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Fantasy baseball daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Saturday

Saturday’s full, 15-game slate offers up a little bit of everything. We’ve got a nice assortment of aces, several divisional rivalries, and multiple games with playoff implications. Of course, there are plenty of interesting streaming options, too. Whether you’re in the thick of a head-to-head matchup in the fantasy playoffs or are still clawing for first place in your rotisserie league, every lineup decision carries extra weight. Let’s make them count.

Here’s a look at Saturday’s top streaming options, focusing on players rostered in fewer than 50% of ESPN leagues.


Pitching

Jon Lester (L), rostered in 11% of ESPN leagues, St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs:
Lester was legitimately one of the worst pitchers in baseball when he was with the Nationals. His tenure in St. Louis has been a different story. Maybe it’s the infamous Cardinals devil magic, but the veteran has limited opponents to two or fewer earned runs in six consecutive starts, culminating in a 2.27 ERA during that stretch. The underlying numbers with Lester still aren’t overly encouraging, as his 14% strikeout rate is a career worst, but Saturday’s bout against the Cubs doesn’t pose much of a threat. The North Siders have been middle-of the-road against lefties this season while posting an inflated 26.1% K rate.

Huascar Ynoa (R), 48%, Atlanta Braves at San Diego Padres: The Padres’ offense is one we would have avoided a month ago, but they’ve seemingly run out of gas, ranking 27th in MLB with an 82 wRC+ over the past 30 days. This presents Ynoa with a nice opportunity to take advantage of San Diego’s cold bats. Since returning from the injured list, the 23-year-old righty has put up a solid 3.93 ERA and 1.06 WHIP with 38 Ks over 36 2/3 frames, and Petco Park is very favorable to pitchers.

Rich Hill (L), 40%, New York Mets at Milwaukee Brewers: After enduring a rough patch in June and July, Hill has found his rhythm, delivering a 3.32 ERA over his past nine appearances (eight starts) with nearly a strikeout per inning. Only once in Hill’s past five turns has he allowed more than two earned runs, which speaks to the solid floor the veteran has shown of late. A matchup against the Brewers, who have lost five straight and sport a bottom-five wOBA (.300) in September, puts Hill in an appealing spot on Saturday.

Nestor Cortes Jr. (L), 42%, New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox: It’s fair to have some hesitancy in running Cortes out there against a red-hot Red Sox lineup, but the 26-year-old southpaw still deserves some consideration. In addition to racking up Ks with a 10.1 K/9, Cortes has posted a 2.94 ERA over 64 1/3 innings as a starter, allowing more than three earned runs just once over 12 turns. He’s also held high-octane offenses like the Blue Jays, White Sox and Rays at bay, limiting them all to two runs or fewer, so it’s reasonable to expect him to have similar success against Boston this weekend.

Pitcher to Avoid

Tarik Skubal (L), 25%, Detroit Tigers vs. Kansas City Royals: Skubal racks up Ks and gets a favorable matchup against Kansas City, but he’s not a recommended streamer for Saturday. The Tigers seem intent on managing the young lefty’s workload the rest of the way, as he hasn’t surpassed three innings or 50 pitches in any of his past three outings. While Skubal is an interesting arm for 2022, his fantasy value for this season looks to have expired.

Bullpen: The Royals have been out of playoff contention for some time, but there’s still value to be had in their bullpen. Despite being rostered in just 35% of leagues, Scott Barlow has been a top-15 fantasy reliever over the past two weeks. He’s registered 14 saves on the season, including one in each of his past three appearances, while posting a 2.43 ERA and 11.0 K/9. Against the Tigers, another team that has long been eliminated from playoff contention, Barlow has a good chance at some save opportunities this weekend.

For the latest team-by-team closer situations, please consult our Closer Chart.

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