Fantasy baseball daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Wednesday

Tigers left-hander Matthew Boyd is missing bats at an impressive rate so far in 2019. Elsa/Getty Images

Because the Mariners have finally stopped homering in their Monday victory (we think), we can move forward for Wednesday planning.

The Red Sox and Blue Jays are taking a breather, leaving 14 games on the docket. I'm talking about a pitcher for my second consecutive week. He deserves more attention from the fantasy world, despite a tough mound opponent looming.

I'm not forgetting about a once-hyped young right-hander who has new life and a favorable matchup of his own. And don't miss the interleague series that could free up a talented bench bat to go nuts.


Pitchers to stream

Matthew Boyd (L), 33 percent rostered in ESPN leagues, Detroit Tigers vs. Cleveland Indians: Though Boyd is dueling with the sizzling Trevor Bauer, he'll draw a Tribe lineup that's started 2019 with a .262 wOBA (25th in the majors) and 66 wRC+ (24th) against left-handers. Expect him to fly off free-agent shelves once people catch on to his ridiculous (but, of course, unsustainable) 20.2 swinging-strike rate in his first two starts.

Frankie Montas (R), 6.3 percent, Oakland Athletics at Baltimore Orioles: The former prospect's newly incorporated splitter might be the key to rediscovering his once-lofty ceiling, and the 26-year-old is rolling with 11 strikeouts and a 2.45 ERA through 11 innings, with a stifling 60 percent ground-ball rate. Though Camden Yards favors hitters, #OriolesMagic is starting to wear off; the club has just a .297 wOBA against righties so far.

Tyler Mahle (R), 1.4 percent, Cincinnati Reds vs. Miami Marlins: Many will (justifiably) scramble to pick up Miami's Trevor Richards (11.3 percent) for this clash. Despite the looming presence of Great American Ball Park, the Reds own the worst wOBA in the majors so far (.234 wOBA).

Want a pivot? Renting Mahle (pronounced "Molly") won't leave you throwing 16 candles down the drain, one hopes. (Put the perennially underrated Sponge back on your playlist, please.) The 24-year-old often allows too much contact, but Miami carries a league-high 30.3 strikeout rate against right-handers in its first 198 plate appearances. That decreases the odds Mahle gets plowed.


James Paxton (L), 98.9 percent, New York Yankees at Houston Astros: Paxton is difficult to bench for any start, considering his whopping 30.4 K percentage since 2016 (fourth among starting pitchers), but the Astros rank second with a .387 wOBA at home so far, reminding Paxton shareholders to lower expectations for this outing.

Kevin Gausman (R), 60.5 percent, Atlanta Braves at Colorado Rockies: Speaking of favorable home locales, Colorado, despite its myriad of batter injuries, ranks 10th with a .346 home wOBA. Gausman's seven-inning shutout season debut aside, this one lines up to be much more painful.


The Royals are considering going with an "opener" arrangement, with Scott Barlow passing things over to Glenn Sparkman. However Ned Yost lines things up, go for launch with your Mariners, as you'll see below.

In more pertinent reliever news, A.J. Minter picked up the Braves' save Monday. This should ease the lefty's speculators' minds after his loss in his season debut last week. The strikeout-happy southpaw should continue splitting duties with Arodys Vizcaino, who lucked into a win after blowing a save chance of his own Sunday. A season with merely double-digit saves might be enough for Minter to leap into the top 15 relievers by season's end, given his high-end strikeout upside, and Vizcaino is no stranger to health woes that a cautious Braves brass will try to prevent.

Projected game scores



Omar Narvaez (B), 20 percent, Seattle Mariners at Kansas City Royals (P undecided): The 27-year-old has posted a walk percentage no lower than 11.8 and a contact percentage no lower than 81.3 across his first three MLB seasons -- two fine traits to take advantage of a patchwork Kansas City pitching day for a couple of knocks. Locking in any piece of this thunderous Mariners lineup will help, at the moment.

First base

Christian Walker (R), 27.9 percent, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Texas Rangers (RHP Lance Lynn): Walker has launched all three of his 2019 homers against righties, seizing the opportunity left by the injury to Jake Lamb. Maybe heading to pitcher-friendly Chase Field would be a fine time to start someone like Lynn, but his fastball-leaning pitch mix should line things up for Walker, who's posting a career-best contact pace (78.4 percent). A 25-homer campaign could await should the 28-year-old remain a fixture for the seasonlong lineup.

