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Daily notes: Fantasy rankings for Monday

Even in a matchup with the defending champions, Chad Kuhl offers fantasy upside for those seeking a pitcher Monday. Getty Images

Monday may be an off day for 12 of the 30 major league clubs, but all the openings mean those playing in leagues with daily lineup moves must work overtime. The best way to get a jump on your competition is maximizing roster spots, especially on Mondays and Thursdays. But don't worry, we have your back. Here are some arms and sticks to consider to start Week 4 on the right foot.


Pitching

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

Starting Pitching to Stream

Brett Anderson (Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates, 6 percent owned in ESPN leagues): Anderson draws a squad in the lower third of the league in weighted on base average (wOBA) and in the upper third in strikeout rate against left-handers. Anderson hasn't been sharp so far this season but benefits from working in PNC Park, one of the toughest venues in the league on power.

Chad Kuhl (Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Chicago Cubs, 8 percent): One of the repercussions of an abbreviated slate is sometimes pitchers on both sides of the same matchup can both be roster-worthy. Such is the case in the Steel City. Some may question recommending a pitcher facing the Cubs, but to date, the defending world champs are middle-of-the-pack in terms of wOBA versus righties while ranking as the fourth easiest for right-handers to whiff. Kuhl is coming off a pair of quality starts, featuring nine strikeouts with only one walk in those 12⅓ innings.

Miguel Gonzalez (Chicago White Sox vs. Kansas City Royals, 4 percent): ESPN researcher Kyle Soppe astutely points out Gonzalez deserves more respect as the righty has recorded a 2.74 ERA and 1.09 WHIP since last July 1. His roll should continue facing a Royals club lacking the punch to take advantage of homer-friendly Guaranteed Rate Park.

Martin Perez (Texas Rangers vs. Minnesota Twins, 6 percent): The Twins have cooled considerably since their scorching start, currently landing as a league-average club with a lefty on the hill.

Starting Pitcher to Avoid

From now on, a pitcher to avoid with more than 50 percent ownership in ESPN leagues will be included. Unfortunately, on today's slate, no one fits the bill.

Bullpen

As can be gleaned from above, there's a chance the Cubs-Bucs will be a low-scoring affair, putting both bullpens in the spotlight. Tony Watson is probably owned in your league but his setup men, Felipe Rivero, Daniel Hudson and Juan Nicasio, could be in line for a vulture win. On a day where you likely have an open pitching spot, think about a setup man with a good chance to work in a close game.


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.


Hitting

Catcher

Francisco Cervelli (Pittsburgh Pirates, 20 percent): Cervelli sat on Sunday, virtually insuring he'll be in there on Monday. Cervelli has the platoon edge on Brett Anderson and usually hits sixth or seventh. This may not be in the meat of the order, but it's higher than most receivers.

First Base

Logan Morrison (Tampa Bay Rays, 15 percent): LoMo hit second on Sunday as Kevin Kiermaier was out with an illness. Even if he returns to his normal six-hole when a righty is on the hill, he's in a good spot facing the inconsistent Ubaldo Jimenez.

Second Base

Scooter Gennett (Cincinnati Reds, 9 percent): Gennett has been seeing a lot of time in the outfield versus right-handers. Matt Garza is making his 2017 debut so look for Gennett to be active, enjoying the platoon edge over a middling righty, returning from injury.

Third Base

Yunel Escobar (Los Angeles Angels, 30 percent): Escobar left Friday night's game with dizziness then played Saturday. It's assumed Sunday was just a day off but it's worth checking the lineup, just in case. If Escobar is out, Jefry Marte is a nice pivot. Both enjoy the platoon edge over Francisco Liriano.

Shortstop

Jorge Polanco (Minnesota Twins, 8 percent): Like a lot of hitters playing Monday, Polanco got Sunday off, so he should be eager to get back in there. The switch-hitting Polanco has fared much better facing southpaws, so let's hope it was just a one-day absence with a date against southpaw Martin Perez on the docket.

Corner Infield

Joey Gallo (Texas Rangers, 18 percent): Gallo facing homer prone Phil Hughes in Globe Life Park? Yes, please.

Middle Infield

Tyler Saladino (Chicago White Sox, 3 percent): Southpaw Jason Vargas has dazzled thus far in 2017, supported by strong peripherals. Still, at some point he must come back and join the rest of us on Earth. Saladino will be waiting, hitting second with the platoon bump.

Outfield

Jayson Werth (Washington Nationals, 22 percent): Werth has been banged up, but for some reason, Coors Field exhibits wonderful healing power ... maybe it's the altitude. Assuming he's active, Werth holds the platoon bump on Tyler Anderson, who's yet to display the sharpness he showed at home last season.

Scott Schebler (Cincinnati Reds, 3 percent): Schebler could be playing for his job with Jesse Winker looking at Triple-A. Perhaps Sunday's homer will be the stimulus for more as Schebler will step in against Garza.

Andrew Toles (Los Angeles Dodgers, 4 percent): Matt Cain's 3.31 ERA may appear reasonable, but a 6.6 K/9, 4.4 BB/9 and 1.7 HR/9 portend something closer to his 5.27 FIP and 5.35 xFIP. Toles and teammate Scott Van Slyke look to jump-start the inevitable regression.

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.