Sunday marks the end of an extended scoring week in many ESPN leagues and with head-to-head playoffs approaching fast, every lineup spot is important. To that end, there are some decent spot starters on the docket, but three are rostered in at least 40% of ESPN leagues so it's wise to check as soon as possible.
Hitting continues to be plush, with several batters continuing to be readily available with skills better than many hitters populating many more rosters.
Ryan Yarbrough (L), rostered in 41% of ESPN leagues, Tampa Bay Rays at Cleveland: In previous seasons, the Rays seemed to protect Yarbrough in that they would remove him at the first sign of trouble. This year, the lefty has remained in games to absorb six outings where he allowed at least five runs. However, he's allowed three or fewer runs in his other 13 efforts, including five quality starts. In these 13 appearances, Yarbrough has spun a 2.41 ERA and 0.93 WHIP. Facing Cleveland, there's a strong chance the good version shows up.
Tarik Skubal (L), 41%, Detroit Tigers at Kansas City Royals: Skubal continues to miss plenty of bats as evidenced by a lofty 27% strikeout rate, however he also issues too many walks and has surrendered 19 homers in 94 2/3 innings. Sunday affords Skubal a chance to improve his numbers in both of those areas as the Royals are the second least patient team in the league with a lefty on the while homering at the tenth lowest clip in that scenario.
Cole Irvin (L), 51%, Oakland Athletics at Seattle Mariners: Irvin opened the second half with seven scoreless stanzas against the Angels, though he only fanned three. For the season, Irvin has punched out only 17.3% of the batters he's faced, but he's issued free passes to only 4.3% while surrendering just 10 homers in 113 innings. The Mariners do hit lefties for power, but they whiff at an elevated 27% clip while sporting the fourth lowest wOBA facing southpaws.
Caleb Smith (L), 15%, Arizona Diamondbacks at Chicago Cubs: After pitching well most of the first half, Smith final two outings heading into the break were rough as he allowed 14 runs in just seven innings. However, the lefty was solid in his first start after the break, limiting the Pirates to two runs over 6 2/3 frames, fanning seven.
Gregory Soto leads the league with four saves since the break as he's also fanned five in four frames. Detroit is in a good spot on Sunday with Skubal facing Daniel Lynch in the rookie's return to the majors. Lynch will likely fare better after regaining confidence, but if you need a save in your head to head matchup, Soto is in play and available in 74% of ESPN leagues.
For the latest team-by-team closer situations, please consult our Closer Chart.
Catcher -- Francisco Mejia (S), 4%, Tampa Bay Rays at Cleveland (RHP Triston McKenzie): With Mike Zunino in Saturday's lineup, there is a good chance Mejia is back behind the dish on Sunday. The switch-hitter has been on a triples binge, swatting two in the past week, along with a home run. In his last seven games, Mejia is slashing .438/.438/.938.
First Base -- Joey Votto (L), 39%, Cincinnati Reds vs. St. Louis Cardinals (RHP Johan Oviedo): Part of what we like to do in this space is highlight under the radar players, often at the expense of someone with a better matchup but has been featured a lot lately. The thought process is seeing the same name several times is a sign to check on his availability without being prompted. Votto fits that mold; if he's facing a righthander, he's automatic if available. However, with the importance of this transaction period, it's best Votto gets the spotlight.
Second Base -- Dylan Moore (R), 38%, Seattle Mariners vs. Oakland Athletics (LHP Cole Irvin): Moore's average continues to be a detriment (.190 in 254 plate appearances this season) but he's still a fantasy asset with four homers and seven steals since returning from the IL on June 12.
Third Base -- Josh Harrison (R), 43%, Washington Nationals at Baltimore Orioles (LHP John Means): Harrison was supposed to be a veteran bench piece for the Nationals, but he's turned out to be one of their most productive batters and is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, Harrison took a seven-game hitting streak into Saturday's action, over which he's slashed .379/.419/.621.
Shortstop -- Ramon Urias (R), 2%, Baltimore Orioles vs. Washington Nationals (RHP Paolo Espino): It's turning out to be another lost season for the Orioles, though they may have found something in Urias. The infielder has found a home at the keystone, slashing .315/.367/.438 since becoming a regular. Obviously, he's out over his skis, but an efficient 16.5% strikeout rate should keep the landing soft.
Corner Infield -- Miguel Cabrera (R), 5%, Detroit Tigers at Kansas City Royals (LHP Daniel Lynch): Even though he isn't as productive as normal, Cabrera still handles southpaws well enough to fill in under suitable conditions. His experience and patience should come in handy facing a rookie lefty who allowed 14 runs on 18 hits and five walks in just eight innings in his first three starts earlier in the season.
Middle Infield -- Luis Guillorme (L), 1%, New York Mets vs. Toronto Blue Jays (RHP Ross Stripling): Guillorme is getting first dibs at replacing Francisco Lindor who is on the IL for an extended stretch with a Grade 2 oblique strain. Guillorme has responded by carrying a four-game hitting streak into Saturday's action, posting a .462/.500/.769 line.
Outfield -- Kole Calhoun (L), 8%, Arizona Diamondbacks at Chicago Cubs (RHP Trevor Williams): Calhoun has struggled since returning from the IL so if you're more comfortable using Pavin Smith, he's in play as well. With respect to Calhoun, he's hit into some bad luck the past week and is due a better fate. He's been credited with three hard outs over his past three games, in which he's tattooed five balls over 95 mph and two over 100 mph without much to show for it.
Outfield -- LaMonte Wade Jr. (L), 4%, San Francisco Giants vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP JT Brubaker): Wade is one of the several reasons the Giants are the surprise of the Senior Circuit. The club is using platoons to their advantage with Wade occupying the busier side of a center field split since mid-May. He's recorded a productive .858 OPS, mostly from the leadoff spot. Wade has also chipped in with three steals in that span.
Outfield -- Brandon Marsh (L), 11%, Los Angeles Angels at Minnesota Twins (RHP Bailey Ober): It remains to be seen how the returns of Justin Upton and soon Mike Trout will affect Marsh's playing time as the third outfielder will be another lefty swinger in Adam Eaton with designated hitter occupied by some dude named Shohei Ohtani. For now, Marsh continues to get the run in center field. While the rookie is still searching for his first homer, March swiped his first bag of the season earlier in the week and is a threat to run whenever he's on base.