Daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Sunday

New York Yankees pitcher Jordan Montgomery gets a great matchup against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday. Mike Stobe/Getty Images

With the trade deadline just one day away, keep an eye out for players on the move. Here are some pitchers and hitters very likely to play Sunday.


Pitchers to stream

Jordan Montgomery (L), 37 percent ownership in ESPN leagues, New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays: Talk about the perfect storm. This matchup checks all the boxes. Montgomery faces a team woeful versus southpaws, offering big strikeout upside. The Yankees' strong bullpen prevents Montgomery from being overexposed, while their offense is back in run-scoring mode.

Luis Castillo (R), 19 percent, Cincinnati Reds at Miami Marlins: Castillo checks in as the day's second highest pitcher in Game Score ranking. He's been inconsistent, but what young pitcher isn't? Castillo enjoys a big park upgrade and faces a Marlins team that's average versus righties. Aiding his cause is that the Fish draw few walks, helping to mitigate control issues. Fewer bases on balls keep pitch counts under control, allowing Castillo to go deeper into the game, where his 10.1 K/9 can rack up more punch outs.

Josh Tomlin (R), 15 percent, Cleveland Indians at Chicago White Sox: It's never comfortable streaming Tomlin, as his soft-tossing, around-the-plate style can always result in homers. Still, if you're chasing the elusive win to help capture the category in your head-to-head matchup, the Tribe will be favored and possess a strong bullpen.

R.A. Dickey (R), 15 percent, Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies: You never know with a knuckleball pitcher, so be sure to exhaust the other options first. However, facing a rather meek Phillies offense, Dickey has the chance to toss a strong game, as he's been doing more often than not since early June.

Pitchers to avoid

There aren't any pitchers to outright avoid, but if you own Justin Verlander, Dan Straily or Gerrit Cole, have a Plan B in place, as all are candidates for a late scratch if their respective clubs are close to trading them to a contender.


A.J. Ramos is now with the New York Mets, affecting two save scenarios. Expect Ramos to see ninth-inning duties for his new club until Jeurys Familia is ready to step back in. Familia is reportedly going to pitch again this season, ostensibly as closer, but there's no timetable for his return. With respect to his previous squad, with David Phelps in Seattle and Kyle Barraclough on the disabled list, look for Brad Ziegler to once again be in line for saves. Keep an eye on our Fantasy Baseball Closer Chart throughout the weekend to see who could see save opportunities as back-end relievers are dealt before the deadline.

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.



Bruce Maxwell (L), 1 percent, Oakland Athletics vs. Minnesota Twins (RHP Bartolo Colon): Searching for a catcher on Sunday can be frustrating, since you often aren't sure if the regular or reserve will be doing the squatting. In situations like this, it's best to turn to the strict platoon scenarios, like that in Oakland. It's even better when the player is slated to face a pitcher who has struggled so much he has considered retirement more times than Brett Favre. Other A's in play versus Colon are Matt Joyce and Jaycob Brugman.

First base

Mike Napoli (R), 18 percent, Texas Rangers vs. Baltimore Orioles (LHP Wade Miley): Napoli has become the ultimate matchup play, best utilized against homer-prone southpaws, especially at home. Check and check.

Second base

Cesar Hernandez (B), 23 percent, Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves (RHP R.A. Dickey): Dickey was cited as a streaming candidate with the caveat that there's risk and reward. If Dickey's floater is flat, Hernandez and teammates Freddy Galvis and Nick Williams are in a great spot at the top of the order. Truth be told, all available Phillies are in play.

Third base

David Freese (R), 4 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates at San Diego Padres (LHP Clayton Richard): Hitting cleanup, Freese headlines a bunch of righty-swinging Bucs against Clayton Richard. According to ESPN Research Assistant Kyle Soppe, only Derek Holland has allowed a higher weighted on base average (wOBA) to right-handed batters than Richard. Joining Freese in the spotlight are Francisco Cervelli, Josh Harrison, Jose Osuna and Jordy Mercer.


Wilmer Difo (B), 2 percent, Washington Nationals vs. Colorado Rockies (RHP Kyle Freeland): The Nationals and Rockies are slated to a twin bill after Friday night's washout. With Stephen Drew on the disabled list, Difo may well draw double duty.

Corner infield

Rafael Devers (L), 32 percent, Boston Red Sox vs. Kansas City Royals (RHP Jason Hammel): How the Red Sox get playing time for Eduardo Nunez hasn't been completely fleshed out yet, so be sure to confirm Devers is playing. The rookie phenom has displayed strong plate skills and pop since being called up. Mitch Moreland is also in play, though playing through a fractured toe has dropped his production, as well as his place in the order.

Middle infield

Ryan Goins (L), 1 percent, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Los Angeles Angels (RHP Jesse Chavez): Middle infield is a tough spot to fill on this ledger. Goins' selling point is he'll be in the lineup as the Jays use a strict platoon with Darwin Barney. That said, he hits low in the order and hasn't handled righties as well as usual. Ezequiel Carrera has been seeing more playing time lately, so he is another option.


Kole Calhoun (L), 32 percent, Los Angeles Angels at Toronto Blue Jays (RHP Cesar Valdez): He doesn't get talked about as such, but Calhoun is one of the season's biggest disappointments ... or maybe 2015 was just the outlying campaign, at least in terms of power. Either way, his hard-hit and line drive rates aren't far from his career norm, so there's a chance Calhoun finishes the season strong.

Howie Kendrick (R), 7 percent, Washington Nationals vs. Colorado Rockies (LHP Kyle Freeland): The newly acquired Kendrick was picked up to fortify an injury-depleted outfield. With a southpaw on the hill, he'll likely be manning left field. There's also a chance Kendrick picks up an extra at bat in the nightcap as a pinch-hitter.

Austin Jackson (R), 1 percent, Cleveland Indians at Chicago White Sox (LHP Carlos Rodon): Jackson has been an on-base machine since coming off the disabled list earlier in the week, reaching base eight times in 12 trips to the dish, including working four free passes. This plays in any format, but it's particularly important for points leagues, as Rodon has allowed a whopping 43 baserunners in his past 24 1/3 innings, fueled by an unsightly 6.66 BB/9.

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.