Fantasy baseball daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Saturday

Washington Nationals starter Anibal Sanchez may not have a great matchup Saturday, but that doesn't mean he won't sport fantasy value. Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Full slates normally deliver plenty of streaming options to choose from. Unfortunately, that's not the case on Saturday. Despite every team suiting up for action, it's tough to find many pitching streamers who we feel really good about. As a result, this is one of those days (of which there have been many) when it's easier to find quality bats than quality arms.

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


Anibal Sanchez (R), rostered in 24% of ESPN leagues, Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves: If you haven't been paying close attention, it's been easy to miss what Sanchez has done this season. Because of a rough April (5.91 ERA), his 3.71 ERA and 1.33 WHIP this season aren't particularly noteworthy. Since the beginning of May, however, the right-hander owns an impressive 2.50 ERA in 11 starts, allowing three or fewer runs in 10 of those outings. The Braves are not an ideal opponent, but Sanchez has established a pretty safe floor over the past two and a half months. In two starts against Atlanta this season, the veteran righty has allowed four runs in 12 frames (3.00 ERA) with more than a strikeout per inning.

Jeff Samardzija (R), 14%, San Francisco Giants vs. New York Mets: After stumbling to a combined 5.75 ERA in 10 starts between May and June, Samardzija has bounced back in July. In his past three turns, including a start at Coors Field, the veteran right-hander has surrendered just four runs across 21 2/3 innings, with 17 K's against just three walks. It's not wise to buy too much into just three starts, but Saturday's matchup against the Mets appears to be fairly harmless. Not only does Samardzjia hold a 3.31 ERA at Oracle Park, one of baseball's most pitcher-friendly venues, but the Mets have been middle-of-the-road versus righties this season (98 wRC+).

Brett Anderson (L), 21%, Oakland Athletics at Minnesota Twins: The Twins were an offense that we tried to avoid over the past couple of months when they were scoring runs by the truckload, but they've slowed down of late. Over the past 30 days, they rank 14th in baseball with a 98 wRC+. This opens up a potential streaming opportunity for Anderson, who has quietly allowed three or fewer runs in nine of his past 10 starts, culminating in a 3.28 ERA and 8-2 record during that stretch. Don't count on many strikeouts here, as his 4.5 K/9 is worst in baseball among qualified pitchers, but Anderson is a decent bet for a quality start in this spot.

Bullpen: Now is a good time to start stashing relievers, as the July 31 trade deadline approaches. There is a slew of ninth-inning men who are rumored to be on the trade block, which would catapult their teams' respective setup men into closer gigs. If you're looking to speculate, Nick Anderson, Daniel Hudson, Joe Jimenez, Sam Dyson, and Aaron Bummer are all names who could be thrust into closer roles in the next two weeks.

Projected game scores


Catcher -- Danny Jansen (R), 39%, Toronto Blue Jays at Detroit Tigers (LHP Daniel Norris): Don't be fooled by Jansen's .216/.289/.372 slash line this season. Over the past month, Jansen has been the No. 2 catcher in fantasy, batting .319/.365/.667 with six dingers. The Toronto backup should be licking his chops at the thought of squaring off against Norris, who has been pummeled for five or more runs in three of his past four starts.

First base -- Renato Nunez (R), 16%, Baltimore Orioles vs. Boston Red Sox (RHP Rick Porcello): Porcello is stuck in a tailspin, holding a 6.80 ERA and 1.54 WHIP over his past eight turns. Nunez may be prone to streakiness, but he's in the midst of a heater, batting .310/.356/.595 so far in July. He's quietly on pace for 36 homers this season.

Second base -- Adam Frazier (L), 30%, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Philadelphia Phillies (RHP Zach Eflin): Eflin is a strike-thrower, and allowing so much contact has gotten him into big trouble of late. He's allowed six or more runs in three of his past four starts. Now is a good time to fire up Frazier, who makes tons of contact and sports a .346/.373/.500 triple slash line over the past month.

Third base -- Jeimer Candelario (S), 5%, Detroit Tigers vs. Toronto Blue Jays (RHP Trent Thornton): Candelario has been on a tear since being recalled from Triple-A in late June. Since his promotion, he's batting .305/.377/.613 with five homers in 17 games. On Saturday, Candelario finds himself in a prime spot against Thornton. The right-hander has served up five or more runs in three of his past four outings.

Shortstop -- Asdrubal Cabrera (S), 48 percent, Texas Rangers at Houston Astros (RHP Jose Urquidy): With eligibility at shortstop, third base, and second base, Cabrera is a terrific plug-and-play streamer. He's been in a malaise all season though perhaps Friday night's combo meal (a homer and a steal) will spark the veteran to a strong finish. Urquidy has struggled in two major league starts, throwing a combined six frames with a 10.50 ERA and 2.50 WHIP.

Corner infield -- Christian Walker (R), 22%, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Milwaukee Brewers (LHP Gio Gonzalez): Walker has actually fared better against same-side pitching this season, but we still like the matchup against Gonzalez. The veteran lefty has been much more vulnerable to righty batters in his career, and Walker sports a .945 OPS with six dingers over the past month.

Middle infield -- Jason Kipnis (L), 7%, Cleveland Indians vs. Kansas City Royals (RHP Jakob Junis): Kipnis was left for dead by many fantasy managers, but he's put himself back on the streaming radar by batting .290/.347/.477 with five homers and 22 RBI over his past 29 games. Junis, meanwhile, is allowing a .351 wOBA to left-handed batters in 2019.

Outfield -- Brett Gardner (L), 38%, New York Yankees vs. Colorado Rockies (RHP Antonio Senzatela): Senzatela has been a disaster at Coors Field this season (6.80 ERA), but he hasn't been good on the road, either (4.88 ERA). Yankee Stadium doesn't figure to treat him too kindly. While Gardner is basically a platoon bat at this point in his career, he's still a quality fantasy contributor against righties, producing an .877 OPS in 229 at-bats. On pace for 26 homers, 14 steals, and 94 runs, Gardner still has plenty left in the tank for fantasy purposes.

Outfield -- Jorge Soler (R), 45%, Kansas City Royals at Cleveland Indians (RHP Adam Plutko): Soler has become a staple in this space, but that really shouldn't come as a surprise. He popped his 26th homer of the season on Thursday, putting him on pace for 43 bombs and 114 RBI. That's plenty valuable, even in today's homer-happy environment. Twenty-one of Soler's 26 homers have come off righties, and Plutko has served up a whopping 13 dingers in seven starts this season. Bombs away!

Outfield -- Tyler O'Neill (R), 8%, St. Louis Cardinals at Cincinnati Reds (RHP Luis Castillo): O'Neill is another nice power play on Saturday's slate. The matchup against Castillo is tough, but O'Neill is batting .354/.392/.667 since his most recent call-up with four homers, three doubles, and 11 RBI in 48 at-bats. All told, he owns a .404 wOBA versus right-handed pitching this season and gets a nice park upgrade going to Great American Ballpark.

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).