Daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Saturday

Should you start Matt Cain as he calls it a career this weekend? Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire

Well, this is it, folks. We've reached the final weekend of the regular season. If you're still with us, that probably means you're still in contention for the top spot in the standings or, at the very least, a shot to end up "in the money." Congratulations! Now, let's finish strong.

Keep in mind that not all listed pitchers will be given their normal workloads. Most notably, Clayton Kershaw, Corey Kluber and Max Scherzer are all set to toe the rubber on Saturday. However, given that all of their teams have already clinched their respective divisions, you may see their pitch counts kept in check. You're not benching any of those guys, of course, but it is still something to be aware of as you set those final lineups.

Here's a look at the day's top streaming options!


Pitchers to stream

Jhoulys Chacin (R), 22 percent rostered in ESPN leagues, San Diego Padres at San Francisco Giants: We normally target Chacin only when he's at home, but we'll make an exception for Saturday's road matchup against San Francisco. After all, the Giants have been the worst offense in baseball this season against right-handed pitching, ranking dead last in both wOBA (.296) and wRC+ (83). While Chacin has been much more reliable at Petco Park, he still owns a 3.01 ERA over his last 19 starts, regardless of location. Not only that, AT&T Park has actually graded out to be more pitcher-friendly than Petco in recent years.

Andrew Cashner (R), 22 percent, Texas Rangers vs. Oakland Athletics: It's hard to buy into what Cashner has done this year, especially considering his low strikeout rate (4.7 K/9) and the fact that his 3.42 ERA isn't supported by his 4.65 FIP and 5.29 xFIP. Still, he continues to get the job done. He sports a 3.11 ERA over his last 11 starts and should finish in the top 10 of the American League in ERA. On Saturday, he matches up with an Oakland club that hits righties well, but also whiffs 24 percent of the time. I do wish the matchup were a little more favorable, but Cashner is a strong bet to come away with a win against Daniel Gossett, who's allowed al least six runs in back-to-back starts.

Jake Junis (R), 19 percent, Kansas City Royals vs. Arizona Diamondbacks: Junis isn't a guy who draws much excitement, but he's been a solid streaming option over the last couple of months. He has a 3.61 ERA since the All-Star break, which drops to 3.49 when pitching at Kauffman Stadium. The strikeouts may be lacking (7.3 K/9), but he does a very nice job in limiting walks, as he's never sported a BB/9 above 2.5 in six seasons of professional ball. Saturday's matchup against Arizona is no picnic. Then again, the Diamondbacks offense hasn't done much damage away from home this season (.301 wOBA), and they'll suffer a significant ballpark downgrade going from Chase Field to Kauffman Stadium.

Carson Fulmer (R), 4 percent, Chicago White Sox at Cleveland Indians: Fulmer left his last outing in the first inning with a blister issue, but he should be good to go for Saturday's tilt with the Indians. A road matchup against a 100-win team and the potential Cy Young winner certainly doesn't fill you with warm fuzzies. Of course, Cleveland may well be resting some regulars as they gear up for their postseason run. At any rate, Fulmer's inclusion here is more about the potential than the opponent. Since stepping into the White Sox's rotation earlier this month, the 23-year-old rookie has allowed just two runs in 12 innings over two starts, striking out 14 batters. That's not a big enough sample size to draw any long-lasting conclusions, but it's encouraging to see that kind of flash from the former first-round pick. Yes, the risk is high in this matchup, but in the final weekend of the season, what do you have to lose?

Projected game scores

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



Mike Zunino (R), 40 percent, Seattle Mariners at Los Angeles Angels (RHP Ricky Nolasco): Zunino won't have the platoon advantage here, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Nolasco has shown reverse splits this season, as he's been hammered by same-side hitters for a .375 wOBA. For his part, Zunino has cracked 16 of his 24 homers against righties and has been tearing the cover off the ball in September (.328/.416/.612).

First Base

Joey Gallo (L), 50 percent, Texas Rangers vs. Oakland Athletics (RHP Daniel Gossett): If you're looking for one final power boost, Gallo, in a prime matchup, is your guy. The slugger has whacked 32 of his 39 homers off right-handed pitching this season, and Gossett has served up seven dingers in his last three outings.

Second Base

Ozzie Albies (B), 27 percent, Atlanta Braves at Miami Marlins (RHP Odrisamer Despaigne): Albies continues to swing a hot stick, batting .322/.402/.490 over his last 37 games. He finds himself in a prime matchup on Saturday, squaring off against Despaigne, who has been blasted by left-handed batters for a .305/.388/.438 slash line this season.

Third Base

Cory Spangenberg (L), 11 percent, San Diego Padres at San Francisco Giants (RHP Matt Cain): Cain is set to retire after the season, wrapping up a fine MLB career. However, it wouldn't be right if we didn't take advantage of his final outing. After all, the right-hander has a bloated 5.66 ERA over 26 appearances (22 starts) this season. He's also allowed a .319/.396/.469 slash to lefty batters. This creates an enticing opportunity for Spangenberg, who is batting .286/.350/.457 versus righties in 2017.


Yangervis Solarte (B), 23 percent, San Diego Padres at San Francisco Giants (RHP Matt Cain): We're doubling up on lefty-swinging Padres bats against Cain. Can you blame us? Cain has surrendered a .368 wOBA to left-handed batters this season, and the switch-hitting Solarte does almost all of his damage from the left side of the plate.

Corner Infield

Lucas Duda (L), 7 percent, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Baltimore Orioles (RHP Miguel Castro): Duda has been slumping of late, but this is a nice spot for him to finish the season on a high note. Castro holds a 4.68 ERA on the road and a 6.75 ERA in September. The Tampa Bay slugger will never be a high average guy, but he boasts a .530 SLG and .303 ISO versus right-handed pitching this season.

Middle Infield

Jorge Polanco (B), 46 percent, Minnesota Twins vs. Detroit Tigers (RHP Buck Farmer): Farmer has made only 10 starts this season, but a 7.33 ERA is hard to ignore. Left-handed batters in particular have done him in, posting a .392 wOBA against the Detroit starter. The switch-hitting Polanco is batting .298/.360/.526 since the All-Star break and should keep rolling in this matchup.


Max Kepler (L), 11 percent, Minnesota Twins vs. Detroit Tigers (RHP Buck Farmer): Kepler has basically established himself as being a platoon-only bat at this point. He's hitting .272/.343/.487 versus righties and just .153/.217/.246 against left-handers. In fact, 47 of his 53 extra-base hits this season have come against right-handed pitching. Meanwhile, Farmer has allowed 13 earned runs over his last 11 innings and has been tattooed by lefty batters this season (.310/.386/.552).

Nick Markakis (L), 21 percent, Atlanta Braves at Miami Marlins (RHP Odrisamer Despaigne): Markakis is the second Braves lefty we're recommending against Despaigne. The Miami right-hander has been victimized by left-handed swingers this season, allowing a .302/.388/.438 slash against them while walking more than he's struck out. Markakis, meanwhile, is a career .290/.367/.440 hitter against right-handed pitching.

David Peralta (L), 36 percent, Arizona Diamondbacks at Kansas City Royals (RHP Jake Junis): It's the final weekend of games, so it's only fitting that Peralta -- everyone's favorite streamer -- makes one final appearance. The Arizona outfielder is batting .301/.355/.465 versus right-handed pitching this season, and Junis has been vulnerable to lefty batters.

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.