Two lefties head the Sunday MLB card, both facing teams from the Windy City. James Paxton and the New York Yankees wrap up a series on the South Side with the Chicago White Sox, while Hyun-Jin Ryu and the Los Angeles Dodgers take center stage hosting the Chicago Cubs on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball.
Elsewhere on the Father's Day fantasy baseball slate are some intriguing arms to spot-start as well as quality bats to stream in the last day of this scoring period. Good luck to everyone playing in head-to-head formats.
Martin Perez (L), rostered in 42 percent of ESPN leagues, Minnesota Twins vs. Kansas City Royals: After being a fantasy stalwart to open the season, a rough spell has Perez available in more than half of ESPN leagues. He's in a great spot to get back on track, facing a Royals offense sitting third from the bottom in terms of production against southpaws and also lacking the patience necessary to take advantage of Perez's bouts of wildness.
Sandy Alcantara (R), 8 percent, Miami Marlins vs. Pittsburgh Pirates: Alcantara didn't give up a homer until his fifth start, then surrendered at least one for four straight outings, but he hasn't been taken deep over his past five efforts, spanning 32 innings. The Pirates are 28th overall in terms of home run rate versus right-handers.
Jalen Beeks (L), 8 percent, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Los Angeles Angels: Despite being slated to follow Ryne Stanek, Beeks is a solid option to fortify your Sunday staff, allowing two or fewer runs in 14 of 16 efforts, most of which coming in the primary pitcher role. The Angels don't fan much, so Beeks isn't as useful in a points format, but he should benefit ratios for teams with roto scoring.
Tanner Anderson (R), fewer than 1 percent, Oakland Athletics vs. Seattle Mariners: Anderson's second career start comes against a mid-pack Mariners offense, at home in pitcher-friendly Oakland-Alameda Coliseum. Anderson's first effort was a solid 5⅔-inning outing, holding the Rays to two runs on three hits, fanning five with two free passes.
Brian Johnson (L), fewer than 1 percent, Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles: With Nathan Eovaldi out until after the All-Star break, Johnson will take over as the fifth starter, beginning with an outing against one of the weaker lineups in the league. Johnson has been rehabbing an elbow injury with Triple-A Pawtucket, last working June 9, fanning six over four frames, throwing 62 pitches, so this will be a standard start, not a bullpen effort.
Bullpen: Joining the Rays with a bullpen game are the Arizona Diamondbacks and Philadelphia Phillies. The Diamondbacks will open with Archie Bradley against the Washington Nationals, followed by Zack Godley to handle the bulk of the middle innings. Godley's performance has improved coming out of the bullpen but he's still a risk on a slate with better standard options. The Phillies are returning Vince Velasquez to first-inning duties, though it's unclear if this is permanent. Since Velasquez has been coming out of the bullpen, his innings will be limited so expect Cole Irvin to pitch multiple innings as well. Neither are good fantasy options against a potent Atlanta Braves lineup.
Catcher -- James McCann (R), 16 percent, Chicago White Sox vs. New York Yankees (LHP James Paxton): While it's not wise to pick on Paxton with several of your active hitters, hoping one take him out of the yard is a viable play, as the lefty is an extreme fly ball pitcher. McCann has cooled from a hot start, but he is slugging .514 facing southpaws.
First Base -- Mark Reynolds (R), under 1 percent, Colorado Rockies vs. San Diego Padres (LHP Nick Margevicius): Reynolds doesn't play against all lefties, so call it a hunch he's in the lineup on Sunday, a day many reserves are in action. Reynolds is perceived to be a southpaw masher, but his splits are down the middle. Still, he has the platoon edge on a raw lefty not yet accustomed to the challenge of pitching in Coors Field.
Second Base -- Michael Chavis (R), 44 percent, Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles (LHP John Means): The book is out on Chavis: Go up the ladder with high heat, then get him to chase on a slider outside the zone. Means is pitching surprisingly well, but he doesn't possess the heat to take advantage of Chavis' weak spots.
Third Base -- Miguel Sano (R), 31 percent, Minnesota Twins vs. Kansas City Royals (RHP Jakob Junis): Pitchers own their splits much sooner than hitters, and for his career, righty swingers have hit Junis harder than lefties. When Sano is locked in, it doesn't matter who is on the hill. He isn't there yet, but facing a hurler administering 14 homers in just 79 frames could jump-start a power surge.
Shortstop -- Chris Taylor (R), 31 percent, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Chicago Cubs (LHP Jose Quintana): Taylor will be tasked with holding the fort at shortstop while Corey Seager convalesces on the injured list with a left hamstring strain. The utilityman hasn't found a groove this season, but he is hitting better with the platoon edge, and Quintana lacks the sharpness usually displayed.
Corner Infield -- Dominic Smith (L), 1 percent, New York Mets vs. St. Louis Cardinals (RHP Dakota Hudson): Extreme splits are less subject to sample-size warnings. To date, Hudson's wOBA (weighted on-base average) facing righties is a tidy .238, compared to a generous .401 with a lefty in the box. Smith is slashing .329/.427/.529 in 82 plate appearances with the platoon edge.
Middle Infield -- Derek Dietrich (L), 48 percent, Cincinnati Reds vs. Texas Rangers (RHP Ariel Jurado): After ending May with 17 dingers, Dietrich hasn't gone yard yet this month. Contact has been an issue. Perhaps facing Jurado, who has fanned 34 in 41⅔ innings, will be the panacea.
Outfield -- Brett Gardner (L), 27 percent, New York Yankees at Chicago White Sox (RHP Odrisamer Despaigne): While it's unfair to say Gardner's playing time might be numbered with the impending return of Aaron Judge, followed closely by that of Giancarlo Stanton, it's certain to take a hit. Look for Gardner to state his case to stay on the field, facing a pitcher with a career 1.42 WHIP in 355⅔ innings.
Outfield -- Josh Naylor (L), 1 percent, San Diego Padres at Colorado Rockies (RHP Peter Lambert): Hopefully it's clear any available Padres hitter is in play, so let's focus on the least known in Naylor. Originally thought to be called up to serve as designated hitter for a couple of interleague series, Naylor has hung around, though he's not taking advantage. Coors Field has a way of reversing cold spells, especially when an unproven rookie is on the hill. After whiffing nine Cubs over seven innings in his inaugural start, Lambert fanned just three against the same team in five frames the next time out. Lambert's minor league numbers portend more outings like the latter.
Outfield -- Harrison Bader (R), 41 percent, St. Louis Cardinals at New York Mets (LHP Jason Vargas): Vargas' surface stats have been stellar, but a check under the hood reveals a 5.11 xFIP, so expect a correction soon. In addition, the Cardinals check in with a 10 in the steals department in Saturday's hitting rankings, rendering Bader a dual threat, with the power to go deep and speed to nab a bag.