Fantasy baseball daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Wednesday

Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher John Means has cooled off a bit from his hot start to 2019, but he has an enticing matchup on Wednesday. Photo by Quinn Harris/Icon Sportswire

With the Milwaukee Brewers and Minnesota Twins enjoying a breather Wednesday, fantasy players who must roll with the churn-and-burn strategy likely will have plenty of bats to replace.

The Los Angeles Dodgers (Walker Buehler) and New York Mets (Noah Syndergaard) have the headline pitching matchup, and the New York Yankees are set to get James Paxton back from the injured list, just in time for another watch-worthy duel with the San Diego Padres' Chris Paddack. San Diego continues its run with a designated hitter during a visit to an AL park, along with the Chicago Cubs, who travel for a marquee matchup in Houston.

For those seeking help on the mound, this might be the best group of Wednesday streamers I've recorded in the past month -- timely, as now my May watch has ended. At least the top three could become reliable fantasy back-enders the rest of the way for those seeking their league's throne.


Pitchers to stream

Pablo Lopez (R), 4.3 percent, Miami Marlins vs. San Francisco Giants: We've had some time to forget about the early-season hype of Marlins pitchers, which has been sustained only by Caleb Smith. Lopez, however, still has promising peripherals tucked beneath an unsightly 5.40 ERA; he's fanned 8.71 batters per nine and walked just 2.44, both improvements from his intriguing 2018. Lopez has been done in by an absurdly low 62.5 LOB%, and he'll have a chance to improve on that versus the Giants, who rank barely above Miami's own basement-level offense with the third-worst wOBA versus righties (.285). Let this be a reminder of Lopez's potential utility and dramatically positive correction the rest of the way.

Anthony DeSclafani (R), 9.9 percent, Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates: The righty's 4.99 ERA shields a stellar 24.8 K%, but he still gives up a little too much hard contact. Despite Josh Bell's monster season, however, the Pirates still rank in the bottom third against righties with a 91 wRC+ and .307 wOBA. Look past the hitter-leaning ambience at Great American Ball Park if you're chasing whiffs.

Griffin Canning (R), 10.2 percent, Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics: Watch to see whether he's confirmed for this assignment, on which you'd want to capitalize and rank ahead of DeSclafani's. Slip-ups in two of his first three starts have obscured the 23-year-old's recent success (one earned run in 12 innings over his past two starts). While Canning's inflated 86.4 LOB% says a tough future likely lies ahead, Oakland ranks in the middle or bottom third in many offensive categories, and Oakland Coliseum can play toward pitching often.

John Means (L), 48.7 percent, Baltimore Orioles vs. Detroit Tigers: In the lefty's past five starts, he's slipped with a 3.86 ERA and just 15 K's in 28 innings, losing a bit of the shine from his strong start in his first seven appearances. At least he's delivered two quality starts as he's come back to earth, showing he at least provides us with one Orioles starter worth considering. He should tide you over for this assignment; the Tigers rank at best in the middle of the road in most categories and have one of the 10 highest strikeout rates (26.0 percent) versus southpaws.


Cubs reliever Pedro Strop will make a rehab appearance with Triple-A Iowa on Tuesday, and should he experience few or no issues, he'll probably rejoin the big league club sometime this week. If you need saves, you can still score Strop in about 80 percent of ESPN leagues; Steve Cishek probably will slide back into a setup role for at least the majority of save opportunities once Strop resurfaces.

Projected game scores



Brian McCann (L), 3.5 percent, Atlanta Braves vs. Washington Nationals (RHP Anibal Sanchez): Sanchez will come off the IL after missing almost two weeks with a sore hamstring. Prior to the injury, Sanchez was searching for his control, walking 25 batters in just 42 1/3 innings. McCann and Wednesday's starter Kevin Gausman have paired for a sterling 3.24 ERA over five starts this year, so expect the 35-year-old to squat for this one. He's reawakened with a .291/.356/.442 line in 101 plate appearances in 2019 while cutting his K% all the way down to 10.9.

