This week's Tuesday slate is very rich in both pitching and hitting. Several of the recommendations should be considered holds beyond Tuesday, including some of the hottest hitters in baseball who are still far too available. As football starts to ramp up, the simple fact is that some fantasy managers pay less attention to their baseball teams, especially if they are in the bottom half of the standings. This gives those of us paying full attention an opportunity to find more resources on the wire for the stretch run.
Brendan McKay (L), rostered in 20% of ESPN leagues, Tampa Bay Rays at San Diego Padres: Don't let the 4.55 ERA fool you, McKay has been fantastic in his 29 2/3 innings thus far. One rough outing against the White Sox of all teams (6 ER in 3 1/3 IP) has inflated that mark, but his 33 strikeouts and 3 walks really get to the heart of his dominance. If he continues to post figures like that, he'll be awesome down the stretch for the Rays. The Padres were better against lefties to open the season, but since July 1, they are just middle of the pack in wOBA (weighted on base average) with a .326 mark while their 24% strikeout rate is in the bottom 10.
Zac Gallen (R), 23%, Arizona Diamondbacks at Colorado Rockies: No, I'm not sick, I have purposely selected a pitcher in Colorado. I will say that Gallen is more of a long-term play, but I'm not totally averse to taking the major gamble of using him in Coors Field, either. The 23-year old righty has been fantastic in eight starts thus far. He was recently acquired by Arizona at the trade deadline and allowed just one hit in five innings with six strikeouts against Philadelphia. While it's nothing like going to Coors, Gallen stood tall in L.A. against the Dodgers (1 ER in 5 1/3 IP) and twirled a gem against the Twins while with Miami (7 IP/2 ER). If Gallen can at least survive this start, he's got a great opportunity to go off this weekend with a start against the San Francisco Giants.
Dillon Peters (L), 2%, Los Angeles Angels vs. Pittsburgh Pirates: Peters was recalled in late July and has looked solid in four starts, posting a 3.18 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in 22 2/3 innings of work. He has 19 strikeouts during the run, too, including eight in a quality start in Fenway Park. The Pirates are dead last in wOBA against lefties on the year with a .285 mark. This is a one-and-done with Peters, though, as he lines up for trips to Texas and Houston next, both hit lefties well.
Dustin May (R), 25%, Los Angeles Dodgers at Miami Marlins: A late switch stripped Clayton Kershaw of a two-start week, while granting one to May. Even after the flip-flop, May will be working on six days rest as the Dodgers had two off days since his last turn. Kershaw will go on seven days rest on Wednesday. The 21-year old May has held his own in two starts, punching out 10 batters in 11 1/3 innings while issuing only one free pass. Not only are the Marlins the league's least productive offense facing a right-hander, they whiff 25% of the time in that scenario.
Projected game scores
Catcher -- Will Smith (R), 32%, Los Angeles Dodgers at Miami Marlins (RHP Jordan Yamamoto): Smith continues to blitz righties with virtually all of his damage coming against them in the admittedly small sample of 75 total PA. He's hitting .370/.415/.957 with all seven of his homers and six of his eight doubles in 53 PA. Yamamoto is no pushover, handling both righties and lefties in his 10 career starts, but the way Smith is going right now, I'd take him against the league's best righties.
First Base -- Miguel Cabrera (R), 48%, Detroit Tigers vs. Seattle Mariners (LHP Yusei Kikuchi): Cabrera is a shell of the inner circle Hall of Famer he will eventually be five years after he retires, but he has found some success against southpaws this year. While it's a mere 75 PA, it's nice to see him posting a .318/.387/.500 line against them. Kikuchi has allowed 22 homers to righties this year, just one shy of the most in the league, behind only J.A. Happ's 23.
Second Base -- Luis Arraez (L), 7%, Minnesota Twins at Milwaukee Brewers (RHP Chase Anderson): Arraez has been an interesting find for the Twins this year. He's somewhat similar to last year's cult favorite, Willians Astudillo, in that he makes a ton of contact leading to gaudy batting averages and a meager power output. Arraez was a .331 hitter in the minors over 1585 PA and has carried it over with a .350 in his 202 PA with the Twins. With so little pop in his bat, he's widely available, but he's a great pickup for this crushing it in homers and RBIs while needing some AVG (or OBP as he has an 11% BB rate) help on their team.
Third Base -- Gio Urshela (R), 49%, New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles (LHP John Means): Urshela popped his 18th homer as I'm writing this, his seventh in seven games. He also has three three-hit games in that run. His surge is moving him up the lineup, too, as he has batted second through fifth in the seven games. He has spent 66% of season in the bottom third of the order (and dominated there), but it's nice to see him rewarded with a move up in that strong lineup.
Shortstop -- Scott Kingery (R), 37%, Philadelphia Phillies vs. Chicago Cubs (LHP Jose Quintana): After a chilly July (.616 OPS), Kingery has rebounded in August with a .922 OPS through 10 games. His three August SBs have already eclipsed his July SB count (2), too. Kingery does his best work against lefties with an .896 OPS, though his .819 mark against righties won't leave him exposed once the Cubs go to the bullpen.
Corner Infield -- Jesus Aguilar (R), 47%, Tampa Bay Rays at San Diego Padres (LHP Eric Lauer): Aguilar crushed lefties during his breakout 2018, but he fallen back against them this year due in large part to a meager .254 BABIP. After a brutal three months in Milwaukee (.634 OPS through June), Aguilar started finding his stroke against in July and has continued it since joining Tampa Bay, hitting .329/.378/.548 with 4 HR since July 1st.
Middle Infield -- J.D. Davis (R), 21%, New York Mets at Atlanta Braves (LHP Max Fried): Davis came into the season as a lefty-masher, but he has evolved into a total stud of late. He's been a key player in the Mets surge, mashing both righties and lefties en route to a .385/.442/.670 line and 6 HR over his past 30 games (104 PA). Fried has displayed a sharp platoon split of 164 points in OPS and righties have hit 14 of the 15 homer he's allowed this year.
Outfield - Aristides Aquino (R), 52%, Cincinnati Reds at Washington Nationals (RHP Joe Ross): Aquino was one of the most popular pickups last week, going from up from 0.2% to his current 52% mark. He was called up on Aug. 1 and started 0-for-6 in the first two games before absolutely unloading on the opposition. He has seven homers and a ridiculous 2.047 OPS over the past eight games, including a breakout, three-homer game on Saturday. His roster rate should be at least 70% while he's this white-hot and tearing the league up.
Outfield -- Mike Tauchman (L), 45%, New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles (LHP John Means): Tauchman was almost as popular a pickup as Aquino, seeing his roster rate rise 41% to its current mark. While Tauchman has smacked 11 of his 12 homers against righties, I'm recommending him in a lefty-lefty matchup because he's hitting .429/.491/.673 against southpaws in 55 PA. More importantly, both Aquino and Tauchman are worth holding beyond Tuesday given how electric they've been lately.
Outfield -- Chad Pinder (R), 5%, Oakland Athletics at San Francisco Giants (LHP Madison Bumgarner): Pinder has always done his best work against lefties with an .807 career OPS against them. He's been even better the last two seasons with an .829 and 12 HR in 282 PA (25 HR full season pace). Since the break, he's been hitting both lefties and righties with a .962 OPS and 4 HR in 62 PA. Bumgarner has been very good this year, but he does have a 172-point platoon split and righties have 16 of the 20 homers against him.
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).