Fantasy baseball daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Saturday

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Saturday brings us plenty of aces, with Max Scherzer, Gerrit Cole, Aaron Nola, Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer all taking the mound. In the next tier, we have Jameson Taillon, Luis Castillo, Charlie Morton, Zack Greinke, Masahiro Tanaka and Miles Mikolas all toeing the rubber. Unfortunately, all of those big names leave us a little thin on the streaming side of things, which forces us to get creative.

Here's a look at the day's top streaming options, focusing on players rostered in less than 50 percent of ESPN.com leagues.


Pitchers to stream

Derek Holland (L), rostered in 8 percent of ESPN leagues, San Francisco Giants at Pittsburgh Pirates: Holland has some things to iron out, namely that he's allowing too much hard contact (47.1 percent) and is handing out too many free passes (4.9 BB/9). What's intriguing here, though, is Holland's 11.1 K/9 rate, which is driven by a career-best 11.4 percent swinging-strike rate. While that high whiff rate won't hold up all season, let's not forget that Holland struck out nearly a batter per inning in 2018 (8.9 K/9) and had a 2.83 ERA in 12 second-half starts. If he brings the walks back down to his career rate (3.2 BB/9), the veteran southpaw should stay fantasy viable in favorable matchups. He gets one of those favorable matchups on Saturday as he squares off against a Pirates team that ranks dead last in baseball with a 49 wRC+ against lefties and a 30.2 percent strikeout rate.

Julio Teheran (R), 46 percent, Atlanta Braves at Cleveland Indians: The Indians could get Francisco Lindor back as early as this weekend, which would certainly provide a huge boost, but this is still a lineup that ranks last in the American League with a 60 wRC+ against right-handed pitching with a 25.9 percent whiff rate. That's the primary reason to like Teheran, who's sporting a 25 percent strikeout rate through four starts. Against a more dangerous offense, we'd have concern over Teheran's high walk rate (4.3 BB/9) and the amount of hard contact he's allowing (44.1 percent). Against the Indians, though, the Atlanta righty makes for a perfectly fine streaming option.

Mike Fiers (R), 9 percent, Oakland Athletics vs. Toronto Blue Jays: It's hard to endorse Fiers after he allowed six earned runs in back-to-back starts, but the matchup is right and, well, the pickings are slim. The Blue Jays sport a well-below-average 82 wRC+ along with a bloated 28.8 strikeout rate against righties. While Fiers has struggled his past two times out in tough pitching environments (at Texas, at Houston), he's back at the pitcher-friendly Oakland Coliseum on Saturday. Plus, he tossed six shutout frames against the Red Sox and Angels in his two previous outings, so it's not like the results have been all bad this season. Saturday presents a nice bounce-back spot for the Oakland righty.

Eric Lauer (L), 9 percent, San Diego Padres vs. Cincinnati Reds: Once again, Lauer's inclusion here doesn't mean a full endorsement. The left-hander has registered only one quality start in four tries this season, and he's allowing lots of loud contact. Then again, he does get to square off against a Reds squad that ranks 25th in baseball with a .277 wOBA and a 25.4 percent strikeout rate. And the Reds lineup suffers a huge park downgrade going from Great American Ballpark to Petco Park.

Pitcher to avoid

Rick Porcello (R), 66 percent, Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays: It's just hard to buy in on Porcello right now. After all, he has an 11.12 ERA and 12 walks in 11⅓ innings in three starts. In 2018, he didn't walk his 12th batter until his 11th start. The veteran right-hander will get things ironed out, but I'm not risking it against a Rays team that sports a 126 wRC+ against righties, the second-best mark in baseball.


We spend lots of time analyzing all of the uncertain bullpen situations across the league, yet there are still established closers widely available. Alex Colome owns a 2.25 ERA and a 0.63 WHIP and has four saves across eight appearances, yet he's rostered in just 41.8 percent of ESPN.com leagues. As a comparison, David Robertson, currently sidelined with a shoulder injury, is rostered in 67.8 percent of leagues despite zero saves and a 5.40 ERA. In short, Colome deserves to be rostered in more leagues. He has a decent shot to pick up a save against Detroit on Saturday.

