Wednesday has traditionally featured a full slate, but this season there have been two-game interleague sets scheduled on Monday and Tuesday, leaving the participants off on Wednesday. This week, the Dodgers and Mariners sit out on hump day.
One of the most common questions I'm asked pertaining to setting lineups is whether deploying teammates should be avoided, especially in head-to-head formats. The concern is a good pitcher can shut down an entire offense, affecting multiple players in your lineup. On draft day, it's best to focus on the best player, with little heed paid toward their uniform. However, when fortifying your lineup on a given day, using multiple players against a weak arm (or a team with a weak bullpen) can pay dividends. The reason is the same event can result in points for two of your players as one can knock in the other. To accrue runs and RBI points for singular players, you're relying on a player not on your roster to help.
To that end, several teammates will be included with today's featured batters. As always, everyone highlighted is currently available in at least half of all ESPN leagues.
Anthony DeSclafani (R), rostered in 36% of ESPN leagues, San Francisco Giants at Philadelphia Phillies: DeSclafani has taken well to pitching for the Giants, sporting a 1.06 ERA after a pair of starts. He's benefited from a 94.6% left on base mark, but even when the luck is neutralized, the estimators all peg him around 3.50. Wednesday he draws a struggling Phillies lineup, scoring just 3.56 runs per game, the fifth lowest in the league.
David Peterson (L), 7%, New York Mets at Chicago Cubs: Speaking of the Phillies, Peterson fanned ten of them his last time out, giving up just one run and two hits over six frames. The Cubs offense has been even less productive than Philadelphia as they're averaging a paltry 3.40 runs per contact, third worst in MLB.
Garrett Richards (R), 5%, Boston Red Sox vs. Toronto Blue Jays: Richards has yet to break into the win column with his new team, though after a clunker to open the season, he's pitched better in his last two outings. Control has been an issue with seven walks in 12 innings. Richards velocity is also down a couple ticks, but he's used to working in warmer weather so with the temperature on the rise, hopefully his velocity will dovetail. The Blue Jays offense has been in a rut, missing a couple of key pieces with Teoscar Hernandez out with COVID-19 and Cavan Biggio missing action with a sore hand.
Michael Wacha (R), 5%, Tampa Bay Rays at Kansas City Royals: Walks have been an issue for Wacha as he's issued seven free passes in 15 stanzas. However, he's also fanned 20 while allowing just one homer. The Royals draw walks at a below league average pace, giving Wacha a chance to rack up more whiffs.
Jose Quintana (L), 4%, Los Angeles Angels vs. Texas Rangers: Quintana is off to a horrible start in his return to the junior circuit, registering a 16.20 ERA and 3.40 WHIP over his first two starts, spanning just five stanzas. The veteran has had 10 days to stew about his struggles as he last pitched on April 10. Wednesday is a good opportunity to get back on track, taking the mound in pitcher-friendly Angels Stadium to face a Rangers club scoring the ninth fewest runs per game while fanning the most of any offense.
Bullpen: Ian Kennedy being rostered in only 30% of ESPN leagues is a bit surprising. Perhaps some are still wary he'll revert to last season's poor form, but early on the veteran has punched out 11 in seven innings with no free passes. Kennedy is perfect in four save chances and is definitely worth a pickup for those needing help in the category.
For the latest team-by-team closer situations, please consult our Closer Chart.
Catcher -- Jorge Alfaro (R), 6%, Miami Marlins vs. Baltimore Orioles (LHP Bruce Zimmermann): Miami is one of the five teams utilizing a humidor this season. Keep in mind, not only can a humidor add a little moisture to balls stored in a dry climate, but it can also reduce the moisture to balls kept in hot and humid climes. It is far too early to judge, but on paper the humidor in loanDepot Park should increase offense. Alfaro enjoys the platoon bump on a vulnerable southpaw, as do Miguel Rojas and Garrett Cooper. Wednesday is a good chance to stack teammates in head-to-head play.
First Base -- Colin Moran (L), 23%, Pittsburgh Pirates at Detroit Tigers (RHP Spencer Turnbull): Last year, Moran added a couple ticks to his average exit velocity, but it didn't manifest in a huge increase in production since his launch angle dropped. So far this season, Moran has maintained almost all of the exit velocity increase while carrying a career high launch. The result is an early power spike as evidenced by a .579 slugging mark. It remains to be seen if he can keep up the pace. That said, Moran faces a righty making his first start, followed by a poor bullpen.
Second Base -- Enrique Hernandez (R), 27%, Boston Red Sox vs. Toronto Blue Jays (RHP Trent Thornton): You would think the leadoff batter for the top offense (so far) in the American League would be rostered in more leagues, but alas, Hernandez is probably available. After a slow start, he's slashed .327/.353 /.571 over the past two weeks.
Third Base -- Maikel Franco (R), 16%, Baltimore Orioles at Miami Marlins (LHP Trevor Rogers): Perhaps this is more a matter of personal taste and philosophy when looking for a fill-in option, but my preference is for players with above average contact skills. In Franco's case, it comes with a fly ball tilt, increasing the chances some of that contact leaves the yard. Freddy Galvis is another guy known for putting the bat on the ball, plus he's a switch-hitter facing on of the league's poorest bullpens.
Shortstop -- Andres Gimenez (L), 41%, Cleveland Indians vs. Chicago White Sox (Undecided): After it was announced Gimenez would open the season as Cleveland's shortstop, his draft stock rose as many sought some steals. Gimenez didn't even attempt a pilfer for the first two weeks, prompting many impatient fantasy managers to cut bait. Gimenez then recorded a steal in two straight games and now draws a White Sox battery
Corner Infield -- Joey Votto (L), 23%, Cincinnati Reds vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (RHP Merrill Kelly): While the Daily Notes crew does its best to put as many names on your radar as possible, sometimes a player will be frequently spotlighted. Votto is a good example, but we'd be doing a disservice to omit him just because he was mentioned recently. He's reworked his swing and approach and it's paying dividends. Pairing Votto with teammate Jesse Winker could lead to a fruitful Wednesday.
Middle Infield -- Josh Harrison (R), 13%, Washington Nationals vs. St. Louis Cardinals (RHP Carlos Martinez): Harrison missed the first week of the season as he was passing through the COVID-19 protocol. Since activation, he's been raking with a .440/.500/.640 slash line.
Outfield -- Jackie Bradley Jr. (L), 16%, Milwaukee Brewers at San Diego Padres (RHP Dinelson Lamet): Bradley Jr. had an eight-game hitting streak snapped by Joe Musgrove on Monday night. It's not a coincidence the Brewers offense picked up during this stretch as Bradley Jr. has been leading off. Travis Shaw has also been instrumental in the surge, and although Lamet is one of the most talented young arms in the league, he's making his inaugural 2021 start and isn't likely to work very deep into the contest.
Outfield -- Kole Calhoun (L), 15%, Arizona Diamondbacks at Cincinnati Reds (RHP Tyler Mahle): Flip a coin, pick up Calhoun or David Peralta. Hey, why not both? Mahle is showing signed of a long-predicted breakout, but he's also susceptible to the long ball, of which Calhoun and Peralta can both take advantage.
Outfield -- Adolis Garcia (R), 1%, Texas Rangers at Los Angeles Angels (LHP Jose Quintana): Garcia has taken over as the Rangers primary center fielder, at least for now. No walks with nine strikeouts in 20 plate appearances warms of troubles ahead, but for now Garcia has the power stroke going, with a double, triple and two homers over the past week.