Wednesday will be busy for those holding Cy Young votes as top pitchers from each league will be on the hill. The marquee matchup is in the National League as Zack Wheeler and Jacob deGrom square off. Three American League contenders are in action with Lucas Giolito, Gerrit Cole and Dylan Bundy all toeing the rubber.
The flipside of stellar pitching is fewer options to stream along with less favorable hitting matchups throughout the league. We've never let that stop us before and we're not going to do it now.
Here are Wednesday's picks to click, all available in at least half of all ESPN leagues.
Caleb Smith (L), rostered in 32% of ESPN leagues, Arizona Diamondbacks at Los Angeles Angels: After tossing 70 pitches in the bullpen preceding his return to the hill last time out, it was hoped Smith would at least match that if he was pitching well. Things didn't go as planned as the lefty was lifted after 40 tosses, despite working three effective frames. There's no guarantee Smith will be allowed to go deeper, but he'll have the chance against an Angels club with the 26th ranked wOBA (weighted on base average) with a lefty on the hill.
Tarik Skubal (L), 7%, Detroit Tigers vs. Kansas City Royals: Like most rookies, Skubal's freshman campaign has been dotted with inconsistency. Two starts ago, he limited the Twins to just one tally in six frames but last time out, the Cardinals put up a six-spot in just two stanzas. Look for a rebound against a Royals lineup checking in with the 20th highest wOBA facing lefties this month.
Drew Smyly (L), 1%, San Francisco Giants at Seattle Mariners: Continuing a theme of southpaws facing lesser offenses, Smyly makes his first start against a Mariners club with the second poorest wOBA against lefthanders all season. Smyly threw four innings out of the pen last Thursday, allowing just one run to the prolific Padres, fanning eight with just one walk.
Bullpen: Several clubs are deploying a bullpen game. The Brewers will pair southpaws Brent Suter and Freddy Peralta in the nightcap of their doubleheader with the Cardinals. Peralta is an intriguing pickup if you need wins. The Padres will open with lefty Adrian Morejon and follow with another lefty in Joey Lucchesi for their matinee with the Dodgers. Lastly, the Rays will ask righthander Peter Fairbanks to throw an inning or two before passing the baton to lefthander Josh Fleming.
For the latest team-by-team closer situations, please consult our Closer Chart.
Projected game scores
Catcher -- Jorge Alfaro (R), 7%, Miami Marlins vs. Boston Red Sox (LHP Mike Kickham): Unless Pedro Martinez comes out of retirement, it doesn't matter who starts for Boston, it will be no one of consequence. Alfaro was slow out of the gate but has slashed .381/.409/.524 in six games heading into Tuesday's slate and as it turns out will enjoy the platoon bump as the Red Sox are giving rookie Kickham another start.
Second Base -- Chris Taylor (R), 44%, Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres (Bullpen game): A 347.418/.633 stretch since late August has thrust Taylor into an everyday role. Both the Padres opener and bulk reliever for this NL West affair are lefty, so Taylor benefits from the platoon advantage.
Third Base - Jake Lamb (L), 1%, Oakland Athletics at Colorado Rockies (RHP German Marquez): Not only is Matt Chapman out for the season, he's missing a trip to Coors Field. The Athletics signed Lamb to man the hot corner, hoping toiling for a contender will jumpstart an otherwise disastrous season.
Shortstop -- Jose Iglesias (R), 8%, Baltimore Orioles vs. Atlanta Braves (LHP Cole Hamels): Hamels will finally make his 2020 debut, also his first start with the Braves. He'll be greeted by Iglesias who takes a modest three game hitting streak into Tuesday's action, featuring a four-hit effort including a homer last time.
Corner Infield -- Mitch Moreland (L), 34%, San Diego Padres vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (RHP Dustin May): Moreland still isn't hitting for average since being acquired by the Padres, but his power is picking up with a pair of doubles and a long ball over the past week.
Middle Infield -- Josh Rojas (L), 1%, Arizona Diamondbacks at Los Angeles Angels (RHP Dylan Bundy): With the Diamondbacks focusing on 2021, Rojas is getting a lot of playing time down the stretch. It hasn't been on display yet this season but Rojas has the ability to add a few steals over the final week and a half.
Outfield -- David Dahl (L), 49%, Colorado Rockies vs. Oakland Athletics (RHP Mike Fiers): A fly ball pitcher with middling stuff in Coors Field? Yes please. Dahl's %ROST has fallen below our cutoff so it's worth checking to see if he's available in your league.
Outfield -- Shogo Akiyama (L), 13%, Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP JT Brubaker): Akiyama has been an on-base machine this month, reaching at a 49% clip in September. Meanwhile, Brubaker has allowed a generous 45 base runners in 30 1/3 innings.
Outfield -- Yairo Munoz (R), 2%, Boston Red Sox at Miami Marlins (LHP Trevor Rogers): The former Cardinals utilityman is getting a good look as Boston plays out the string. This far, Munoz has taken advantage by slashing .382/.382 /.618.
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.