Daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Tuesday

Josh James has recorded a 13.5 K/9 rate over 114.1 IP and three levels of the Houston organization this year. Getty Images

This season's Daily Notes aren't done quite yet, but this is my personal final report for the 2018 season. With that in mind, I decided to up the "degree of difficulty" by not even including anyone from the Coors Field game. Feel free to pivot there if any of these recommendations aren't available to you on Tuesday.

Hopefully you're busy chasing down some titles. I hope I've been even a small part of that success with some of my recommendations. With that in mind and without any further ado, here are the recommendations for the final Tuesday of the 2018 season.


Pitchers to Stream

Robbie Erlin (L), rostered in 1 percent of ESPN leagues, San Diego Padres at San Francisco Giants: Erlin has quietly put together a solid season with a 4.33 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP in 104 innings of work. He should be able to improve both of those numbers against a wretched Giants offense. They sit just fourth in wOBA against lefties this year (.288) and dead-last in the second-half with a .264 mark, 18 points worse than the next-worst team (Angels).

Josh James (R), 6 percent, Houston Astros at Toronto Blue Jays: James has turned from a 34th-round gamble into a potential star who should get some key innings for the Astros this October. His blazing 97-mph fastball sets up a budding secondary arsenal and has yielded an impressive 16 innings so far (2.81 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 24 K). The Blue Jays are a solid offense against RHP, but James' strikeout upside gives him a solid floor.

Chris Stratton (R), 11 percent, San Francisco Giants vs. San Diego Padres: Stratton has been up-and-down over the last two months, but his best moments have come at home -- which is where he'll take on the Padres. That's why I'm recommending both arms in this matchup. He's allowed just 10 hits and two earned runs in his last 23 home innings (three starts) and gets a Padres offense that ranks last in baseball against RHP with a .291 wOBA and a league-worst 26 percent K-rate.

Projected game scores

GS is the projected game score for the pitcher. The "*" symbol means the pitcher lacks requisite career major league data to produce an accurate rating; these are the author's ratings.



Kurt Suzuki (R), 42 percent, Atlanta Braves at New York Mets (RHP Noah Syndergaard): We did get a 1-for-3 effort (with a walk) from Suzuki last Tuesday, and he's gotten hits in each of his last three games. That boosts his September line to .324/.381/.622 with three homers in 42 PA. "Thor" isn't an easy draw, but let's ride the Suzuki hot streak, especially since catching is essentially a wasteland.

First Base

Luke Voit (R), 46 percent, New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays (Bullpen game): Voit has been an absolute monster with the Yankees, running a 1.010 OPS and clubbing 11 HR in 121 PA. He's done his best work against lefties with a .343/.378/.686 line (37 PA). It's looking like southpaw Jalen Beeks will be the opener for the Rays on Tuesday. Since Voit also has a .288/.381/.603 line against RHP, even if he faces a load of right-handed relievers after Beeks, he'll be OK.

Second Base

Adam Frazier (L), 11 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs (LHP Mike Montgomery): Frazier has been one of my second-half favorites in this column and nothing conveys that better than my willingness to recommend him against a left-hander. He certainly does his best work against RHP, but he is hitting a palatable .250 against southpaws since the All-Star break. Hopefully, he can get an at-bat or two against righty relievers, too.

Third Base

Jedd Gyorko (R), 4 percent, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Milwaukee Brewers (LHP Gio Gonzalez): Gyorko is absolutely torching lefties with a .960 OPS and 5 HR in 106 PA, which puts him a pace for 30 HR in a full season. He has hit everyone in the second-half of 2018 with an .890 OPS that has been solid against both LHP and RHP. Get him in the lineup today and keep him there for the rest of the week, too.


Jorge Polanco (S), 13 percent, Minnesota Twins v. Detroit Tigers (RHP Spencer Turnbull): An 80-game PED suspension ate up half of Polanco's season and kept us from seeing if his second-half surge was legit, but he's been fine since returning. He's rocking a useful .282/.321/.442 line since August 1st with 6 HR and 2 SB (but 5 CS, too) in 196 PA. Detroit's pitching staff is running the third-highest home run rate since mid-July at 1.5 per nine innings, so Polanco and his Twins mates might be launching long-balls throughout this series.

Corner Infield

Ryan O'Hearn (L), 12 percent, Kansas City Royals at Cincinnati Reds (RHP Matt Harvey): O'Hearn and Adalberto Mondesi have been September staples in this spot, but Mondesi has surged to a 71 percent rostership, so he's not eligible here anymore. O'Hearn will have to carry the mantle. A run of LHP gave O'Hearn some time on the bench as he's a full-on platoon player thanks to an obscene .333/.429/.740 line against righties, with nine homers in 112 plate appearances. Harvey has allowed 16 of his 26 homers to left-handed bats, so we'll see if O'Hearn can do some damage.

Middle Infield

Jeff McNeil (L), 38 percent, New York Mets vs. Atlanta Braves (RHP Touki Toussaint): I passed on McNeil last week and missed out on a 2-for-4 effort, but that's because he was facing Aaron Nola. I like Toussaint, but he's no Nola in terms of quality. McNeil has four multi-hit games in his last six games, including a four-hit game on Sunday. He has been incredible against RHP with a .351 AVG in 167 PA.


Joc Pederson (L), 21 percent, Los Angeles Dodgers at Arizona Diamondbacks (RHP Matt Koch): Pederson is another platoon hitter who is a must-start against righties, with a .905 OPS and all but one of his 24 homers this season. It's tough to run with platoon players in shallower weekly transaction leagues, but daily-leaguers can really maximize the format by leveraging guys like Pederson. He's also running hot with five homers and a .400 AVG in his last 35 plate appearances over 11 games (seven of those being starts).

Ramon Laureano (R), 22 percent, Oakland Athletics at Seattle Mariners (RHP Mike Leake): Laureano didn't even reach the majors until August 3rd, but he's been a fantastic addition to the Oakland lineup. His defensive exploits have had him repeatedly go viral, but don't sleep on his offense. Laureano has done his best work at the plate against right-handers, with a .323/.362/.563 slash to go along with 5 HR and 5 SB in just 105 PA. He's going to be a very interesting player to look at for 2019 as he should enter next season with a full-time role.

Josh Reddick (L), 20 percent, Houston Astros at Toronto Blue Jays (RHP Sam Gaviglio): Reddick has run a weird reverse-split this year with just a .639 OPS against righties, but I'm taking a shot with him anyway. For his career, he has been 100 points better against RHP with a .782 OPS, so I'm relying on history rather than the 2018 season. Left-handers are hitting Gaviglio well on the year including a .285 AVG and .203 ISO in 228 PA. Let's go, Josh!

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.