MLB daily notes: Fantasy rankings for Tuesday

Tuesday features a full MLB slate with plenty of quality pitching options available. Check out the Daily Notes for a look at the arms -- and bats -- to target in your lineups.



It's no surprise that Noah Syndergaard carries the top projected Game Score for the day, but that's because the projection system doesn't know that his elbow is barking with some bone spurs that have likely influenced his 5.23 ERA in the last four starts. I will say that I'm much more comfortable with him in DFS over season-long right now because of the uncertainty with that elbow. We don't know how much the elbow is hampering him or when it flares up. If we assume it played a role in the 3 IP/5 ER and 4.7 IP/3 ER duds over his last three starts, then we have to acknowledge the Thor-esque 7 IP/1 ER gem in the middle against the very same Cubs he has on Tuesday.

Jake Arrieta had an ace-level 1.29 ERA and 0.84 WHIP through his first nine starts of the season, but he's been Baltimore-era Arrieta in his last nine starts with a 4.38 ERA and 1.40 WHIP thanks in large part to a surge in walks. He's up at 4.0 BB/9 in these last nine. In fact, walks have been a lingering issue all year as Arrieta has just one walk-free outing. I investigated the walk rate over at Fangraphs a couple weeks ago and surmised that lefties were laying off more, but not turning it into damage... so he promptly went out and got hammered by lefties (and righties, to be honest) in a couple of ugly starts.

Of course, in those ugly starts, it was hits not walks so I'm still not sure we've seen the elevated walk rate really burn him. Remember our nine good/nine bad splits? He had a 2.57 ERA in the first six of the nine bad starts, so it's really been three bad starts and we're in the midst of them so they feel more important. Overall, I'm just not that worried about Arrieta.

You no longer have to run from strikeout pitchers facing the Royals, at least not strikeout righties. Danny Salazar definitely qualifies as a strikeout pitcher with a career-best 10.2 mark (minimum 100 IP, he did have 11.3 in his 52 IP debut back in 2013), including nine in both of his starts this year against these Royals. Unfortunately, his walk rate has soared to 4.0 BB/9 and cut into his efficiency, especially of late as he's finished six innings just once in his last four starts. The Royals have an MLB-worst 6 percent walk rate against right-handers, which further adds to this matchup's appeal, though Salazar has been on both ends of the spectrum with them walking just one on May 6 but then five on June 3. I'll take my chances of getting something more like the May 6 outing.

We haven't talked a lot about Carlos Martinez this year in fantasy circles despite a better ERA and WHIP combo than his 2015 breakout. His 2.85 ERA is 15th-best among qualified starters, but it comes with just a 7.6 K/9, down from last year's 9.2 mark. The narrative would suggest that he's fanning fewer in favor of more control and/or efficiency, but neither holds up under scrutiny.

Martinez's walk rate is down marginally from 3.2 to 3.0, which would net him all of three fewer walks if he matched his 2015 innings total. Meanwhile, his pitches-per-plate appearance rate is static at 3.7. He's just generating fewer swings, especially outside of the zone, which has cost him 1.5 percentage points on his swinging strike rate. He did fan a season-high 11 his last time out (in just five innings, too) after fanning seven the start before. He has six starts of at least seven strikeouts, so the spikes are still there, it's just that the floor is lower. Martinez had fewer than five strikeouts in eight of 31 starts last year; he's done so in seven of 17 already this year.


Aaron Sanchez is like Syndergaard in that he's a better DFS option right now, though for a vastly different reason. Sanchez is bumping up on a nebulous innings limit that the Jays have been unsurprisingly coy about so just counting him on a game-to-game level seems a lot safer than having him on your season-long team, let alone trading for him in such a league. I certainly don't envy the Jays for having to make the decision on Sanchez, especially as he seems to be hitting another gear with a 1.91 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in his last five starts (33 IP). Sanchez has actually done his best work away from home (2.20 ERA in 69.7 IP) while the D-Backs have been a nightmare in their own ballpark (17-33).

As we move away from win-loss records being used a measure of quality, Jose Quintana has kind of been the posterboy, tallying exactly nine wins in each of the last three years despite skills deserving of something better than his 27-28 record during this period. After running out to a 5-1 record this year, he seemed like a sure bet to reach the double-digit win mark. But then he went 2-7 in his next 11 with a 4.38 ERA. I already feel dirty for focusing so much on a win-loss record, but they matter a lot more in DFS where the points for a win can be a game-changer. While Quintana hasn't been as sharp since the hot start, he's still been more good than bad and taken some hard-luck losses/no-decisions. He has won his last two starts and gets a Mariners team that is just 3-7 in its last 10 and does its best work against righties.

You may not have fully noticed Junior Guerra this year, but he's been really good for the Brewers. He jumped on the map in May with 36 strikeouts in 36.3 innings. He tested the resolve of those who bought in by fanning just nine total batters in his first three starts of June, but has once again shown his strikeout prowess with 27 in his last 28 innings (not to mention a sparkling 1.61 ERA, too). This isn't just an out-of-nowhere fluke. Guerra can touch the mid-90s with regularity and his splitter has been one of baseball's best all year. Don't get hung up on him being a 31-year-old rookie and focus more on the fact he's pitching really well with the stuff to back it up.

