Wednesday marks one week until the MLB trade deadline, so this could be a prelude to a flurry of transactions. We have two high-profile trade chips on the mound, too: Marcus Stroman takes the hill as the Toronto Blue Jays host the Cleveland Indians, and Texas Rangers southpaw Mike Minor visits the Seattle Mariners.
Designated hitter reports: Baltimore Orioles (at Arizona Diamondbacks), Kansas City Royals (at Atlanta Braves) and Los Angeles Angels (at Los Angeles Dodgers) lose theirs. The Miami Marlins (at Chicago White Sox) gain it.
If you don't carry one of those buzzy trade-deadline pitchers on your club, you actually aren't in bad shape for pitcher rentals. Happy to say I had a hard time choosing among several streamers, so I included all of my favorites!
Julio Teheran (R), rostered in 50% of ESPN leagues, Atlanta Braves vs. Kansas City Royals: Barely qualifying for this article with his roster presence, Teheran has rattled off a 1.53 ERA with 17 strikeouts and just three walks in 17 2/3 innings over his past three starts. He can probably thank his initiative to use his sinker, arguably his best offering, more frequently. The Royals, one of the league's clearest sellers, have a mere 0.34 BB/K against righties, the league's eighth-lowest rate. Kansas City also will play without a designated hitter.
Ross Stripling (R), 47.7%, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Los Angeles Angels: Stripling has started five games since Rich Hill returned to the injured list, limping to a 4.91 ERA as he's stretched himself out following relief duty. Still, on the back of his devastating curveball, he's reached five frames in each of his past two starts (2.70 ERA and 12 K's, with zero walks, combined at the Red Sox and Phillies), the necessary minimum expectation for a pitcher not following an opener. That'll come in handy for streaming against a Halos club who won't have Shohei Ohtani due to losing the designated hitter in this interleague crosstown clash.
Zac Gallen (R), 11.7%, Miami Marlins at Chicago White Sox: The Pale Hose have ranked near the top in strikeouts versus righties just about all season and rank tied for third with 25.9%. Gallen has struggled with walks lately and will have to face a designated hitter, but the soon-to-be 24-year-old has a 10.5 K/9 and an 11.4 swinging-strike percentage across his first five big-league outings. You can at least count on a productive day for punchouts.
Jordan Lyles (R), 12.7%, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. St. Louis Cardinals: That 4.91 ERA hides the biggest way he can help: Lyles is posting a career-best 9.71 K/9 as part of a three-year improvement in dominance. Despite recent signs of life, the Cardinals rank in the bottom 10 with a .306 wOBA versus righties.
Dinelson Lamet (R), 6.2%, San Diego Padres at New York Mets: Lamet has struggled to prevent runs in his first three starts back from his long recovery from 2018 Tommy John surgery, especially by giving up four homers in just 14 innings. However, he's still working with his high-strikeout, high-walk approach, which should work against a Mets club that situates in the bottom 10 in walk rate this month (6.4%).
Catcher: Mitch Garver (R), 47%, Minnesota Twins vs. New York Yankees (LHP J.A. Happ): The fact that Garver still qualifies for this article is surprising. So at least use him in his best capacity: crushing left-handers. He owns an absurd .527 wOBA (!) against southpaws. Happ has yielded 16 of his 21 homers allowed to righty batters.
First base : Matt Adams (L) and Howie Kendrick (R), 0.8% and 36.8%, Washington Nationals vs. Colorado Rockies (RHP Jon Gray, LHP Kyle Freeland): How crafty can you be with your lineup? Each of these two will probably start just one game, but this could be a secretly productive platoon for at least the next few weeks after Ryan Zimmerman (foot) returned to the injured list. If you need to plug two spots in your daily-churning starting roster, this is a way to stack.
Second base: Danny Santana (S), 35.6%, Texas Rangers at Seattle Mariners (RHP Mike Leake): Santana has worked into an around-the-diamond everyday role and has raked against righties: .917 OPS, .328/.358/.559 slash with eight homers and nine stolen bases. Sure, Leake is at home, where he's better, but he allowed 23 homers in the first half. Good enough for me.
Third base: Tommy Edman (S), 10.7%, St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP Jordan Lyles): For all the reasons to try him as a streamer, Lyles has a glaring weakness is retiring left-handers; he's saddled with the second-highest wOBA allowed to LHBs (.408). Edman, meanwhile, has led off 16 times, including 11 versus righties, since seizing his newfound playing time and has a .793 OPS with three homers against right-handers.
Shortstop: Scott Kingery (R), 44.3%, Philadelphia Phillies at Detroit Tigers (RHP Jordan Zimmermann): Kingery continues to seize playing time most days at various positions, and while he's crushing lefties, he has only a 1.6 BB% and 0.07 BB/K against them. Versus righties, he walks 9.4% of the time. Zimmermann isn't swimming in strikeouts to begin with, and he's having trouble with reverse splits there, fanning just 5.76 per nine.
Corner infield: Eric Thames (L), 5%, Milwaukee Brewers vs. Cincinnati Reds (RHP Lucas Sims): Thames has surprisingly improved his contact against lefties (0.67 BB/K) but has clubbed 13 of his 14 homers against righties. Sims owns a career 1.41 HR/9 overall and 15.4 BB% against lefty batters. Consider the grand-slam-happy Ben Gamel (0.4%) if he continues filling in for Ryan Braun (back).
Middle infield: Tim Beckham (R), 23%, Seattle Mariners vs. Texas Rangers (LHP Mike Minor): As Minor pitches for his possibly final showcase for a Texas trade deadline partner, Beckham should get some lineup love, considering he's facing a lefty (albeit a tough one).
Outfield: Niko Goodrum (S), 9.5%, Detroit Tigers vs. Philadelphia Phillies (RHP Vince Velasquez): Goodrum shows better contact skills versus lefties has hit all nine homers this year against righties. For all his talent, Velasquez has allowed 2.51 HR/9.
Outfield: Jesse Winker (L), 33%, Cincinnati Reds at Milwaukee Brewers (RHP Jhoulys Chacin): Winker gains nearly all of his fantasy juice from facing righties. He's hit all 13 of his homers this year against them, and his .266/.349/.500 slash dwarfs the .184/.279/.184 in the opposite. Chacin has struck out lefty batters in just 11% of plate appearances and has a horrid 1.89 HR/9 on the year.
Outfield: Josh Reddick (L), 24.2%, Houston Astros vs. Oakland Athletics (RHP Chris Bassitt): Reddick has actually proven near equally capable -- if not better -- versus lefties, but Bassitt has allowed 1.84 HR/9 to left-handers and 1.70 on the road.
Hitter ratings account for the opposing starting pitcher's past history (three years' worth as well as past 21 days) 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 1-10, with 10 representing the best possible matchup, statistically speaking, and 1 representing the worst. So, 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. A "*" means that the pitcher lacks requisite career major league data to produce an accurate hitter rating; these are the author's ratings.