Fantasy baseball — daily notes, pitcher rankings and hitter ratings plus players to add for wednesday

Sometimes, the schedule seems to hate fantasy baseball waiver-wire scroungers. Wednesday is apparently one of those such day, as the slate offers little in the way of tempting pitcher rentals. For the bold, however, three lesser-owned yet widely known names have a solid chance to defy expectations.

Ivan Nova (R), rostered in 37.4 percent of ESPN leagues, Pittsburgh Pirates at Washington Nationals: Even with Stephen Strasburg’s worse-than-expected start to the season, there’s still a twinge of hesitation to recommend his opponent. That would be selling Nova short, though, considering his sparkling start to 2018 (3.32 ERA, 7.1 K/9, 1.0 BB/9). He’s riding four straight quality starts and has bolstered his punchout ability with a 10.4 swinging-strike percentage early on.


Plus, he’s catching the Nationals lineup without sidelined weapons Adam Eaton, Daniel Murphy and Anthony Rendon.

Drew Pomeranz (L), 36.4 percent, Boston Red Sox vs. Kansas City Royals: His first two starts of the year haven’t made him look imposing, but the Royals — despite their passable .312 wOBA against left-handers — remain an easy target, carrying the fourth-worst walk rate (7.5 percent) and BB/K (0.29) in that split.

Danny Duffy (L), 52.9 percent, Kansas City Royals at Boston Red Sox: Surprisingly, the typically potent Red Sox carry the lowest wOBA (.246), BB/K (0.25) and wRC+ (48) against lefties after the first month-plus of play. Those numbers could certainly rebound at any time, but this seems like it might be a good time to sneak Duffy into the lineup in deeper leagues, most notably in head-to-head play where strikeouts are at a premium this week. Pitchers to avoid

Luis Castillo (R), 55.9 percent, Cincinnati Reds vs. Milwaukee Brewers: Perhaps many will look at this as a chance for Castillo to respond, considering Milwaukee ranks near the bottom of the league with a .304 wOBA and an 89 wRC+ against right-handers and lefty thumper Eric Thames (thumb) is sidelined. Milwaukee still boasts a potent offense, though, with Domingo Santana buoying the loss of Thames. Plus, Castillo’s velocity setback remains an early concern. Bullpen

Brad Hand had pitched just once in the 10 days before he logged 37 pitches in taking a blown save and loss Monday. He was called on to get five outs, breezing through the eighth but hitting the leadoff man in the ninth, striking out the next two hitters, walking Buster Posey, giving up a bloop single, walking another batter and finally surrendering a two-run single to lose it. It was not the best night, but also not bad enough to remove him from the closer role. Unfortunately, given the Padres’ 10-20 start and 4.49 team ERA, Hand must do a better job to capitalize on these fleeting opportunities in order to be valuable in fantasy. Projected game scores

Yan Gomes (R), 4.3 percent, Cleveland Indians vs. Texas Rangers (LHP Matt Moore): Corey Kluber’s personal catcher has launched three of his four homers against righties, but his .292 clip against left-handers tells the clearer story of his career preference. Moore also has allowed 50.7 percent hard contact to righty sticks so far, the league’s fifth-highest figure among starters. First base

Ryon Healy (R), 14.8 percent, Seattle Mariners vs. Oakland Athletics (LHP, undecided): Healy has scorched the earth since his return from the disabled list, rattling off a four-game hit streak in which he’s 6-for-16 with five runs scored, 3 HR and 6 RBI — the last two stats all coming in the past two contests. The A’s will start either innings-eating Brett Anderson or budding breakout star in Sean Manaea on Wednesday. Regardless, Healy tattoos left-handed pitchers (.365 career wOBA with a .310/.338/.524 line) and should remind fantasy players to pick him up for beyond this matchup. Second base

Jose Peraza (R), 39.1 percent, Cincinnati Reds vs. Milwaukee Brewers (LHP Wade Miley): An 0-for-4 speed bump on Monday stopped a torrential seven-game hit streak that saw Peraza go 15-for-34 (.441) with 2 HR and 5 RBI. Right-handed batters toyed with Miley last year to the tune of a .374 wOBA, the fourth-highest mark in the league. Third base

Wilmer Flores (R), 1.9 percent, New York Mets vs. Atlanta Braves (RHP Sean Newcomb): Though hitless in his past seven games, Flores remains in play when installed by the Mets against southpaws (career .342 wOBA against), as he may against the control-challenged Newcomb, who’s walked 13.1 percent of the righty bats he’s dueled with during his short career. Shortstop

Addison Russell (R), 37.1 percent, Chicago Cubs vs. Colorado Rockies (LHP Tyler Anderson): Russell’s bat could be waking up after back-to-back two-hit, one-RBI outings. Anderson continues serving as an anomaly to the Coors Field problem, struggling more on the road with a 5.02 ERA in a short sample of 14.1 innings so far. Corner infield

Joe Mauer (L), 22.2 percent, Minnesota Twins vs. Toronto Blue Jays (RHP Marcus Stroman): Load up on Minnesota’s lefty hitters if you can. Stroman has been peppered with the third-highest hard-contact rate from left-handed bats (48.2 percent). Mauer, once again, has an elite contact percentage, sitting at 85.5 after Monday’s action. Expecting him to launch his first homer is a stretch, but a chance at a multi-hit performance is nothing to scoff at in deeper games. Middle infield

Kelby Tomlinson (R), 0.3 percent, San Francisco Giants vs. San Diego Padres (LHP Clayton Richard): The Joe Panik injury creates a timeshare between Tomlinson and switch-hitting call-up Alen Hanson (0.4 percent). Whoever starts would enjoy a ripe opportunity against Richard, who allowed the seventh-highest wOBA (.380) against righty bats last year and has yielded the third-highest wOBA (.377) this year. Outfield

Manuel Margot (R), 39.1 percent, San Diego Padres at San Francisco Giants (LHP Derek Holland): Holland was tattered by right-handed bats last season at a league-high .408 wOBA pace. In this partial season, he’s still a target at .341. This looks like a fine opportunity for the slow-starting Margot to extend his five-game hit streak, considering his .337 wOBA against lefties (compared to .285 in the opposite split) over his career.

Dexter Fowler (B), 42.3 percent, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Chicago White Sox (RHP Lucas Giolito): Hitless in his last 19 at-bats, Fowler has limped to a .577 OPS in his first 111 plate appearances and might wind up in jeopardy of losing playing time. Even through his struggles, however, the veteran has kept his penchant for taking walks (11.7 percent), and the still-developing Giolito has dished out 21 free passes in 25.2 innings. Fowler should return from a minor wrist injury on Tuesday.

Mark Trumbo (R), 17.2 percent, Baltimore Orioles at Los Angeles Angels (LHP Andrew Heaney): The hacking bopper is set for activation before Tuesday night’s action. In eight starts over his past two seasons, Heaney has allowed 15 homers, including three in 14.1 innings this year, highlighted by a 2.11 HR/9 by righties. Hitter matchup ratings

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); a 1-2 is poor, 3-4 is fair, 5-6 is average, 7-8 is very good and 9-10 is excellent.