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Daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Saturday

Braves veteran right-hander Brandon McCarthy carries a 3.09 ERA and 4-0 record into the weekend. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

It might be disappointing that Saturday's slate doesn't give us a single hurler with an elite project Game Score (60 or above). Of course, if you're here to read about elite pitchers, you've come to the wrong place. Our purpose here is to highlight streamers, and fortunately there are quite a few quality options on Saturday. Let's dive in.


Pitching

Pitchers to stream

Caleb Smith (L), rostered in 8 percent of ESPN leagues, Miami Marlins at Cincinnati Reds: Smith may not be a household name, but that could change if he keeps missing bats at this pace. Among starters with 20 or more innings, Smith's 12.9 K/9 ranks top-five in baseball. While his 5.0 BB/9 is ugly, his 3.78 FIP and 3.73 xFIP suggest he's pitched better than his 4.40 ERA. Plus, he's been downright filthy of late, allowing just four hits and one walk with 19 K's over his last two starts, spanning 13 innings. Against a Reds team that ranks fifth-worst in baseball with an 86 wRC+ against righties, Smith finds himself in a very appealing spot on Saturday.

Brandon McCarthy (R), 25 percent, Atlanta Braves vs. San Francisco Giants: McCarthy draws one of the day's better matchups against San Francisco. The Giants are fanning 24 percent of the time versus right-handed pitching to go along with a .302 wOBA that ranks bottom-seven in the majors. McCarthy, meanwhile, has allowed three or fewer earned runs in every start this season, giving him a nice floor. The right-hander should also get plenty of run support pitching behind a Braves offense that sports an MLB-best .372 wOBA against lefty pitching.

Jacob Faria (R), 33 percent, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Toronto Blue Jays: Faria is coming off his best start of the season, an eight-inning effort against Detroit in which he allowed no runs on three hits with six K's. In fact, if you remove his one outlier start against Boston at Fenway Park on April 7 (a start you probably benched him for anyway), the right-hander owns a 2.28 ERA this season. He's a fine bet on Saturday against a middle-of the-road Toronto lineup that's whiffing at a 24 percent clip against righties and will suffer a park downgrade going to Tropicana Field.

Trevor Cahill (R), 10 percent, Oakland Athletics vs. Baltimore Orioles: Cahill has made only three starts this season, but they've been three pretty good starts. He's missing bats (9.5 K/9), limiting walks (2.5 BB/9), and keeping the ball on the ground (56 ground ball rate). With the Orioles on tap, Cahill should continue to roll. Not only are the O's getting a massive park downgrade going from Camden Yards to the Oakland Coliseum, but they have been the worst team in the AL against righty pitching this year, sporting a 74 wRC+ with a 25.5 percent strikeout rate.

Eduardo Rodriguez (L), 45 percent, Boston Red Sox at Texas Rangers: Instead of highlighting a starting pitcher to fade, we'll go with a bonus arm. Rodriguez is one of Saturday's high-upside streaming options. The Boston southpaw owns a 9.9 K/9 this season, while the Rangers are whiffing 25 percent of the time against lefties. Rodriguez has made it past the sixth inning just once in five starts this year, but the fact that Texas ranks bottom-five in walk rate versus lefties (7.7 percent) helps his cause.

Bullpen

It looks like Bud Norris will be handling the ninth-inning duties for the Cardinals for the foreseeable future. The team positioned Greg Holland to seize the closer role, but it didn't happen, as the right-hander fell apart in his last two outings, allowing six hits and four runs (three earned) while securing just three outs. Available in nearly 50 percent of ESPN leagues, Norris has looked the part in the early going, holding a 1.72 ERA and 12.6 K/9 with six saves over 15 appearances.

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.


Hitting

Catcher

Welington Castillo (R), 41 percent, Chicago White Sox vs. Minnesota Twins (RHP Lance Lynn): Lynn's first five starts for the Twins have been ... not good. While he sports an impressive 9.9 K/9, he's pairing it with an 8.8 BB/9 and 8.37 ERA. The right-hander should straighten things out eventually, but you should take advantage of his struggles while you can. Lynn is surrendering a .405 wOBA to opposing hitters, while Castillo has done all of his damage against righty pitching this season. Note: Castillo was scratched on Thursday due to some lower abdominal pain, so check his status before Saturday's game.

