Fantasy baseball daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Thursday

Mike Fiers has pitched much better during his past seven outings. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Thursday brings us a rather robust slate for a change, as there are 13 games on tap. That's the good news. The bad news is that it still feels like a typical Thursday. Despite more games than usual, the pitching options are still on the thin side, forcing us to dig a little deeper than we might like on a slate of this size. The bats, however, are plentiful.

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



Tyler Skaggs (L), rostered in 44 percent of ESPN leagues, Los Angeles Angels vs. Oakland Athletics: The results haven't quite been there with Skaggs of late. He posted a 5.29 ERA in May and managed to register just one quality start in six tries. However, he's still striking out more than a batter per inning and has a great home park, where he sports a 2.28 ERA this season. The A's are a dangerous team versus lefty pitching, but there's still enough to like with Skaggs on a day where there aren't any standout pitching streamers.

Shaun Anderson (R), 1 percent, San Francisco Giants at New York Mets: Anderson is coming off the best effort of his rookie season, tossing seven innings last time out in Camden Yards and holding the Orioles to two earned runs on five hits while fanning four. Anderson won't fill up the strikeouts column, but he doesn't beat himself with walks -- and he keeps the ball in the yard. On Thursday, he draws a middling Mets offense, missing Robinson Cano after the veteran re-aggravated his quad and Jeff McNeil, getting a day off after a recent stint on the IL.

Mike Fiers (R), 14 percent, Oakland Athletics at Los Angeles Angels: Since allowing six runs in three straight starts back in April, Fiers has settled down, holding a 2.82 ERA and 0.85 WHIP over his last seven turns. His 5.4 K/9 over that stretch showcases his lack of upside and small margin for error, but he's finding a way to make it work for now. While Fiers isn't a guy to invest in long term, he's a reasonable streamer in deeper formats.


After being sidelined for nearly four weeks with a strained hamstring, Pedro Strop was activated from the injured list on Tuesday and was immediately thrust back into the closer role for the Cubs. He dispatched of the Rockies with a perfect 1-2-3 ninth inning, securing his fifth save of the season. Available in 80 percent of ESPN leagues, Strop should be scooped up where he's available as newly signed Craig Kimbrel will most probably need a couple of weeks before he's ready take over ninth-inning duties.

Projected game scores


Catcher -- Robinson Chirinos (R), 23 percent, Houston Astros at Seattle Mariners (LHP Tommy Milone): The No. 6 catcher on the Player Rater over the last month, Chirinos has been surging, popping homers in three straight games. He owns an .894 OPS versus lefties over the last three seasons and should stay hot against the soft-tossing Milone.

First Base -- Yandy Diaz (R), 33 percent, Tampa Bay Rays at Detroit Tigers (LHP Daniel Norris): Diaz, who came off the injured list earlier this week, finds himself in an enticing spot against Norris. The southpaw has allowed seven dingers over his last five starts, and Diaz owns a 1.027 OPS versus lefties.

Second Base -- Eduardo Nunez (R), 2 percent, Boston Red Sox at Kansas City Royals (LHP Danny Duffy): Boston's offense has come alive lately with Nunez chipping in with a pinch-hit three-run homer on Tuesday night. Over the past two weeks, Nunez is slashing .409/.435/.591, with a good chance to stay hot by enjoying the platoon edge here. Duffy is coming off a rough outing in Arlington where he allowed six runs in 5 1/3 innings.

Third Base -- Gio Urshela (R), 11 percent, New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays (RHP Edwin Jackson): Jackson has made four starts this season and holds a 13.22 ERA and 2.20 WHIP. He's allowed a combined 17 runs in his last 6 1/3 innings. So, yeah, we want some exposure against Jackson on Thursday. Fire up Urshela, who's hitting .330/.385/.477 versus righties in 2019.

Shortstop -- Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (R), 33 percent, Toronto Blue Jays vs. New York Yankees (LHP J.A. Happ): Since getting recalled from the minors, Gurriel is batting .354/.382/.848 with four homers in 33 at-bats. He could muscle up again against Happ, who has served up six homers in his last four outings.

Corner Infield -- Colin Moran (L), 2 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Atlanta Braves (RHP Mike Foltynewicz): Foltynewicz has had a rough go of it. In seven starts, he holds a 6.10 ERA with a whopping 13 homers allowed. Folty should figure things out eventually, but fantasy managers should take advantage of his struggles for the time being. This is an appealing spot for Moran, who is batting .352/.397/.574 over his last 15 games.

Middle Infield -- Orlando Arcia (R), 6 percent, Milwaukee Brewers vs. Miami Marlins (LHP Caleb Smith): Arcia has quietly been heating up of late. He's batting .318/.400/.511 over the last 30 days with four homers and a pair of steals. Better yet, he's crushing lefty pitching (.341/.383/.477), which matches him up well against Smith, who will suffer a huge park downgrade going to Miller Park.

Outfield -- Kole Calhoun (L), 36 percent, Los Angeles Angels vs. Oakland Athletics (RHP Mike Fiers): Calhoun is a common target when he has the platoon advantage, and that's the case on Thursday. He does most of his damage against righty pitching and batted .299/.394/.552 in May. Fiers, meanwhile, has not fared well away from the Oakland Coliseum this season (6.37 road ERA).

Outfield -- Keon Broxton (R), 1 percent, Baltimore Orioles at Texas Rangers (RHP Ariel Jurado): Broxton has seen regular playing time since being traded to Baltimore and might have some appeal in deeper formats. While he'll never be a high average guy, he possesses a nice combination of power and speed, and for that he deserves attention. Case in point: On Tuesday against Texas, Broxton delivered a combo meal, clubbing his third homer and swiping his second bag.

Outfield -- Delino DeShields (R), 2 percent, Texas Rangers vs. Baltimore Orioles (RHP David Hess): Speaking of speed, DeShields makes for a quality option if you're seeking cheap wheels. He batted second for the Rangers on Tuesday and swiped his ninth base of the season. The speedster matches up well with Hess and his bloated 1.51 WHIP.

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).