Daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Wednesday

Will it be all smiles for Vince Velasquez on Wednesday? Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

"Well, the weather outside is weather."

Paul Rudd sung it best in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," and fantasy baseball players depressingly echoed it this past weekend when inclement environs obliterated any semblance of schedule sanity.

Luckily, this looks like it's in the past, so on to important primers for Wednesday: The Yankees and Marlins add to the rare Wednesday off-days during the first month and fantasy players should throw out home-road split analysis for the finale of the Twins-Indians' two-game series at Puerto Rico's Hiram Bithorn Stadium.

Also, Wednesday looks like a streamer's delight, so please enjoy the bonus listings.


Pitchers to stream

Vince Velasquez (R), rostered in 9.3 percent of ESPN leagues, Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves: Velasquez heads into an environment that inflates power for left-handed bats. Lefties plagued him in the past (most notably to a .282/.391/.488 line in his limited 2017 action), but this might be a new version of the righty. His velocity is back up and he's allowed a mere 21.3 percent hard-hit rate this season. Even if he falters here, he carries ample potential for the balance of 2018.

Andrew Triggs (R), 12.2 percent, Oakland Athletics vs. Chicago White Sox: The Pale Hose have holes in their swings over the first few weeks, carrying the majors' second-highest strikeout percentage (26.5). A fine outing from Triggs, which looks likely given the matchup, could bump him into must-have status for mixed leagues. His home environment, sinker/ground ball profile and zone-pounding approach work for him in the right setting, and him taking a step beyond is hardly a laughable thought. Start him off as a streamer and see if his peripherals point to more.

Ian Kennedy (R), 43.2 percent, Kansas City Royals at Toronto Blue Jays: Toronto's lineup is much less threatening with Josh Donaldson (shoulder) and Kendrys Morales (hamstring) on the disabled list, making this clash an ideal time to squeeze another trial out of Kennedy's surprising start to 2018 (1.00 ERA, 16 strikeouts, four walks in 18 frames). His swinging strike rate is only 7.4 percent, but he's pounding the zone (68.1 first-strike percentage), which could help him churn through this spotty lineup and allow him to prove his worth as at least a deep-league spot play throughout the year.

Zach Davies (R), 20.5 percent, Milwaukee Brewers vs. Cincinnati Reds: The control-inclined hurler has sandwiched a brilliant quality start versus the Cubs with disasters against the Cardinals and Mets. The 25-year-old's unsightly but small-sample 6.75 ERA hides an 18:5 K:BB and 11.3 percent swinging-strike rate, though, now that his curveball looks more effective. He'll enjoy a much easier opponent in the Reds, who've sputtered to a .286 wOBA against right-handers during their 3-13 start. Davies suffered a 5.48 ERA at Miller Park last year but held a 3.75 the previous season, and this is a ripe opportunity to reverse the more recent trend.

Chris Stratton (R), 4.2 percent, San Francisco Giants at Arizona Diamondbacks: Stratton would probably rank first or second if we were ranking these streamers for full-season value: The high spin rate on his curveball makes him a Statcast darling, after all. The Diamondbacks' dangerous lineup makes him Wednesday's biggest risk-reward listing, and Chase Field's humidor hasn't exactly made its presence felt yet. Fortunately, the allure lies in the Snakes' penchant for whiffing: They're tied for fourth with a 25.5 percent strikeout rate.

Pitcher to avoid

Rick Porcello (R), 88.6 percent, Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Angels: The Halos lead the majors with a .358 wOBA and a 39.3 hard-contact rate, per Fangraphs, both of which will prove difficult for the strikeout-wary Porcello to tame, despite his 3-0, 1.83 ERA and recent near no-hitter.

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), 8 percent, Texas Rangers at Tampa Bay Rays (RHP Jacob Faria): Faria is better at home but has allowed a .444 slugging percentage to right-handed bats, making that his weaker split in his short career. Chirinos might be shaking off his slow start to 2018 with two homers in his past three starts. Despite his weak plate discipline against righties last season, he left the yard six times in just 71 at-bats against them.

First base

Yuli Gurriel (R), 47.4 percent, Houston Astros at Seattle Mariners (RHP Mike Leake): All other Astros are too popular to recommend against the hittable, strike-zone-peppering Leake. Still, here's a reminder to pick up the returning Gurriel, who boasted a reverse split in 2017, smashing righties with a .317/.344/.521 slash and a .363 wOBA.

Second base

Howie Kendrick (R), 14.5 percent, Washington Nationals at New York Mets (LHP Steven Matz): With Daniel Murphy (knee) expected to remain sidelined until next week, the vet has some short-term utility as a fill-in at either second base or left field. Kendrick enjoyed a .385 wOBA against southpaws in 2017 and has gone 3-for-10 against them to start 2018.

Third base

Luis Valbuena (L), 18.7 percent, Los Angeles Angels vs. Boston Red Sox (RHP Rick Porcello): As noted before, the Angels are scorching the ball out of the gate, and Valbuena clubbed 21 of his 22 long balls last year off right-handers. A wary stat for Porcello: Despite his hot start, opponents hold an 85.4 percent contact rate against him, which would be his worst pace since his uglier 2011 days.


Tim Beckham (R), 15.1 percent, Baltimore Orioles at Detroit Tigers (LHP Matthew Boyd): His splits don't overly favor one type of pitcher, but Beckham still connects with hard contact at an above-average rate, and Boyd's soft-tossing ways could cure the Orioles' slump.

Corner infield

C.J. Cron (R), 4.7 percent, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Texas Rangers (LHP Cole Hamels): Rays bats will hardly draw much attention this season, but Cron could be worth frequent rentals against southpaws, whom he's already tagged for two homers this season and a .267 ISO last season. Hamels has already yielded seven homers to right-handed sticks in only 88 plate appearances. Yikes.

Middle infield

Sean Rodriguez (R), less than 1 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Colorado Rockies (LHP Kyle Freeland): Rodriguez will probably grab a start against the lefty -- his usual role, considering his career .334 wOBA off them, compared to .279 off righties. Josh Harrison's hand fracture could create a keystone platoon with Rodriguez occupying the short side and Adam Frazier facing righties, though Corey Dickerson is hardly a lock to man left field against southpaws, which could open up another path to playing time.


Matt Joyce (L), 9.2 percent, Oakland Athletics vs. Chicago White Sox (RHP Carson Fulmer): Left-handed batters have worn Fulmer down in his short career with a .361 wOBA in 104 plate appearances. Joyce is best deployed when top-side platoon assignments fall into his lap and he can unleash his.252/.353/.458 slash in that split.

Gerardo Parra (L), 3.8 percent, Colorado Rockies at Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP Chad Kuhl): Parra should continue seeing work at least against righty hurlers as long as David Dahl is hurt and Raimel Tapia is viewed as a continuing developmental project. The steady veteran carried a nifty .163 ISO against righty arms this year and Kuhl wilted against lefty bats from 2016 to 2017 with a combined slash of .290/.375/.506.

Preston Tucker (L), 47.4 percent, Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies (RHP Vince Velasquez): Want to hedge against Velasquez at this difficult stadium? Tucker, a former prospect who's getting some run while the Braves wait on Ronald Acuna, has knocked all his hits in 2018 off righty arms, including three homers. He's slowed a bit since his hot start but should continue with top-side platoon work for the near future.

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.