Daily notes: Pitcher projections and hitter ratings for Saturday

After multiple short slates in a row, we’re back at full strength on Saturday, with all 30 teams suiting up for action.

Even if you don’t necessarily have any holes to fill in your starting lineup, that doesn’t mean there isn’t any work to do. Pay close attention to platoon splits and park factors to ensure you’re maximizing your team’s potential day in and day out. It can be a lot of work, but that work pays off.

Of course, we’re here to help, too. Here’s a look at the day’s top streaming options, focusing on players rostered in fewer than 50 percent of ESPN.com leagues.


Pitching

Michael Wacha (R), rostered in 30 percent of ESPN leagues, St. Louis Cardinals vs. San Diego Padres: Wacha pitched well in his season debut, delivering six innings of one-run ball against Milwaukee. The four walks were more than you’d like to see, but he struck out seven and basically neutralized a very dangerous Brewers lineup at Miller Park, one of the game’s most hitter-friendly environments. San Diego’s lineup may be more threatening than it’s been in past seasons, but squaring off against the Padres at Busch Stadium is still a much more favorable situation. Wacha also has a history of putting up strong numbers in April (when he’s often at his healthiest). The right-hander has produced a 2.82 ERA during his past 13 April starts.

Trevor Williams (R), 35 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds: Cincinnati’s lineup is stuck in neutral. Entering Wednesday’s action, the Reds ranked 28th in baseball with a brutal 39 wRC+ and a bloated 27.3 percent strikeout rate. This presents a very enticing spot for Williams, who blanked this very Reds team his last time out, spinning six shutout frames with six strikeouts and just one walk. Better yet, this matchup comes at PNC Park, which is a massive upgrade for pitchers compared to Great American Ballpark. Don’t expect Williams to repeat last season’s 3.11 ERA, but he’s still a great streaming option in favorable matchups like this one.

Corbin Burnes (R), 15 percent, Milwaukee Brewers vs. Chicago Cubs: Burnes’ first start against the Cardinals on March 31 was eventually derailed by a trio of long balls, but it left fantasy managers plenty to be excited about. The young right-hander racked up 12 K’s on the night in just five innings, largely thanks to a four-seam fastball with a very high spin rate. Burnes’ fastball averaged 2,912 revolutions per minute (rpm) on Sunday. For reference, no pitcher averaged higher than 2,661 rpms in 2018 (min. 500 pitches). A high spin rate doesn’t necessarily lead to success, but it does often lead to more swings and misses. While we don’t want to put too much emphasis on one start, it was a very encouraging outing for the 24-year-old. A matchup against the Cubs isn’t ideal, but this is a high-upside arm to bet on.

Lucas Giolito (R), 8 percent, Chicago White Sox vs. Seattle Mariners: After he posted an MLB-worst 6.13 ERA in 2018, it’s easy to forget that Giolito was once considered arguably the game’s top pitching prospect. He’ll probably never live up to that promise, but he did show some encouraging signs in last week’s outing against Kansas City. He carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning, accumulated eight strikeouts and averaged 93.5 mph on his fastball — a notable jump after averaging 92.4 mph in 2018. Things unraveled a bit in the seventh inning when he allowed a pair of runs, and it’s not like shutting down the Royals’ lineup is worth getting excited about. Still, there was enough here to make us pay attention. On Saturday, Giolito draws a Mariners squad that’s due for some regression.

Bullpen

We often talk closers in this space, but setup men have value, too, especially for those who play in holds leagues. Trevor Rosenthal was expected to serve as Washington’s top setup man this season, but he’s amazingly failed to record a single out in three appearances. This has opened the door for Justin Miller and Tony Sipp to take on more prominent roles. Both have already registered three holds on the young season and could be in line to rack up plenty more on a Nationals team that is going to win lots of ballgames.

Projected game scores

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