Projected game scores



Welington Castillo (R), 8 percent, Chicago White Sox at Detroit Tigers (LHP Daniel Norris): It's been slow going for Castillo so far, but this is still a guy who put up a combined .304/.353/.518 slash line against lefties over the past three seasons. He has a great shot at getting things going against Norris, who has allowed three homers in just 8⅓ innings in 2019.

First Base

Christian Walker (R), 19 percent, Arizona Diamondbacks at Chicago Cubs (RHP Yu Darvish): Walker is taking advantage of the increased playing time, hitting .300/.373/.683 through 18 games, with three homers in his past four contests. Despite batting right-handed, Walker has a 1.181 OPS vs. righties this season. Darvish, meanwhile, is still looking highly volatile with a 6.11 ERA in four starts.

Second Base

Brandon Lowe (L), 24 percent, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox (RHP Rick Porcello): Porcello has been a disaster so far. He's been hammered by both righties and lefties, but lefty batters in particular have torched him for a .464/.579/.750 slash line. This is a perfect spot to fire up Lowe, who is hitting .298/.358/.600 against righties this season.

Third Base

Hunter Dozier (R), 16 percent, Kansas City Royals at New York Yankees (RHP Masahiro Tanaka): Dozier has been one of this season's pleasant surprises, batting .279/.366/.557 with five homers. Interestingly, he's done the majority of his damage against righties (.333/.396/.667), which sets him up nicely against Tanaka, who is no stranger to the long ball. Trading in Kauffman Stadium for Yankee Stadium doesn't hurt either.


Scott Kingery (R), 6 percent, Philadelphia Phillies at Colorado Rockies (RHP Antonio Senzatela): With Jean Segura sidelined with a strained hamstring, Kingery has temporarily stumbled into regular playing time. He's responded well, to say the least. Entering Thursday's action, Kingery was batting a cool .480 with two dingers and four doubles in 25 at-bats. If he's still in the lineup this weekend, scoop him up and take advantage of the hot streak combined with the Coors Field matchup.

Corner Infield

Ryan Zimmerman (R), 9 percent, Washington Nationals at Miami Marlins (RHP Jose Urena): It's been a brutal start for Urena, who sports a 6.53 ERA across four starts while allowing a 1.000 OPS to right-handed batters. This is a prime matchup for Zimmerman, who continues to bat in the middle of the Nationals lineup despite the slow start.

Middle Infield

Freddy Galvis (S), 28 percent, Toronto Blue Jays at Oakland Athletics (RHP Mike Fiers): Galvis altered his swing mechanics, and the results have been impressive. Through 20 games, he's batting .320/.346/.573 with five homers, including .340/.380/.702 against right-handers. A matchup against Fiers doesn't figure to slow him down.


Josh Reddick (L), 5 percent, Houston Astros at Texas Rangers (RHP Adrian Sampson): Reddick is doing what he always does: hit righties. He batted .291/.356/.452 vs. right-handers over the past three seasons, and he's batting .341 against them this season with a .386 OBP. On Saturday, Reddick figures to tee off against Sampson, one of the day's lowest-ranked starters.

Clint Frazier (R), 23 percent, New York Yankees vs. Kansas City Royals (RHP Heath Fillmyer): As for a hitter who gets to square off against Saturday's worst-ranked starter, Heath Fillmyer, that privilege goes to Frazier. The 24-year-old is batting .347/.358/.612 through 14 games and has especially excelled against same-side pitching (.361/.359/.639).

Ramon Laureano (R), 30 percent, Oakland Athletics vs. Toronto Blue Jays (RHP Matt Shoemaker): Shoemaker has been a pleasant surprise to start the season, but he's due for some regression, as his 4.00 FIP and 4.21 xFIP don't match that pristine 1.75 ERA. Meanwhile, Laureano has fared significantly better against righties (.295/.337/.487) in his young career (.229/.333/.357 vs. lefties).