First base

Jake Bauers (L), 32.7 percent, Cleveland Indians at Boston Red Sox (RHP Ryan Weber): Bauers still has long-term intrigue but has been cut in plenty of setups with his tepid hitting. Yet despite Weber having allowed just two runs in 14 innings (1.29 ERA), his right-handedness at least allows deep-league fantasy competitors to sneak the 23-year-old into their lineup. He should at least hit in the middle of the order here.

Second base

Brandon Lowe (L), 41.4 percent, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Toronto Blue Jays (RHP Trent Thornton): Though his numbers at Tropicana Field (.221/287/.419) have paled in comparison to his road splits (.330/.375/.648), nine of Lowe's 11 homers have left the bat on pitches from righties, and Thornton falls off against lefty batters (.343 wOBA, compared to .277 in the opposite bracket).

Third base

Tim Beckham (R), 44.1 percent, Seattle Mariners vs. Texas Rangers (LHP Drew Smyly): Beckham has kept his reputation in 2019, delivering a .333/.375/.578 slash with three homers across 48 plate appearances versus lefties. Smyly has walked 25 batters in 33 2/3 frames and can't work the strike zone effectively against righty batters (6.0 K-BB%, compared to a similarly uninspiring 11.5 against lefties).


Scott Kingery (R), 5.7 percent, Philadelphia Phillies vs. St. Louis Cardinals (LHP Genesis Cabrera): Floating between several positions, Kingery should continue starting at least two or three games per week. He's excelled versus righties in limited action (43 plate appearances) but remains a likely high hitter in the order when a lefty toes the rubber against him, especially when it's a fresh-meat call-up in Cabrera, who carries a 4.31 BB/9 in his second go-round at Triple-A Memphis.

Corner infield

Brandon Dixon (R), less than 1 percent, Detroit Tigers at Baltimore Orioles (LHP John Means): I shoehorned a Means opponent into this lot to cover all positions -- but also because I had to mention Dixon's quietly awesome May: .304/.330/.630, four homers and 10 RBIs in 48 plate appearances. He's crept into the lineup more often lately as a result, and hitter-enhancing Camden Yards could help him keep this run going.

Middle infield

Brendan Rodgers (R), 16.6 percent, Colorado Rockies vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (LHP Robbie Ray): Ray once again has been too kind with free passes (4.81 per nine, 12.4 percent so far), and much of that continues to come from nibbling versus righty batters (2.07 K/BB, 5.80 BB/9 against them, compared to 8.00 and 1.38 versus lefty sticks). Rodgers has stalled in his first major league action but should be in the starting nine against a southpaw, as the Rockies did with the since-demoted Garrett Hampson.


Hunter Pence (R), 38.3 percent, Texas Rangers at Seattle Mariners (LHP Wade LeBlanc): Pence continues his renaissance season at age 36, and though he's actually hitting righties better, you should roll with him here too. LeBlanc has allowed seven homers to righty opponents in just 88 plate appearances.

Jarrod Dyson (L), 10.5 percent, Arizona Diamondbacks at Colorado Rockies (RHP Jeff Hoffman): Let Dyson stand in as my token "play everyone at Coors Field" shout for the visiting team. While his 19.3 percent strikeout rate sits at its highest mark since a brief 2011 stint, the 34-year-old is enjoying his career-best paces in walk rate (13.3 percent) and BABIP (.333) -- the latter helping his speed-centric skill set. Hoffman owns a career 6.03 ERA.

Charlie Tilson (L), 1.3 percent, Chicago White Sox vs. Kansas City Royals (RHP Glenn Sparkman): More known for his pure speed, the 26-year-old has thrived with at least a short-term chance at majority or starter's playing time, clubbing his first career homer last Wednesday. Tilson boasts a solid 82.3 percent contact rate in his 200 MLB plate appearances, and Sparkman has a mere 15.3 K% for his career, so he should groove plenty of hittable pitches. Tilson could be useful in lineups while he's riding a bit of a heater.

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).