Fantasy baseball daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Saturday

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The headliner of the weekend is a three-game set between the Yankees and Dodgers in a potential World Series preview. Saturday also marks the return of Felix Hernandez, who has been sidelined since May with a shoulder injury. This would have been huge news several years ago, but now it's barely a blip on the fantasy radar. Even so, here's hoping the former fantasy ace can rekindle some of that old magic against the Blue Jays. King Felix isn't in the streaming discussion on Saturday, but there are plenty of other names to consider.

Here's a look at the top options, focusing on players rostered in fewer than 50% of ESPN leagues.


Chris Bassitt (R), rostered in 37% of ESPN leagues, Oakland Athletics vs. San Francisco Giants: Bassitt finds himself in a highly appealing spot on Saturday, squaring off against a Giants team that ranks bottom five in baseball against right-handed pitching with a .304 wOBA. For his part, Bassitt has been lights-out since the All-Star break, putting up a 2.36 ERA over 42 frames. The right-hander doesn't have overpowering stuff or pinpoint control, but he's done a good job limiting hard contact and has a great home ballpark. Bassitt is one of the safer streaming options of the day.

Dakota Hudson (R), 28%, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Colorado Rockies: It's simple, really. We avoid pitching against the Rockies when they're at home (.371 wOBA), and we attack them when they're on the road (.289 wOBA). After hitting a rough patch in July (5.47 ERA), Hudson has bounced back in August with a 2.21 ERA and back-to-back scoreless outings his past two times out. All told, he's surrendered more than three earned runs just once in his past 22 starts. Hudson is not an upside play, but he consistently gets the job done.

Zac Gallen (R), 31%, Arizona Diamondbacks at Milwaukee Brewers: Gallen, on the other hand, is an upside play. The 24-year-old righty owns an extremely impressive 27.7% strikeout rate in 10 big league starts. Perhaps even more impressive is that, over those 10 starts, Gallen has allowed more than two earned runs only once, leading to a 2.45 ERA. The 4.9 BB/9 is a bit troubling, but as long as he's missing bats and keeping the ball in the park (0.53 HR/9), he can get away with it. Saturday's matchup against the Brewers in Miller Park poses some danger, but the Brewers' offense has been below average (92 wRC+) during the past month.

Alex Wood (L), 23%, Cincinnati Reds at Pittsburgh Pirates: Wood was a fantasy difference-maker in 2017 and a quality fantasy contributor in 2018. In 2019, not so much. Since joining the Reds' rotation, Wood sports a 5.92 ERA and 1.52 WHIP in five starts. The long ball has been the primary culprit, as he's served up eight dingers in just 24 1/3 innings. That said, Saturday's matchup against Pittsburgh is too favorable to ignore. The Pirates have been the worst team in baseball versus left-handed pitching this season, ranking dead last with a .281 wOBA and 71 wRC+. There's still some risk here because of Wood's struggles, but matchups don't get much more favorable than this.


Since Shane Greene was traded to Atlanta at the trade deadline, Joe Jimenez has picked up four saves as the Tigers' new ninth-inning man. In his past 14 appearances, the right-hander sports a 2.13 ERA with an 11.3 K/9. The Tigers don't figure to win many games down the stretch, but Jimenez is widely available if you're hunting for saves.

Projected game scores


Catcher -- Francisco Mejia (S), 9%, San Diego Padres vs. Boston Red Sox (RHP Nathan Eovaldi): Eovaldi's return to the starting rotation earlier this week didn't go so well. He lasted just two innings and surrendered five runs on three hits and three walks. Then again, Eovaldi didn't fare so well in the bullpen, either, holding a 5.40 ERA over 11 appearances. Needless to say, Mejia, who sports a .333/.379/.573 triple slash since the break, finds himself in a very enticing matchup on Saturday.

First Base -- Ryan McMahon (L), 28%, Colorado Rockies at St. Louis Cardinals (RHP Dakota Hudson): We prefer using Rockies hitters at Coors, but McMahon deserves a look regardless. He's batting .300/.402/.578 over the past month and offers eligibility at first, second and third base. Meanwhile, lefty batters have given Hudson fits all season (.373 wOBA allowed).

Second Base -- Nick Solak (R), 1%, Texas Rangers at Chicago White Sox (RHP Ivan Nova): The Rangers purchased Solak's contract this week after he hit a combined .291/.363/.536 with 27 homers in 114 games between the Rays' and Rangers' Triple-A affiliates. The rookie has hit safely in each of his first four games, including three extra-base hits. Solak should continue to see regular playing time and carries nice upside against Nova, who is always around the plate, sometimes to his detriment.

Third Base -- Miguel Sano (R), 38%, Minnesota Twins vs. Detroit Tigers (RHP Edwin Jackson): If there's one guy I want to make sure I have exposure against on Saturday, it's Jackson. The 35-year-old has been a punching bag this season. He holds an 8.46 ERA over 11 games (eight starts) and has allowed a whopping 15 home runs in just 44 2/3 frames. Sano, who has slugged 10 homers since the break, could do some real damage in this spot.

Shortstop -- Nick Ahmed (R), 32%, Arizona Diamondbacks at Milwaukee Brewers (RHP Chase Anderson): With Ahmed, we're simply riding a hot streak. The Arizona shortstop is batting .295/.386/.557 in the second half with eight homers and 31 RBIs in 37 games, including more walks (20) than strikeouts (18). He'll look to stay hot against Anderson, who was blown up for 10 runs in 2 1/3 innings in his last start.

Corner Infield -- Brian Anderson (R), 50%, Miami Marlins vs. Philadelphia Phillies (RHP Zach Eflin): While Anderson has been below average against left-handed pitching this season (95 wRC+), he's been much more dangerous when he doesn't have the platoon edge (119 wRC+). Not only that, but he's been blistering hot in August, batting .347/.429/.639 with four homers and nine doubles in 19 games. Fire him up against Eflin, the owner of an 8.18 second-half ERA.

Middle Infield -- Jason Kipnis (L), 18%, Cleveland Indians vs. Kansas City Royals (RHP Glenn Sparkman): Kipnis is mostly an afterthought in fantasy circles these days, but what he's doing lately deserves attention. Over his past 36 games, he's batting .292/.353/.511 with seven dingers and 26 RBIs. On Saturday, Kipnis gets the platoon advantage against Sparkman. The KC righty has been awfully generous to lefty batters this season, allowing a .383 wOBA.

Outfield -- Randal Grichuk (R), 27%, Toronto Blue Jays at Seattle Mariners (RHP Felix Hernandez): While we're rooting for Hernandez to have success in his return from the IL, the fact of the matter is that he still holds a 6.52 ERA in eight starts this season. So, yeah, we want some exposure against him. Grichuk, who has eight homers in 35 second-half games, is a good way to get that exposure.

Outfield -- Josh VanMeter (L), 22%, Cincinnati Reds at Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP Trevor Williams): VanMeter has become a staple in the Reds' lineup when a righty is on the mound, and it's easy to see why, as he's produced a .314/.390/.488 triple slash against right-handers this season. Williams, meanwhile, has allowed a .348/.395/.596 line to lefty swingers.

Outfield -- Willie Calhoun (L), 17%, Texas Rangers at Chicago White Sox (RHP Ivan Nova): Fantasy managers have been waiting for Calhoun to put together a stretch like this. Since the All-Star break, he's hitting .303 with eight homers, 18 runs and 17 RBIs in 27 games. Calhoun gets the platoon advantage against Nova on Saturday and could be a valuable fantasy contributor down the stretch.