It's time to break out the white shorts as Monday marks the unofficial start of summer. As usual, Memorial Day offers wall-to-wall baseball starting early in the afternoon on the East Coast so make sure to get your lineups set accordingly. Despite the holiday, four teams have the day off so it's not quite a full slate, although there's bonus baseball with a twin bill in the Queen's City.
Several aces will take the hill, beginning with Max Scherzer and the Washington Nationals hosting the Miami Marlins in the nation's capital. The marquee matchup under the lights features Jacob deGrom leading the New York Mets into Chavez Ravine to challenge Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers. In between, there are some nice options for streaming, including the debut of yet another top prospect. Bats are also plentiful with 26 teams in action.
Here's what you need to get the next third of the season off on the right foot with all suggestions available in at least half of ESPN leagues.
Chris Bassitt (R), rostered in 34 percent of ESPN leagues, Oakland Athletics vs. Los Angeles Angels: On the surface, Bassitt is having a breakout campaign, but there's signs he has Lady Luck on his side. Most notably, a .213 BABIP (batting average on balls in play) and a 99 percent left on base mark aren't sustainable. On the other hand, Bassitt's strikeout spike is substantiated with a big leap in SwStr% (swinging strike rate). The Angels are a tough matchup for righties as they fan the least in the league, but with the contest at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, it should be a low scoring affair.
Lance Lynn (R), 9 percent, Texas Rangers at Seattle Mariners: Lynn is the embodiment of a matchup option, best utilized in pitcher's parks. Unfortunately, that will reduce the chances to deploy Lynn as home games are mostly out of the picture. This will be the classic strength versus strength tussle as the Mariners lead the league in homers while Lynn has allowed only six long balls in 61 2/3 innings.
Daniel Norris (L), 3 percent, Detroit Tigers at Baltimore Orioles: Norris isn't especially dominant, but he's frugal with the walks and generally does a good job keeping the ball in the yard though the long ball has bitten him lately with eight in 46 frames. The Orioles remain one of the lesser lineups with high strikeout potential.
Mitch Keller (R), 2 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates at Cincinnati Reds: Keller will be called up to make his debut during Monday's doubleheader. It's unclear how long Keller will remain in the majors, but this is an arm to pick up and stash if possible. He may not be the pitching equivalent of Austin Riley or Keston Hiura but he's a solid prospect, a tick above Houston Astros pitcher Corbin Martin. The Reds have picked up the pace, but especially since they'll split their lineup with the twin bill, the offense isn't threatening enough to shy away from the rookie.
Some teams use the opener-primary pitcher combo out of necessity, others have found hurlers taking well to it. One example is Felix Pena who will be working the bulk of the innings for the Los Angeles Angels in their AL West tilt with the Oakland Athletics. For the season, Pena is spinning a 3.30 ERA and tidy .96 WHIP with several recent outings following Cam Bedrosian. Pena is an option, especially for those able to slot him into a relief pitcher spot on their roster.
Catcher -- Willians Astudillo (R), 13 percent, Minnesota Twins vs. Milwaukee Brewers (LHP Gio Gonzalez): With Miguel Sano back and Nelson Cruz close to returning if not back, Astudillo's playing time will be more sporadic. However, with the platoon edge, the Twins are likely to find somewhere to slot him in. The rate Minnesota is scoring runs, anyone in their lineup is in a good spot to cross the plate.
First Base -- Mitch Moreland (L), 33 percent, Boston Red Sox vs. Cleveland Indians (RHP Jefry Rodriguez): It's curious Moreland sat out Sunday's meeting with Justin Verlander, although it could have just been a matter of him being in a tailspin and Alex Cora protecting the lefty swinger. Barring an unknown injury, Moreland should be back in the lineup for Monday's return to Fenway Park, a venue in which Moreland generally thrives.
Second Base -- Brandon Lowe (L), 41 percent, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Toronto Blue Jays (RHP Aaron Sanchez): Since 2017, Sanchez has recorded an unsightly 1.56 WHIP. Some could be his dalliance with blisters, but overall Sanchez's control has been spotty. Lowe's walk rate is down this season, but his track record suggested more patience. Sanchez isn't generous with the long ball, but Lowe has slugged nine of his 11 big flies with a righty on the bump.
Third Base -- Kyle Seager (L), 23 percent, Seattle Mariners vs. Texas Rangers (RHP Lance Lynn): This isn't the best matchup since Lynn has been throwing the ball well lately. That said, Seager lines up as a hitter really standing to benefit from the juiced ball as his average fly ball distance is in the area where a few more feet will render even more homers than someone with a shorter average distance.
Shortstop -- Nicky Lopez (L), 8 percent, Kansas City Royals at Chicago White Sox (RHP Ivan Nova): Lopez hasn't contributed to homers or steals yet, but he's getting on base and scoring runs. The production will come, perhaps as early as Monday as Lopez draws one of the weakest arms on the slate.
Corner Infield -- Derek Dietrich (L), 19 percent, Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP Mitch Keller): There's something warning with Dietrich's underlying metrics, suggesting the power surge may not be sustainable, but he's currently locked in and could be in line to play both ends of the holiday doubleheader.
Middle Infield -- Keston Hiura (R), 24 percent, Milwaukee Brewers at Minnesota Twins (RHP Michael Pineda): Hiura's showing signs of getting acclimated to major league pitching, registering a .947 OPS the past week, including his first two home runs.
Outfield -- Gregory Polanco (L), 34 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates at Cincinnati Reds (RHP Luis Castillo): Most teams like to get their entire roster some action during doubleheaders. If someone were to play both ends, it would be someone like Polanco, enjoying the platoon edge in both the opener and nightcap.
Outfield -- Leury Garcia (S), 8 percent, Chicago White Sox vs. Kansas City Royals (RHP Homer Bailey): Be sure to check the lineups as Garcia was a late scratch from Sunday's affair. If he's playing, sitting atop any order facing Homer Bailey is a good place to be. The White Sox are in the lower half of the league overall in terms of production, but the top of the order is formidable. If Garcia is still out, Charlie Tilson is a good pivot.