The Tuesday slate is rich! There are several pitchers to choose from, some who might be worth keeping well beyond Tuesday. The hitting pool has several guys who are far too available given what they have achieved over the past month-plus.
Many have assumed full-time positions and/or joined the top of their respective lineups on a regular basis.
Zac Gallen (R), rostered in 22% of ESPN leagues, Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals: Gallen has looked sharp in a pair of five-inning outings to open his MLB career. He was great through five scoreless in his latest outing but allowed three in the sixth without getting an out to end on a sour note. He has logged 14 strikeouts backed by a strong 12% swinging strike rate. Washington has been only 23rd against righties in weighted runs created-plus (wRC+) on the season, but the Nationals are up to 13th over the past month.
Matt Strahm (L), 16%, San Diego Padres vs. San Francisco Giants: A home run issue has kept Strahm from really taking off lately, as he's allowed two homers in each of his past six starts, two of which really turned south, but there's still upside here, especially in an excellent matchup. The Giants are dead last in wRC+ against lefties this year and haven't gotten a single bit better lately, sitting in that same spot over the past month.
Ross Stripling (R), rostered in 50% of ESPN leagues, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Arizona Diamondbacks: Stripling is likely only available in some 10- and 12-team leagues. For a large chunk of last season, he was the Dodgers' top starter. He's been inserted back into the rotation with Rich Hill facing an extended absence. Stripling should be stretched out enough to throw five innings, which could score a win as he's backed by one of the top offenses in the league.
Not only have the Mariners followed in the Rays' footsteps by using an "opener and primary pitcher" strategy, they're opening with a right-hander then following with a lefty, helping to take best advantage of platoon matchups. Seattle has deployed Matt Carasiti as an opener with the righty tossing three scoring innings since being called up from Triple-A Tacoma. Southpaw Wade LeBlanc has pitched well as the "bulk pitcher" and is in play on a day devoid of standard starters to stream. LeBlanc draws a St. Louis Cardinals lineup that is below-average with a left-hander on the hill.
Catcher -- James McCann (R), 34%, Chicago White Sox vs. Detroit Tigers (LHP Matthew Boyd): We all know that McCann's .403 BABIP will come down, but we are now halfway through an excellent season from him that even led to an All-Star bid. June actually saw the BABIP dip substantially (to a still-strong .347), but he countered it with a power surge that saw him more than double his home run total: four through May, five in June. He's always done his best work against lefties, including a .978 OPS against them this year. I don't know if there's any advantage to facing someone you've caught, but McCann will get former teammate and southpaw Boyd in this matchup.
First Base -- Eric Thames (L), 5%, Milwaukee Brewers at Cincinnati Reds (RHP Tanner Roark): Thames isn't a full-time starter so check the lineup before playing him, but a big June puts him in line for more regular time. He hit .333/.419/.746 with six home runs in 74 plate appearances and has started seven of the past 10 games. Roark has shown a huge platoon split this year, with lefties up at an .879 OPS, 334 points better than righties.
Second Base -- Chris Taylor (R), 46%, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (RHP Taylor Clarke): Taylor got going in May when he posted a .904 OPS, though that was still in a part-time role. Injuries thrust him into a full-time spot during June, but he didn't miss a beat with a .941 OPS, including four home runs and three stolen bases over 106 PAs. He started 23 of the 28 games he played after starting just 35 of his first 54.
Third Base -- Scott Kingery (R), 52%, Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves (LHP Dallas Keuchel): This could be my last chance to promote Kingery. We try to keep the daily notes around the 50% threshold, but Kingery is just over that, so I can cheat a little. He has completely taken over a full-time role (split between CF and 3B) and hit .299/.348/.563 since his recall on May 19 with eight home runs and four stolen bases (nearly a 35 HR/20 SB full season pace). He has an aggressive plate approach with a 30% strikeout rate and 6% walk rate, which definitely puts pressure on the .385 BABIP he has run during this surge, but he has the speed to run a higher-than-average BABIP and help mitigate some of the trouble that can come with a heavy strikeout rate. He should be on at least 75% of rosters at ESPN and probably even more as a dynamic power-speed combo.
Shortstop -- Kevin Newman (R), 14%, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Chicago Cubs (RHP Kyle Hendricks): Newman batted first for the Pirates on May 28. He went back to eighth on May 29, but then spent nine straight leading off and left the spot only once in June. Over that time he is hitting .321/.353/.496 with five home runs and four stolen bases in 140 PAs, sitting 12th at shortstop on the Player Rater (Kingery is ninth, by the way). He might not fit every league, but he's definitely underutilized at 14%.
Corner Infield -- Todd Frazier (R), 5%, New York Mets vs. New York Yankees (LHP James Paxton): Frazier is having a bit of a renaissance after a huge June (.931 OPS), and his work against lefties has really helped that. He's hitting a cool 1.001 OPS with three homers in just 59 PAs against them this year.
Middle Infield -- J.P. Crawford (L), 6%, Seattle Mariners vs. St. Louis Cardinals (RHP Jack Flaherty): Crawford returned from an ankle injury on June 14 and has really taken to the No. 2 spot in the lineup since then with a .338/.416/.569 line. He has spent 15 straight games in that aforementioned No. 2 spot. A .392 BABIP no doubt assisted the run, though his 17% strikeout and 12% walk rates are strong, and if they maintain at or near that level, his AVG and OBP should be solid. I understand the low roster rate right now, but he's definitely someone on my Watchlist.
Outfield -- Alex Verdugo (L), 37%, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (RHP Taylor Clarke): Verdugo just keeps raking and he's hitting against both lefties and righties. Like a few other entrants in today's daily notes, Verdugo has ascended the lineup of late, batting second or third in all but three of the past 16 games. In that time, he's hitting .333/.357/.621 with five home runs in just 70 PAs. He has been a full-time starter since late April and should be on more than 37% of rosters.
Outfield -- Franmil Reyes (R), 35%, San Diego Padres vs. San Francisco Giants (RHP Tyler Beede): It's simple: If he's playing on a Tuesday, he's going to be in this column from here on out, especially against a righty. He has clubbed 22 homers against them this year, fueling a .328 ISO, fourth only to Christian Yelich, Derek Dietrich and Cody Bellinger.
Outfield -- Oscar Mercado (R), 29%, Cleveland Indians at Kansas City Royals (RHP Jakob Junis): Mercado wasn't close to the most popular pickup in the FAABapolooza a few weeks back that saw many leagues going after the likes of Austin Riley, Keston Hiura, Brendan Rodgers, Willie Calhoun, Nicky Lopez and Mercado. But he has arguably been the best since FAABapolooza on May 20. His 10 HR+SB is second to only Riley (12, all homers), and his .313 AVG leads the group. To put a bow on the theme of this week, he, too, has become a top-of-the-order staple over the past month. He's hitting .323/.362/.492 while batting second in 30 of his past 31, and the one where he didn't was a substitution appearance. Buy!