With only a handful of stars toeing the slab on Tuesday, it's a wide-open slate both for our streaming pitchers as well as our lineup of bats. Those looking for a fill-in could go one of multiple ways at just about every position as many teams trot out their fours and fives while Chris Sale and Gerrit Cole are the only true aces set to start.
Pitchers to stream
Trevor Cahill (R), rostered in 14 percent of ESPN leagues, Oakland Athletics vs. Seattle Mariners: Cahill is looking like his first-half self from 2017 after five strong starts with A's. In fact, he's been a little better with a 22 percent K-BB rate and 15 percent swinging-strike rate, compared to 18 and 13 percent marks with San Diego last year. This Mariners offense lost a major piece with Robinson Cano's suspension while Nelson Cruz has posted a pedestrian (for him, at least) .760 OPS as he nurses an elbow injury. There's no way Cahill should be this widely available and I'd definitely consider holding him beyond this start.
Matthew Boyd (L), 18 percent, Detroit Tigers at Minnesota Twins: Is Boyd finally having the breakthrough many have predicted for years? The 27-year-old lefty has logged six innings in each of his past four starts and in seven of his eight all year. He's also keeping the ball in the yard with four straight HR-free outings and his strikeout upside is better than his 21 percent mark might have you believe as he's netted a 25 percent mark in his last six. His one strikeout season opener is really holding back his bottom line. Boyd is destroying lefties this season making him well-equipped to handle a Twins team that gets a lot of juice out of its lefties including Eddie Rosario, Max Kepler and Logan Morrison.
Caleb Smith (L), 22 percent, Miami Marlins at New York Mets: Smith has had three really bad starts this year and the common thread is an utter lack of control with at least four walks in three or fewer innings in all of them. The latest was in his start last week, when the Dodgers got to him for four runs in three innings with four walks, but also four strikeouts, keeping his strikeout rate at a very healthy 32 percent. He shouldn't worry about just going at the Mets offense as they are dead last in weighted on base average (wOBA) at .268, along with a 27 percent strikeout rate that is third-highest.
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.
Evan Gattis (R), 51 percent, Houston Astros vs. San Francisco Giants (LHP Andrew Suarez): Gattis hasn't had a very good season, but he might be starting to turn it around. He has a 1.042 OPS over the past two weeks with three of his four homers on the season. San Francisco's Suarez has shown a severe platoon split with a 513-point difference favoring righties (1.007 OPS). This is a great opportunity for Gattis to stay hot and start paying off on his relatively lofty draft status.
Justin Bour (L), 50 percent, Miami Marlins at New York Mets (RHP Zack Wheeler): This will be the final time you see Bour in Daily Notes as his roster rate will soar beyond 50 percent given his electric May. He's clubbed five homers with a 1.075 OPS. He is just decimating righties, too, with a .991 OPS and all nine of his homers this season. Lefties have had a 60-point advantage against Wheeler and he has had an impossible time at home with a 9.56 ERA and 2.06 WHIP. It's only three starts and Citi Field isn't inherently difficult on starters, but if the Marlins keep the trend going, Bour will be in on the action.
Daniel Descalso (L), 29 percent, Arizona Diamondbacks at Milwaukee Brewers (RHP Jhoulys Chacin): Is Descalso playing himself into fantasy relevance beyond NL-only leagues? The 31-year old utilityman is off to his best start ever (.854 OPS) and is already halfway toward matching last year's 10 home run output despite being just over a third of the at-bats he needed in 2017. Chacin has a sharp 235-platoon split favoring lefty batters that Descalso will look to exploit. Descalso is starting regularly and qualifies at 2B, 3B, and OF, making him someone to consider if injuries have decimated your roster.
Colin Moran (L), 13 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates at Cincinnati Reds (RHP Matt Harvey): Moran has been a standout bat for the surprising Pirates, being deployed almost exclusively against righties and posting an .833 OPS in 131 plate appearances. He has a fantastic plate approach that has yielded a 16 percent strikeout rate and 12 percent walk rate, both well above average. Harvey hasn't embarrassed himself in two starts with the Reds, but both were four innings and he had a lot of hard contact find gloves. In fact, his 44 percent hard contact rate is actually up a tick from his work in New York. He has allowed 13 extra-base hits out of 21 total hits to lefties.
Tim Anderson (R), 54 percent, Chicago White Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles (RHP Kevin Gausman): This is a straight-up stolen base play and any hitting is extra. Anderson is 10-for-10 on the bases this year against righties and 36-for-40 against all pitchers in his career. Meanwhile, the Red Sox may have exposed a flaw in Gausman's game after a strong, five-SB effort his last time out. While this is a speed-focused option, it's worth noting that Anderson has seven homers this year, four of them against righties.
Jesus Aguilar (R), 14 percent, Milwaukee Brewers vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (RHP Matt Koch): Aguilar is mashing his way into more playing time with a 1.003 OPS and seven homers through 119 plate appearances. The right-hander hasn't had issues with same-handed pitchers, either, toting a .993 OPS with six of the seven dingers. Meanwhile, Koch has the rarely seen reverse platoon with righties tattooing him to the tune of a .299 AVG, .974 OPS, and five homers in 72 PA.
Ian Happ (B), 48 percent, Chicago Cubs vs. Cleveland Indians (RHP Trevor Bauer): Happ showed last week why we are still in a dangerous zone as far as statistical analysis. It feels like we're starting to get some bankable sample sizes of work, but Happ added 152 points to his OPS in a five-game run that saw him go 6-15 with five extra-base hits. Just a week ago when he had a .718 OPS, he was "off to a slow start", but now he's sitting well above average with an .870 mark. Of course, he is still striking out 41 percent of the time so he's hardly out of the woods. This is more of a hot-hand play as Bauer is no picnic for any hitters this year. It's also meant to put Happ back on your radar as he may've fallen off in the midst of his cold streak. He's a flawed player, but still a very potent bat when he's rolling.
Leonys Martin (L), 20 percent, Detroit Tigers at Minnesota Twins (RHP Lance Lynn): Martin is back from injury and hoping to continue his strong start, especially against righties. He has a .310 AVG, .897 OPS, and 12 extra-base hits against them this year. The only thing Martin hasn't done well this year is run with a 1-for-4 success rate, but he has a 75 percent career success rate. Lynn has been positively pummeled by lefties this year with a 1.060 OPS and more walks (12) than strikeouts (10).
Matt Joyce (L), 4 percent, Oakland Athletics vs. Seattle Mariners (RHP Mike Leake): The A's keep Joyce in the top two spots of the lineup against righties, and while he hasn't quite gotten going to the level of our expectations, he's still clearly doing his best work against righties with a nice 169-point platoon advantage (.725 OPS, .184 ISO) and all five of his homers.
Travis Jankowski (L), 27 percent, San Diego Padres at Washington Nationals (RHP Jeremy Hellickson): Jankowski is collecting base hits right and left lately with a .400 AVG in his past nine games and five stolen bases. All of sudden he's tied for the ninth-highest SB total (7) in just 73 plate appearances, far fewer than everyone tied or ahead of him. Obviously, he's riding hot with the batting average and his .533 BABIP over the last week will not hold, but we only need him on base once to get our money's worth if he continues to run wild like this.
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.