Fantasy baseball daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Sunday

Keston Hiura is back, he's awesome, and he'd be a great addition to your team's lineup. Morry Gash/AP Photo

There's nothing like enjoying your Sunday tea and crumpets with America's pastime. Keep in mind that the final game of the New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox weekend set has a 10:10 a.m. ET start time. On this side of the pond, it's the standard matinee schedule, with the Atlanta Braves visiting Citi Field and the New York Mets in the primetime ESPN contest.

Here are the recommendations to end the week on a high note, all available in at least half of ESPN leagues.


Andrew Heaney (L), rostered in 47% of ESPN leagues, Los Angeles Angels vs. Oakland Athletics: With six starts under his belt, it's time for Heaney to display the promise exhibited last season when he was able to avoid the injury bug. The southpaw got a late start to the 2019 campaign, but 30⅔ innings are more than normal during spring training, so rust is no longer an excuse. It won't be easy, as the Athletics are potent against southpaws, but Heaney is too talented not to get ramped up for a solid second half.

Trevor Richards (R), 15%, Miami Marlins vs. Philadelphia Phillies: Richards has been hit hard in two of his past three seasons, dampening a solid first half. Richards isn't dominating, but he has one of the better changeups in the league. The Phillies' offense is in the bottom third with respect to production facing the changeup.

Jesse Chavez (R), 4%, Texas Rangers at Tampa Bay Rays: Granted, the opponent was the soft Tigers, but Chavez kept them in check in his return to the starting rotation, tossing 6⅓ frames, with one unearned run, scattering five while fanning seven without issuing a free pass. Next up are the tougher but still not daunting Rays.

Sunday Special: Pitcher to avoid: Kenta Maeda (R), 87%, Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies: Ask those starting Walker Buehler and Hyun-Jin Ryu at Coors Field if having Maeda active is wise.

Bullpen: Sergio Romo has been recommended several times as a pickup in the first half, as he has notched 14 saves, yet he remains readily available. There's a solid chance the Marlins deal him in the next month with Nick Anderson a possible replacement. Overall, June has been good to Anderson, as he has posted a 3.37 ERA and 1.03 WHIP with 15 punchouts in 10⅔ innings. However, he did most of the damage early, with six scoreless outings to begin the month, followed by allowing at least a run in three of the next four before a pair of clean frames. With a solid starting rotation, the Marlins will continue to generate a decent amount of save chances, with Anderson the top choice to take over for Romo if the veteran is moved.


Catcher: Russell Martin (R), 1%, Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies (RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez): Just a hunch the Dodgers give Martin a game this series, and as we've seen, anyone at the plate this weekend is in scoring position. Will Smith was recently farmed back to Triple-A Oklahoma City, leaving Martin with the Dodgers' reserve receiver duties.

First base: Bobby Bradley (L), 4%, Cleveland Indians at Baltimore Orioles (RHP Gabriel Ynoa): Bradley's forte is power, and the Orioles are serving up long balls at a historic pace.

Second base: Keston Hiura (R), 13%, Milwaukee Brewers vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (LHP Steven Brault): The Brewers did the right thing in giving Travis Shaw a chance to right his season. When it became apparent it wasn't to be, Shaw was demoted to Triple-A San Antonio, where he'll try to get his swing and confidence back. Hiura was recalled and will be the regular second baseman. He'll continue to build on a promising rookie campaign featuring five homers in just 18 games.

Third base: Gio Urshela (R), 7%, New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox (LHP Eduardo Rodriguez): Urshela didn't start Saturday's London affair, though he came in after Luke Voit had to leave the game after he came up lame legging out a double. There's a good chance that Urshela starts Sunday, especially with a southpaw on the hill.

Shortstop: Kevin Newman (R), 8%, Pittsburgh Pirates at Milwaukee Brewers (RHP Zach Davies): Newman has quietly been one of best hitters in MLB over the past month, carrying a 16-game hitting streak into Saturday's action. Newman has also chipped in with a handful of useful steals and is a nice source of cheap speed heading into the second half.

Corner infield: Ryan Zimmerman (R), 5%, Washington Nationals at Detroit Tigers (RHP Jordan Zimmermann): Zimmerman might sit because he doesn't enjoy the platoon edge, but given that this is an interleague tilt in an AL park, the DH spot improves his chances to play. Zimmerman just returned from the IL, so the Nationals will be looking to get him on track as they battle to get back into the playoff picture.

Middle infield: Michael Chavis (R), 31%, Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees (Undecided): Chavis might appear to be chasing Saturday's big game, but it's more that he's back in another groove, adjusting after pitchers adjusted to his early season heroics. Contact will always be an issue, but the ability to make some changes bodes well for Chavis' future.

Outfield: Jason Heyward (L), 34%, Chicago Cubs at Cincinnati Reds (RHP Anthony DeSclafani): There are a few hurlers with whom starting opposing lefty swingers is Pavlovian. DeSclafani is on that list. DeSclafani also has issues with the running game; Heyward has lost a step, but with five bags, he has the gumption to take advantage.

Outfield: Raimel Tapia (L), 2%, Colorado Rockies vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (RHP Kenta Maeda): The bottom line is you want as many Dodgers and Rockies hitters active this weekend as possible. Tapia is available in almost every ESPN league.

Outfield: Phillip Ervin (R), less than 1%, Cincinnati Reds vs. Chicago Cubs (LHP Jon Lester): While it's frustrating that the Reds continue to sit Jesse Winker against southpaws, Ervin has displayed solid skills when a lefty is on the hill. Although he doesn't have any steals yet this season, like Heyward, Ervin is cagey enough to run on a starter prone to allow stolen bases.