It's the weekend, and with it comes Albert Pujols' long-anticipated return to St. Louis for the first time since 2011. For fantasy purposes, it's more noteworthy that the Angels' trek to an NL park means that Shohei Ohtani, who has exclusively served as the team's DH this season, will be relegated to bench duty. Saturday also marks the return of Chris Paddack, who had been sent to the minors to keep his innings in check. The rookie is available in 30 percent of ESPN leagues, so scoop him up if he was dropped in your league by an impatient owner.
Here's a look at the day's top streaming options, focusing on players rostered in fewer than 50 percent of ESPN leagues.
Lance Lynn (R), rostered in 49 percent of ESPN leagues, Texas Rangers vs. Chicago White Sox: Lynn's rostered percentage has been rising quickly and it's easy to see why. Over his past eight starts, the right-hander sports a 2.92 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and a 66/8 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 52 1/3 innings. At least some of his success this season can likely be attributed to an altered pitch mix, as he's relying more on his cutter and less on his sinker. Lynn should keep rolling on Saturday against a White Sox squad that's below average against righties and sports an inflated 25.8 percent strikeout rate.
Dakota Hudson (R), 19 percent, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Angels: The indicators suggest that Hudson hasn't fully earned his 3.55 ERA. His FIP and xFIP sit at 4.73 and 4.38, respectively, he's not missing bats (6.2 K/9), and his control is poor (4.1 BB/9). Yet the sinkerballer is somehow making it work, relying on a 61.4 percent ground ball rate that ranks best in the majors. Hudson has allowed three or fewer earned runs in 11 straight starts and, more impressively, he's surrendered just one home run over the past two months. Saturday's matchup versus the Angels isn't particularly favorable, but Hudson deserves the benefit of the doubt until he shows us otherwise.
Tommy Milone (L), 5 percent, Seattle Mariners vs. Baltimore Orioles: Has the 32-year-old Milone turned a corner? Probably not, but it's hard to argue with the results so far. The veteran lefty holds a 3.03 ERA and 0.89 WHIP in six appearances this season (either as a starter or a follower), driven by an impressive 8.8 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 across 32 2/3 frames. Given Milone's track record, it's OK to have some hesitancy about rostering him. Let's not forget that he hasn't posted an ERA south of 5.71 since 2015. Then again, Saturday's matchup comes against the Orioles, one of the worst teams in baseball against left-handed pitching, so you can stream Milone with confidence here.
Felix Pena (R), 4 percent, Los Angeles Angels at St. Louis Cardinals: Speaking of bad offenses, no offense has been worse than the Cardinals' of late. The Redbirds sport an MLB-worst .277 wOBA and 70 wRC+ in June with a 25.7 percent whiff rate. This sets up a nice streaming opportunity for Pena. The right-hander has struggled with start-to-start consistency and was hit hard by the lowly Blue Jays his last time out, so there is some risk here. That said, Pena offers some upside with a K/9 rate north of 9.0, and the Cardinals' lineup is highly vulnerable right now.
Has there been a changing of the guard in Cincinnati? Michael Lorenzen -- not Raisel Iglesias -- has secured the Reds' past two save chances. On Monday, Iglesias was brought in for what would have been a five-out save, but after he walked Myles Straw and got Alex Bregman to pop up in the ninth, manager David Bell went to Lorenzen to get the final two outs. On Tuesday, Iglesias started and finished the top of the eighth inning, was pinch-hit for in the bottom of the eighth, and then again Lorenzen was called upon to close things out in the ninth. Iglesias is still probably the favorite to lead the Reds in saves the rest of the way, but this has the makings of a messy situation. At the very least, it's worth keeping an eye on. Lorenzen, who has four saves on the season, is available in 98 percent of ESPN leagues.
Projected game scores
Catcher -- Tom Murphy (R), 1 percent, Seattle Mariners vs. Baltimore Orioles (RHP Andrew Cashner): Murphy has been taking advantage of the increased playing time in Seattle. The slugging catcher is batting .299 with eight homers in 97 at-bats, and he sports a higher OPS (.935) against same-side pitching. Cashner has actually struggled more against righty batters, allowing a .367 wOBA (compared to .247 wOBA vs. lefty batters).
First Base -- Matt Adams (L), 2 percent, Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves (RHP Mike Foltynewicz): Last season, we tried to avoid using hitters against Foltynewicz. This season, we're attacking him. The right-hander has been highly volatile, and Adams has the power to take advantage of a struggling righty.
Second Base -- Danny Santana (S), 9 percent, Texas Rangers vs. Chicago White Sox (RHP Odrisamer Despaigne): Santana continues to produce when he's in the lineup. He's batting .312/.348/.532 and has been showcasing his power/speed combo by both going yard and swiping a bag in multiple games this week. Santana also owns a .383 wOBA against righty pitching, putting him in a prime spot against Despaigne, the day's lowest-ranked starter.
Third Base -- Miguel Sano (R), 29 percent, Minnesota Twins at Kansas City Royals (LHP Danny Duffy): Duffy is in the midst of a rough patch, as he's allowed four or more runs in four of his past five starts. While Sano has yet to really get going, he has seven bombs in just 24 games and is plenty dangerous against struggling southpaws.
Shortstop -- Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (R), 39 percent, Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox (LHP Brian Johnson): Gurriel's name has appeared frequently in this space recently, and that will likely continue to be the case as long as his rostered percentage stays this low. He's batting .310/.365/.667 over the past 30 days and gets the platoon edge against Johnson, who's allowed 10 runs in nine innings this season.
Corner Infield -- Ji-Man Choi (L), 3 percent, Tampa Bay Rays at Oakland Athletics (RHP Mike Fiers): Choi has turned it on in June, batting .311/.404/.533 across 45 at-bats. The lefty swinger does all of his damage against righties, and on Saturday he draws the platoon advantage against Fiers.
Middle Infield -- Scott Kingery (R), 46 percent, Philadelphia Phillies vs. Miami Marlins (RHP Elieser Hernandez): Not only is Kingery raking this season, putting up a 1.000-plus OPS against both righties and lefties, but his eligibility at three different positions makes him an easy plug-and-play option. His 47.9 percent hard-hit rate would rank top 15 in baseball if he had enough plate appearances to qualify.
Outfield -- Franmil Reyes (R), 35 percent, San Diego Padres at Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP Chris Archer): Over his past eight starts, Archer sports a 7.56 ERA with 14 homers allowed. Reyes, who is on pace to hit 43 dingers, is one of Saturday's best power plays if you need help in the home run category.
Outfield -- Jesse Winker (L), 36 percent, Cincinnati Reds at Milwaukee Brewers (RHP Jhoulys Chacin): Winker hasn't quite met expectations this season, but he's showing more power than expected and is batting .308/.386/.513 in June. The 25-year-old gets the platoon advantage against Chacin at Miller Park, an elite venue for left-handed power.
Outfield -- Oscar Mercado (R), 22 percent, Cleveland Indians vs. Detroit Tigers (RHP Spencer Turnbull): It took a little time, but Mercado is starting to flash some of the upside that got fantasy managers excited when he was first called up. Over the past two weeks, the rookie is hitting a robust .377 with three homers and four stolen bases. This is an intriguing skill set that matches up well against Turnbull, who is coming off his worst start of the season against these same Indians.