Fantasy baseball daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Thursday

AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann

The last two Thursdays have been short on quality pitching streamers, and this Thursday makes it three in a row. As always, your specific league and situation will dictate how much ratio risk you're willing to take on, but for many fantasy managers, the best path might be to simply focus on streaming bats and avoid the minefield of pitching options.

Here's a look at Thursday's top streaming options, focusing on players rostered in roughly 50% of ESPN leagues or less.


Nick Pivetta (R), rostered in 55% of ESPN leagues, Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays: Pivetta has been inconsistent of late, managing just one quality start in his last six turns. Even so, he's surrendered more than four earned runs just once in 14 starts this season, so he's at least doing a solid job avoiding blowup outings. On a more positive note, Pivetta is still racking up strikeouts with a career-best 10.4 K/9, and he gets a nice park upgrade on Thursday, trading in Fenway Park for the pitcher-friendly Tropicana Field. While the Rays will receive a jolt with the promotion of Wander Franco, their offense has struggled in June, sputtering to an 88 wRC+ and 26.3% strikeout rate.

Kolby Allard (L), 7%, Texas Rangers vs. Oakland Athletics: Since joining Texas' starting rotation, Allard has ripped off three straight starts in which he's gone five or more innings while allowing two or fewer runs. Those three outings came against the Twins, Dodgers, and Rays, so he's certainly been tested. Combined with his time in the bullpen, he's featuring a 9.7 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 across 40 frames this season. The A's have hit left-handed pitching hard this season, so Allard will be tested yet again on Thursday, but his recent success makes him at least worth consideration.

Chad Kuhl (R), 1%, Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals: This recommendation is all about targeting a Cardinals lineup that has been mostly inept of late, ranking bottom-3 in June with a 73 wRC+ and .270 wOBA. Kuhl doesn't exactly profile as a safe arm, but he's delivered a quality start in two of his last three games and is coming off his best outing of the season, a six-inning, one-run performance against Cleveland. Against a struggling offense in a pitcher-friendly venue, Kuhl has the makings of being a decent streamer on this abbreviated slate.

Jameson Taillon (R), 36%, New York Yankees vs. Kansas City Royals: Despite flashing some occasional upside, things just haven't clicked for Taillon this season. While the underlying metrics suggest he's pitched better than his 5.59 ERA, the results just haven't been there. With a nice matchup against a middling Royals lineup, the hope is that Taillon can rack up some Ks and put himself in position to have a chance at a win.


If you're avoiding streaming starting pitching on Thursday, focusing on a bullpen arm like Jonathan Loaisiga makes sense. Because of how the Yankees are using him, the right-hander has vultured seven wins this season to go along with eight holds and a pair of saves over 31 appearances. Taillon hasn't been pitching very deep into games, so Loaisiga is a good bet to get some work on Thursday.

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


Catcher -- Sean Murphy (R), 39%, Oakland Athletics at Texas Rangers (LHP Kolby Allard): Murphy has been displaying some nice run production from the catcher position, clubbing four homers with nine RBIs over his last 13 games. The Oakland backstop gets the platoon edge against Allard on Thursday, and he'll also enjoy a slight park bump by getting out of the Oakland Coliseum.

First base -- Bobby Dalbec (R), 11%, Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays (RHP Michael Wacha): It's taken a while for Dalbec to get going, but he's been on an absolute tear of late, hitting .382 with three dingers and eight RBIs over his last nine games. The slugger's recent production is backed up by an elite 19.2% barrel rate that puts him in the 98th percentile.

Second base -- Jonathan India (R), 43%, Cincinnati Reds vs. Atlanta Braves (Undecided): It's somewhat surprising that India's rostered percentage is still under 50%. Not only is he hitting .333/.459/.522 in June, but he's batting leadoff for a strong lineup in a hitter-friendly park. India's multi-position eligibility only adds to his appeal.

Third base -- Abraham Toro (S), 5%, Houston Astros at Detroit Tigers (RHP Jose Urena): Toro is seeing increased playing time with Alex Bregman sidelined, hitting .333/.400/.444 in his first 10 games. While the 24-year-old has decent power, excellent contact skills and plate discipline are his standout tools. Toro finds himself in a great spot on Thursday, facing off against Urena, who has been hammered by lefty hitters (.313/.384/.500).

Shortstop -- Paul DeJong (R), 37%, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP Chad Kuhl): DeJong has been stuck in a rut, along with the rest of the Cardinals' offense. That said, he possesses good power and a strong walk rate, and he can do a lot of damage in a hurry when he gets going. While Kuhl looked sharp in his last outing, his 5.7 BB/9 shows his volatility.

Corner infield -- Bobby Bradley (L), 16%, Cleveland at Minnesota Twins (RHP Jose Berrios): Bradley's arrival has added some nice thump to Cleveland's lineup, as the 25-year-old has belted five homers in his first 14 games. Even in the small sample, the young slugger has been smacking the snot out of the ball, putting up a 21.9% barrel rate and 114.2 mph max exit velocity. Berrios may be one of the better hurlers on the slate, but if you need power, Bradley is the type of player you want to take a chance on.

Middle Infield -- Rougned Odor (L), 2%, New York Yankees vs. Kansas City Royals (RHP Brad Keller): Odor isn't hitting for average, though he's still leaving the yard. He has hit three homers over his last eight starts. Keller had a rough start to the 2021 campaign, then settled down. However, he's been hit hard in his last three outings, surrendering 16 earned runs in 15 1/3 frames. For the season. he's allowed 91 hits in 71 innings, 10 of which have cleared the fence.

Outfield -- Trevor Larnach (L), 4%, Minnesota Twins vs. Cleveland (RHP J.C. Mejia): It seems to have gone underreported that Larnach, a rookie, has been serving as the Twins' everyday No. 3 or No. 4 hitter, even when a lefty is on the mound. The former first-round pick isn't putting up eye-popping numbers, but hitting in the heart of one of baseball's more dangerous lineups is a great place for fantasy production. On Thursday, Larnach gets the platoon edge against one of the slate's lowest-ranked hurlers.

Outfield -- Jesus Sanchez (L), 8%, Miami Marlins vs. Washington Nationals (RHP Joe Ross): Sanchez's first week in the majors has been a mixed bag. He has fanned nine times without drawing a walk, but he's also slugged a pair of homers. Ross has been one of the most generous hurlers in this area, including serving up 13 of them in just 67 1/3 stanzas this season.

Outfield -- Abraham Almonte (S), 3%, Atlanta Braves at Cincinnati Reds (RHP Tony Santillan): Almonte doesn't have the most exciting skill set, but he has more walks than strikeouts this season and has been slotting in as the Braves' cleanup hitter, batting behind Ronald Acuna Jr., Freddie Freeman and Ozzie Albies. Not a bad place to be. Almonte sports a .420 wOBA versus righties, putting him in a nice spot against Santillan, who has only two big league starts under his belt.