It's a busy Monday card with only the Dodgers and Rockies enjoying an off day. Only one of the 14 contests is a matinee affair with the Twins hosting the Red Sox at 2:10 ET. Everything else is under the lights.
The marquee matchup is an AL East tussle with the Blue Jays and Hyun-Jin Ryu entertaining the Yankees and Gerrit Cole in Dunedin, Toronto's home away from home.
Here are Monday's picks to help get your week started on a strong note, with everyone available in at least half of all ESPN leagues.
Carlos Rodon (L), rostered in 35% of ESPN leagues, Chicago White Sox vs. Cleveland: Rodon suffered shoulder woes early in his career only to be felled by Tommy John surgery in 2019. The embattled southpaw began the 2021 campaign with a flourish, fanning nine Mariners in five frames. His fastball topped out at 98 mph. Rodon looks to keep the momentum going against a Cleveland lineup sporting the fourth-lowest strikeout rate thus far.
Brady Singer (R), 22%, Kansas City Royals vs. Los Angeles Angels: Singer's first start after a promising freshman campaign was a bit discouraging as he yielded five earned runs on six hits to Texas in just 3 2/3 innings. As a groundball pitcher, he's vulnerable to outings of this nature, but fanning five is reason for optimism. Next up is an Angels lineup among the toughest to strike out, but there are not many streaming options even with almost everyone in action.
Dane Dunning (R), 11%, Texas Rangers at Tampa Bay Rays: Texas is doing the dual pitcher approach a little differently. The common practice is using an opener for at most one time through the order before turning the ball over to a bulk reliever. The Rangers are not restricting their starter; they're simply announcing who the first reliever will be that day. So far, Texas is using Dunning and lefty Taylor Hearns in tandem, also pairing up Jordan Lyles and Wes Benjamin. Dunning worked five frames in his Rangers debut, holding the potent Blue Jays lineup to one run on three hits while whiffing five.
John Gant (R), 3%, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Washington Nationals: To be honest, Monday could be a day to be conservative with streamers and look to find some saves candidates to populate your active lineup. Gant barely makes the cut and it's by virtue of being a home date in pitcher-friendly Busch Stadium. The veteran swingman has opened the season in the rotation with Miles Mikolas and Kwang Hyun Kim convalescing on the IL. Gant threw only four frames in his opener as he was inefficient with 82 pitches, fanning four but walking three in that span.
Huascar Ynoa (R), 8%, Atlanta Braves vs. Miami Marlins: The Braves opted to give Max Fried an extra day's rest as both he and Ynoa worked the Braves doubleheader last Wednesday. Ynoa was impressive, fanning five Nationals in five scoreless frames while issuing only one walk and scattering a pair of hits. The 22-year-old right-hander draws a Marlins lineup still trying to get on track as they've recorded the third-lowest wOBA in the league.
Bullpen: Even though he's yet to be called upon for a save, it's clear Matt Barnes is the Red Sox closer and he's rostered in only 62% of ESPN leagues. Barnes is off to a fast start, punching out 11 with just one walk in five stanzas. He's always been able to miss bats; Barnes issue is walks but so far, he's exhibited pinpoint control.
For the latest team-by-team closer situations, please consult our Closer Chart.
Catcher -- Pedro Severino (R), 10%, Baltimore Orioles vs. Seattle Mariners (LHP Justus Sheffield): The trick with identifying a catcher to stream is maximizing the likelihood he plays since backstops receive more off days than other position players. Severino's backup is Chance Sisco, a lefty swinger, so Severino will almost assuredly be behind the plate with an opposing southpaw on the hill. Moreover, 11 of Severino's 19 homers since 2019 have come facing a lefty, despite 133 fewer chances.
First Base -- Joey Votto (L), 28%, Cincinnati Reds at San Francisco Giants (RHP Aaron Sanchez): This is admittedly a hard sell, even in points leagues, as Votto has drawn only two walks in 39 plate appearances. Further, Sanchez didn't issue any free passes in his Giants debut, his first appearance since 2019. Even so, Votto has been a points league stalwart over his career and it requires more than one week to lose faith.
Second Base -- Enrique Hernandez (R), 22%, Boston Red Sox at Minnesota Twins (LHP J.A. Happ): Early in his career, Hernandez gained the reputation of mashing lefties, but as is often the case, his platoon splits calmed down, though it's still preferred to deploy a hitter when he's enjoying the advantage. Happ should benefit from working in Target Field which quietly suppresses homers, but he's still not especially dominant so Hernandez should be able to put the ball in play, hitting atop a suddenly potent Red Sox lineup.
Third Base -- Evan Longoria (R), 37%, San Francisco Giants vs. Cincinnati Reds (LHP Wade Miley): Miley excelled in his 2021 opener, fanning six Pirates over six scoreless frames. However, history shows this is the exception, not the rule. History also shows Longoria can still pound lefties, and he's been doing it long enough to deem the splits actionable. Shortstop -- Andrelton Simmons (R), 22%, Minnesota Twins vs. Boston Red Sox (LHP Martin Perez): Known for his slick-fielding, Simmons brings his superior hand-eye coordination to the plate where he rarely strikes out. Putting the ball in play has served him well, especially this season as an extremely fortunate -- and due to regress -- .556 BABIP through Saturday has him off to a hot start. Early season good luck aside, Simmons would be in a good start against Perez regardless.
Corner Infield -- Travis Shaw (L), 8%, Milwaukee Brewers vs. Chicago Cubs (RHP Adbert Alzolay): The Brewers lineup looks to be snapping out of its season-long doldrums and Shaw has been the only consistent regular to start the 2021 campaign. He hit his second home run over the weekend, but he also left Sunday's game after fouling a ball off his shin. The club isn't concerned, reporting Shaw could play today. If he's in the lineup, Shaw is a solid play as he enjoys the platoon edge on a vulnerable right-hander. If he's out, Boston's Bobby Dalbec is in a good spot facing J.A. Happ. It's also worth seeing if Eduardo Escobar is available as he looks to go deep in his fifth straight game against Chris Bassitt and the Athletics.
Middle Infield -- J.P. Crawford (L), 3%, Seattle Mariners at Baltimore Orioles (RHP Dean Kremer): Crawford has yet to get it going as he even struggled in Cactus League play. He'll look to turn things around against a mediocre righthander who has allowed 36 baserunners over his first 21 2/3 innings since he debuted last season. Not to mention, Crawford will probably see some at-bats against a weak Orioles bullpen.
Outfield -- Jesse Winker (L), 40%, Cincinnati Reds at San Francisco Giants (RHP Aaron Sanchez): Early season injuries have dropped Winker below the 50% threshold for inclusion. Before missing time recently, Winker was coming through on the promise displayed last season and in the spring as he posted a 1.310 OPS in his first three games.
Outfield -- Kole Calhoun (L), 16%, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Oakland Athletics (RHP Chris Bassitt): Calhoun's 2021 debut was delayed after he tore the meniscus in his right knee in early spring. He's a batting average risk, though with 49 homers since 2019, Calhoun is a threat to leave the yard, particularly with a righty toeing the rubber.
Outfield -- Jordan Luplow (R), under 1%, Cleveland at Chicago White Sox (LHP Carlos Rodon): Luplow comes with a warning as he's apt to be replaced if a tough right handed reliever is brought in, but he's been batting leadoff against lefthanders thus has a chance to do some early damage.