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Daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Tuesday

Hard-throwing righty Michael Kopech takes the mound against the Twins in his highly anticipated Major League debut. AP Photo/Ben Margot

We've got a wide open slate on Tuesday with only a couple high-end arms and baseball's top prospect headlining and then a throng of fours and fives. We have a game in Coors and five pitchers with ERAs north of 5.00 so scoring could be off the charts.

Additionally, some of these recommendations are worth holding beyond Tuesday's games.


Pitching

Pitchers to stream

Vince Velasquez (R), rostered in 33 percent of ESPN leagues, Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals: VV got trounced for 10 earned runs in a disastrous June 8th start, but he's been on fire since then with a 3.08 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in 53 innings. He is just a couple strikeouts shy of one-per-inning with 50 and that's due in part to the fact that he's coming off two weak outings at Arizona and hosting Boston. The Nats offense has been running hotter lately, but they've also been shut out 11 times this year, third most in the league.

Michael Kopech (R), 27 percent, Chicago White Sox vs. Minnesota Twins: Yes, let's be hypebeasts and jump on the hot prospect in his MLB debut. The 22-year old flamethrower is the best pitching prospect in baseball and finally gets his chance to shine. He put up 3.70 ERA and 1.27 WHIP at Triple-A Charlotte with a 31 percent strikeout rate, but also an 11 percent walk rate. The Twins offense has been mediocre against righties this year and recently sits just 16th in wOBA (.321) with the eighth highest strikeout rate (23 percent).

Felix Pena (R), 1 percent, Los Angeles Angels at Arizona Diamondbacks: Pena has quietly rebounded from a nightmare start to cap off July when he allowed seven earned runs while getting just a single out against Seattle. Since then, he has a 2.65 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in three starts spanning 17 innings, though with just 12 strikeouts. The Diamondbacks rank in the bottom half of the league in terms of ISO and wOBA at home this season with the sixth highest strikeout rate.

Projected game scores


Hitting

Catcher

Francisco Cervelli (R), 47 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Atlanta Braves (RHP Kevin Gausman): Cervelli's power breakout has been fueled by his work against righties with eight homers and a .216 ISO in 228 PA. Compare that to the 10 HRs he hit against righties in 961(!) PA spanning 2015-17. Of the 22 long balls allowed by Gausman, 13 came off the bat of a righty swinger.

Tyler White (R), 10 percent, Houston Astros at Seattle Mariners (RHP Mike Leake): Keep an eye on the lineup here as White isn't a lockdown starter, but if he gets the nod, I like the idea of getting him in the fantasy lineup. He's been on fire since being recalled on July 29th with a .340/.397/.698 line that includes five homers in 58 PA. Leake is allowing a .195 ISO against righties and has always loved allowing HRs, so that gives White a shot to do some damage.

Second base

David Bote (R), 5 percent, Chicago Cubs at Detroit Tigers (RHP Jordan Zimmermann): Bote hasn't done a ton since his walk off grand slam, but it's been a whopping five games (four starts). He's been fantastic in fill-in duty with a .290/.376/.462 line, 23 percent strikeout rate, and 10 percent walk rate in 109 PA. Zimmermann is allowing a robust .294/.305/.529 line to righties and has allowed multiple homers in five of his last six starts.

Third base

Jeff McNeil (L), 4 percent, New York Mets vs. San Francisco Giants (RHP Chris Stratton): McNeil has been running the strong side of 2B platoon and draws a very beatable righty in Stratton (.293/.365/.484 vs. LHB). McNeil's contact-heavy profile has suited him well as he's hitting .293 against righties with a 12 percent strikeout rate. Note: The Giants don't have Chris Stratton locked in, but he's the favorite.

Shortstop

Charlie Culberson (R), 6 percent, Atlanta Braves at Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP Ivan Nova): Culberson, like White, doesn't start daily, but he excels when he does get the nod. He's been smacking righties around with a tremendous .307/.358/.543 line and seven homers in 151 PA after hitting just three homers against them in 195 PA from 2014-17 (missed '15 to injury).

Corner infield

Kendrys Morales (B), 6 percent, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Baltimore Orioles (RHP Dylan Bundy): Morales has gotten back on track against righties after a couple down years, posting an .810 OPS with 11 of his 14 season homers. He cooled off a bit in August after a July, but he's riding a four-game hit streak and seems to be coming out the weeds. Bundy's 18 homers against righties are tied for fourth most in the league.

Middle infield

Joey Wendle (L), 19 percent, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Kansas City Royals (RHP Glenn Sparkman): Wendle has a strong batting average against both righties (.289) and lefties (.308), but all seven of his homers have come against righties. He's been on fire since July 1st with a .346/.403/.562 line and five homers in 145 PA.

Outfield

Harrison Bader (R), 39 percent, St. Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Dodgers (LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu): Bader has made the most of his full-time opportunity, exploding for a 1.004 OPS in 18 August games (16 starts). He's flashed a power-speed combo (3 HR/3 SB) as he continues to smash lefties (1.300 OPS) while showing big improvement against righties (.900). His excellent defense should keep him in the lineup even if his bat cools and I not only like him for a spot start here, but as someone to hold the rest of the year.

Hunter Renfroe (R), 16 percent, San Diego Padres at Colorado Rockies (LHP Tyler Anderson): Unfortunately, he's TBD for Tuesday after a forearm contusion suffered over the weekend, but if he's not available you can just switch to Franmil Reyes if you need an outfielder or Freddy Galvis if position doesn't matter as much. Renfroe has always beasted on lefties with a career .965 OPS, though he's down a bit this year at .809. Coors Field is always a good place to turn offense around, though.

Jackie Bradley Jr. (L), 27 percent, Boston Red Sox vs. Cleveland Indians (RHP Shane Bieber): Bradley managed just a .200/.289/.329 through June, but has gotten on track with a solid .252/.329/.488 line since July 1st and has really heated up of late with a .357/.419/.714 in his last eight games. Bieber has been a hit machine this year, even over his last four starts (24 H in 23 IP) when he's had a worthy 3.52 ERA. Lefties have a .319 AVG against the Biebs with a .244 ISO.

Hitter matchup ratings

Hitter ratings account for the opposing starting pitcher's history (three years' worth), 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 to 10, with 10 representing the best possible matchup, statistically speaking, and 1 representing the worst. 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.