Continuing my (possibly tired) theme of pitchers better in DFS than season-long leagues right now, we have Vincent Velasquez, who is in a very similar situation to Sanchez with the unfortunate twist of being on a bottom-feeding team that will be more inclined to limit his innings sooner than later. He also suffered a biceps strain earlier in the season which only pushes Philly closer to being overly cautious. But again, we just need him for six or seven innings on Tuesday night. The Marlins aren't a walkover, but Velasquez is matchup-proof at his best.

Spot-starters and streamers

Scott Kazmir is never really a comfortable play in DFS as he's been known to suffer through some severe clunkers, but after a rocky start to the season (5.23 ERA in 51.7 IP) he has a solid 3.72 ERA in his last 44 IP with 59 strikeouts. He's only 4-0 in the nine starts because he doesn't go deep into games (just 5.3 IP/start), but he makes up for it with strikeouts.

Jameson Taillon hit the DL with shoulder fatigue, but didn't miss too many starts thanks to the All-Star break. The one-time super prospect has looked sharp early in his major league career. He has a couple 4 IP/4 ER clunkers, but he hasn't really been destroyed in any of his five starts. And while he hasn't been a huge strikeout asset, he's not a bad low-dollar gamble.


Blake Snell hasn't posted eye-popping results in his six MLB starts, but his transition to the majors has been much smoother than most of the other big prospects who arrived this year. Don't forget, Michael Fulmer had a 6.52 ERA through his first four starts. I think being in the rotation full time will yield benefits to us in the DFS arena as Snell starts to learn more about pitching in the majors. He has already shown some flashes, like his debut against the Yankees (5 IP/1 ER/6 Ks) or his most recent outing against the Angels (6 IP/2 ER/7 Ks). But he's clearly still working out the rookie kinks, which is why he has a 1.58 WHIP. Plus, there are few established guys I would roll the dice on in Coors, let alone a blossoming rookie.


There's a game in Coors, so there's that.

I think the aforementioned Blake Snell will struggle with Rockies' strong lineup, including Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story, Mark Reynolds, Nick Hundley, DJ LeMahieu and of course everyone's favorite lefty-smasher: Ryan Raburn (though he only has an .804 OPS against them this year). I imagine their lefty rating is higher because of Snell's reverse platoon split, but I'd stay focused on righties.

On the other side, the Rays face Tyler Chatwood, who also has a reverse platoon split, though his is a bit more pronounced and dates back to the start of 2014 (though keep in mind he missed 2015 with Tommy John surgery). Honestly though, it's Coors so you can pick the Rays you want, including former Rockies outfielder Corey Dickerson.

Atlanta Braves righties draw a 10-rating against home run machine Cody Reed (he of the impossible 3.6 HR/9 through five starts), but who are you really taking from that team? Freddie Freeman is a lefty, but does have a career-best .930 OPS against lefties this year, so maybe you take the platoon disadvantage and see if he can go off on Reed.

What do you have more fun exploiting: a game in Coors or Tim Lincecum starts? Lincecum went 6 IP/1 ER in his first start, but has been thrashed for an 8.66 ERA in his last four. The Angels' bullpen isn't much better, so even if Lincecum only lasts a few innings, your Rangers picks will still face poor pitching. Don't sweat the righty-righty matchup and jump on Ian Desmond and Adrian Beltre, but don't ignore lefties Shin-soo Choo and Nomar Mazara.

The whole Angels-Rangers game is worth jumping on, but the Angels aren't exactly rich in options. Of course you have Mike Trout, but you might also look at Kole Calhoun and even Albert Pujols against Kyle Lohse. Yeah, Lohse is back in the league!

Vance Worley draws a spot start for Baltimore, further highlighting the team's desperate need for more pitching. The Yankees offense has been bottom 10 against righties, but this looks like a spot ripe to roster a couple of New York bats, including Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, Brett Gardner and Didi Gregorius.

The other side of this game might actually be more appealing. Nathan Eovaldi appeared to be improving last year with the addition of a splitter, but he's been a nightmare this year (5.11 ERA, 1.38 WHIP). And the Orioles offense is straight fire, though it will also cost a lot more. Baltimore's best bets against righties are Mark Trumbo, Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop, Chris Davis and Hyun Soo Kim. Even Pedro Alvarez has gotten in on the action with an .879 OPS against righties. Of course, he will likely have to face Andrew Miller and/or Aroldis Chapman at some point or just be pulled from the game. He's a nightmarish 3-for-22 against southpaws this year (.332 OPS).

Most likely to go yard: Evan Longoria. Longo has already matched his 2015 home run total of 21 in 71 fewer games. He also has a pair of two-HR games this year, including one on Sunday. Here's to a double-dong effort in Coors!

Most likely to swipe a bag: Do guys even steal bases anymore? Just kidding. I'll take Jonathan Villar, the MLB's leader in swipes. It's chalky for sure, but it's not like there are that many reliable stolen base options out there these days. Don't sleep on Ender Inciarte as long as Tucker Barnhart is behind the dish for Cincy (but then you'll have to roster his .626 OPS, too).