Daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Sunday

Jhoulys Chacin stands out as the top streaming option on a top-heavy Sunday pitching slate. Getty Images

Sunday's schedule isn't streamer-friendly, at least for pitchers, as most of the arms are in the "good to very good" range, as evidenced by 19 projected game scores of 50 or higher, with five more just a tick away.

The bulk of these pitchers are rostered in more than half of ESPN leagues, above our cutoff to be considered. However, there are a couple of pitchers worthy of deployment based on matchups. Hitters are more plentiful, with several bumped up via the platoon advantage.


Pitchers to stream

Jhoulys Chacin (R), rostered in 17 percent of ESPN leagues, Milwaukee Brewers vs. New York Mets: Chacin is by far the best streaming option on the ledger. He has quietly rebounded from a sluggish start to the campaign by allowing two or fewer runs in seven of his past eight outings, registering a 2.29 ERA and 1.04 WHIP during this span. He draws an anemic Mets offense averaging a meek 3.5 runs the past month.

German Marquez (R), 6 percent, Colorado Rockies vs. Cincinnati Reds: While others are more open to using a starter in Coors, for me it's solely out of desperation. That's how poor the slate is for spot starters, recommending someone sporting a 10.34 ERA and 2.42 WHIP at home. (Those look like Jacob deGrom's strikeout and walk peripherals.) The only reason Marquez is in play is he's facing a Reds squad with the seventh-worst home run rate versus right-handers, even with Cincinnati playing half of its games in a venue almost as generous as Coors Field.

James Shields (R), 4 percent, Chicago White Sox at Detroit Tigers: Yes, friends, Sunday's best streaming options feature a Colorado pitcher and Shields. I could use some help, so let's tag in ESPN Research associate Kyle Soppe for reasons to be cautiously optimistic. Soppe points out Shields has completed at least six innings in six straight starts -- the past two spanning 14 1/3 innings with eight hits and three earned runs (no homers allowed). Further, long balls are Shields' biggest flaw, but the Tigers are the third-weakest team in terms of homers off righties.

Pitchers to avoid

Masahiro Tanaka (R), 95 percent, New York Yankees vs. Los Angeles Angels: Benching Tanaka is contextual to your league, especially head-to-head formats. If you can't win your matchup without him, you have no choice but to roll the dice. For those in tight ratio battles or with an innings or games-started cap, consider leaving Tanaka on the pine. The Angels crush righties while being very stingy with strikeouts.

Mike Foltynewicz (R), 59 percent, Atlanta Braves at Boston Red Sox: The same warning holds true here: If you need Foltynewicz to win the week, click him in. However, the Red Sox are the best offense in the game with a righty on the hill, fanning at an even lower rate than the Halos.


Hopefully, if you drafted Alex Colome, you knew a trade away from Tampa Bay was coming and had a contingency plan. One option would have been stashing Jose Alvarado, though the creative Rays could go in a lot of directions, including Chaz Roe as part of a committee.

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.



Tucker Barnhart (B), 22 percent, Cincinnati Reds at Colorado Rockies (RHP German Marquez): Sunday is tricky as many clubs like to use their reserves, especially behind the plate. In the likely event Barnhart plays, not only is this a Coors Field game, but he's been hitting in the productive 2-hole lately. Barnhart doesn't have a ton of power, but he makes solid contact ... which is just as important, if not more so in this venue.

First base

Logan Morrison (L), 14 percent, Minnesota Twins at Seattle Mariners (RHP Mike Leake): The Twins have faced a slew of southpaws recently, so Morrison will be chomping at the bit to be back in the lineup, in his customary No. 5 spot. Morrison is in a rut, striking out often over the past week, but since Leake doesn't miss many bats, he's in play with the chance to go deep.

Second base

Logan Forsythe (R), 1 percent, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Diego Padres: The Padres have opted to put Robbie Erlin back in the bullpen, and possible fill-in Luis Perdomo was placed on the Triple-A disabled list. As such, the Padres will take a page from the Rays' playbook and go with a parade of relievers. The Dodgers' offense has been quiet but could have a good day not facing a quality starter. After a pair of hitless affairs coming off the DL, Forsythe hit safely in five of his next six, leading into Saturday's contest.

Third base

Matt Davidson (R), 50 percent, Chicago White Sox at Detroit Tigers (LHP Blaine Hardy): Be sure to check the lineups, as Davidson has missed four straight with back spasms. While he's slowed down since April, Davidson hasn't turned into the pumpkin many expected. If Davidson is unable to go, Jose Rondon likely will play and is a fine option for middle infield.


Brandon Crawford (L), 47 percent, San Francisco Giants at Chicago Cubs (RHP Tyler Chatwood): Crawford has been one of the league's best hitters the past month, slashing .362/.400/.562. Chatwood brings a terrible 1.03 K/BB rate in 45.2 innings into this contest.

Corner infield

Ronald Guzman (L), 3 percent, Texas Rangers vs. Kansas City Royals (RHP Jason Hammel): Some may call it riding a streak or chasing stats as Guzman has been on a homer binge this week. I call it taking advantage of a great matchup, as Hammel is 1-5 with a 5.70 ERA and 1.45 WHIP while being vulnerable to lefty power hitters.

Middle infield

Dustin Pedroia (R), 23 percent, Boston Red Sox vs. Atlanta Braves (RHP Mike Foltynewicz): Pedroia made his long-awaited 2018 debut at Fenway Park yesterday, so it wouldn't be surprising if he sits on Sunday. He's hitting in the lower half of the order, but Boston's lineup is deep, so they'll be plenty of chances to be productive. Expect Eduardo Nunez or Brock Holt to spell Pedroia at the keystone a couple of times per week, with both in play against Foltynewicz in case it happens Sunday.


Albert Almora Jr. (R), 14 percent, Chicago Cubs vs. San Francisco Giants (LHP Ty Blach): Using Almora against a southpaw is basically a Pavlovian move. He usually hits atop a dangerous lineup. Sunday is an especially favorable spot as Blach pitches to contact and as a pitcher you really don't want Almora and his mates to be putting the ball in play.

Kole Calhoun (L), 13 percent, Los Angeles Angels at New York Yankees (RHP Masahiro Tanaka): While it's not to the degree Paul Goldschmidt has disappointed, Calhoun has been in a season-long slump, dropping him to ninth in the order. This play is solely to try to run into a long ball at Yankee Stadium, facing a pitcher known to serve them up with frequency.

Gerardo Parra (L), 6 percent, Colorado Rockies vs. Cincinnati Reds (RHP Matt Harvey): Yesterday, David Dahl got the nod; now it's Parra's turn. Both are in play, hitting in prime lineup spots against the rejuvenated Harvey. As good as he's looked, Harvey isn't out of the woods yet, especially with a Coors Field affair on the docket.

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.