As is usually the case in August, the Saturday slate tips more towards evening affairs than matinees, but there still are a handful of early tilts. The day commences in the Bronx for a 1:05 PM ET first pitch and then concludes 3,000 miles away in Dodger Stadium. In between, the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays play a doubleheader north of the border.
There are several strong spot starters, but they’re teetering on the rostership limit so a fifth option will be tendered for deeper leagues. Similarly, the infield bats are all on a relatively high number of rosters, so a few minimally rostered outfield bats are proposed.
Enjoy the full day of baseball. Here are Saturday’s recommendations to help lock down the week or pad your season-long stats.
Kwang Hyun Kim (L), rostered in 48% of ESPN leagues, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Kansas City Royals: Saturday’s normal Daily Notes author Mike Sheets is off, but it’s fitting today’s notes are kicked off by what he wrote about Kim for Friday’s notes, before the lefty flip-flopped days with Adam Wainwright. In the words of my colleague, “Kim was roughed up by Cleveland his last time out, but prior to that he’d strung together five terrific outings, including three in a row of at least six innings of shutout ball. The left-hander also sports a strong 3.31 ERA across 18 starts this season, which features only three starts in which he’s surrendered more than three earned runs, so he’s been extremely stable. In other words, I’m willing to forgive last week’s misstep, especially in such a favorable spot against the Royals. Since the All-Star break, the Royals offense ranks 29th in baseball with an 84 wRC+.”
Cole Irvin (L), 50%, Oakland Athletics vs. Texas Rangers: There’s a strong chance Irvin’s rostership has eclipsed the 50% level as this is a juicy start against one of the weakest offenses in the league. Low strikeouts is the reason Irvin isn’t a permanent fixture on more fantasy teams as his 17.5% strikeout clip is well below average for a starter in today’s landscape. However, the Rangers are the second least productive team with a lefty on the hill so Irvin’s ability to limit baserunners and runs mitigates a low whiff total.
Shane McClanahan (L), 39%, Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles: With Tyler Glasnow finally succumbing to Tommy John surgery, McClanahan will be a key cog for the Rays down the stretch and into what Tampa hopes will be another extended playoff run. If his last two starts are an indication, the young lefty is up to the task. McClanahan faced the Yankees and Red Sox, working six innings each time with 13 total punch outs and only four combined runs allowed.
Tylor Megill (R), 47%, New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies: Megill aims to bounce back from his only poor outing of the season in this critical NL East encounter. Last time out, Miami touched Megill for four earned runs on six hits in just five frames. Even so, for the season, Megill has fanned 43 with only 12 walks in 40 1/3 innings.
Tanner Houck (R), 13%, Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays: Houck will be added to the Red Sox roster for the twin bill and could remain in the rotation with Martin Perez and Garrett Richards both struggling. Chris Sale is earmarked to return next week so there is a chance both could be out of a job. Houck has been impressive, featuring a wipeout slider with a 19.9% swinging strike rate and a 36.2% called strike rate. The rookie isn’t likely to pitch deep, but five stanzas is fine in a seven-inning tilt.
Sticking with the doubleheader, even though he’s been struggling, Adam Ottavino is still the probable choice if Matt Barnes is used in the first game. On the Blue Jays side, newly acquired Brad Hand and Jordan Romano are the likely pair if Toronto is in line to sweep Boston.
For the latest team-by-team closer situations, please consult our Closer Chart.
Catcher — Max Stassi (R), 22%, Los Angeles Angels at Los Angeles Dodgers (LHP Julio Urias): Facing Urias is not ideal, but Stassi will enjoy the platoon edge and Urias has yielded 17 homers in 129 2/3 innings. Further, Stassi offers the rare chance to stream a catcher batting cleanup and with Anthony Rendon out for the season, Stassi could remain in the four-hole for a while.
