Daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Sunday

Joey Lucchesi is one of the better streaming options you can send to the mound for the last day of the fantasy baseball season. Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

And then there was one. That's all folks, just 385 yards left in this marathon. Before we focus on the baseball, on behalf of my colleagues Mike Sheets, Paul Sporer, Tim Heaney and Kyle Soppe, thanks for sticking with us the previous 26 miles. It's been a pleasure.

It should be noted there's still a chance the Cubs-Brewers and/or the Dodgers-Rockies will need a 163rd game on Monday to determine the division champ and wild-card winner. These are considered regular-season affairs by MLB. Check your rules to see if they count in your league. For what it's worth, ESPN does not count these games for fantasy purposes.

Irrespective of any Monday action, this is the final Daily Notes of the 2018 campaign -- as usual, stocked with pitchers and hitters in favorable spots, all available in more than half of ESPN leagues. Good luck taking down your leagues, and we'll see you in March!


Pitchers to stream

Joey Lucchesi (L), rostered in 22 percent of ESPN leagues, San Diego Padres vs. Arizona Diamondbacks: Prior to a rough outing last time, versus the Dodgers, Lucchesi was on a late-season roll, sporting a 3.58 ERA and 1.23 WHIP with 32 strikeouts in 27.2 innings, spanning five starts. The rookie southpaw strives to bounce back from his sub-par effort, ending the season on a high note. While the Diamondbacks have hit left-handers better than righties, in general their offense has struggled during the second half, especially on the road.

Sandy Alcantara (R), 13 percent, Miami Marlins at New York Mets: There's a chance Alcantara starts the last game of the 2018 season and opening day next season. As is often the case with young flamethrowers, control is his issue, as evidenced by walking 11 in eight frames in back-to-back outings versus the Nationals. In his previous two efforts, Alcantara fanned 12 with five walks in 14 innings. The Mets have been an average offense versus righties since the break, but if you need some strikeouts, Alcantara is in play.

Dylan Covey (R), 8 percent, Chicago White Sox at Minnesota Twins: It must be the last day of the season if Covey cops a streaming recommendation. Although to be fair, he's coming off consecutive quality starts versus the Indians, working six scoreless frames in each, fanning 12 with just four walks during that span. The Twins aren't packing it in, sweeping the White Sox in a Friday twin bill. However, Covey is in a groove and will have no innings restriction, relevant to those trolling for the fickle win.

Matt Shoemaker (R), 6 percent, Los Angeles Angels vs. Oakland Athletics: After being out since Opening Day, Shoemaker has made five September starts with mixed results. While a 4.84 ERA and 1.21 WHIP aren't impressive, 26 punchouts to only four free passes in 22.1 innings this month is reason for optimism. Locked into the second wild-card spot with a 3,000 mile eastbound trek after the game, expect Oakland to empty it's bench, giving Shoemaker a lesser lineup to navigate.

Pitchers to avoid

Sunday will be a tune-up day for playoff-bound hurlers such as Luis Severino, Rick Porcello, Carlos Carrasco and Kevin Gausman, so if you're in need of wins, they're not likely to pitch the requisite five stanzas to be eligible.


Piggybacking on the notion that starters on playoff teams won't be in line for a win, if you need last-second help in that category, consider relievers on the Yankees, Red Sox, Indians and Braves. Possibilities include Matt Barnes, Chad Green, Andrew Miller and Dan Winkler.

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.



Tyler Flowers (R), 4 percent, Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies (LHP Ranger Suarez): The Braves have been alternating Flowers and Kurt Suzuki down the stretch. Assuming they stay on course, it will be Flowers' turn to step in against Suarez, a 23-year old lefty who has allowed three homers in his 12 MLB innings. Flowers has really bloomed against lefties this season, pollinating a 1.153 OPS with the platoon edge.

First base

Mark Reynolds (L), 1 percent, Washington Nationals at Colorado Rockies (LHP Tyler Anderson): With the Rockies assured of a playoff spot, they've opted to shut down Max Scherzer, but they're likely to use their regular hitters, which lately includes Reynolds. His power is a threat, enjoying the platoon edge in Coors Field.

Second base

Tony Kemp (L), 1 percent, Houston Astros at Baltimore Orioles (RHP Jimmy Yacabonis): Kemp has been a valuable cog in the Astros' machine, joining Marwin Gonzalez as players Houston can plug in all over the diamond. Kemp's assets are on-base skills with the ability to steal a base. This plays well in points leagues, especially facing a pitching staff allowing the most base-runners in the league.

Third base

Colin Moran (L), 3 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates at Cincinnati Reds (RHP Sal Romano): Moran has swatted only 11 homers this season. However, three have come in the past three weeks, fueling a .286/.372/.600 triple slash over this time. Moran not only faces a righty allowing a generous 23 homers in 140.2, he enjoys a huge park upgrade with respect to power.


Willy Adames (B), 16 percent, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Toronto Blue Jays (RHP Sam Gaviglio): While the Rays tend to hold their young pitching back, they're aggressive with their position players. The 23-year old Adames offered a very encouraging glimpse into the future, teasing 20 HR/15 SB potential over a full season. The Jays are likely to empty their bullpen, giving the switch-hitter the platoon edge throughout the final game.

Corner infield

Daniel Vogelbach (L), under 1 percent, Seattle Mariners vs. Texas Rangers (RHP Yovani Gallardo): Granted, he hasn't done much with it, but Vogelbach is getting a look down the stretch. Facing Gallardo has been the elixir for many hitters this season, as the veteran righty totes a 6.40 ERA and 1.63 WHIP into Safeco Field.

Middle infield

Jeff McNeil (L), 42 percent, New York Mets vs. Miami Marlins (RHP Sandy Alcantara): Double-play partner Amed Rosario's solid second half has drawn more attention, but don't sleep on McNeil and his .327 average in 238 plate appearances, fueled by a tidy 10 percent strikeout rate.


Daniel Palka (L), 20 percent, Chicago White Sox at Minnesota Twins (RHP Zack Littell): Although he has cooled considerably the past week, Palka has had a blistering final month, posting an .879 OPS, featuring eight September long balls. Working mostly in relief, Littell has recorded a 6.61 ERA and 1.90 WHIP in 16.1 innings during his freshman campaign.

Victor Robles (R), 16 percent, Washington Nationals at Colorado Rockies (LHP Tyler Anderson): Robles is in play, hitting leadoff for an offense still sporting the dangerous Trea Turner, Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon. Anderson has struggled at home down the stretch, posting a 9.60 ERA and 2.07 WHIP over his last four games in Coors Field.

Jake Cave (L), 8 percent, Minnesota Twins vs. Chicago White Sox (RHP Dylan Covey): Cave is closing the season out strongly, carrying a modest five-game hitting streak into Saturday's game. He's slashing .444/.545/.722 the past seven days, tallying eight runs with three RBIs over that stretch.

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.