There are a handful of aces going on Tuesday in MLB action, but they are easily avoidable in your fantasy baseball lineups, leaving tons of pitchers to attack with your favorite hitters.
We've got some juicy starters to pluck off the board for a spot start, and a couple of hitters will become mainstays on the Tuesday board until they achieve a markedly higher roster rate.
Yusei Kikuchi (L), rostered in 56 percent of ESPN leagues, Seattle Mariners vs. Kansas City Royals: Kikuchi's debut season hit a substantial road bump after three straight 3⅓-inning outings that pushed his ERA from 3.43 to 4.99 before dropping a surprise strong outing at Minnesota (5 IP/1 ER). He has a good chance to build on that with an outing against the Royals, the fourth-worst team in weighted runs created-plus (wRC+) against lefties at 72 (100 is average, so they're 28 percent worse). Over the past month, they are dead last in wRC+ with a massive 30 percent strikeout rate, too.
Brett Anderson (L), rostered in 11 percent of ESPN leagues, Oakland Athletics vs. Baltimore Orioles: Anderson is doing what he usually does, holding down the fort between IL visits. He won't rack up punch outs, but he does a good job of keeping the ball in the yard -- especially in the spacious Oakland Coliseum. Baltimore has a couple of power threats from the right side, but is incurring a huge park downgrade, which offers Anderson a platform to fan a few more batters than usual.
Adrian Sampson (R), 13 percent, Texas Rangers vs. Cleveland Indians: Sampson was rolling as he entered a start at the Boston Red Sox. He had a 1.99 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in 31⅔ innings with three strong outings following an opener and then two true starts in which he logged 16 strong innings, allowing two earned runs, striking out 18 and walking just one. A four-homer barrage broke up his hot streak, as he allowed six earned runs in five innings (he did fan five and only walk one, though). Cleveland has been a bottom-10 offense against righties this year with an 86 wRC+. They've been better of late, but Sampson runs a reverse platoon, so the switch- and lefty-heavy lineup might not be as worrisome for him.
The duo that resulted in 16 wins last season is back at it for the Tampa Bay Rays as Ryne Stanek with open for Ryan Yarbrough in the second game of an important AL East battle with the New York Yankees. Against most clubs, Yarbrough is an option, despite a bloated 5.59 ERA that is well out of sync with a stingy 1.08 WHIP. However, the Yankees just added to their already potent lineup with the trade for Edwin Encarnacion, so it's advisable to look elsewhere for a shot in the arm.
Projected game scores
Catcher -- James McCann (R), 16 percent, Chicago White Sox at Chicago Cubs (LHP Cole Hamels): McCann's BABIP has finally started to come back down to earth this month, but he has remained successful. He's hitting only .256 in June, but he has doubled his walk count (to six) and already hit as many home runs (two) as he did in all of May. While he's been rather balanced this year, he has a sharp platoon split against lefties for his career, hitting 174 points better against them with an .803 OPS.
First Base -- Yandy Diaz (R), 38 percent, Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees (LHP J.A. Happ): Until Diaz winds up on more rosters, there's just no way he won't be a regular in my Tuesday planners, especially against lefties. He's smashing them to the tune of a .348/.430/.623 line with five homers in 79 plate appearances. He has needed 90 more plate appearances against righties to hit six homers against them.
Second Base -- Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (R), 33 percent, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Los Angeles Angels (LHP Tyler Skaggs): Gurriel has been absolutely on fire since returning from the minors with a .329/.372/.684 line and seven homers in 86 PAs. He has started to move up the batting order, too, batting second or third in the past seven games.
Third Base -- David Freese (R), 2 percent, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants (RHP Shaun Anderson): You'll have to make sure Freese is in the lineup, as he doesn't play full time. While he has built a career on crushing lefty pitchers, he actually has been better against righties this year with a 1.181 OPS and four homers in 52 PAs.
Shortstop -- Scott Kingery (R), 25 percent, Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals (LHP Patrick Corbin): Very few hitters have been hotter than Kingery has been of late. Since his return to action, he's toting a 1.002 OPS with six home runs, 15 RBIs and 16 runs in 95 plate appearances. He has notched three hits in three of his past six games, and he has gone hitless in just six of his last 21 games. Kingery is in a great spot, holding the platoon edge on a struggling southpaw, as Corbin has posted an 11.37 ERA over his last three outings.
Corner Infield -- Renato Nunez (R), 21 percent, Baltimore Orioles at Oakland Athletics (LHP Brett Anderson): If you've read my Tuesday planners with regularity and you looked ahead on the schedule to see that Nunez was facing a lefty, then you knew he was going to be included here. He's positively thrashing lefties with a .278/.330/.578 line and eight homers in 97 PAs. Good luck, Brett Anderson.
Middle Infield -- Kevin Newman (R), 2 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Detroit Tigers (LHP Daniel Norris): Newman has ascended to the top of the Pirates' order and found some success in that role. He is hitting .296 over his past 86 plate appearances along with two home runs, 12 RBIs, 10 runs and three stolen bases, leading off in 17 of the 19 games. Norris is allowing a .304 average to righties this year, so while Newman hasn't been his best against lefties, Norris gives him an opportunity to turn the tide a bit.
Outfield -- Jackie Bradley Jr. (L), 35 percent, Boston Red Sox at Minnesota Twins (RHP Michael Pineda): JBJ has to be the most infuriating player in fantasy baseball. He's always good for an impossibly bad streak that makes him unusable in any fantasy format. He decided to start the season with that streak this year, hitting just .144/.245/.176 through May 19. Back-to-back games with a homer on May 20 and 21 kicked off a run during which he's hit .307/.396/.659 with seven home runs, 17 RBIs, 16 runs and two stolen bases in 101 PAs. With his penchant for these ice-cold streaks, I imagine this phenomenon happens a lot where Bradley's best runs are on a fantasy team other than the one that drafted him.
Outfield -- Garrett Cooper (R), 10 percent, Miami Marlins at St. Louis Cardinals (RHP Jack Flaherty): Cooper is going to be a regular for me until he either slows down or pushes his roster rate way up. I recommended him last week, and from Tuesday through the rest of the week, he had a 1.169 OPS with a double, triple and home run in 22 PAs. His OPS is now .969 over his past 28 games with six home runs, 20 RBIs and 24 runs in 122 PAs (full-season paces of 35 homers, 116 RBIs and 139 runs).
Outfield -- Josh Reddick (L), 28 percent, Houston Astros at Cincinnati Reds (RHP Anthony DeSclafani): Reddick has weirdly done his best against lefties this year, though he's been serviceable against righties. This pick is more to go against DeSclafani with a lefty. He has allowed an insane .977 OPS to left-handed hitters this year with nine homers in 147 PAs. Reddick is going to hit his seventh homer against righties in this game!