Daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Friday

Tampa Bay's Jacob Faria is worth a look Friday against the scuffling Baltimore offense. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Just your run-of-the-mill Friday slate with two of the game's best highlighting the card. Max Scherzer visits the team that drafted him as the Diamondbacks host the Nationals, while Justin Verlander and the Astros host the Rangers in a Lone Star State battle.

There are a lot of other solid arms on the hill, along with some streaming options. The outfield is stacked with interesting options, some of whom will be highlighted with their teammates offered as infield candidates.

Here's a look at the day's most interesting streaming options, focusing on players rostered in less than 50 percent of ESPN leagues.


Pitchers to stream

Tyler Skaggs (L), rostered in 46 percent of ESPN leagues, Los Angeles Angels vs. Minnesota Twins: The Twins offense has predictably awoken from it's early-season slumber, so this call is more a show of confidence in Skaggs than it is picking on a weaker lineup. Skaggs is checking all the boxes with more strikeouts, fewer walks and keeping the ball in the yard. He also benefits from a strong defense and favorable pitching park. Health is all that separates him from becoming the fantasy asset expected as a prospect.

Jacob Faria (R), 40 percent, Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles: The Orioles are bad. They rank second to last in weighted on base average (wOBA) versus righties with the fifth-worst strikeout rate in that scenario. Faria has been inconsistent, including a rough outing against Baltimore in Camden Yards, but until the Orioles show some signs of offensive life, they're ripe to be picked on by opposing pitchers.

Brandon McCarthy (R), 19 percent, Atlanta Braves at Miami Marlins: McCarthy is coming off a shellacking from the Giants, so saying he's facing a lesser offense will draw the ire of those trusting him last time out. Still, the numbers say this is a great spot for a rebound -- especially for those chasing wins -- as the Braves should be favored, even on the road.

Matthew Boyd (L), 13 percent, Detroit Tigers vs. Seattle Mariners: It feels like we've been down this road before, as Boyd has flashed mediocrity in the past. Improved control and increased use of his slider give this time around more staying power. Friday will be a good test, as the Mariners hit lefties well. There's risk here, but Boyd has worked at least six innings in four of his six efforts, allowing just one earned run each time.

Andrew Suarez (L), 6 percent, San Francisco Giants at Pittsburgh Pirates: Suarez has given the Giants a much-needed shot in the arm, tossing 12 1/3 frames with 11 strikeouts and two walks since joining the rotation on May 1. The Pirates have cooled considerably since opening the season piling up runs, though they are more productive versus southpaws.

Pitchers to avoid

Cole Hamels (L), 72 percent, Texas Rangers at Houston Astros: Hamels is capable of keeping even the Astros in check, but a high walk rate in combination with none homers surrendered in 45 1/3 stanzas suggests discretion is the better form of valor.


This is going to be a Brewers/Cardinals/Angels-free Friday! Unfortunately, the situation in Toronto needs to be addressed. Sticking to the fantasy implications, Tyler Clippard, not Seung Hwan Oh, received the most recent Blue Jays save chance. It remains to be seen who closes in the foreseeable future, but if you need saves, Clippard is at least in the mix. Also, the Rays and Orioles play a double-header on Saturday.

A great trick in leagues with daily moves is grabbing players a day or two early. Alex Colome is available in about 30 percent of ESPN leagues, so if you need saves, check your waiver wire; he has a couple of chances facing a poor team. And yes, the Orioles could beat the Rays, so Brad Brach is a viable pickup, too.

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.



John Hicks (R), 2 percent, Detroit Tigers vs. Seattle Mariners (LHP Marco Gonzales): Funny how things go in cycles. There are stretches in which finding a catcher is like picking a needle out of a haystack. Due to a few injuries -- not all of which are among backstops -- Hicks, Austin Barnes and Mitch Garver have often been in play of late. On Friday, Hicks gets the spotlight, batting fifth with the platoon edge against a vulnerable southpaw.

First base

Mitch Moreland (L), 16 percent, Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays (RHP Aaron Sanchez): Even with a righty on the hill, it's not a sure thing Moreland will be in the lineup. However, there's a good chance Boston will save either Hanley Ramirez or J.D. Martinez from the Rogers Centre turf. Plus, Moreland is slashing .351/.719/1.126 with a right-hander on the hill.

Second base

Jason Kipnis (L), 24 percent, Cleveland Indians vs. Kansas City Royals (RHP Jason Hammel): Perhaps to a fault, I'll take a struggling hitter against a weak pitcher instead of a better hitter facing a much better pitcher -- even if the better batter has the platoon edge. Part is team context. The better batter might get a hit or two, but it isn't as likely to come with run production. I'd rather take my chances on a hitter in a rut hitting second in a lineup that has been scoring runs lately. Bradley Zimmer and Yonder Alonso are also in play.

Third base

Yolmer Sanchez (B), 20 percent, Chicago White Sox at Chicago Cubs (RHP Tyler Chatwood): What happens when a team allergic to walks faces a pitcher handing them out like Halloween candy? That's the scenario here, as Sanchez and fellow impatient teammates Leury Garcia, Nicky Delmonico and Daniel Palka all face the thus-far disappointing Chatwood, sporting a bloated 7.4 K/9.


Wilmer Difo (B), 17 percent, Washington Nationals at Arizona Diamondbacks (RHP Matt Koch): While the Nationals certainly miss Daniel Murphy, Difo has done his best to mitigate the loss, especially against righties. He has been moved to the bottom of the order but is still a threat to get on (14 percent walk rate) and run.

Corner infield

Yuli Gurriel (R), 33 percent, Houston Astros vs. Texas Rangers (LHP Cole Hamels): Normally, it would be an indication of a weak team when its cleanup hitter is available in two-thirds of ESPN leagues. It's safe to say the Astros are an exception. It's also safe to say you want exposure to Hamels, especially from such a potentially productive spot in the order.

Middle infield

Hernan Perez (R), under 1 percent, Milwaukee Brewers at Colorado Rockies (RHP Chad Bettis): The Brewers haven't established a usage pattern at the keystone since sending Eric Sogard to the minors. Nick Franklin was in the mix, but he was sent to the DL on Wednesday, leaving Perez and Jonathan Villar. Perez played yesterday, so perhaps it's Villar's turn, or maybe the Brewers want to give Perez some extended playing time. Either way, exposure to Coors Field is always a good thing.


Aaron Altherr (R), 7 percent, Philadelphia Phillies vs. New York Mets (LHP Steven Matz): It's understandable why Altherr is well below the 50 percent cutoff used to unearth options. However, he's better than such a low number suggests. The Phillies continue to hit him in upper portion of the order, which is where he'll probably be with a lefty on the hill Friday.

JaCoby Jones (R), 3 percent, Detroit Tigers vs. Seattle Mariners (LHP Marco Gonzales): Jones was playing regularly before Leonys Martin was disabled, so he would be in play, regardless. However, Mikie Mahtook was recalled and might join Jones as an option against a mediocre southpaw.

Harrison Bader (R), 1 percent, St. Louis Cardinals at San Diego Padres (LHP Eric Lauer): While Bader isn't in a full rotation with the Cardinals outfielders, it does appear he'll be in the lineup when a lefty is on the rubber. Not only that, Bader will probably be the leadoff hitter if Tommie Pham continues to be slowed by a sore groin. Bader has good on-base skills and can run, as evidenced by four steals in part-time play.

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.