Some slates are built for streaming, then there is Monday. The good news is there's the rest of the week to find lineup help, but getting an edge on a day with just 10 games on the docket is a great way for grinders to gain an edge. There aren't any afternoon games, but waiting too long for fill holes could result in even slimmer pickings.
Here are Monday's players in a favorable spot to help, with everyone available in more than half of all ESPN leagues.
Daniel Lynch (L), rostered in 9% of ESPN leagues, Kansas City Royals vs. Cleveland: In a surprise move, the Royals have moved Jakob Junis to the bullpen in order to clear a rotation spot for Lynch, one of their promising young arms. Lynch is a consensus top-100 prospect, placing 65th in ESPN's Kiley McDaniel's rankings. The lanky 6-foot-6 left-hander hasn't pitched above High-A and was expected to begin the year at Triple-A. He sits in the high-90s with his fastball along with a potential wipeout slider. It was believed that the Royals wanted Lynch to refine his changeup, but he must have impressed the brass enough at the alternate site to be called up.
Adam Wainwright (R), 29%, St. Louis Cardinals vs. New York Mets: Wainwright's ERA is almost a full run higher than last season's mark, but his peripherals are much better, as evidenced by improved ERA estimators. His current 21.5% K-BB% would be by far a career high if he maintains it five more months. Of course, that is a big ask, though Wainwright lines up to get May off on a strong start facing a Mets lineup scoring the second fewest runs per game in the league.
Miguel Diaz (R), 1%, San Diego Padres vs. Pittsburgh Pirates: With Chris Paddack having been placed on the IL, Diaz was summoned from the alternate training site to make a spot start. Once a top prospect for San Diego, injuries curtailed his development to the point that the club released him. He was, however, brought back on a minor-league deal and has spent the past two seasons trying to resurrect his career. It's unclear how many pitches Diaz will be able to throw, but with a home date against the weak Pirates lineup, he's worth a speculative look. If he impresses, Diaz could fill in more often, especially if Dinelson Lamet continues to deal with health woes.
Adrian Houser (R), fewer than 1%, Milwaukee Brewers at Philadelphia Phillies: It's easy to get lost in the shuffle on a staff featuring Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, Freddy Peralta and Josh Hader. That said, Houser isn't doing much to shine the spotlight in his direction, though he is coming off a season-high seven strikeout outing against the Marlins, when he allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings. For the season, Houser's peripherals lag their usual mark, but he has a good chance to start to fix that against a Phillies lineup with the sixth-lowest weighted on-base average in the league.
Monday lines up to be an old-fashioned bullpen game for the Seattle Mariners, as they're staying with a six-man rotation, even with Marco Gonzales sidelined. With a winnable home date with the Baltimore Orioles on the docket, speculating on a vulture win could pay off. Candidates are Erik Swanson, Robert Dugger and Drew Steckenrider with Rafael Montero and Keynan Middleton in the late-inning mix. The best approach is noting who is needed on Sunday and assume they won't be in the Monday mix for multiple frames.
For the latest team-by-team closer situations, please consult our Closer Chart.
Catcher -- Austin Nola (R), 34%, San Diego Padres vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (LHP Tyler Anderson): If Nola produces like last season, it won't be long before his rostership climbs towards the 50% cutoff. That said, the initial plan is for Nola to split time with Victor Caratini, who filled in while Nola was out with a fractured finger. Nola will probably face all the southpaws before eventually taking over as the bell cow.
First base -- Brandon Belt (L), 18%, San Francisco Giants at Colorado Rockies (RHP German Marquez): In an alternate universe, Belt and his 44% career fly-ball rate landed with the Rockies, where he and not Todd Helton is the franchise's top first baseman.
Second base -- Dylan Moore (R), 49%, Seattle Mariners vs. Baltimore Orioles (RHP Dean Kremer): A horrendous April resulted in Moore being a frequent fantasy drop, and rightfully so. However, it is also right to anticipate water finding its level, so if you have a need for speed and an available roster spot, Moore is a sage pickup. He's been showing signs of life as the calendar turns to May.
Third base -- Josh Fuentes (R), 1%, Colorado Rockies vs. San Francisco Giants (RHP Aaron Sanchez): Fuentes has been losing playing time lately, but a 4-for-10 clip over the weekend could keep him in the lineup when the Rockies return home after a week on the road. It's admittedly reaching, but both of Fuentes' homers are of the Coors Field variety.
Shortstop -- Jorge Polanco (S), 4%, Minnesota Twins vs. Texas Rangers (RHP Dane Dunning): Polanco's playing time is probably secure if Alex Kirilloff stays in the bigs when Miguel Sano comes off the IL, but he's doing his best to make sure of it, posting a .923 OPS in the three games after receiving his first day off last Tuesday. That said, Polanco sat Sunday, so he'll need to keep it going and not cede more time to Luis Arraez at the keystone.
Corner infield -- Brad Miller (L), 3%, Philadelphia Phillies vs. Milwaukee Brewers (RHP Adrian Houser): Miller been filling in for Jean Segura at second base, even hitting leadoff. He's cooled considerably but historically hits well with the platoon advantage.
Middle infield -- Luis Urias (R), 8%, Milwaukee Brewers at Philadelphia Phillies (RHP Vince Velasquez): Urias ended April on a burner and kept it going in May, as he's slashed .421/.429/.632 the week heading into the Sunday night primetime affair.
Outfield -- Austin Hays (R), 48%, Baltimore Orioles at Seattle Mariners (Bullpen game): The results have yet to manifest, but if Hays continues his current path, he's due a big power spike. Specifically, his average exit velocity on fly balls is well above average, and he's hitting a lot of balls in the air. History dictates this tandem results in a plethora of power.
Outfield -- Alex Kirilloff (L), 29%, Minnesota Twins vs. Texas Rangers (RHP Dane Dunning): On Sunday, Kirilloff extended his hitting string to a modest six games with a three-run blast, giving him four homers in his last three games. The rookie will look to keep it going against another talented youngster in Dunning. The Texas righty has allowed nine runs in his past two outings, spanning 7 2/3 frames following surrendering just one earned over his first 15 stanzas.
Outfield -- Avisail Garcia (R), 22%, Milwaukee Brewers at Philadelphia Phillies (RHP Vince Velasquez): Like most of the Brewers' regulars, Garcia is off to a slow start, but facing a weak starter and a suspect bullpen could be just what he needs to get things going.