Fantasy Baseball
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Fantasy baseball daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Saturday

MLB, Fantasy, Fantasy MLB

The theme for Saturday's full slate is taking advantage of bottom-rung offenses. All of our starting pitcher recommendations are squaring off against lineups that either don't score many runs or don't make much contact - or sometimes both. Sometimes streaming starters is as simple as that; when in doubt, attack the bad offenses.

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

Pitching

Domingo German (R), rostered in 41% of ESPN leagues, New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles: German has been a rock-solid presence in the Yankees rotation this season. He's allowed three or fewer earned runs in five of six starts, delivering a quality start in three of his last four outings. Although home runs have been a problem (2.0 HR/9), German is whiffing nearly a batter per inning (8.9 K/9) and is displaying sharp control (1.7 BB/9). On Saturday, German finds himself in a prime spot against a bottom-tier Orioles offense that ranks last in the AL with a 79 wRC+ against right-handed pitching. The last time German faced Baltimore in late April, he shut them out over seven frames.

Johnny Cueto (R), 39%, San Francisco Giants at Pittsburgh Pirates: In his first start back from the IL after missing time with a lat strain, Cueto got roughed up by the Padres (5 ER in 3 IP). Then again, that's a matchup most fantasy managers avoided anyway. In his other three starts this season, the veteran right-hander is 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA and 0.85 WHIP. We've seen enough from Cueto over the last couple of years to know that there's plenty of volatility here, but there should be little hesitation for Saturday's matchup against a Pittsburgh offense that holds a bottom-five wRC+ (84) and the worst slugging percentage in baseball (.345).

Luis Garcia (R), 9%, Houston Astros vs. Texas Rangers: It's unclear how long Garcia will stay in Houston's rotation, as Jake Odorizzi and Framber Valdez could both return in the coming weeks, but the 24-year-old is taking advantage of his opportunity. Garcia has produced a 3.60 ERA with a 10.5 K/9 over seven appearances (five starts), which includes starts at Coors Field and Yankee Stadium, so he's not simply picking on exploitable opponents. Fortunately, he does draw an exploitable opponent on Saturday, as the Rangers are fanning at an MLB-worst 28.1% clip against right-handed pitchers.

Trevor Williams (R), 5%, Chicago Cubs at Detroit Tigers: Williams may not be the most attractive hurler on the slate, but it's hard to pass up a matchup against the Tigers, who sport an MLB-worst .283 wOBA and the highest strikeout rate in baseball at 29.3%. Despite a couple of rough starts this season, the righty has limited opponents to two or fewer runs in four of his last five turns. He's also seen his strikeout rate spike to 24% this season, thanks to his slider that's generating a 54.1% whiff rate. Stream Williams against Detroit and then send him back to the waiver wire.

Bullpen: Diego Castillo, who leads the Rays with seven saves, is currently on the injured list, but he's on track to be activated on Friday. Many fantasy managers already lost patience with the Tampa righty-hander and dropped him, so he's actually available in nearly 45% of ESPN leagues. Scoop him up if he was cut in your league.

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

Hitting

Catcher -- Yan Gomes (R), 9%, Washington Nationals at Arizona Diamondbacks (RHP Seth Frankoff): Gomes is batting .313 with three homers since the beginning of May, and he gets a nice matchup against Frankoff, in what will likely be a bullpen day while the Diamondbacks decide how they want to replace Zac Gallen. Frankoff has pitched just two relief innings, yielding five runs on six hits.

First Base -- Andrew Vaughn (R), 37%, Chicago White Sox vs. Kansas City Royals (LHP Mike Minor): The overall stat line may not look all that impressive, but Vaughn is slowly looking more comfortable at the plate. The 23-year-old is batting .308/.383/.462 over his last 16 games and sports an elite average exit velocity of 93.1 mph. Vaughn clubbed his first-big league homer earlier this week, and there are many more on the horizon.

Second Base -- Jonathan Villar (S), 15%, New York Mets at Tampa Bay Rays (LHP Shane McClanahan): Villar is no longer a high-end fantasy option, but he still owns a multi-faceted skill set. He can steal bases, pop the occasional homer, and he's getting on base consistently with a 12.5% walk rate. With eligibility at second base, third base, and shortstop, Villar is an easy guy to fit into your lineup if you have a vacancy.

Third Base -- Yandy Diaz (R), 6%, Tampa Bay Rays vs. New York Mets (LHP Joey Lucchesi): Right-handed batters have smashed Lucchesi for a .398 wOBA this season, which makes it the perfect time to slot Diaz into your starting lineup. A career .291/.401/.428 hitter against lefty pitching, Diaz is hitting .298 with a 17.5% walk rate versus southpaws this season.

Shortstop -- Amed Rosario (R), 6%, Cleveland Indians at Seattle Mariners (LHP Justus Sheffield): After hitting just .179/.257/.299 in April, Rosario is starting to show signs of life. Over his last nine games, he's put up a .333/.368/.583 triple slash. Rosario even batted second in each of his last three starts, which boosts his overall fantasy potential.

Corner Infield -- Jeimer Candelario (S), 36%, Detroit Tigers vs. Chicago Cubs (RHP Trevor Williams): The Tigers offense has mostly been a black hole this season, but Candelario is at least providing a semblance of fantasy value. The switch-hitter has been raking in May, putting up a .387/.472/.613 slash line with a pair of homers in nine games. Candelario should stay hot against Williams, who is allowing a .417 wOBA to lefty hitters.

Middle Infield -- Gavin Lux (L), 41%, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Miami Marlins (Undecided): Lux has failed to meet expectations so far this season, but he's starting to turn things around. After hitting .179/.213/.250 in April, the youngster is batting .343/.378/.457 over his last nine games. Most importantly, Lux is playing every day, including against lefties. The window to roster the former first-round MLB draft pick could be closing soon.

Outfield -- Taylor Ward (R), under 1%, Los Angeles Angels at Boston Red Sox (LHP Martin Perez): Ward has been getting everyday playing time with the Angels, and while he's yet to do much at the plate, there is some potential here. He showed good power and patience in the minors, clubbing 27 homers and swiping 11 bags at Triple-A in 2019 to go along with a .306/.427/.584 triple slash. A matchup against a hittable Martin Perez could be the thing to get Ward going.

Outfield -- Joc Pederson (L), 42%, Chicago Cubs at Detroit Tigers (RHP Jose Urena): Since coming off the IL, Pederson has shown well at the plate, batting .444 in seven games, including a trio of three-hit efforts. The power hasn't shown up yet, but we know that will come. For his part, Urena is allowing a bloated 47.2% hard-hit rate, and lefties are batting .325 against him.

Outfield -- Tyler O'Neill (R), 30%, St. Louis Cardinals at San Diego Padres (RHP Chris Paddack): It might be time to start paying O'Neill more attention. Sure, the 2.2% walk rate and 32.6% strikeout are an ugly combination, but his seven home runs and three steals make the poor plate discipline much easier to swallow. A legit power/speed skill set is hard to find, and O'Neill has it.

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