First Base — Patrick Wisdom (R), 35%, Chicago Cubs vs. Chicago White Sox (LHP Carlos Rodon): On paper, this is another matchup facing a tough lefty. However, Rodon has lasted only four frames each of his prior two outings, surrendering a pair of long balls in each. With the Cubs dealing away their longtime corner infielders, Wisdom should play nearly every day. After a rough end of June carrying into July, Wisdom has rebounded with a .277/.356/.492 since the break.
Second Base — Kyle Farmer (R), 45%, Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP Mitch Keller): Farmer carried a three-game hitting streak into the break and hasn’t slowed down since, slashing .425/.475/.685 since June 11. More importantly, the heater has elevated Farmer in the order. With Nick Castellanos back for the Reds, they possess one of the more potent lineups in the league. On Saturday, you want as much exposure to the Cincinnati lineup as they have a home date with the lowest ranked hurler on Saturday’s card.
Third Base — Abraham Toro (S), 26%, Seattle Mariners at New York Yankees (LHP Andrew Heaney): Welcome to fun in small samples. Toro’s batting average is much higher this season batting lefthanded, but all nine of his homers have come from the right side. This is more a fun fact than a reason to play him. Toro is in play as Heaney gave up four homers in his debut with the Yankees while Toro has crushed five homers and three doubles over his last 11 games.
Shortstop — Amed Rosario (R), 33%, Cleveland vs. Detroit Tigers (LHP Tyler Alexander): Part of what we do in the Daily Notes is introduce new players, often at the expense of a frequently mentioned player. However, when the matchup dictates, we’d be remiss by not plugging a stalwart in this space. Rosario is not only currently dialed in, he’s handled lefties well all season. However, the key is three stolen bases over his last four games heading into Friday’s action as the Indians appear to be running with interim manager DeMarlo Hale at the helm.
Corner Infield — C.J. Cron (R), 42%, Colorado Rockies vs. Miami Marlins (LHP Jesus Luzardo): A lot was made of Trevor Story remaining the Rockies shortstop after the trade deadline. It’s also surprising Cron wasn’t moved. Overall, the first baseman has been a fantasy disappointment, but a .829 OPS at home and a .856 mark against lefthanders render him a strong play against Luzardo.
Middle Infield — Ramon Urias (R), 2%, Baltimore Orioles vs. Tampa Bay Rays (LHP Shane McClanahan): Austin Hays and Anthony Santander usually represent the Orioles in this space (and both are in play). Meanwhile, Urias has quietly taken over at the keystone and has moved up in the order, hitting second a few times this week. McClanahan can be tough, but it never is a bad idea to take advantage of the platoon bump in Camden Yards.
Outfield — Bryan De La Cruz (R), under 1%, Miami Marlins at Colorado Rockies (LHP Austin Gomber): Similarly, Miguel Rojas is the usual Marlin featured with a lefty on the hill. However, Miami acquired De La Cruz from the Astros in the Yimi Garcia trade and are giving the 24-year-old outfielder a good look. De La Cruz earned the audition by putting up a .324/.362/.518 line with Triple-A Sugar Land.
Outfield — Yadiel Hernandez (L), 6%, Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves (RHP Charlie Morton): As opposed to the youthful De La Cruz, Hernandez is a 33-year-old veteran, finally getting a chance for regular play after coming over from Cuba in 2016. Hernandez has seen some action earlier this season when Juan Soto was out and more recently with Kyle Schwarber on the shelf. With Schwarber dealt to Boston, Hernandez could play a lot down the stretch. He enters Friday’s slate with an eight-game hitting streak, slashing .481/.533/.815 over that span.
Outfield — Edward Olivares (R), 3%, Kansas City Royals at St. Louis Cardinals (LHP Kwang Hyun Kim): It took Olivares hitting three homers in four starts since his latest recall but hopefully he has convinced the Royals brass to keep him up for good this time. The irony is Olivares was expected to be a source of cheap steals as he’s compiled double-digit swipes in each of the prior found minor league campaigns. He could be a sneaky power-speed combo for the stretch run.