in baseball since joining the league in 2006, behind only Cano (478) and Miguel Cabrera (450). See Flaherty's recommendation at middle Infield for notes on why Cole is susceptible to lefties.

Derek Fisher (L), 3 percent, Houston Astros vs. Baltimore Orioles (Mike Wright): The widely heralded prospect put up a .293/.361/.532 line against righties last year in the minors, with 21 homers in 418 plate appearances. He never really kicked into gear in 166 plate appearances with the Astros last year, but all five of his homers came against righties. Wright has allowed an abysmal .328/.384/.578 line against lefties during his career.

Curtis Granderson (L), 8 percent, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Chicago White Sox (Carson Fulmer): Even as the batting average continues to crater, Granderson maintains his value against righties. He bats in the top half of the order and is always a threat to go yard. He had a .256 ISO against righties last year too.

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.