Daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Saturday

While the Rockies are away, Colorado pitchers like Tyler Chatwood should play! Denis Poroy/Getty Images

Now that we've recovered from the withdrawal of the All-Star break, it's time to get back down to business.

Saturday is a Chris Sale, Max Scherzer and Corey Kluber day, but perhaps more importantly, it marks the return of Madison Bumgarner, who's been sidelined late April with a shoulder injury. A matchup against the Padres should serve as the perfect "Welcome Back" gift.

Aside from that, there's a nice grouping of streaming options to consider, so let's get to it.


Pitchers to stream

Alex Cobb (R), 41 percent ownership in ESPN leagues, Tampa Bay Rays at Los Angeles Angels: Cobb opens the second half with a favorable matchup against the Angels, who sport a 91 wRC+ versus righties. Mike Trout will be back from the DL, which certainly doesn't help Cobb's cause, but this is a below-average lineup either way. Cobb has allowed more than two earned runs just once in his last six starts, and that was in a tough matchup in hitter-friendly Camden Yards. Angel Stadium, meanwhile, is one of the worst offensive parks in baseball.

Tyler Chatwood (R), 16 percent, Colorado Rockies at New York Mets: Chatwood owns a 6.14 ERA and .305 BAA at Coors Field this season, but his 3.19 ERA and .196 BAA on the road tell quite a different story. In fact, dating back to 2016, Chatwood holds a 2.34 ERA over 142 road innings. Armed with a 56 percent ground ball rate that is among the top five in baseball, the Rockies right-hander is in a favorable spot against a Mets team that's been middle-of-the-road against righties.

Jhoulys Chacin (R), 19 percent, San Diego Padres vs. San Francisco Giants: If Chatwood is a pitcher you should only consider using on the road, Chacin is the opposite. He's viable only when pitching at Petco Park. While he owns a 7.95 ERA and .335 BAA on the road this season, he sports a pristine 1.68 ERA and .180 BAA in San Diego. Those home numbers include allowing no more than two earned runs in 8-of-9 starts. Among pitchers with 40 or more innings at home, only Alex Wood has a lower home ERA. Against a Giants club that owns the lowest wOBA (.290) in baseball against right-handed pitching, Chacin has to be considered a high-end streaming option on Saturday.

Mike Foltynewicz (R), 32 percent, Atlanta Braves vs. Arizona Diamondbacks: This might appear to be a tough matchup on paper, given that the Diamondbacks are among the top five teams in the NL in runs scored, but it's not as bad as it seems. Away from Chase Field, Arizona has been one of baseball's worst offensive teams, ranking No. 28 with a 79 road wRC+ to go along with a 25 percent strikeout rate. Since June 1, Foltynewicz has a 2.98 ERA in seven starts with nearly a strikeout per inning -- and that includes a blowup outing against Washington that's inflating his numbers. Over his last seven starts, he's allowed one run (or less) on four occasions.

Pitcher to avoid

Ervin Santana (R), 95 percent, Minnesota Twins at Houston Astros: This is an easy "stay away" spot. The Astros are lethal right now. Over the last 30 days, they own a 152 wRC+, which is 16 points higher than any other team. They also rank first in home runs, batting average, runs scored, OBP, SLG -- you get the picture. After a dominant first two months, since June 1 Santana has a 5.19 ERA and 1.50 WHIP. Don't ruin your Saturday by throwing him out there in this matchup.


Pirates closer Felipe Rivero owns a 0.76 ERA, a 0.72 WHIP and a 10.4 K/9 over 44 appearances this season. He closed out the final week of the first half by converting all three of his save opportunities. The Pirates may not present their closer with as many save chances as some teams with better records, but Rivero is pitching like an elite reliever right now. Having said that, he's somehow still available in over 40 percent of ESPN leagues. Make sure your league isn't one of them.

Projected game scores

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



Mike Zunino (R), 26 percent, Seattle Mariners at Chicago White Sox (LHP Derek Holland): Zunino finds himself in a tremendous matchup, as he draws the platoon advantage against Holland, who has surrendered a .386 wOBA to right-handed bats this season. The Seattle backstop has predictably slowed down after slamming 10 homers in June, but he's still a big power bat in a hitter-friendly venue against a weak lefty. That's a spot worth targeting.

First Base

Yuli Gurriel (R), 50 percent, Houston Astros vs. Minnesota Twins (RHP Ervin Santana): Gurriel just continues to clobber right-handed pitching. He's batting .320/.343/.529 versus righties this year. He's also been a top-three fantasy first baseman over the last three weeks, batting .360 with 16 extra-base hits and 15 RBI over 20 games. The 33-year-old should have little trouble against Santana, who has allowed five or more runs in three of his last five starts.

Second Base

Ben Zobrist (B), 42 percent, Chicago Cubs vs. Baltimore Orioles (LHP Wade Miley): This season has been a struggle for Zobrist, especially against lefties (.149/.231/.319 in 47 at-bats). Don't buy too much into the small sample size, though. He hit .324/.403/.482 in 448 at-bats against lefties from 2014-2016, and he has a long track record of performing better in the second half. Meanwhile, Miley has been extremely vulnerable to right-handed hitters, allowing a .307/.393/.469 slash line this season.

Third Base

Danny Valencia (R), 16 percent, Seattle Mariners at Chicago White Sox (LHP Derek Holland): Valencia is the second Mariners batter we're targeting against Holland and his inflated wOBA (.386) against righty hitters. The 32-year-old is hitting .294/.390/.441 versus lefties this season, and he gets a nice park boost going from Safeco Field to Guaranteed Rate Field.


Dansby Swanson (R), 27 percent, Atlanta Braves vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (LHP Patrick Corbin): This one is simple. Swanson is a career .302/.380/556 hitter versus left-handed pitching, and Corbin is allowing a .314/.364/.515 slash to right-handed batters this season. Don't overthink it.

Corner Infield

Josh Bell (B), 17 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals (RHP Lance Lynn): Bell picked after the break where he left off, showing surprising power. Lynn's homers have skyrocketed coming off Tommy John surgery.

Middle Infield

Whit Merrifield (R), 42 percent, Kansas City Royals vs. Texas Rangers (LHP Cole Hamels): With a career .317/.368/.458 slash line against lefties, Merrifield is almost always a quality streamer when a southpaw is on the mound. Hamels is no ordinary southpaw, but he hasn't been the same guy this season. He holds a 5.09 ERA on the road, and his K/9 is sitting at an uncharacteristically low 4.9.


Mallex Smith (L), 17 percent, Tampa Bay Rays at Los Angeles Angels (RHP JC Ramirez): Smith is batting .351 since the start of June, and he's been particularly good against righties, as his .333/.415/.430 slash line can attest. He's in a great spot against Ramirez, who has allowed a .574 SLG against lefty batters, with an inflated 46 percent hard-hit rate.

David Peralta (L), 37 percent, Arizona Diamondbacks at Atlanta Braves (RHP Mike Foltynewicz): Some things never change. The sun rises in the east, sets in the west, and Peralta is a recommended streaming option with a righty on the mound. He's batting .320/.369/.474 versus righties this season. Foltynewicz has been pitching really well lately, but left-handed bats are still hitting .311/.376/.497 against him.

Zach Granite (L), less than 1 percent, Minnesota Twins at Houston Astros (RHP Joe Musgrove): The Twins are giving Granite a look, spelling Eddie Rosario and Byron Buxton in the outfield. Granite has good on-base skills and can swipe a base. If he's not in the lineup, any of Rosario, Buxton or Max Kepler are in play against Musgrove, who is headed for the bullpen once the Astros rotation gets a couple of arms back soon.

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.