<
>

Fantasy baseball daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Tuesday

Mariners ace Marco Gonzales is back on track after a rough stretch but faces a tough Brewers lineup. John Cordes/Icon Sportswire

This Tuesday slate is very exciting, with several intriguing options to consider for the day and beyond. Two of the three starters have two starts on the week, and the other gets a two-step next week, meaning you can feasibly hang onto all three for a while.

The hitting recommendations have some guys in the last chance saloon, meaning you need to act now before their roster rate runs too high for the Daily Notes (~50%) or perhaps even higher.

Pitching

Starters

Chris Bassitt (R), rostered in 19 percent of ESPN leagues, Oakland Athletics at St. Louis Cardinals: Bassitt has allowed more than three earned runs just once this year and even added some strikeouts to his arsenal. He only made seven starts last year, but his season high in strikeouts was just six. Meanwhile, he has fanned six or more in seven of his 11 starts this year. The Cardinals have absolutely fallen apart against righties. In the past month, they are dead last against them in weighted runs created-plus (wRC+) with just 73 (100 is average).

Ross Stripling (4), 44 percent, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Arizona Diamondbacks: Stripling still isn't locked and loaded to fill in for Rich Hill, but it seems to be leaning that way (with Julio Urias being the other consideration). Stripling was excellent last year (3.02 ERA/1.19 WHIP in 122 IP), and he opened the season in the rotation with a 2.65 ERA and 1.09 WHIP before being jettisoned to the bullpen. If does get Hill's spot, he could be a great asset the rest of the way, as Hill is likely out for a long time and Stripling is a proven success as a starter. This is your last chance to get on board before his roster rate surges, especially if he dominates Tuesday.

Logan Allen (L), 10 percent, San Diego Padres at Baltimore Orioles: The Padres lefty was a top 100 prospect across the industry coming into 2019 and debuted with seven shutout innings last week. Allen sputtered a bit in Triple-A with a few duds to open the season and three more prior to his call-up. In the middle was an eight-start run with a 1.91 ERA. I don't want to cut up a 13-start season too much, but the bottom line is that I'm not too worried about his Triple-A performance. The Orioles remain one of the best teams to pick on, even at Camden Yards. They strike out a quarter of the time against lefties (25.3% K rate) and sit just 23rd in wRC+ against them too.

Bullpen

A brutal April put the Cincinnati Reds behind in a difficult National League Central race, but they've shown that they are a lot more talented than their 12-17 start indicated. The bullpen has been key in a turnaround that now has them four games under .500 and second best in the division by run differential at +48. Only the Braves have a better bullpen ERA than Cincinnati's 3.23 in the last month, and the Reds' 26% strikeout rate is fourth best. The improved bullpen performance adds confidence when looking for wins from their fantasy-relevant starters, including Luis Castillo, Tanner Roark, Tyler Mahle and Sonny Gray.

Projected game scores

Hitting

Catcher -- Christian Vazquez (R), 20 percent, Boston Red Sox vs. Chicago White Sox (RHP Carson Fulmer): Vazquez is in the midst of a breakout season, with 10 home runs in 224 plate appearances, after hitting a total of 10 in a total of 999 PA prior to 2019. His work against lefties has buoyed the breakout with a .311 AVG and .883 OPS in 67 PA, along with three of aforementioned homers. With Fulmer on the hill, the platoon edge doesn't matter since the right-hander is one of the worst starters on the card. If Sandy Leon gets the start, he's also in play.

First Base -- Christian Walker (R), 19 percent, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (RHP Ross Stripling): As mentioned earlier, the Diamondbacks are likely to face Stripling in this outing, so we're going against one of our pitcher recommendations, but that's not new for the Tuesday Daily Notes! Walker was great in April (.994 OPS), but he came back to earth in May (.658 OPS). He has rebounded in June with an .811 OPS. He has been great against righties throughout the season, with an .865 OPS and 11 of his 13 homers. Also, keep in mind Stripling isn't likely to pitch deep into the game so, depending upon how the early innings go, Walker could see a weaker reliever or two.

