Fantasy baseball daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Saturday

Mark Canha has swung a hot bat during the past month. AP Photo/Ben Margot

The weekend brings us a fun slate chock full of divisional rivalries, headlined by the Yankees heading to Fenway Park, the Nationals going to Atlanta, and the Giants traveling to Dodger Stadium. In another divisional battle, Yu Darvish will take on the Brewers after being scratched from his last start with right forearm tightness. The Cubs don't appear to be concerned, but it's still a situation to watch if you're relying on the righty down the stretch.

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


Chris Bassitt (R), rostered in 38% of ESPN leagues, Oakland Athletics vs. Detroit Tigers: Bassitt enters August with a 2.75 ERA in nine second-half starts. During that stretch, he's allowed more than three earned runs on only one occasion. Bassitt may not miss a ton of bats, but he carries a nice floor, especially at the Oakland Coliseum, where he owns a career 2.94 ERA across 22 starts. He'll look to continue that success against the Tigers, who possess one of the ugliest lineups in baseball. Since the All-Star break, Detroit sports a 29th-ranked 79 wRC+ with an MLB-worst 27.7% strikeout rate. Stream away.

Andrew Heaney (L), 57%, Los Angeles Angels at Chicago White Sox: Heaney comes in a bit above the 50% threshold, but his inclusion here speaks to the lack of quality options on Saturday's slate. The 28-year-old draws a high-end matchup against a White Sox team that sports an AL-worst .292 wOBA in the second half with a 25.9% whiff rate. Heaney, meanwhile, is fanning batters at a 29% clip and holds a 2.91 ERA and 1.15 WHIP since the break. Consider this a high-upside spot for the lefty, who has racked up double-digit K's in two of his last three starts.

Tony Gonsolin (R), 45%, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants: It seems as if whomever is getting starts for the Dodgers carries fantasy value, and Gonsolin is continuing that tradition. The 25-year-old righty has made five starts for the Dodgers this season and sports a 3.00 ERA across 24 frames. That includes four straight starts of two or fewer earned runs allowed. Gonsolin's 7.1 K/9 leaves something to be desired, but his 10.9 K/9 at Triple-A suggests some untapped upside. He'll look to tap into some of that upside against a non-threatening Giants lineup that's putting up an anemic .299 wOBA versus right-handed pitching in 2019.

Danny Duffy (L), 6%, Kansas City Royals at Miami Marlins: Duffy's recommendation is a tentative one. He's put together some decent stretches this season, but a 6.39 second-half ERA showcases the downside. Of course, Duffy's inclusion here has everything to do with the matchup against Miami. The Marlins, of course, feature one of the most exploitable lineups in baseball, ranking dead-last in baseball with a .290 wOBA since the All-Star break. Duffy isn't safe, by any means, but the prime matchup lessens the risk.

Bulllpen: The Boston Red Sox will deploy a bullpen game again in their series versus the New York Yankees, this time opening with Travis Lakins before passing the baton to southpaw Brian Johnson. Despite seven relievers holding the Bronx Bombers to one run last night, counting on a repeat is risky.

Projected game scores


Catcher -- Will Smith (R), 49%, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants (RHP Tyler Beede): Here we are, with roughly three weeks left in the season, and Smith, the No. 6 fantasy catcher over the last month, is still available in half of ESPN leagues. He's popped 10 homers since the break and has put up a .303/.375/.776 triple slash against righty pitching. Meanwhile, Beede is surrendering a .368 wOBA to all batters in the second half.

First Base -- Albert Pujols (R), 16%, Los Angeles Angels at Chicago White Sox (RHP Dylan Covey): Covey is one of the hurlers I'm looking to attack on Saturday. Not only does he sport a 12.60 second-half ERA, but he's failed to make it out of the first inning in two of his last three starts. All told, he's been hammered for 16 runs over his last three turns, spanning just 6 2/3 frames. This is a great spot for Pujols, who is batting .301/.375/.484 over his last 25 games.

Second Base -- Colin Moran (L), 8%, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. St. Louis Cardinals (RHP Adam Wainwright): Wainwright has been lights out at home this season (2.43 ERA), but he's resembled a batting-practice pitcher on the road (6.54 ERA). Those splits are too drastic too ignore, making this a good time to fire up Moran with the platoon edge.

Third Base -- J.D. Davis (R), 34%, New York Mets vs. Philadelphia Phillies (LHP Drew Smyly): Available in 66% of leagues, Davis continues to be underappreciated. He sports a .340/.407/.585 slash line in the second half and is smashing both righties (.369 wOBA) and lefties (.372 wOBA). This doesn't bode well for Smyly, who has surrendered a .371 wOBA to righty batters.

Shortstop -- Tommy Edman (S), 51%, St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates (LHP Steven Brault): The switch-hitting Edman has been punishing lefties, putting up a .344/.365/.574 slash line against them. His eligibility at three different positions makes him an easy streamer whenever he gets the platoon advantage against an unintimidating hurler, which is the case on Saturday.

Corner Infield -- Mark Canha (R), 42%, Oakland Athletics vs. Detroit Tigers (RHP Jordan Zimmermann): Canha's rostered percentage is spiking, thanks to a run that's seen him hit .330 with six homers and 18 RBI over his last 28 games. Zimmermann has been pitching well of late, but he's still a blowup waiting to happen.

Middle Infield -- Scott Kingery (R), 35%, Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets (RHP Marcus Stroman): Kingery is one of my favorite streaming options. Not only is he eligible at four different positions, making him an easy plug-and-play option, but his ability to both hit for power and steal bases is a valuable asset. Over the past week, Kingery has whacked a pair of homers, swiped a bag, and driven in six runs.

Outfield -- Phillip Ervin (R), 1%, Cincinnati Reds vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (LHP Alex Young): I featured Ervin in Thursday's Daily Notes, and he belted the game-winning homer against the Phillies. With another lefty matchup on the docket, I'm going back to Ervin, the lefty killer. The 27-year-old outfielder has worn out left-handed pitching this season (.377/.433/.689), and the soft-tossing Alex Young doesn't figure to slow Ervin down.

Outfield -- Willie Calhoun (L), 31%, Texas Rangers at Baltimore Orioles (RHP Aaron Brooks): Streaming hitters against Baltimore pitchers is generally a good strategy, and it certainly is on Saturday with Brooks on the mound. Brooks holds a 6.75 ERA in the second half and has been particularly vulnerable to lefty batters (.370 wOBA). That suits the lefty-swinging Calhoun just fine.

Outfield -- Josh Naylor (L), 1%, San Diego Padres vs. Colorado Rockies (RHP Jeff Hoffman): Naylor, who is available in nearly every ESPN league, deserves more attention. He's been batting second against righties and has put up a .295/.348/.505 slash line since the break. Even away from Coors Field, Hoffman has been a big-time liability (7.36 ERA) when he takes the mound, making this an enticing spot for Naylor.