Daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Wednesday

Stephen Strasburg and Clayton Kershaw offer star power in a Wednesday matchup, but there are plenty other good plays in fantasy. AP Photo/David Goldman

Wednesday's first pitcher tier includes a dream matchup of Clayton Kershaw vs. Stephen Strasburg, but, naturally, we must dig deeper.

The top two pitchers on today's tips list have more than rental potential. They're joined by a dazzling prospect and an intriguing project.


Pitchers to stream

Jimmy Nelson (R), 33.5 percent ownership in ESPN leagues, Milwaukee Brewers vs. San Francisco Giants: Brewers pitchers continue to surprise. Nelson was a popular pickup after striking out 21 over his past two outings. The right-hander's often unhittable arsenal has finally paid off this year, and he's shaved more than two walks per nine innings from his control rate. The Giants hold the league's lowest wOBA (.282).

Mike Foltynewicz (R), 14.5 percent, Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies: Much of Folty's peripherals from last year look familiar -- especially, and unfortunately, the homer allowance. On the other hand, when removing rough outings on May 5 and May 27, he'd have a 2.36 ERA. After all, he's posted five quality starts and comes off his best trip of the year: seven shutout innings with 10 whiffs at the Reds. The Phillies, of course, carry the sixth-lowest wOBA (.309) on the season.

Jacob Faria (R), 0.5 percent, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Chicago White Sox: He'll make his major league debut Wednesday to duel with Mike Pelfrey, which makes the hyped prospect a fine dart for a win even in shallow leagues. Faria, 23, leads the Triple-A International League with 84 strikeouts and six wins over 11 starts with a 3.07 ERA. He should punch out several South Siders. The club is tied for the league's second-lowest walk rate (6.8 percent).

Alex Meyer (R), 1.7 percent, Los Angeles Angels at Detroit Tigers: Here's today's subterranean sleeper. Few will want to start him against Michael Fulmer, but the 27-year-old Meyer quieted the Twins on Thursday with six innings of one-run ball. The 6-foot-9, 225-pound Meyer dealt with injuries and poor mechanics as his early career stalled, but he's looked like at least a competent major-leaguer at times in 2017.

Pitchers to avoid

Jason Vargas (L), 90.2 percent, Kansas City Royals vs. Houston Astros: The soft-tossing southpaw quieted doomsday prophecies after his shutout of the Indians on Friday. Vargas, however, is next tasked with grounding the high-flying Astros and dueling with the equally scorching and more believable Dallas Keuchel. It's a ripe opportunity to kick start the correction of his 2.08 ERA.


The Angels expect to welcome back Cam Bedrosian (groin) from the disabled list Tuesday. The popular preseason pick hasn't allowed a run in six outings this year and boasts the arm to close, but Anaheim has been pleasantly surprised with Bud Norris, who's 9-for-10 in the role since Bedrosian sustained his injury. With Huston Street's triceps rehab on hold due to a setback, Norris probably has a longer leash, but speculators can't leave Bedrosian (24.7 percent ownership) on waiver wires.

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.



Manny Pina (R), 3.5 percent, Milwaukee Brewers vs. San Francisco Giants (LHP Ty Blach): With Nelson due to start, you should use his personal backstop. Pina owns a 13-for-39 mark on the year when facing left-handers, and despite his gem in Philadelphia last week, Blach pitches heavily to contact.

First base

Logan Morrison (L), 42.5 percent, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Chicago White Sox (RHP Mike Pelfrey): That ownership is obscenely low. Surging toward a career year already with 16 home runs, LoMo is an automatic start when staring down a right-hander. Left-handed batters have peppered Pelfrey for a .350 wOBA in his career, and his tepid skills jeopardize his 3.86 ERA.

Second base

Taylor Motter (R), 5.4 percent, Seattle Mariners vs. Minnesota Twins (LHP Adalberto Mejia): Back to starting, with Jean Segura (ankle) out for around a month, Motter is enjoying a five-game hitt streak with 1 home run, 5 RBIs, 4 runs and 2 stolen bases. Mejia has yielded a .358 wOBA to right-handed sticks.

Third base

Ryon Healy (R), 35 percent, Oakland Athletics vs. Toronto Blue Jays (LHP Francisco Liriano): It's not merely piggybacking off Healy's ridiculous two-homer Monday. He's also clubbing an absurd .408/.431/.816 against southpaws. Liriano may tempt many to use him at the A's pitcher haven, but Oakland's secretly dangerous lineup -- including Healy and his 1.022 home OPS -- should touch him up.


Andrelton Simmons (R), 35.9 percent, Los Angeles Angels at Detroit Tigers (RHP Buck Farmer): The Gold Glover has improved at the dish, smacking all six of his home runs off right-handers to complement a .292/.344/.438 line and .337 wOBA in that split. With Mike Trout (thumb) out, Simmons has led off in his last five games. Simmons offers sneaky value in a contrarian play opposite Farmer.

Corner infield

David Freese (R), 7 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates at Baltimore Orioles (LHP Wade Miley): His last name reflects the opposite temperature of his typical performance off LHPs: .302/.376/.468 for his career and .310/.432/.414 this year. The hittable Miley's 2.82 ERA does not jibe with his 4.40 FIP, and Camden Yards plays more favorably for right-handed sticks.

Middle infield

Dansby Swanson (R), 30.2 percent, Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies (RHP Jerad Eickhoff): Left-handed swatters have tattooed Eickhoff to a .364 wOBA and a .291/.363/.515 line. Swanson, meanwhile, has endured an up-and-down sophomore stretch, but starting in this one should put him in line for at least an extra-base hit.


Kevin Kiermaier (L), 36.1 percent, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Chicago White Sox (RHP Mike Pelfrey): It's another double dip on offense to match up a left-handed batter with Pelfrey. Kiermaier has again strongly preferred facing right-handed hurlers (.289/.358/.470, .352 wOBA). He recently put together a three-game homer streak and has slotted in at either second or sixth in the order over his last 18 outings.

Keon Broxton (R), 36.3 percent, Milwaukee Brewers vs. San Francisco Giants (LHP Ty Blach): Despite his fine May, the streaky batter's ownership has dipped almost 10 percent on ESPN lately. However, it's time to go for another Blach-out: Broxton sports a career .366 wOBA against left-handers.

Seth Smith (L), 1.7 percent, Baltimore Orioles vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP Chad Kuhl): Consider this another popular game for offense. Kuhl still is getting owned by lefty bats, giving up the second-highest wOBA to them (a whopping .442). Smith, of course, prefers facing right-handers and should extract value from that by again leading off versus one at home.

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.