Daily notes: Fantasy rankings for Saturday

Joe Panik hits right-handers hard and matches up well against Colorado's 22-year-old rookie at Coors Field. Denis Poroy/Getty Images

Saturday brings us another full slate. We're treated to a handful of afternoon tilts, while the rest of the day's contests take place under the lights. Carlos Carrasco and Jake Arrieta are the two biggest names taking the mound on Saturday, but there are plenty of lesser-owned options who carry plenty of intrigue as well. Let's take a look at some of the day's under-the-radar pitchers and hitters.


Looking for a spot starter on Saturday? Here's a list of potential options still available in more than 50 percent of ESPN.com leagues.


Lance Lynn (St. Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee Brewers, 20 percent owned): The Brewers have been tough customers so far, as they rank top-three in the majors with a .336 wOBA and play in a homer-friendly home park. Then again, the Brewers are striking out more than any team in the National League (27 percent), so this is a high-upside matchup for the Cardinals righty. Lynn has been sharp in the early going (3.12 ERA, 1.10 WHIP) and is coming off his best outing of the season, a seven-inning performance against Pittsburgh in which he allowed zero runs and only three hits.

Charlie Morton (Houston Astros at Tampa Bay Rays, 10 percent): Morton finds himself in a similar spot. Although the Rays offense has been productive in the early going, delivering a 110 wRC+ that ranks top-five in baseball, it also owns an MLB-worst 28 percent whiff rate and plays in one of the game's most pitcher-friendly parks. For a guy who throws in the mid-90s and generates plenty of grounders, Morton hasn't entered the fantasy mainstream yet, but there's plenty of appeal in this matchup.

Dan Straily (Miami Marlins at San Diego Padres, 9 percent): A matchup against the Padres at Petco Park is almost always enticing. After all, the Friars were the 29th-ranked offense in terms of wRC+ in 2016, and so far in 2017 things haven't been much better (ranked 25th in MLB). Walks have been an issue for Straily this season, but he's allowed just nine hits in 13 2/3 innings and has more strikeout ability than he's shown thus far.

Anthony Senzatela (Colorado Rockies vs. San Francisco Giants, 28 percent): It's tough to justify starting a guy at Coors Field when there are other viable options available, but it's not crazy to take a look at Senzatela if you play in a deep league and don't mind taking on some risk. The right-hander has done a good job limiting fly balls, which is obviously important for a Colorado pitcher, and he's facing a Giants club that has trouble elevating the ball (9th in GB rate vs. RHP since the start of 2016) and doesn't have much power (27th in ISO vs. RHP since start of 2016).


The Cardinals bullpen has been a mess over the season's first few weeks. Closer Seung Hwan Oh holds an 8.10 ERA in six appearances, Brett Cecil has done little to earn his big offseason contract (7.94 ERA) and setup man Kevin Siegrist is still working out the kinks as well (9.95 ERA). Meanwhile, Matt Bowman (0.00 ERA in nine appearances) has earned himself a more prominent role and leads the team with four holds, and former closer Trevor Rosenthal looks like his old self, whiffing seven batters in just 3 1/3 innings. Rosenthal earned the save for the Cardinals on Wednesday after Oh had pitched back-to-back days, and it's possible he could see more opportunities going forward if The Final Boss' struggles continue. Rosenthal, who was one of the top closers in fantasy not too long ago, is still available in 92 percent of leagues.

Projected game scores

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


Here's a position-by-position look at hitters in favorable spots with less than 50 percent ownership.


Welington Castillo, Baltimore Orioles (35 percent): Castillo plays in a great home park, and while he doesn't have the platoon advantage, he's squaring off against Steven Wright, who has had trouble keeping the ball in the yard this year. The Baltimore backstop is batting .346 versus righties so far this season.

First Base

Logan Morrison, Tampa Bay Rays (14 percent): Morrison's approach puts him in a good spot against Houston's Charlie Morton. From 2014-16, Morrison has produced a .319/.326/.585 slash line on the first pitch, and in the same timeframe Morton has allowed a .356/.386/.513 slash on the first pitch. Over 20 percent of Morrison's hits against right-handers since then have left the yard.

Second Base

Joe Panik, San Francisco Giants (51 percent): In addition to getting the Coors Field bump, Panik also has the platoon advantage against Anthony Senzaelta. All of Panik's 10 home runs last year came against right-handed pitching, and he drew 39 walks against righties (compared to just 15 strikeouts.

Third Base

Travis Shaw, Milwaukee Brewers (40 percent): Miller Park is one of the best venues in the majors for left-handed power, and that will certainly benefit Shaw as he matches up against Lynn, who has given up seven more homers to left-handed hitters since 2014 despite facing lefties less than 45 percent of the time. Shaw also posted an OPS last year that was 163 points higher versus righties compared to lefties.


Zack Cozart, Cincinnati Reds (45 percent): Cozart is batting .405/.490/.667 this season with an OPS that ranks top-five in baseball, but he's still available in more than half of ESPN leagues. Go figure. A matchup against Jake Arrieta is tough on paper, but the Cubs righty is working with decreased velocity this season and has been allowing much more hard contact than years past, so this is the time to attack him.


Corey Dickerson, Tampa Bay Rays (41 percent): Dickerson is the second left-handed Rays hitter we're recommending today. Although we like Morton as a streaming option, only five hurlers have allowed a higher wOBA and a higher hard-hit percentage against lefty hitters since the start of 2014. For his part, Dickerson is a career .288/.334/.548 hitter versus right-handed pitching.

Aaron Altherr, Philadelphia Phillies (1 percent): Altherr has been making a case for more playing time, hitting .333/.391/.571 through 21 at-bats. With lefty Jaime Garcia on the mound for the Braves on Saturday, Altherr is a good bet to find his way into the lineup once again. He brings a nice power/speed combination to the table, and Citizens Bank Park is generous to right-handed power.

Alex Gordon, Kansas City Royals (7 percent): Gordon continues to be a quality plug-and-play option despite his slow start. He bats leadoff, has a favorable matchup against weak righty A.J. Griffin, and gets a nice park boost going from Kauffman Stadium to Globe Life Park.

Hitter ratings

Notes: Hitter ratings account for the opposing starting pitcher's past history (three years' worth, as well as past 21 days) and 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. So, 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.