Maybe it's just perception, but it seems like Sundays have been relatively weak in comparison to other days with respect to pitcher streaming quality over the course of the season. Fortunately for those needing a late-week boost on that side of the ledger, there are multiple starters with favorable matchups, most available in nine out of ten ESPN leagues. As always, hitters are plush, ranging from grizzled veterans to up-and-coming youngsters.
Good luck to those hoping to advance in their head-to-head playoffs as well as those padding categories in rotisserie formats. Here are the Sunday picks to click, all available in at least 50 percent of ESPN leagues.
Sean Manaea (L), rostered in 25% of ESPN leagues, Oakland Athletics vs. Detroit Tigers: This is Manaea's second start after a lengthy recovery from shoulder surgery. In his 2019 debut, the lefty tossed five scoreless frames against the Yankees, allowing just one hit while walking three and fanning five. Next up are the Tigers and their fourth lowest wOBA (weighted on base average) facing lefties, along with a generous 26 percent strikeout clip in that scenario.
Sandy Alcantara (R), 11%, Miami Marlins vs. Kansas City Royals: It's been an uneven rookie campaign for Alcantara, though he's quietly pitching well down the stretch. In a time where 'five and fly' is commonplace, Alcantara has pitched at least seven innings in four of his last five starts, hurling six frames in the other. His ERA in this span is a tidy 3.38 with an impressive 0.95 WHIP. The 24-year-old righty is in a great spot to stay on a roll, facing the 23rd ranked lineup in terms of wOBA versus righthanders. Plus, the Royals will be without a designated hitter.
Mike Montgomery (L), 9%, Kansas City Royals at Miami Marlins: Montgomery has also been on a second half run, posting a 2.31 ERA and 1.29 WHIP since August 1, punching out 36 in 35 innings. On Sunday, the lefty lines up to face the league's poorest offense with a southpaw on the hill.
Eric Lauer (L), 8%, San Diego Padres vs. Colorado Rockies: Season long readers of this space likely know I'm a big fan of streaming lefties against the Rockies for home starts. For the year, the Rockies have recorded the second lowest wOBA while on the road against left-handed pitching. Lauer has the strikeout pitch working, fanning 17 over his last two starts across 12 IP.
Dylan Cease (R), 6%, Chicago White Sox vs. Los Angeles Angels: It may not be showing up in the numbers, but Dylan Cease has taken some strides since debuting earlier in the season. He's serving up homers at an alarming pace, authoring ten in his 37 ⅔ innings, but he's also struck out 43 in that span with a reasonable 13 walks. Cease could catch a break as Mike Trout left Friday's game with a sore toe. Regardless, the Angels have been below average since the break facing righties, and that's with Trout having another MVP-worthy season.
Bullpen: With Kyle Gibson out, the Minnesota Twins are resorting to a bullpen day to fill the void. Randy Dobnak is expected to open, with lefty Devin Smeltzer ticketed for the middle innings as the Twins look to take the rubber game of their weekend set with the Cleveland Indians and reduce their magic number in the AL Central.
Catcher -- Roberto Perez (R), 8%, Cleveland Indians at Minnesota Twins (Bullpen game): Perez carried a modest four-game hitting streak into Saturday's tilt which included his 22nd home run. In Perez's first five seasons, he hit a total of 21 long balls.
First Base -- Miguel Cabrera (R), 46%, Detroit Tigers at Oakland Athletics (LHP Sean Manaea): Cabrera continues to crush with the platoon edge, slashing .345/.411/.560 facing lefties, good for a .406 wOBA and 155 wRC+.
Second Base -- Kolten Wong (L), 39%, St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP Mitch Keller): Recently, Wong has been batting from the two hole which is even more relevant on the road since the visiting squad is assured of last ups (barring extra innings). The move makes sense as Wong is getting on base at a 40 percent clip the past three weeks, swiping four bases along the way.
Third Base -- Joey Wendle (L), 13%, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Toronto Blue Jays (RHP Jacob Waguespack): Wendle has hit for limited power in his abbreviated season but he's made up for it by running, swiping seven bags in what amounts to one-third of a season.
Shortstop -- Brock Holt (L), 1%, Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees (RHP Masahiro Tanaka): With Michael Chavis' recent setback, Holt will continue to old down the good side of a second base platoon. Holt started the season 1-for-16 before missing extended time with an eye injury. Since returning in late May, the gritty infielder is slashing .333/.393/.468.
Corner Infield -- Mark Canha (R), 41%, Oakland Athletics vs. Detroit Tigers (LHP Daniel Norris): With Ramon Laureano back, Canha is likely to lose playing time, especially since he's cooled down at the plate. That said, with the lefty Norris starting, Canha is likely to be in the Oakland lineup. Though, it should be mentioned Canha has handled same-side pitching better this season which bodes well for when Norris is lifted, as the southpaw isn't expected to work more than three or four innings.
Middle Infield -- Scott Kingery (R), 36%, Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets (RHP Noah Syndergaard): Reaching base against Syndergaard is the hard part. Taking advantage and stealing is much easier. The Phillies don't do a ton of running with Kingery amassing the most pilfers since the break.
Outfield -- Mike Tauchman (L), 18%, New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox (RHP Rick Porcello): Considering Tauchman is mired in a slump, perhaps this spot should go to teammate Brett Gardner, available in two-thirds of ESPN leagues. The reality is, both enjoy the platoon edge and are in play against Porcello. Since June 23, the former Cy Young winner sports an abominable 7.40 ERA and 1.63 WHIP, yet he is 7-5 in that span.
Outfield -- Kyle Tucker (L), 8%, Houston Astros vs. Seattle Mariners (RHP Felix Hernandez): It took a concussion to George Springer to finally get Tucker into the lineup. The 22-year-old outfielder is one of the top prospects in the game, posting a .909 OPS featuring 34 homers and 30 steals for Triple-A Round Rock.
Outfield -- Josh Naylor (L), 1%, San Diego Padres vs. Colorado Rockies (RHP Peter Lambert): Naylor has seen a lot of action lately with Franmil Reyes dealt to the Indians and Wil Myers and Hunter Renfroe both victims of second-half swoons. The burly 22-year-old has swatted all seven of his homers with a right-hander on the hill.