Daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Sunday

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jack Flaherty is in a great spot to succeed for fantasy teams on Sunday. AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

If you need a shot in the arm to put you over the top this week, you're in luck. Sunday offers a bevy of good streaming options, most of them available in at least four out of five ESPN leagues. There are also bats providing a variety of stats. If you need another homer or steal, they're available for the taking.


Pitchers to stream

Eduardo Rodriguez (L), rostered in 45 percent of ESPN leagues, Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles: The Orioles are beginning to hit, but they still offer high strikeout potential for the opposing pitcher. This matchup is best suited for those looking for a boost in punchouts with a good chance for a win. This will be Rodriguez's seventh start since beginning the season on the disabled list. He should have shaken off all the rust by now, but he's still not as sharp as his skills indicate.

Jack Flaherty (R), 21 percent, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Philadelphia Phillies: Once it becomes clear Flaherty is up to stay, he'll be picked up in almost every ESPN league. With a start definitely in store on Sunday, this could be your best chance to grab one of the most impressive young arms in the league. While he could learn to miss more bats, he currently profiles long term as a tier or two below a fantasy ace, though he looks like a front-end pitcher in real baseball terms. The Phillies are a middle-of-the-pack offense against righties with a generous 26 percent strikeout rate in this scenario.

Tyler Anderson (L), 17 percent, Colorado Rockies at San Francisco Giants: It's preferable to stream pitchers at home, but when home is Coors Field and the road date is in AT&T Park, it's an exception. The Giants whiff a quarter of the time against lefties, which is one reason they're in the lower third in terms of production with a southpaw on the hill.

Jordan Lyles (R), 7 percent, San Diego Padres at Pittsburgh Pirates: Scouting Lyles is a chore. Most of his recent MLB data comes from his days with Colorado, plus his time as a Padres reliever. Sure, the numbers can be normalized for park factors, but sometimes that's not enough to get a true read. This is especially the case when the pitcher makes some adjustments. Earlier in the week, Fangraph's Craig Edwards broke down Lyles' new approach. Long story short: There's reason to believe what Lyles displayed in his near no-hitter is a real change. He gets to prove it against the Pirates, an offense that's coming alive again after a sluggish couple of weeks.

Mike Minor (L), 7 percent, Texas Rangers at Chicago White Sox: Minor draws one of the better teams to face after struggling last time out. The White Sox are among the weaker lineups when a left-hander is toeing the rubber, fanning at an elevated 26 percent clip.

Daniel Mengden (R), 6 percent, Oakland Athletics at Toronto Blue Jays: After being slow out of the gate, the mustachioed one has allowed two or fewer runs in five of six outings, the lone blemish against the powerful Astros. While the Jays' offense is capable of doing damage, they've scored more than four runs only six times this month.


Shane Greene has been quietly getting the job done for the Tigers, nailing down 10 wins with only two blown saves. He's also helping with strikeouts, punching out 25 in 20 1/3 innings. The righty is rostered in fewer than of half of ESPN leagues, so if you need a boost in saves, check out his availability.

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.



Tyler Flowers (R), 3 percent, Atlanta Braves vs. Miami Marlins (LHP Wei-Yin Chen): Flowers has been receiving more playing time than Kurt Suzuki lately, plus Suzuki caught Saturday, so chances are Flowers will be in the lineup. Flowers doesn't exhibit huge splits but should be at an advantage facing a lefty who has allowed 28 of 31 homers to righty swingers since 2016.

First base

Logan Morrison (L), 16 percent, Minnesota Twins vs. Milwaukee Brewers (RHP Junior Guerra): Joe Mauer was placed on the disabled list on Saturday, moving Morrison to first base on a full time basis while Mauer is out. In addition, Morrison moves up a spot in the order. There may not seem like there's much of a difference between fifth and sixth, but the relative increase in production going from sixth to fifth is the greatest of all adjacent lineup spots.

Second base

Daniel Castro (R), under 1 percent, Colorado Rockies at San Francisco Giants (LHP Ty Blach): At least for now, Castro is picking up the playing time ceded by DJ Lemahieu's DL visit. Castro is hitting low in the order but has the advantage of the platoon edge on a pitcher who has one of the lower strikeout rates in the league.

Third base

Miguel Andujar (R), 44 percent, New York Yankees at Kansas City Royals (LHP Eric Skoglund): Skoglund has pitched better lately, posting three quality starts in his past four outings. He'll be hard-pressed to do it again with the Yankees visiting Kauffman Stadium. Andujar has stabilized the hot corner, looking to be a stalwart for the next several seasons. He hasn't had much success against righties so far, but don't read anything into it, the sample is too small to draw conclusions.


Jonathan Villar (B), 14 percent, Milwaukee Brewers at Minnesota Twins (RHP Jake Odorizzi): Villar has settled into a level between 2016's stellar season and last year's disappointing campaign. The result is a solid middle infielder, capable of swiping a base if you require a lift in that department as the fantasy scoring week comes to a close.

Corner infield

Cory Spangenberg (L), 1 percent, San Diego Padres at Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP Trevor Williams): With the release of Chase Headley, and Christian Villanueva in a rut after his fast start, the pesky Spangenberg is getting some run at the hot corner. Williams' 2.72 ERA and 1.13 WHIP may look impressive, but a pedestrian 5.9 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 suggest a correction is impending. Add in likely regression to his luck-driven .232 BABIP, and the result could be significant.

Middle infield

Niko Goodrum (B), 9 percent, Detroit Tigers at Seattle Mariners (LHP Wade LeBlanc): Goodrum leads a streak of Tigers in a favorable spot to exploit LeBlanc. Goodrum carried a modest seven-game hitting streak into Saturday's games, with four homers and four steals on his seasonal ledger. John Hicks, Jacoby Jones and Mikie Mahtook also enjoy the platoon bump.


Scott Schebler (L), 15 percent, Cincinnati Reds vs. Chicago Cubs (RHP Yu Darvish): Darvish lasted only four innings in his return from the disabled list, though since he missed time from illness, it's understandable. For the season, he's stuck in a rut, walking too many batters while surrendering too many homers. Schebler isn't especially patient, but he has been making good contact this season, including a pair of homers this week.

Matt Joyce (L), 4 percent, Oakland Athletics at Toronto Blue Jays (RHP Joe Biagini): Joyce is a frequent visitor to this space, sometimes curiously so, as he started out slowly. However, he has had a couple of multihit games this week along with a pair of long balls. He enjoys a nice park upgrade facing a fill-in righty who has had trouble keeping men off base in his limited time on the hill this season.

Brandon Nimmo (L), 1 percent, New York Mets vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (RHP Clay Buchholz): Yes, that Clay Buchholz. Furthermore, it's not like he earned the call-up by dominating at Triple-A Reno, as he has registered a 5.40 ERA and 1.52 WHIP in 11 1/3 innings. With Juan Lagares out for the season, Nimmo has a chance to play a lot more, often batting leadoff with a righty on the bump.

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.