First base

Lucas Duda (L), 9 percent, Kansas City Royals vs. Detroit Tigers (RHP Jordan Zimmermann): Duda is one of my favorite power-hitting streamers when there's a low-end righty on the mound, and that's the case on Saturday with Zimmerman toeing the hill for Detroit. Duda is a career .250/.355/.482 hitter against righty pitching with a .232 ISO. If it's power you need, take a shot here.

Second base

Chase Utley (L), 2 percent, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Diego Padres (RHP Bryan Mitchell) in Mexico: Mitchell is one of the hurlers you'll want some exposure against on Saturday. The righty's 4.3 K/9 is trailing well behind his 7.0 BB/9, and his 6.07 ERA is fully supported by his 6.39 FIP and 5.92 xFIP. This is an ideal time to fire up Utley, who can still handle himself against right-handed pitching (.283/.386/.433). It is worth noting that this game will take place at Estadio de Beisbol Monterrey in Mexico.

Shortstop

Johan Camargo (B), 1 percent, Atlanta Braves vs. San Francisco Giants (LHP Ty Blach): In 2017, Blach allowed a .295/.339/.492 slash line to right-handed batters. Things haven't gotten much better this year, as righty hitters are slashing .291/.365/.398 against him. This creates a fine opportunity for Carmargo, who sports a career .400/.430/.693 triple slash against southpaws.

Third base

Jefry Marte (R), 1 percent, Los Angeles Angels at Seattle Mariners (LHP Marco Gonzales): Marte gets the nod with a lefty on the hill. Gonzales's hit rate is high, in part from bad luck, but also because he's a ground ball pitcher with a below average fastball. This sets up nicely for Marte, who historically hits southpaws well.

Corner infield

Matt Adams (L), 4 percent, Washington Nationals vs. Philadelphia Phillies (RHP Vince Velasquez): Adams is flat-out smashing righties right now. In 52 at-bats, he's hitting .346 with six dingers, 12 runs and 15 RBI. The big first baseman is an easy plug-and play against Velasquez, who's been pummeled by lefty batters so far this season (.422 wOBA).

Middle infield

Kolten Wong (L), 3 percent, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Chicago Cubs (RHP Tyler Chatwood): Chatwood may be coming off his best start of the season, but that 6.9 BB/9 is still disaster waiting to happen. If the right-hander again struggles finding the plate, Wong will be in a good spot to produce. He's yet to really get going this season, but he was very effecting against right-handed pitching in 2017 (.288/.380/.431).

Outfield

Matt Joyce (L), 5 percent, Oakland Athletics vs. Baltimore Orioles (RHP Kevin Gausman): Joyce is your classic platoon bat. Since 2013, 92 percent of his extra-base hits have come off right-handed pitching. Gausman, meanwhile, is allowing a .369 wOBA to lefty batters, not to mention eight homers allowed in just 34 2/3 innings this season. It's also interesting to note that Joyce typically bats leadoff against righties, and Gausman has allowed a .342/.398/.563 slash line to leadoff hitters over the last three seasons.

Mallex Smith (L), 23 percent, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Toronto Blue Jays (RHP Aaron Sanchez): Smith is on a nice little run right now. Over his last 15 games, he's batting .321 with a .377 OBP and four steals. He matches up well with Sanchez, who isn't missing bats right now (6.0 K/9) and keeps the ball on the ground, which will allow Smith to utilize his speed.

Derek Dietrich (L), 11 percent, Miami Marlins at Cincinnati Reds (RHP Tyler Mahle): Mahle has flashed at times this year, but lefty batters have been a thorn in his side. They've produced a .370 wOBA against him, including five homers in just 18 innings. Dietrich draws the platoon advantage here in a favorable matchup, and he gets a nice park upgrade going to Great American Ballpark.

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.