Fantasy baseball daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Saturday's games

Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

The finish line is fast approaching, as we've officially hit the final weekend of the regular season. Saturday's slate features 16 games, including a doubleheader between Oakland and Seattle. If you're reading this, chances are you're still fighting for positioning in your league's standings, so let's make these last couple of days count.

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


Dane Dunning (R), rostered in 31% of ESPN leagues, Chicago White Sox vs. Chicago Cubs: Dunning's last start against Cleveland earlier this week didn't go as planned (4 IP, 4 ER), but we're going back to the well. The rookie right-hander has made a strong showing this season, putting up a 3.19 ERA and 9.6 K/9 rate over six turns while doing a terrific job limiting hard contact. In fact, his 18.1% hard-hit rate allowed is best in baseball among hurlers with 30 or more innings. Better yet, Dunning gets to square off against a Cubs offense that's limping to the finish line with a 72 wRC+ and 24.9% whiff rate in September.

Michael Pineda (R), 38%, Minnesota Twins vs. Cincinnati Reds: Pineda continues to provide a late boost to fantasy managers who scooped him up. The right-hander has now allowed three or fewer runs in all four of his starts, posting a 3.18 ERA and 1.10 WHIP to go along with nearly a strikeout per inning and a pristine 1.6 walk rate. Against a Reds lineup that's been sputtering in September (89 wRC+, 27.9 K%), Pineda makes for a quality streamer on Saturday.

Joe Musgrove (R), 33%, Pittsburgh Pirates at Cleveland Indians: Fantasy managers have been waiting on Musgrove, and he finally delivered in a big way his last time out, spinning six shutout frames against the Cardinals with 11 strikeouts. Most notably, he averaged 94.2 mph on his fastball, his best velocity of the season. Musgrove will look to close out the season on a strong note against the Indians, who have been struggling at the dish over the past two weeks with a .294 wOBA and 80 wRC+.

John Means (L), 11%, Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays: Despite a velocity spike of more than two mph this season, Means hadn't been getting more swings and misses. That changed on Sunday, when the left-hander fanned a career-high 12 batters against the Rays, holding them to one run over 5 2/3 innings. His four-seamer generated a career-high 16 whiffs on the night (his previous career high was nine). We obviously can't read too much into one start, but it was an encouraging outing nonetheless. If you're needing K's, rolling with Means against a Toronto club that's striking out 23.4% of the time over the past two weeks isn't a bad bet.

Bullpen: As usual, it's wise to target relievers taking part in doubleheaders. While Oakland's ace closer Liam Hendriks is obviously rostered in nearly all leagues, Jake Diekman, Oakland's setup man, is widely available. The southpaw has provided elite ratios (0.47 ERA, 0.98 WHIP) along with an elite 13.0 K/9 across 19 appearances this season. Diekman is a strong bet to see some action on Saturday and provide some positive value.

For the latest team-by-team closer situations, please consult our Closer Chart.

Projected game scores


Catcher -- Sean Murphy (R), 16%, Oakland Athletics at Seattle Mariners (LHP Justus Sheffield): Murphy has been a frequenter of this space lately, but it's for good reason. The Oakland backstop sports a 1.073 OPS with four homers over his past 12 games, and he gets the platoon edge against Sheffield on Saturday.

First base -- Garrett Cooper (R), 18%, Miami Marlins at New York Yankees (RHP Deivi Garcia): Cooper has really turned things on in September, putting up a .293/.389/.463 slash line since the beginning of the month. He gets a park boost heading to Yankee Stadium, and he's set to face off against a promising young hurler who has had trouble keeping the ball in the park.

Second base -- Ty France (R), 18%, Seattle Mariners at Oakland Athletics (LHP Mike Minor): France has been a nice get for the Mariners, batting .296/.359/.465 in 19 games since his acquisition. He matches up well with Minor, who has been tagged for 10 homers in 37 1/3 innings by right-handed batters.

Third base -- Maikel Franco (R), 35%, Kansas City Royals vs. Detroit Tigers (LHP Matthew Boyd): Things haven't gone as planned for Boyd in 2020. The southpaw holds a 6.96 ERA and has surrendered 14 long balls in 54 1/3 frames. The Royals could do some damage here, with Franco in the middle of it.

Shortstop -- Brandon Crawford (L), 5%, San Francisco Giants vs. San Diego Padres (RHP Zach Davies): The Giants have had the No. 2 offense in September, putting up a .371 wOBA and 137 wRC+. Crawford has made his contribution to the cause, sporting a .957 OPS over his past 11 games.

Corner infield -- Bobby Dalbec (R), 14%, Boston Red Sox at Atlanta Braves (LHP Tucker Davidson): Like many first-year players, Dalbec has struggled with contact, though in his case it's extreme as demonstrated by a 43% strikeout rate. However, in between punchouts, Dalbec has displayed plus power with seven homers in 21 games driving a .603 slug. The Braves are in the playoffs so they're rewarding Davidson with a start; the 24-year old lefty has excelled at the alternative site but hasn't shown much at the minor league level.

Middle infield -- Jurickson Profar (S), 35%, San Diego Padres at San Francisco Giants (RHP Johnny Cueto): Even though his rostered percentage doesn't reflect it, Profar just continues to hit. He's now hit safely in 10 straight games, putting up a .438/.486/.594 triple slash during that time frame. Cueto, who has allowed 13 runs over his past two starts, is unlikely to slow Profar down.

Outfield -- Aaron Hicks (S), 29%, New York Yankees vs. Miami Marlins (LHP Trevor Rogers): It's been a rough start for Rogers, who owns a 6.84 ERA over six starts. The former first-round pick figures to have his hands full on Saturday against the Yankees. The lefty has allowed a .390 wOBA to righty swingers, which Hicks, a switch-hitter, should be able to exploit.

Outfield -- D.J. Stewart (L), 14%, Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays (RHP Matt Shoemaker): Stewart has been providing a nice power boost down the stretch, clubbing seven homers and putting up a 1.006 OPS over his past 18 games. Nearly all of that power production (.328 ISO) has come against right-handed pitching, which is good news for Stewart, who will enjoy the platoon edge on Saturday.

Outfield -- Justin Upton (R), 41%, Los Angeles Angels at Los Angeles Dodgers (RHP Tony Gonsolin): Upton isn't the fantasy force he was a few years ago, but he's still proving to be an asset. Over his past 20 games, he's batting .319/.420/.609 with five bombs and 14 RBIs. Not only that, but Upton's 41.6% hard-hit rate is the second-highest mark of his career.

Hitter ratings account for the opposing starting pitcher's past history (three years' worth as well as past 21 days) 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 1-10, with 10 representing the best possible matchup, statistically speaking, and 1 representing the worst. So, for example, a 10 is a must-start rating, while a 1 should be avoided (if possible); a 1-2 is poor, 3-4 is fair, 5-6 is average, 7-8 is very good and 9-10 is excellent. A "*" means that the pitcher lacks requisite career major league data to produce an accurate hitter rating; these are the author's ratings.