With the rampant uncertainty, we almost have to play every day like it's DFS, at least in daily transaction leagues. Fantasy baseball was hard enough when we had to navigate through picking the best players with the available stats and standard injury threats, but now with COVID-19 cancellations looming overhead in an already short season, the challenge has been ramped up. That said, I've done my best to comb through the widely available players to find not only the best players for Tuesday, but also a good handful of players you should consider holding beyond just the immediate matchup.
Dustin May (R), rostered in 53% of ESPN leagues, Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres: May has been solid in two outings, though he hasn't reached five in either. He did go from 60 to 76 pitches, so he should be ready to get a full workload and push toward five-plus innings if he can do so in 80-90 pitches. The Padres are far from an easy outing, but I wanted to recommend May while he's just north of 50% roster rate because a good start here will send him way out of the Daily Notes range. He doesn't walk guys, doesn't allow home runs and plays for perhaps the best team in baseball. With a role in hand, he can be a game-changer.
Cristian Javier (R), 21%, Houston Astros at Arizona Diamondbacks: Javier was widely chased in free-agent bidding this weekend after a tremendous debut and now sets up for a two-start week at Arizona and Oakland. Javier displayed a three-pitch mix (fastball, slider, changeup) leaning primarily on the fastball (57%) and slider (32%) that yielded eight strikeouts against the Dodgers. The Diamondbacks have a league-worst 52 weighted runs created-plus (wRC+) with fewer than three runs per game.
Tyler Mahle (R), 2%, Cincinnati Reds vs. Cleveland Indians: Though he pitched just four innings in his season debut, Mahle allowed just two runs with four strikeouts and a walk against the Cubs. Over his career, he hasn't walked guys and has a solid strikeout rate. Home runs have been his biggest issue (career 1.6 HR/9), but Cleveland has hit just six homers in its 10 games thus far, sitting 28th in wRC+ with a 62 mark.
For the latest team-by-team closer situations, please consult our Closer Chart.
Projected game scores
Catcher -- Pedro Severino (R), 9%, Baltimore Orioles vs. Miami Marlins (LHP Caleb Smith): Severino has a 137-point platoon split with his best work against lefties, including 10 HRs in 234 PA with a .184 ISO. He's off to a decent start with a couple of homers and .875 OPS in 28 PA.
First base -- Daniel Murphy (L), 44%, Colorado Rockies vs. San Francisco Giants (RHP Kevin Gausman): Murphy enjoyed the season's first series in Coors, including a four-hit game on Sunday and his first home run. Gausman has career-long home run issues, so he can't be looking forward to this outing.
Second base -- Donovan Solano (R), 46%, San Francisco Giants at Colorado Rockies (RHP German Marquez): We're getting a piece of Coors on each side of the game, with Solano being my Giants entry thanks to an unbelievable .484/.500/.710 line with 1 HR and 13 RBIs in 34 PA. Obviously, his .500 BABIP won't last, but he's going to the best possible park to keep it remarkably high. By the way, it's worth noting that he has a .350/.378/.488 line in 262 PA since the start of last season.
Third base -- Tommy La Stella (L), 29%, Los Angeles Angels at Seattle Mariners (RHP Justin Dunn): La Stella is hitting only .250 in the early going, though he's clearly seeing the ball well with a 19% walk rate that gives him a .419 OBP in 31 PA. His power breakout from last year has some legitimacy to it, as he started lifting and pulling the ball more. He's doing both of those things even more this season, so the homers will come. Perhaps even on Tuesday.
Shortstop -- Willy Adames (R), 14%, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox (RHP Nathan Eovaldi): He's hitting .333/.438/.481 with four 2Bs in 32 PA. He hasn't popped his first homer yet, thanks in large part to an egregious 67% ground ball rate. Once he starts to lift the ball a bit more, the average will likely come down, but it'll be a useful trade-off for the power to come.
Corner infield -- Jesus Aguilar (R), 7%, Miami Marlins at Baltimore Orioles (LHP John Means): Aguilar already has two homers, which is particularly impressive, since the Marlins have played a whopping three games. Aguilar fell off against lefties last season with just a .695 OPS, but he still has a career .813 mark against them.
Middle infield -- Leury Garcia (S), 14%, Chicago White Sox at Milwaukee Brewers (RHP Brandon Woodruff): Garcia is making a lot more contact thus far with just a 10% strikeout rate (career 24%) and pulling the ball more than ever with a 52% rate (career 34%), resulting in a fast start at .321/.387/.536 with 2 HRs, 5 RBIs, and 4 runs in 31 PA. Woodruff is a tough matchup to be sure, but I'm using this more to highlight Garcia in the long term than specifically for this matchup.
Outfield -- Teoscar Hernandez (R), 48%, Toronto Blue Jays at Atlanta Braves (LHP Max Fried): This is a total hot-hand play. Hernandez has a .321/.355/.821 line with 4 HRs and 2 SBs in 31 PA, though there aren't many changes in his profile that are really driving the success. He's crushing the ball (70% hard-hit rate), but he's still striking out too much (29%) and not walking much (6%).
Outfield -- Ian Happ (S), 29%, Chicago Cubs vs. Kansas City Royals (RHP Brady Singer): I don't understand this roster rate. Not only is Happ on fire with a .286/.375/.679 line, 3 HRs, 6 RBIs and 1 SB, but he also hit really well last season (.898 OPS). He's a full-time player in a strong lineup and still sitting under 30%? Strange. He's the 15th OF on the Player Rater and capable maintaining at least a top 30 spot all year long.
Outfield -- Michael Taylor (R), 1%, Washington Nationals vs. New York Mets (LHP Steven Matz): It's risky taking a player from a team coming off a layoff, but Taylor is used to playing after sitting for several games so he could be better equipped to handle his team not having played since July 30. Beyond that, his game is speed, which isn't as reliant on timing. Plus, the Mets are one of the best teams to target for steals.
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.