Wednesday features some bonus baseball as the Red Sox and Twins play a pair as they make up Monday's postponed opener of their four-game set. The slate isn't quite full as the Diamondbacks and Athletics have an off day following their short interleague series to open the week.
The card lacks a true ace, but it's deep with mid-rotations starters in favorable scenarios, rendering finding bats usually difficult. It doesn't help ESPN league managers are doing a fine job rostering the emerging bats which usually populate this space in the early going.
There's no need to fret; we have your back as always. Here are Wednesday's players designed to get you over the midweek hump, all available in at least half of all ESPN leagues.
Carlos Rodon (L), rostered in 50% of ESPN leagues, Chicago White Sox vs. Cleveland Indians: An upset stomach resulted in Rodon being a late scratch from Monday's start. At the time, his rostership was just 35%. Currently, it's teetering on the 50% mark so hurry and check his availability if you need a starter. As was noted Monday, 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.
Johnny Cueto (R), 32%, San Francisco Giants vs. Cincinnati Reds: Cueto followed up a decent first start with a gem last time out, falling one out short of a complete game win over the Rockies. After dipping in 2019, Cueto's strikeout rate rebounded last season and thus far, its ascent continues. He'll be tested by a Reds offense leading the league with 6.9 runs per game through Monday's action. However, much of that was done at home, this tilt is in pitcher-friendly Oracle Park.
Griffin Canning (R), 15%, Los Angeles Angels at Kansas City Royals: Canning has front-end of the rotation potential, but injuries have curtailed his development. He started 11 games last season but remember he would not have been available in April as be benefited from the delay. When healthy, he's posted an above average 13% swinging strike mark resulting in a solid 24.4% strikeout rate. While the Royals lineup isn't the pushover unit of resent seasons, they're fanning at a high 29% to begin the 2021 campaign.
Justin Dunn (R), 1%, Seattle Mariners at Baltimore Orioles: Speaking of strikeouts, no offense has whiffed more than Baltimore as the lead with a hefty 32% clip. In order to take advantage of the Orioles generosity, Dunn needs to display better control than his opener when he issued eight free passes in 4 2/3 frames. Walks have always been Dunn's crutch; however, Baltimore is also the ninth least patient lineup in the league.
The Twins and Red Sox opened their series on Tuesday in a light snow shower. It should be dry on Wednesday, though the temperature will still be only in the 40s for their twin bill, favoring pitching. As such, the games should be low scoring with saves in play. Teams often will deploy a second closer when they're going for a sweep, putting Taylor Rogers (63%) and Adam Ottavino (27%) in play.
For the latest team-by-team closer situations, please consult our Closer Chart.
Catcher -- Omar Narvaez (L), 20%, Milwaukee Brewers vs. Chicago Cubs (RHP Jake Arrieta): After strikeout out at a bloated 31% pace last season, Narvaez has only fanned 17% of time so far. He's also been extremely lucky with a .500 BABIP, but if he continues to strike out at a reasonable rate, the regression landing will be soft. Arrieta's 2-0 record with a 2.25 ERA in his return to the Cubs looks impressive, but he's only punched out nine in 12 innings with a 1.42 WHIP.
First Base -- Rowdy Tellez (L), 6%, Toronto Blue Jays vs. New York Yankees (RHP Corey Kluber): Tellez's cold start earned him some bench time, though he's been back in the lineup against righthanders the past few games. Striking out one third of the time is obviously discouraging, but when he hits the ball, Tellez has been crushing it with a 94th percentile average exit velocity which should eventually translate into power.
Second Base -- Jazz Chisholm (L), 15%, Miami Marlins at Atlanta Braves (RHP Charlie Morton): Perhaps it's simply early season noise, but at the very least Chisholm's 20% walk rate to open the season shows he's not overmatched after just 62 plate appearances last season as a 22-year-old. He's also not shy about running, posting a pair of pilfers.
Third Base -- Maikel Franco (R), 11%, Baltimore Orioles vs. Seattle Mariners (RHP Justin Dunn): It hasn't manifested yet, but if Franco continues to make frequent contact with much of it in the air, he's going to reap the benefits of playing in Camden Yards.
Shortstop -- Joey Wendle (L), 44%, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Texas Rangers (RHP Kohei Arihara): Wendle continues to be one of the more reliable plug-and-play options as he's also eligible at second and third while contributing across the board. Arihara is still an unknown, but he'll need to strikeout more than two in nine frames to make a successful transition to MLB.
Corner Infield -- Jurickson Profar (S), 27%, San Diego Padres at Pittsburgh Pirates (LHP Tyler Anderson): Like Wendle, Profar is available all over. The Padres utilityman is a great way to get exposure to a solid San Diego lineup, facing one of the lesser arms on Wednesday's ledger.
Middle Infield -- Starlin Castro (R), 9%, Washington Nationals at St. Louis Cardinals (RHP Adam Wainwright): This call is more anti-Wainwright than pro-Castro. Last season, the Cardinals lefty posted pedestrian peripherals but benefited from a .247 BABIP. Regression doesn't punch a time clock, and luck doesn't always even out, but thus far Wainwright's BABIP is .407. Obviously, this will come down, but the point is he's no longer to be feared.
Outfield -- Myles Straw (R), 14%, Houston Astros vs. Detroit Tigers (RHP Michael Fulmer): We're just completing the second week of the season but one streaming ploy is quite clear: check to see who the Tigers are playing, and if there is an available batter with stolen base potential and you need help in the category, click him in.
Outfield -- Taylor Trammell (L), 9%, Seattle Mariners at Baltimore Orioles (RHP Matt Harvey): Contact has been a big issue for Trammell, but the Mariners rookie has a pair of homers and a double among his five hits. If you're looking for a homer, targeting Matt Harvey has proved quite fruitful as the righty has surrendered 68 in 328 2/3 innings since 2017, a whopping 1.86 HR/9.
Outfield -- Alex Dickerson (L), 23%, San Francisco Giants vs. Cincinnati Reds (RHP Tyler Mahle): Dickerson showed what he could do when healthy last season, recording a 151 wRC+ in 52 games. He's still looking to get untracked this season though his plate skills suggest patience as he's not strikeout out much while accepting walks. Mahle is a strong breakout candidate, but to take the next step, he needs to do a better job against lefty swingers, especially in the power department.