<
>

Daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Saturday

Zack Greinke and the Diamondbacks take on the Brewers at Miller Park on Saturday. Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire

Everyone can breathe a sigh of relief; the weekend is here. Saturday brings us a full slate of games, with plenty of afternoon baseball.

The most potentially lopsided matchup of the day features Stephen Strasburg and the first-place Washington Nationals taking on a last-place San Diego Padres team that features perhaps the worst offense in baseball, but there are plenty of other games worth targeting if you're in the streaming market. Let's take a look.


Pitching

Pitchers to stream

Mike Foltynewicz (R), 18 percent ownership in ESPN leagues, Atlanta Braves at San Francisco Giants: Foltynewicz owns a respectable 3.86 ERA this season, but it's inflated by one bad start against St. Louis (7 ER in 4 IP). Without that outing, the righty has a 2.74 ERA, as he's allowed three or fewer earned runs in every other start this season. Folty is in a really strong spot on Saturday, facing a Giants team that's the worst in baseball against right-handed pitching (73 wRC+) and owns the second-lowest ISO in baseball.

JC Ramirez (R), 24 percent, Los Angeles Angels at Miami Marlins: Ramirez also finds himself in an enviable spot. He gets a Marlins team that's bottom-five against righty pitching (84 wRC+) in a park that severely suppresses both runs and homers. The strikeout upside here isn't substantial, but he owns a 2.77 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in his past five outings.

Brandon McCarthy (R), 38 percent, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Chicago Cubs: A matchup against the Cubs has been one to avoid in the past, but that hasn't necessarily been the case in 2017. Although the Cubs' offense still deserves plenty of respect, they rank 21st with a 91 wRC+ against righties, while fanning 22 percent of the time. McCarthy has hit a couple of speed bumps in May, but he's limited opposing lineups to two or fewer runs in five of seven starts, and his 27 percent hard-hit rate is 11th-best in baseball.

Ty Blach (L), 5 percent, San Francisco Giants vs. Atlanta Braves: If you can get past the embarrassingly low strikeout rate (3.0 K/9), Blach can potentially offer some nice ratio help. The southpaw has pitched seven innings in each of his past three starts, good for a 2.57 ERA and 1.00 WHIP, and his control has been terrific throughout his professional career. The Braves have actually fared well against left-handed pitching this season, but AT&T Park is arguably the worst venue in baseball for offense.

Pitchers to avoid

Adam Wainwright (R), 53 percent, St. Louis Cardinals at Colorado Rockies: It might be a no-brainer to sit Wainwright at Coors Field, but I wanted to highlight the Cardinals hurler given his recent success. The right-hander is coming off his two best starts of the season (Games Scores of 69 and 65), and his 7.8 K/9 is actually his best whiff rate since 2013. That .377 BABIP suggests there's been some bad luck, too. In short, there are some reasons for optimism here, though you're still better off sitting this start out.

Bullpen

Nationals skipper Dusty Baker has officially anointed Koda Glover as his closer. Glover, who is still available in 78 percent of leagues, has registered five straight scoreless relief appearances and sports a 1.80 ERA and 0.91 WHIP since April 14. It's still possible that the Nats acquire a more proven ninth-inning option in the coming weeks, but Glover should be scooped up for the time being. The Nationals are one of the best teams in the National League and should present plenty of save opportunities.


Projected game scores

Note: W-L, ERA and WHIP are full-year 2017 statistics. 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

Tony Wolters (L), 2 percent, Colorado Rockies vs. St. Louis Cardinals (RHP Adam Wainwright): Wainwright's main issue is lefty hitters (.369 wOBA allowed), and Wolters sports a .303 batting average with a .394 OBP against righties this season. Even more notable is that Wolters is batting a robust .448/.500/.621 at Coors Field in 2017. It's the perfect spot to slide Wolters into your lineup.

First base

Lucas Duda (L), 5 percent, New York Mets at Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP Gerrit Cole): Cole is a very good pitcher, but lefty hitters are his Achilles heel. Since the beginning of 2016, he's allowed a .299/.350/.482 slash to lefty batters, not to mention a .212 ISO this season. Duda has struggled in 2017, but this is a great opportunity for him to get back on track. In the previous three seasons, Duda's OPS is 182 points higher versus righties.

Second base

Neil Walker (S), 45 percent, New York Mets at Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP Gerrit Cole): We're doubling down on left-handed swingers against Cole. The switch-hitting Walker, who is batting .329 in May with eight multi-hit games, has whacked 93 of his 112 career homers against righties.

Third base

Brandon Drury (R), 51 percent, Arizona Diamondbacks at Milwaukee Brewers (RHP Chase Anderson): Drury won't have the platoon advantage against Anderson, but that's OK considering his strong reverse splits. He hit .283/332/.447 against right-handed pitching in 2016, and this year he's clobbered righties for a .333/.387/.539 slash. Anderson, meanwhile, has also shown reverse splits, as he's allowed a .289/.345/.500 slash to righty bats (compared to .234/.310/.412 vs. lefties). The right-hander also ranks fourth in hard-hit percentage (37 percent) since the beginning of last season. That's usually a problem in Miller Park, one of the game's premiere offensive environments.

Shortstop

Brandon Crawford (L), 54 percent, San Francisco Giants vs. Atlanta Braves (RHP Mike Foltynewicz): We like Foltynewicz as a streaming option on Saturday, but lefty bats still give him trouble (.372 wOBA). Crawford, who sports a career-best 38 percent hard-hit rate this season, is one of the Giants bats we like best in this matchup.

Corner infield

Josh Bell (S), 25 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. New York Mets (RHP Zack Wheeler): There were questions about Bell's power potential heading into this season, but he's put those concerns to rest with nine dingers already, putting him on a 30-HR pace. Combine that with his already refined plate discipline, and you have a pretty nice package. Frankly, it's a surprise his ownership is still so low. Bell has hit much better against righties this year, and Wheeler has proven to be vulnerable to hitters from the left side.

Middle infield

Freddy Galvis (L), 21 percent, Philadelphia Phillies vs. Cincinnati Reds (RHP Bronson Arroyo): As always, Arroyo is one of the weakest and most exploitable hurlers on the slate. He's allowing a .405 wOBA to left-handed hitters this season, and Great American Ballpark is a bandbox for lefty power. Galvis might not be a huge power guy, but he still has some pop. More importantly, he's done almost all of his damage this season against right-handed pitching.

Outfield

Cameron Maybin (R), 20 percent, Los Angeles Angels at Miami Marlins (LHP Justin Nicolino): Nicolino is the lowest-ranked pitcher of the day. The sample size is small, but he's surrendering a .430 wOBA to righty bats this year. That puts Maybin, who's hitting .333/.378/.405 against lefties this season, in a very appealing spot.

Jayson Werth (R), 26 percent, Washington Nationals vs. San Diego Padres (LHP Clayton Richard): From 2014-2016, Richard was hammered by right-handed batters for a .301/.361/.447 slash line. This year has been the same old story (.301/.352/.486). Werth hasn't faced many left-handed pitchers this season, but a career .295/.395/.541 slash line against them is all you need to know.

Gerardo Parra (L), 5 percent, Colorado Rockies vs. St. Louis Cardinals (RHP Adam Wainwright): Parra has really been struggling in May, but he's a career .285/.328/.430 hitter against right-handed pitching, and Coors Field is Coors Field. He's batting .306 there this season. We discussed above how Wainwright has been pitching better of late, but left-handed swingers have still put up a .369 wOBA against him this season.


Hitter matchup ratings

Notes: Hitter ratings account for the opposing starting pitcher's history (three years' worth, as well as the 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, whereas 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.