Second Base -- Eric Sogard (L), 10 percent, Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees (Bullpen game): Sogard has had a similar path to Walker, but even more extreme. Sogard exploded out of the gate (1.156 OPS), then dipped back in May (.573), but he is back at it with a 1.022 in June. For anyone doubting that we are in a rabbit ball era, point them to Sogard's line. He hit just 11 homers in 1,743 PA from 2010 to 2018, before already blasting eight in 216 PA so far this year. It looks like the Yankees are going with a bullpen game on Tuesday, meaning Sogard could get a mix of righties and lefties. A lefty himself, Sogard hasn't had an issues with same-handed pitchers this year, with half of his total homers in 29% of his PA (4 HR in 63 PA) and a very strong .971 OPS.

Third Base -- Todd Frazier (R), 3 percent, New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies (RHP Jake Arrieta): Don't look now, but here comes Frazier. After a multiyear slide that yielded his worst season ever in 2018 (93 wRC+), Frazier has come alive with a 120 mark so far this year. There has been a sharp platoon split on the season at large (224 points favoring his work against lefties), but he has cut that to 136 over the past month, thanks to an .892 OPS against righties. It's worth remembering that Frazier hit 30 HR per 600 PA from 2014 to 2018, and he has played like that guy over the past month, with a 34 HR pace in that time.

Shortstop -- Chris Taylor (R), 36 percent, Los Angeles Dodgers at Arizona Diamondbacks (LHP Robbie Ray): Taylor is back in a starting role with the injury to Corey Seager. Taylor will become the primary shortstop for the foreseeable future, and it could be a great time for him, as he has looked a lot more like the breakout guy we saw in 2017. Since May 1, Taylor is toting a .283/.342/.543 line with 7 HR and 3 SB in 154 PA, and he has been excellent against lefties all year long with a .280/.362/.581 line and six of his eight total homers.

Corner Infield -- Garrett Cooper (R), 14 percent, Miami Marlins vs. Washington Nationals (RHP Max Scherzer): Cooper obviously draws a remarkably tough matchup with Scherzer, but this is a longer-term recommendation. Cooper is making the most of his first real opportunity, and he has been out of his mind in June with a .406/.468/.652 line and four homers in 77 PA, so maybe even Scherzer can't slow him down. If you're in need of 1B or OF, give Miami's No. 2 hitter a look.

Middle Infield -- Jason Kipnis (L), 8 percent, Cleveland Indians vs. Kansas City Royals (RHP Glenn Sparkman): Kipnis is finally showing some life in his bat, smashing pitchers with a .362/.415/.617 and 3 HR over the past two weeks, with righties truly feeling the heat (1.262 OPS in 31 PA). The matchup aligns perfectly for him too, with Sparkman holding a 243-point platoon favoring lefty hitters, who have an .840 OPS and 6 HR (he has allowed seven all year).

Outfield - Scott Kingery (R), 49 percent, Philadelphia Phillies vs. New York Mets (RHP Walker Lockett): This is likely my last chance to include Kingery in the Daily Notes, as we try to keep the recommendations to 50% or lower roster rate (with a few exceptions). Kingery is an all-formats play whose roster rate should be at least 20 to 25 points higher right now. He has assumed a full-time role and excelled to the tune of a .953 OPS with seven homers. Plus, he has triple eligibility with 3B, SS and OF. This is the breakout many were expecting last year, so hopefully you jumped back in if he burned you last year.

Outfield -- Jorge Soler (R), 44 percent, Kansas City Royals at Cleveland Indians (RHP Shane Bieber): Soler has smacked 21 homers already and done so by consistently picking on righties. He has hit 17 of the 21 against them with a 184-point platoon split. Bieber has been solid this year with a 3.86 ERA and 1.08 WHIP, but the one issue has been home runs with a gaudy 1.6 HR/9 rate.

Outfield -- Ramon Laureano (R), 31 percent, Oakland Athletics at St. Louis Cardinals (RHP Jack Flaherty): Laureano was one of my favorite breakout picks coming into the season, but he stumbled out of the gate with just a .646 OPS in April. He has improved in both May (.776) and June (.885), while being a strong power-speed combo with 12 HR and 9 SB. He has been on a torrid 30 HR/20 SB pace since May 1, with 9 HR and 6 SB during that time.