A handful of studs are going on Tuesday, but the majority of the slate is mid-rotation arms, creating plenty of hitting opportunities. Plus, there’s a game in Coors, too. I also have no idea how my catcher recommendation is still on fewer than 50 percent of rosters.
Pitchers to stream
Chase Anderson (R), 38 percent ownership in ESPN leagues, Milwaukee Brewers vs. San Francisco Giants: Did you know that the Giants have the second-lowest scoring offense in the league this year? Anderson is quietly looking sharp this year. His velocity is up, and he’s posting a career-best 22 percent strikeout rate. He has also been dominant his last two times out with 14 scoreless innings and 18 strikeouts against just four hits. This is a great setup for Anderson, and given the state of pitching, I’m actually surprised he is this widely available.
Dinelson Lamet (R), 18 percent, San Diego Padres at Arizona Diamondbacks: This one is definitely a gamble. Lamet has looked really sharp in two starts, pumping 95 mph fastballs en route to a gaudy 38 percent strikeout rate, including eight in five innings against the Cubs — but it’s two five-inning starts, so not exactly bankable. Plus, going into Arizona is never easy. The phrase beggars can’t be choosers is apt here; obviously we’re taking risks when rostering guys who are this widely available, but there are factors supporting this risk, so let’s roll with Lamet.
Jaime Garcia (L), 17 percent, Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies: It’s an arbitrary endpoint, but Garcia has six starts of at least 6+ innings and two or fewer runs since April 17th, second-most to only Clayton Kershaw (7). The Phillies are 29th in wOBA against lefties (.293) with the ninth-highest strikeout rate (22 percent) since the start of last season.
Pitchers to Avoid
Brandon McCarthy (R), 45 percent, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Washington Nationals: We usually look for someone at 50 percent or higher here. McCarthy falls just short, but I went with him anyway because he’s been pitching really well so far this year. That said, I’m avoiding Washington whenever possible, even with someone who has a 3.38 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and 3.6 K:BB ratio in 50.7 innings so far this year.
Did you know the Nationals have the worst bullpen ERA in the game? Max Scherzer is going for them on Tuesday, so it will be less of an issue than normal, but this a public service announcement about how horrific their pen has been.
Projected game scores
GS is the projected game score for the pitcher. A “*” means that the pitcher lacks requisite career major league data to produce an accurate rating; these are the author’s ratings.
Alex Avila (L), 38 percent, Detroit Tigers vs. Los Angeles Angels (RHP Jesse Chavez): Until Avila eclipses the 50 percent roster rate, he’s going to be my recommended catcher every Tuesday that the Tigers face a righty. He’s fourth on the Player Rater for the entire season. What is going on?!?! Why isn’t he on more teams?? Catcher is so awful this year and this guy is available at a 62 percent clip? He’s being perfectly platooned with a .340/.456/.681 line and eight homers against righties in 114 PA. They’ve limited him to just 11 PA against lefties.
Mitch Moreland (L), 23 percent, Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees (RHP Masahiro Tanaka): Let me get a left-handed power bat in Yankee Stadium any time I can, especially against a struggling Tanaka. I’m not entirely sure what’s wrong with Tanaka, but homers have been the result of his struggles — making a power lefty relatively obvious here.
Whit Merrifield (R), 23 percent, Kansas City Royals vs. Houston Astros (RHP David Paulino): Merrifield has just four hitless games in his last 32, including a current 19-game hit streak. He’s one of the hottest hitters going with a .325/.376/.509 line in the 32 games and .409/.451/.636 during the 19-game stretch. He has admittedly done his best work against lefties, but his .280/.324/.460 line against righties should portend some success against a rookie finding his footing as a major leaguer.
Yunel Escobar (R), 10 percent, Los Angeles Angels at Detroit Tigers (LHP Daniel Norris): This is a power play because, well, Escobar just doesn’t have that much power, but his career .292/.364/.395 line against lefties is solid. Meanwhile, Norris has had issues with righties this year, pushing him to an ugly 4.47 ERA and 1.60 WHIP in 10 starts so far.
Jordy Mercer (R), 6 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates at Baltimore Orioles (RHP Kevin Gausman): Mercer has been known as a lefty-killer in his career, but he has made strides against righties this year. He gets to face Gausman, who has maintained a consistent reverse platoon issue with righties toting a .291/.341/.472 career line and .370/.417/.552 this year. Mercer has a .317/.395/.453 line against righties, and he’s chasing pitches at a career-low rate of just 23 percent (league average is 29 percent).
Lucas Duda (L), 21 percent, New York Mets at Texas Rangers (RHP Dillon Gee): Duda has only had a sub-.800 OPS against righties once in the last five years, and that was last year when he played just 47 games. This year, he’s up to a career-best .954 OPS against righties with eight homers in 124 PA. I bet some of you didn’t even know Gee was still in the league (and in fairness to you, he only has 6.7 innings of MLB work this year), but lefties have 13 homers against him in 365 PA over the past two seasons.
Devon Travis (R), 46 percent, Toronto Blue Jays at Oakland Athletics (RHP Jesse Hahn): Travis is a beast, and his primary issue has been staying healthy. He has dealt with injuries in each of his three MLB seasons. But again, you can’t knock the production when he does play. He is platoon neutral with a .792 OPS versus righties and .794 versus lefties, the only real difference being a little more power against lefties and a little more on-base against righties. Hahn doesn’t have issues against righties, so this is more of a bet on Travis than it is against Hahn.
Oh, did I need to keep going? OK, fine! Early into his MLB career, he has a .333/.415/.694 against righties thus far with three homers and three stolen bases. Meanwhile, the Antonio Senzatela Regression Tour has started in earnest with three 5 IP/4 ER starts in his last four, though credit to him that the other one of those starts was eight scoreless against the Cardinals at Coors.
Hunter Renfroe (R), 20 percent, San Diego Padres at Arizona Diamondbacks (LHP Robbie Ray): Renfroe is known as a power guy with big swing-and-miss in his game, but he has just a 10 percent strikeout rate against southpaws (33 percent vs. RHP) and a healthy .313/.431/.583 line. Ray is a nightmare at home with an ERA more than two runs higher than his road work, at 5.59 compared to 3.31 away from Chase Field. His hard contact rate is up to a career-worst 43 percent while his groundball rate is down, meaning that’s hard contact in the air either as a line drive or flyball. Ray is virtually unusable at home, even in what looks like a breakout season (3.00 ERA, 1.10 WHIP for the year, but 6.75 & 1.65 in five home starts).
Gerardo Parra (L), 11 percent, Colorado Rockies vs. Cleveland Indians (RHP Mike Clevinger): More Coors goodness here, though less obvious than Zimmer. Parra struggled to take advantage of his friendly home confines last year, but has a filthy .351/.377/.568 line in 77 home PA so far. Clevinger has maintained a reverse platoon split, dominating lefties in his career with a .182/.283/.280 line in 152 PA, but I’ll bet on Coors in a one-off situation like this.
Hitter matchup ratings
Notes: Hitter ratings account for the opposing starting pitcher’s history (three years’ worth, as well as the past 21 days) and 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. So, for example, a 10 is a must-start rating, whereas a 1 should be avoided (if possible); a 1-2 is poor, 3-4 is fair, 5-6 is average, 7-8 is very good and 9-10 is excellent.