Fantasy baseball daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Sunday

AP Photo/Ben Margot

Sunday offers the standard fare with 14 afternoon games plus the late game featuring the Philadelphia Phillies entertaining the New York Mets. Streaming matchups aren't especially enticing, so making up ground on the final day of the fantasy week will be tough. Those needing a boost in hitting should find it a little easier, though one of the early trends this season is that the available hitting pool is weaker than in past seasons, likely because you're all doing a great job adding the emerging batters.

Good luck closing out the week. Here are some ideas to help get it done.


Carlos Martinez (R), rostered in 11% of ESPN leagues, St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates: After four straight losses to open the season, Martinez entered the victory column last time out with a season-long 7 2/3 inning effort, yielding just one earned run to the Phillies. It was his second consecutive quality start with a good chance to extend the streak against a Pirates team averaging the seventh fewest runs per game in MLB.

Garrett Richards (R), 6%, Boston Red Sox at Texas Rangers: Something is going on with the Red Sox pitching staff under second-year pitching coach Dave Bush. They seem to be working faster as a group, helping keep the defense sharp in a time with fewer balls in play. Last time out, Richards was noticeably more deliberate with his delivery, exhibiting improved command and control. The Rangers are productive facing righties, sporting the 10th-highest weighted on-base average (wOBA) against them. However, they fan at a league-high 30.3% clip in that scenario.

Merrill Kelly (R), 3%, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Colorado Rockies: After sitting with an 8.44 ERA and 1.60 WHIP after his first three starts, Kelly settled down and hurled a pair of better outings, the last a quality start against a potent Padres lineup. Kelly is in a good spot to make it two in a row, as the Rockies have been poor on the road with by far the lowest wOBA when traveling.

Justus Sheffield (L), 11%, Seattle Mariners vs. Los Angeles Angels: Sheffield is coming off his worst effort of the season, as he gave up a dozen hits, resulting in five runs, four of which were earned in 5 1/3 frames against the Astros. Sunday's foe isn't a pushover, but the Angels hit righthanders better than southpaws. To be honest, this is a Sunday "break glass in case of emergency" choice. Unfortunately, there aren't any better options, but there may be some desperate enough for a win or some whiffs to shatter the glass.


There has been a changing of the guard in Minnesota, as Alex Colome has been demoted to a low-leverage role with Taylor Rogers the likely closer. With a 60% rostership mark, the lefty may be available in shallower formats. He has been solid this season with 11 strikeouts to one walk in 9 1/3 innings, compiling three holds and a save. Hansel Robles may also get some chances, as he's been efficient as a set-up man, posting five holds.

For the latest team-by-team closer situations, please consult our Closer Chart.


Catcher -- Sean Murphy (R), 29%, Oakland Athletics vs. Baltimore Orioles (LHP Bruce Zimmermann): Murphy took a seat on Saturday, so he'll almost assuredly be back behind the dish on Sunday. When standing next to it, Murphy has been muscling up lately, pounding three homers this past week. He's in a great spot, enjoying the platoon edge on a middling lefty.

First base -- Joey Votto (L), 38%, Cincinnati Reds vs. Chicago Cubs (RHP Trevor Williams): Those pining for Votto to eschew walking for driving in runs finally got your wish in his age-37 season. The veteran's on-base mark is by far a career worst, but he's pacing for the sixth most RBI in his storied career.

Second base -- Kevin Newman (R), 3%, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. St. Louis Cardinals (RHP Carlos Martinez): Newman ended April on a modest five-game hitting streak. He'll aim to carry things over to May as he continues to see regular playing time. With Phillip Evans shifting to the outfield and Erik Gonzalez moving over to cover the hot corner, Newman has been Pittsburgh's primary shortstop.

Third base -- Josh Harrison (R), 17%, Washington Nationals vs. Miami Marlins (LHP Trevor Rogers): After finishing April with a flourish, Harrison continued to rake in May, as he has now hit safely in six straight games at a 9-for-24 clip, including a pair of homers.

Shortstop -- Leury Garcia (S), 1%, Chicago White Sox vs. Cleveland Indians (RHP Zach Plesac): After slumbering more of April, Garcia's bat showed some life at the end of the month, compiling hits in six of eight games heading into May. Plesac has been a disappointment, but he is coming off a solid effort last time out. Sunday marks the sixth time in 14 starts Plesac draws the White Sox.

Corner infield -- Asdrubal Cabrera (S), 23%, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Colorado Rockies (RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez): It's always wise to pick on the worst starter on the docket. Since Pavin Smith and David Peralta have been frequent visitors, let's put the spotlight on Cabrera and his .346/.485/.462 slash the past nine games. Of particular note is his on-base mark since the willingness to walk is useful in points formats.

Middle infield -- J.P. Crawford (L), 4%, Seattle Mariners vs. Los Angeles Angels (RHP Dylan Bundy): The Angels are emerging as a team to target when trawling for some steals. Crawford hasn't run much yet, but he's capable of nabbing a bag or two. Heading into Saturday's action, Crawford had reached safely in nine straight games at a 36% clip.

Outfield -- Tyler O'Neill (R), 16%, St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP Wil Crowe): After lowering his strikeouts last season, O'Neill has reverted to fanning at a bloated 38% rate. However, he has also smacked five homers, two of which were part of a combo meal last Wednesday and Friday.

Outfield -- Alex Kirilloff (L), 25%, Minnesota Twins vs. Kansas City Royals (RHP Brad Keller): The Twins' patience with Kirilloff is paying off, as he's slugged three homers over the past two games. On Sunday, Kirilloff faces Keller and his unsightly 9.00 ERA and 2.28 WHIP.

Outfield -- Tyrone Taylor (R), 4%, Milwaukee Brewers vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (LHP Julio Urias): With two homers in just nine plate appearances against a southpaw, Taylor has been batting leadoff against lefthanders. Urias is tough, but Taylor has been comfortable in this scenario and American Family Field is a batter's paradise.