MLB daily notes: Fantasy rankings for Saturday

Mike Sheets breaks down the best fantasy baseball matchups for Saturday. Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports

The first Saturday of the second half is a dud. There are no elite options to speak of, and while there are some quality mid-range options, it's hard to find many names you feel completely comfortable building your cash daily fantasy lineups around. Oh well. That just means there's more money to spend on big bats!



Zero. Zip. Zilch.


A road matchup against Detroit is far from an ideal spot for Danny Duffy, but it's not as bad as you might think. Despite featuring a right-handed-heavy lineup with plenty of thump, the Tigers have basically been an average offense versus left-handed pitching this season. They also strike out a decent amount (22 percent) and have been scuffling so far in July, putting up a wRC+ of 84, which ranks bottom-five in the AL. For his part, Duffy sports a 3.11 ERA in 11 starts this year to go along with a 10.3 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9. He's allowed more than three runs in a start only once. He's in the conversation in both cash and tournaments.

Jeff Samardzija opens the second half with a road matchup against San Diego. Just in case your memory is a little fuzzy following the break, the Padres have been abysmal versus right-handed pitching this season, sporting a 78 wRC+ that ranks bottom-three in baseball to go along with a 24 percent strikeout rate. Shark, meanwhile, has breezed through the Padres' order the last two times he's faced them, surrendering just two runs over 14 2/3 frames with 15 whiffs. The 6-foot-5 right hander also owns a career 1.54 ERA and 0.86 WHIP in four games at Petco Park. He's a solid cash play.

While the Rays have been one of the best offenses against left-handed pitching this season, they've been one of the worst against right-handed pitching, ranking in the bottom three in the AL with an 88 wRC+ and dead last in whiff rate at 25 percent. That sets things up rather well for Chris Tillman, who sports a career-best 7.8 K/9 and posted Game Scores of 68 and 69 in his last two starts before the break.

Since the start of June, Trevor Bauer owns a 2.44 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. He'll take those pristine numbers to Minnesota to square off against a Twins team that strikes out at a healthy 22 percent clip versus righty pitching while posting a below average 91 wRC+. On a day without many top-tier options, Bauer is cash-game viable.

After being sidelined for more than a month with a triceps injury, Gerrit Cole returns from the disabled list for a road outing against the Nationals, a team that doesn't strike out much (20 percent) but has also been below average versus righties this year. Cole rarely qualified for elite status prior to his injury, as his lackluster 7.2 K/9 (down from 8.7 K/9 in 2015) keeps his ceiling in check. However, he offers a relatively safe floor, as he's allowed three or fewer runs in all but one start this season. Keep in mind, though, that the Pirates may limit his pitch count in his first start back.

Also returning from the DL is Yu Darvish, who has been sidelined since early June with discomfort in his neck and right shoulder. He's made only three starts this season after missing April as he continued his recovery from Tommy John surgery. Darvish finds himself in a tough spot upon his return, heading to Wrigley Field to face a Cubs lineup that's one of the most dangerous in baseball. On the bright side, the Cubs do whiff at a 23 percent clip versus righties, which Darvish, with his career 11.2 K/9, can exploit. I'm avoiding the Rangers righty in cash games, but he definitely carries GPP appeal.

Adam Wainwright's 4.49 ERA and 1.32 WHIP this season are uninspiring. However, when you look at what he's accomplished since the start of June -- 2.76 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 9.1 K/9 in seven starts -- his numbers look like vintage Wainwright. With the Cardinals hosting the Marlins on Saturday, it also helps that the former Cy Young winner has been very effective at home this season (2.93 home ERA, compared to 6.23 road ERA). While the Marlins don't offer much in terms of strikeout upside (19 percent), they aren't a big threat, either (98 wRC+ vs. right-handed pitching). Wainwright is in the cash-game discussion Saturday.


Pitching in Chase Field is no picnic, but Saturday's start against the Diamondbacks still sets up rather well for Brandon McCarthy. The right-hander has looked good since making his return from Tommy John surgery, putting up a 2.70 ERA and 12.6 K/9 in two starts. Against a D-backs team that sports a 23 percent whiff rate and 91 wRC+ versus righties, McCarthy makes for a fine streaming option. He's available in 58 percent of ESPN.com leagues.

The White Sox rank in the bottom three in the AL with a wRC+ of 87 against right-handed pitching, which puts Matt Shoemaker in an interesting spot on Saturday. The right-hander owns a 2.67 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 10.0 K/9 over his last 10 outings, yet his ownership percentage is just 38 percent. He's a worthy streaming option and also carries some SP2 appeal in DFS.

A free agent in 63 percent of ESPN leagues, Jerad Eickhoff draws a home start against the Mets. The righty got lit up his last time out (8 ER in 5 1/3 innings), but that was a Coors Field start, so you shouldn't have been starting him anyway. Prior to that, he'd gone seven straight starts allowing three or fewer runs. He should find success against a Mets team that's been below average against righties this year with a healthy 23 percent strikeout rate.


On one hand, Eduardo Rodriguez, who's long had intriguing potential, is in a good spot to start the second half on the right foot as he travels to the Bronx to face the Yankees, who have been the worst lineup in the American League against lefty pitching this season (87 wRC+). On the other hand, Rodriguez has been a liability this season, as he's allowed five or more runs in half of his six starts this year, including getting walloped by the Rays for nine runs in just 2 2/3 innings his last time out. The matchup is good, but the upside isn't worth the risk.


While Tyler Duffey has pitched a little better than his 5.20 ERA suggests, he's still had trouble keeping the ball in the park and is allowing lots of hard contact (33 percent). He's also shown little ability to get right-handed hitters out, as they've put up a .381 wOBA against him. Cleveland's lineup is filled with left-handed bats and switch-hitters, so this isn't a great stacking opportunity. However, Mike Napoli, who's clubbed 15 of his 18 homers this year off righties, and Rajai Davis, who's actually fared better against right-handers the last couple of years, are both in play.

The Royals make for an intriguing stack with Mike Pelfrey toeing the rubber for the Tigers. The righty's whiff rate (4.2 K/9) is barely above his walk rate (3.5 BB/9), and while left-handed batters have been the real thorn in his side this year (.384 wOBA), righty swingers have hit him hard, too (.365 wOBA).

Jimmy Nelson has had trouble with lefty bats in his career, so with the Reds on tap, Joey Votto and Jay Bruce should both be on the radar. The duo has swatted 26 of their combined 32 homers this season against right-handed pitching.

We highlighted Eduardo Rodriguez as a pitcher to avoid on Saturday, so it makes sense to target hitters against him. Although left-handed hitters have gotten to the lefty this year (.376 wOBA), righty swingers have really knocked him around (.421 wOBA). Switch-hitter Carlos Beltran is a prime play, while Starlin Castro also deserves consideration.

It's not a Coors Field game, but left-handed Rockies hitters are still in play against Mike Foltynewicz, who has surrendered a .384 wOBA to lefty bats this season. Charlie Blackmon and Carlos Gonzalez are both high-end plays.

Logan Verrett has shown reserve splits for the Mets this season, as right-handed swingers have tattooed him for a .396 wOBA. With the Phillies on tap, Maikel Franco and Cameron Rupp deserve some love.

Most likely to go yard: Mike Napoli

Tyler Duffey has trouble with right-handed hitters, and Napoli has hit most of his homers against righties this season. Let's not overthink it.

Most likely to swipe a bag: Billy Hamilton

Jimmy Nelson has struggled against lefties in his career and is not good at keeping runners close, as evidenced by the 13 steals he's allowed this season. Hamilton should be off to the races on Saturday.