Fantasy baseball daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Saturday

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Saturday brings us plenty of ace power. Chris Sale, Walker Buehler, Stephen Strasburg, Madison Bumgarner, Noah Syndergaard and Charlie Morton are all toeing the rubber for their respective teams. Unfortunately, with so many high-end arms on the slate, the streaming options are rather thin. So if you can avoid the elite hurlers, it's a good day to focus on hitting.


Here's a look at the day's top streaming options, focusing on players rostered in fewer than 50 percent of ESPN leagues.

Pablo Lopez (R), rostered in 12 percent of ESPN leagues, Miami Marlins vs. Pittsburgh Pirates: Lopez's season-long numbers have been severely damaged by a blowup outing against the Mets (10 ER in 3 IP) in early May, but the skills here are worth paying attention to. The right-hander is fanning nearly a batter per inning (8.9 K/9) with great control (2.2 BB/9) and a quality ground ball rate (47.7 percent). Since that disaster outing, Lopez holds a 1.88 ERA over his past five starts. He's also been dominant at Marlins Park, where he sports a 1.78 ERA across 35 1/3 frames. Fire up Lopez against a below-average Pirates lineup on Saturday.

Framber Valdez (L), 5 percent, Houston Astros vs. Toronto Blue Jays: Valdez's first start of the season last week went swimmingly, as he held the Orioles to one run over seven innings with seven K's and zero walks. On Saturday, the 25-year-old lefty draws another favorable matchup against a Blue Jays team that ranks bottom five in baseball with a .285 wOBA and 24.2 percent whiff rate against left-handers. While Valdez's K/9 this season sits at just 7.6, he missed lots of bats in the minors and induces a boatload of grounders, so there's a decent ceiling here if he can keep his control in check.

Jimmy Nelson (R), 9 percent, Milwaukee Brewers at San Francisco Giants: Nelson's first start of the season after working his way back from a shoulder injury didn't go so well. He lasted just three innings against the lowly Marlins, allowing five runs (four earned) on four hits and three walks. Naturally, there's some hesitancy with rolling Nelson out there again this weekend, even in another prime matchup against the Giants. Still, Nelson posted a 3.75 ERA and 10.9 K/9 in his five-game rehab stint at Triple-A, and we've seen him flash high-end stuff when healthy. If you're playing catchup in your head-to-head matchup and don't mind taking on some risk, Nelson is worth consideration on a day without a plethora of appealing options.

Pitcher to avoid

Yu Darvish (R), 69 percent, Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers: Darvish has put together some decent outings of late, but I'm still not touching him here. The Dodgers are the best team in the National League against right-handed pitching (119 wRC+), while Darvish and his 5.5 BB/9 walk rate are a blowup waiting to happen. Sure, he's still getting K's with a 10.1 K/9, but those potential K's just aren't worth the price of admission in a matchup like this.


If you play in holds leagues, sometimes it's as simple as targeting late-inning relievers on elite teams. Over the past 30 days, five of the top eight holds-getters pitch for the Astros and Yankees. While Ryan Pressly, Zack Britton and Adam Ottavino are widely rostered, Tommy Kahnle and Will Harris are still available in many leagues.

Projected game scores


Robinson Chirinos (R), 33 percent, Houston Astros vs. Toronto Blue Jays (LHP Clayton Richard): Chirinos sports a 1.086 OPS in June with five dingers, and on Saturday he draws the platoon advantage against Richard, the day's lowest-ranked starter. The southpaw is allowing a .404 wOBA to righty batters this season.

First Base
Garrett Cooper (R), 7 percent, Miami Marlins vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (Undecided): Cooper is in the midst of a heater. He's batting .330/.411/.546 over the past 30 days with six dingers and 20 RBIs. The Marlins lineup doesn't generate much offense, but Cooper is proving that fantasy value is still possible in Miami.

Second Base
Howie Kendrick (R), 45 percent, Washington Nationals vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (RHP Taylor Clarke): It's a small sample, but Clarke has been tattooed by righty batters this season, surrendering a .304/.333/.587 triple-slash line. Kendrick, meanwhile, is raking against seemingly everyone. He's batting .346/.381/.628 over the past month and sports a .922 OPS versus righties.

Third Base

Yandy Diaz (R), 36 percent, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Los Angeles Angels (LHP Jose Suarez): Diaz hit a cold patch in May, but he's heating up in June with a .326/.392/.435 triple slash. More impressive is the work he's done against lefties this season, putting up a .425 wOBA against them.

Logan Forsythe (R), 4 percent, Texas Rangers at Cincinnati Reds (RHP Tanner Roark): Forsythe has been struggling so far in June, but he's done most of his damage against righties this season, which matches him up well with Roark. The right-hander is allowing a career-worst 38.9 percent hard-hit rate this season, and Great American Ballpark is one of the most hitter-friendly venues in the game.

Corner Infield
Gio Urshela (R), 10 percent, New York Yankees at Chicago White Sox (RHP Reynaldo Lopez): Lopez is coming off one of his better starts of the season, but don't get too comfortable. The right-hander has arguably been the worst pitcher in baseball this season, holding a 6.21 ERA and 1.61 WHIP in 14 starts. Lopez is allowing a 900+ OPS to both right- and left-handed batters this season, while Urshela has tormented righties (.331/.389/.512).

Middle Infield

Scott Kingery (R), 18 percent, Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves (LHP Sean Newcomb): Kingery has settled in as the Phillies' everyday center fielder with Andrew McCutchen out for the season, and he's making the most of the increased playing time. He sports a 1.010 OPS so far in June and gets the platoon edge on Saturday.

Franmil Reyes (R), 46 percent, San Diego Padres at Colorado Rockies (RHP German Marquez): Marquez was a popular commodity on draft day, but Coors Field has gotten the best of him this season. He owns a 5.06 ERA with nine homers allowed in eight starts. While Reyes has big-time power that will play anywhere, that power really plays well in Coors.

Ramon Laureano (R), 21 percent, Oakland Athletics vs. Seattle Mariners (LHP Wade LeBlanc): It's still somewhat surprising that Laureano isn't rostered in more leagues. He's nearly on pace for a 20/20 season, and he's on pace for 85 runs despite batting near the bottom of Oakland's lineup. Saturday's matchup against the lefty LeBlanc has the athletic outfielder in a prime spot.

Jackie Bradley Jr. (L), 34 percent, Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles (RHP Dylan Bundy): Bradley's overall line is still ugly, but he's been picking things up lately with a .316/.409/.553 triple slash over the past two weeks. While Bundy has been pitching better lately, he still pitches in a great park for hitters and has trouble keeping the ball in the yard.

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).