Fantasy baseball daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Thursday

AP Photo/Scott Kane

Thursday delivers a 10-game slate, and, as you might expect, it's not exactly overflowing with high-end streaming options. Of course, when so many teams have the day off, that's when your fantasy squad has the most holes to fill. So even though the pickings may be slim, there are still plenty of names to consider, so it's no time to get complacent.

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


Jordan Lyles (R), rostered in 43 percent of ESPN leagues, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Colorado Rockies: One of this season's pleasant surprises, Lyles carries a 1.97 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and 9.3 K/9 into Thursday's outing against Colorado. While the underlying numbers don't necessarily support an ERA and WHIP that small, there's still reason to invest in the right-hander as a streaming option. In eight starts, Lyles has allowed more than two runs only once, and he's coming off a dominant seven-inning, one-run, 12-strikeout performance against San Diego last Friday. The Rockies may be dangerous at Coors Field, but that's hardly the case on the road, where they rank 28th in baseball with a 72 wRC+ and a 27.8 percent whiff rate.

Kevin Gausman (R), 49 percent, Atlanta Braves at San Francisco Giants: It doesn't get much better than a matchup against the Giants in pitcher-friendly Oracle Park. After all, the Giants sport a .291 wOBA versus righties and a 7.7 percent walk rate that ranks bottom five in baseball. Gausman has had his ups and downs this season, but he's delivered back-to-back quality starts and sports a career-best 24.5 percent strikeout rate. He should make it three in a row in this highly favorable spot.

Steven Matz (L), 36 percent, New York Mets vs. Washington Nationals: The Nationals' lineup may look tough on paper, but the numbers tell a different story. The Nats currently rank 21st in baseball with a .311 wOBA, behind teams like the Royals and White Sox. Meanwhile, Matz has allowed three or fewer runs in seven of eight starts this season and is whiffing nearly a batter per inning (8.8 K/9). Don't expect much run support from a stagnant Mets offense, but the matchup remains favorable.

Corbin Martin (R), 16 percent, Houston Astros vs. Chicago White Sox: After an impressive debut against Texas, Martin struggled in a tough road outing against Boston. We'll let that one slide. The rookie finds himself in a terrific bounce-back spot against a White Sox team that's non-threatening against righties, putting up a .311 wOBA and a 26 percent strikeout rate. If Martin can rein in the control issues that plagued him his last time out, he has a good chance to come away with a win in this high-upside matchup.


After Luke Jackson blew the save for the Braves on Saturday against the Brewers, it was Sean Newcomb who got the call in the ninth inning on Monday against the Giants and he secured his first save of the season. On Tuesday, it was Jackson who got the call again, and he proceeded to blow a 3-1 lead against San Francisco. While Jackson has saved six games over the past month and sports a dominant 11.6 K/9, his leash remains relatively short, especially after two straight blown saves, so it's a situation to monitor in the coming days.

Projected game scores



Kurt Suzuki (R), 2 percent, Washington Nationals at New York Mets (LHP Steven Matz): It's unclear whether Suzuki or Gomes will get the start here, but both are stream-worthy options. They both have the platoon edge, and both Suzuki (.353/.389/.706) and Gomes (.313/.500/.500) are hitting lefties hard this season.

First Base

Brandon Belt (L), 8 percent, San Francisco Giants vs. Atlanta Braves (RHP Kevin Gausman): Belt has been on a tear of late, batting .321/.441/.679 over the past two weeks with two homers and four doubles. Add in a .944 OPS versus righties this season, and Belt is an easy plug-and-play option against Gausman on Thursday.

Second Base

Ryan McMahon (L), 6 percent, Colorado Rockies at Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP Jordan Lyles): Playing time isn't a sure thing with McMahon, but he's hit safely in four straight games and had a two-homer game against the Phillies earlier this week, which has likely garnered him some favor. He gets the platoon advantage against Lyles, who has been dominant versus righty batters but has been vulnerable against lefties.

Third Base

Rio Ruiz (L), 1 percent, Baltimore Orioles vs. New York Yankees (RHP Masahiro Tanaka): Fantasy value is hard to come by in Baltimore. Ruiz, however, is quietly batting .300/.364/.480 in May, and he gets the benefit of playing in Camden Yards, one of the game's most hitter-friendly venues. A matchup against Tanaka is no picnic, but he can be homer-prone if he's not hitting his spots.


Aledmys Diaz (R), 6 percent, Houston Astros vs. Chicago White Sox (RHP Lucas Giolito): Diaz has been playing regularly since Jose Altuve landed on the injured list, and he's capitalized on the increased playing time, batting .357/.412/.714 with three homers and 11 RBIs over the past two weeks. He's been particularly lethal at Minute Maid Park, where he holds a .314/.342/.543 triple slash this season.

Corner Infield

Austin Riley (R), 47 percent, Atlanta Braves at San Francisco Giants (LHP Madison Bumgarner): How is Riley still rostered in only 47 percent of leagues? Something tells me that this will be the last time the rookie is eligible in this space, so scoop him up now. He's making quick work of big-league pitchers, batting .409 with three homers and six RBIs in his first six games.

Middle Infield

Ronny Rodriguez (R), 8 percent, Detroit Tigers vs. Miami Marlins (RHP Trevor Richards): While Rodriguez has slowed down of late, he's still been a nice source of power and speed, chipping in six homers and two steals across 26 games. His 47.2 percent hard-contact rate also suggests he could continue to be factor. A matchup against Richards, who sports a 5.40 ERA away from Marlins Park, isn't one to fear.


Gregory Polanco (L), 35 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Colorado Rockies (RHP Antonio Senzatela): It's strange that Polanco's rostered percentage remains so low. Since the beginning of May, he sports a .951 OPS with four homers and 11 RBIs in 14 games. On Thursday, Polanco gets the platoon edge against Senzatela, who has been friendly to lefty batters (.295/.386/.475) in 2019.

Brett Gardner (L), 26 percent, New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles (RHP Dylan Bundy): I've said it before, and I'll say it again. When Bundy is on the mound, I want exposure against him. He's actually pitched decently in two of his past three starts, but he's still a ticking time bomb, as he's allowed multiple homers in four of his past eight starts. Gardner may be batting only .213, but he's collected seven homers and five steals against righty pitching this season.

Christin Stewart (L), 4 percent, Detroit Tigers vs. Miami Marlins (RHP Trevor Richards): Richards has surrendered multiple homers in four of his past five starts, a stretch that has resulted in a 5.19 ERA. Stewart, meanwhile, has big-time power and carries plenty of upside against a homer-prone hurler.

Hitter matchup ratings

Hitter ratings account for the opposing starting pitcher's history (three years' worth) as well as 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. For example, a 10 is a must-start rating, while a 1 should be avoided (if possible).