Second base

Jeff McNeil (L), 30.8 percent, New York Mets vs. Minnesota Twins (RHP Jake Odorizzi): Odorizzi's magic from his 11-strikeout season opener wore off in his most recent outing against the Phillies. McNeil slaughtered righty pitching (.345/.396/.470, .374 wOBA) in 186 plate appearances while also rattling off a .413 wOBA and 0.75 BB/K at Citi Field last season.

Third base

Jung Ho Kang (R), 7.7 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Chicago Cubs (RHP Yu Darvish): Darvish has struggled with 11 walks in 6⅔ innings across his first two outings of 2019. Kang carries reverse platoon splits in his career (.280/.353/.498) and could take advantage. Still, watch for Pittsburgh possibly starting lefty-swinging Colin Moran (1.9 percent) for the traditional lefty-versus-righty draw.


Dansby Swanson (R), 38.1 percent, Atlanta Braves at Colorado Rockies (RHP Yency Almonte): The 25-year-old is probably the Braves' hottest bat through the first two weeks of the season, scorching 56 percent of his batted balls at least 95 mph, per Statcast. Swanson widened his legs in his batting stance last summer, increasing his leg drive and helping him lift five homers in August. The 2015 No. 1 overall draft pick might be lining up for a breakthrough campaign. Almonte, who's replacing recent injury-list placement Tyler Anderson (knee), endured a 5.56 ERA in Triple-A Albuquerque last season. Maybe you simply lost track of him during your draft. Rectify that mistake now and see if he can build on his .786 OPS versus righties and .778 OPS at Tropicana Field last year.

Corner infield

Tyler Austin (R), less than 1 percent, San Francisco Giants vs. San Diego Padres (LHP Nick Margevicius): Needing help against lefties, the Giants acquired the bottom-side platooner, who mashed southpaws to a .354 wOBA in 101 plate appearances last season. Austin parked in the 2-hole Monday against Padres left-hander Eric Lauer, and that's in the cards again versus the finesse-centric Margevicius.

Middle infield

Wilmer Difo (B), 1.6 percent, Washington Nationals vs. Philadelphia Phillies (RHP Nick Pivetta): Pivetta, a popular preseason sleeper, has allowed three homers in 9⅔ innings, continuing his disturbing trend in his first two seasons (combined 1.5 HR/9). Difo, replacing Trea Turner (broken index finger), recently enjoyed a four-game hit streak that included his first 2019 homer and favors facing righties (0.55 BB/K last year).


Kole Calhoun (L), 17.1 percent, Los Angeles Angels vs. Milwaukee Brewers (RHP Brandon Woodruff): Calhoun's .257 wOBA in his first 10 games has reminded many of his historically inept start to 2018, but his cure could come at his home park. Angel Stadium was one of ESPN Park Factors' top 10 HR environments in 2018 and lowered the homer line along some parts of the right-field fence. Woodruff has struck out 13 across nine innings in two starts, but he's having difficulty controlling at-bats (48.8 first-strike percentage). Despite his sluggish beginning, Calhoun has at least a 9.6 BB percentagae in each of the past three years.

Eric Thames (L), 3.4 percent, Milwaukee Brewers at Los Angeles Angels (RHP Felix Pena): Let's stick in this interleague series, which should open up at-bats at designated hitter for the talented but playing-time-suppressed Thames, who owns a .350 wOBA and .823 OPS against southpaws as a major leaguer. Pena has allowed two homers in his first 8⅓ innings and has just a 1.69 K/BB all-time against lefty sticks.

Delino DeShields (R), 4 percent, Texas Rangers at Arizona Diamondbacks (LHP Robbie Ray): Love recommending these .107 batting averages. ... Still, if he's on your waiver wire, scoop him up for the SB potential alone. You should want to get ahead of the rush for a correction of the speedster's absurdly low .105 BABIP. The second-generation DeShields also showed more of a pulse against lefties last year (.336 OBP, 0.70 BB/K) and probably will lead off if he's on the card.

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).