It's another abbreviated Monday slate, with all nine contests under the lights. The marquee matchup features a pair of southpaws squaring off as Chris Sale and the Boston Red Sox welcome Mike Minor and the Texas Rangers into Fenway Park. The card also features the opener of a two-game Subway Series, with Jason Vargas leading the New York Mets into the Bronx for a date with Masahiro Tanaka and the New York Yankees. In addition, Hyun-Jin Ryu and the Los Angeles Dodgers make the short jaunt to Anaheim, California, where Griffin Canning and the Los Angeles Angels will be waiting.
With the short schedule and several aces on the docket, not to mention a Coors Field affair, streaming options are thin. Hitting is also sparser than normal as there are several starters (Sale, Minor, Ryu and Charlie Morton) best avoided.
Kevin Gausman (R), rostered in 45 percent of ESPN leagues, Atlanta Braves vs. Pittsburgh Pirates: While nothing has been reported, Gausman could be pitching for his spot in the rotation with newly signed Dallas Keuchel getting ready at Triple-A Gwinnett. Gausman is one of 2019's most frustrating starters, as an analysis of his stuff and underlying metrics describe a fantasy-friendly pitcher, particularly since he hurls for a good team. It's not all bad luck, but a high .331 BABIP (batting average on balls in play) and 58 percent left-on-base mark are far from league levels, exhibiting a degree of misfortune. The Pirates are a midpack offense versus right-handers, so don't expect a gem, but Gausman should be motivated to show he belongs in the Braves' rotation.
Griffin Canning (R), 25 percent, Los Angeles Angels vs. Los Angeles Dodgers: Canning making the cut exemplifies the dearth of quality streaming options. It's not that he's not worthy; the rookie has exceeded expectations since being promoted, fanning 42 in 38⅓ innings. However, Canning draws a Dodgers offense that's the second-most productive in the league with a righty on the hill, and they get to deploy a designated hitter.
Sandy Alcantara (R), 5 percent, Miami Marlins vs. St. Louis Cardinals: Despite being more widely available than the other streaming candidates, Alcantara is favored with the best matchup, facing a midpack Cardinals lineup in run-suppressing Marlins Park. Strikeouts usually aren't thought of in terms of luck, but Alcantara's 11.3 percent swinging-strike rate portends a clip much higher than the 15.5 percent he's posted.
Pitchers to avoid
German Marquez (R), 98 percent, Colorado Rockies vs. Chicago Cubs: Those with Marquez on the rosters probably feel pot-committed, needing every outing they can muster to make up for the poor showings, both home and recently on the road. The problem is the Cubs are one of the most potent offenses.
Before a three-game skid heading into Sunday's action, the Marlins had won seven of nine, with Sergio Romo notching seven saves since May 1. The veteran closer could be traded, but for now he's quietly getting saves and is available in 80 percent of ESPN leagues.
Projected game scores
Catcher -- Brian McCann (L), 3 percent, Atlanta Braves vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP Joe Musgrove): McCann has sat the past two games despite the Braves facing a righty, so be sure to check lineups. The veteran had been in a rut, but he posted consecutive multihit efforts before sitting. Like most lefty swingers, McCann has always hit better with the platoon edge, but the bump is higher this season.
First base -- Jay Bruce (L), 35 percent, Philadelphia Phillies vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (RHP Taylor Clarke): On another day, Bruce might have been omitted for a player under the radar. However, on a short slate where the demand for fill-ins is greater than normal, there's no messing around. Bruce was quiet Sunday but has been scorching since returning to the Senior Circuit.
Second base -- Adam Frazier (L), 23 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates at Atlanta Braves (RHP Kevin Gausman): Frazier's foray into full-time duty to start the season isn't going as well as hoped. Still, he's making more contact, so if he reverts to usual form in terms of exit velocity, his average should climb.
Third base -- Gio Urshela (R), 11 percent, New York Yankees vs. New York Mets (LHP Jason Vargas): For the season, Vargas' 37 strikeouts to 19 walks in 45 1/3 innings warn of an impending correction to his 3.57 ERA. However, he's fanned a respectable 14 in his past two games, spanning 16 frames. Still, with no discernible change in stuff or pitch mix, it's best to look at the past two games as noise and give the edge to Urshela, enjoying the platoon edge at home.
Shortstop -- Willy Adames (R), 10 percent, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Oakland Athletics (RHP Tanner Anderson): Adames goes virtually unnoticed in an era of high-profile shortstops. It's not like he's putting up All-Star numbers, but on a day where many top performers at the position are off, Adames makes an adequate replacement, especially facing a 26-year old with a bloated 6.26 ERA and 1.70 WHIP for Triple-A Las Vegas prior to his being called up for this spot-start.
Corner infield -- Yonder Alonso (L), 6 percent, Chicago White Sox vs. Washington Nationals (RHP Anibal Sanchez): Alonso is a documented disciple of the launch-angle rage. While he's maintained an elevated fly ball rate, his exit velocity has dropped a little this season. That's often a telling metric, though Alonso would hardly be the first batter to make an in-season adjustment.
Middle infield -- Ryan McMahon (L), 6 percent, Colorado Rockies vs. Chicago Cubs (RHP Yu Darvish): Those hoping Darvish returns to close to previous levels should hope he maintains his current level and not get greedy. The veteran righty appears to be over the early-season control woes, and he's doing a better job keeping the ball in the yard. That said, he's no longer intimidating, particularly in Coors Field. McMahon looks to take advantage of the platoon edge.
Outfield -- Jarrod Dyson (L), 9 percent, Arizona Diamondbacks at Philadelphia Phillies (RHP Jerad Eickhoff): Eickhoff has struggled with the long ball lately and Dyson is more known for his speed. That said, Eickhoff throws a 75 mph curveball about 30 percent of the time, so if Dyson can get on and guess correctly, he can swipe his 15th base even with J.T. Realmuto behind the plate.
Outfield -- Carlos Gonzalez (L), 2 percent, Chicago Cubs at Colorado Rockies (RHP German Marquez): Hey, why not? The revenge game narrative is predictive, right? Marquez has really struggled at home, sporting a 1.55 WHIP with six homers allowed in 42 innings.
Outfield -- Garrett Cooper (R), 2 percent, Miami Marlins vs. St. Louis Cardinals (RHP Michael Wacha): Unfortunately, injuries have taken their toll on Wacha's development. He's been pitching from the bullpen lately but will be handed the ball to begin Monday's contest. Not fully stretched out, Wacha won't pitch very long even if he happens to be effective. Cooper won't have the platoon edge, but he'll hit out of the 2-hole on a day he's likely to face a few lesser arms.
Hitter matchup ratings
Hitter ratings account for the opposing starting pitcher's history (three years' worth) as well as 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. For example, a 10 is a must-start rating, while a 1 should be avoided (if possible).