With the MLB season heading into its fourth week, the major storyline remains the record-setting home run pace. Secondarily, it's another injury-riddled campaign with 110 players on the 10-day IL and another 47 on the 60-day through Thursday afternoon. This makes navigating the free-agent pool and waiver wire even more paramount.
As always, we're here to help, recommending a slew of arms and bats in favorable spots on Friday's full slate, all available in at least half of ESPN leagues.
Pitchers to Stream
Touki Toussaint (R), rostered in 25 percent of ESPN leagues, Atlanta Braves at Cleveland Indians: Toussaint was initially slated to make his inaugural 2019 start on Thursday before Mike Soroka was promoted. Toussaint now lines up to face the Indians on the road in an interleague affair. Let's tag in colleague Mike Sheets with this analysis when Toussaint was still on Thursday's docket. "Toussaint allowed just one unearned run in six-plus innings of relief against the Mets over the weekend, allowing just four hits and piling up seven strikeouts. The former first-round pick has had control issues, but he showcased some intriguing upside by striking out 163 batters in 136 innings between Double- and Triple-A in 2018. Toussaint needs to be scooped up and started where he's available." Granted, this is a tougher foe than the Diamondbacks at home, Cleveland's depleted offense isn't to be feared.
Matt Strahm (L), 15 percent, San Diego Padres vs. Cincinnati Reds: After a rough first start, Strahm is displaying the form resulting in his earning a rotation spot. In his past two outings, the lefty has allowed just one earned in 10 frames. He's in great position to build on that, facing a Reds offense scoring the fifth fewest runs per game in the league.
CC Sabathia (L), 12 percent, New York Yankees vs. Kansas City Royals: This contest features one of the top running clubs facing one of the weakest units defending steals. As such, it will be incumbent upon Sabathia to keep Whit Merrifield, Adalberto Mondesi and Billy Hamilton off the base paths. The veteran southpaw is no doubt aware of the Royals' proclivity and will do his best to thwart their efforts.
Jordan Lyles (R), 11 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. San Francisco Giants: Lyles isn't the first pitcher to thrive after joining the Pirates. In his first two starts, the well-traveled righty has fanned 12 with four walks in 11 frames. The Giants enter the game with the second lowest weighted on base average (wOBA) versus righty pitching.
Anibal Sanchez (R), 11 percent, Washington Nationals at Miami Marlins: "Whoever is facing the Marlins" should be an automatic in this space. Sanchez gets the honors, drawing a club with the highest strikeout rate with a right-hander on the hill.
With the 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell on the shelf, the Rays are in a bit of a bind. Charlie Morton lines up to work on regular rest on Friday, however Tampa has yet to announce a starter. Further, both Yonny Chirinos and Ryan Yarbrough worked earlier in the week and are likely unavailable for an extended stint.
Projected Game Scores
Austin Hedges (R), 29 percent, San Diego Padres vs. Cincinnati Reds (RHP Anthony DeSclafani): After surrendering a generous 24 homers in just 115 innings last season, DeSclafani picked up where he left off, serving up four long balls in his initial 13 1/3 frames this season. Hedges doesn't mind the right-on-right matchup, having smashed 29 of his 34 homers since 2017 without the platoon edge.
Jose Martinez (R), 46 percent, St. Louis Cardinals vs. New York Mets (LHP Jason Vargas): On a per-game basis, Martinez offense warrants being on more rosters. However, his defense and inconstant playing time has Martinez available on just over half of ESPN leagues. With Harrison Bader and Tyler O'Neill sidelined, Martinez will almost surely be in the lineup, especially since he totes a .942 OPS versus southpaws since 2017 into the game.
Jeff McNeil (L), 48 percent, New York Mets at St. Louis Cardinals (RHP Adam Wainwright): Jed Lowrie and Todd Frazier are getting close to returning, but so long as McNeil maintains a high level of production, the Mets will find a spot for him. Batting .424 through Wednesday's action, McNeil is doing his part. Obviously, the ghost of Ted Williams isn't too concerned about McNeil maintaining that pace, but a still impressive .300 mark is certainly plausible.
Hunter Dozier (R), 16 percent, Kansas City Royals at New York Yankees (LHP CC Sabathia): Dozier is one of the few power sources in the Royals lineup, slugging .596 through Wednesday's action. Sabathia is much more vulnerable to righty swingers, allowing 35 of his 40 homers since 2017 to that side of the plate.
Marwin Gonzalez (S), 46 percent, Minnesota Twins at Baltimore Orioles (RHP Alex Cobb): After a slow start, Gonzalez is getting in gear with his new club, hitting safely in three of his past four games, including his first homer in a Twins uniform. Cobb is slated to return from the IL to make the start. The right-hander pitched will in his first start but is coming off a disappointing 2018 campaign. Cobb isn't likely to work deep into the game, giving the switch-hitting Gonzalez the platoon edge on the parade of middling Baltimore relievers.
Tyler White (R), 7 percent, Houston Astros at Texas Rangers (LHP Drew Smyly): After bashing 12 homers in just 66 games last year, White has let to leave the yard in 2019. He's in a favorable spot to get off the schneid, facing the lowest ranked pitcher on the card in hitter-friendly Globe Life Park.
Willy Adames (R), 13 percent, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox (LHP Eduardo Rodriguez): Rodriguez exhibited signs of snapping out of his early-season malaise last time out. Still, he needs to display better pitch efficiency. Until be does, he's susceptible to patient lineups. Adames needs to work on his plate skills so this is more a matter of getting as much exposure to Rodriguez as possible.
Randal Grichuk (R), 34 percent, Toronto Blue Jays at Oakland Athletics (RHP Aaron Brooks): Grichuk snapped a power drought on Thursday afternoon, taking Michael Pineda deep. That makes it 39 of his past 51 homers coming off a righty pitcher.
Raimel Tapia (L), 1 percent, Colorado Rockies vs. Philadelphia Phillies (RHP Vince Velasquez): Tapia doesn't have the power of some other Rockies prospects, but he has plus speed and good plate skills. He's also been slotted in the two-hole lately in the Rockies injury-depleted lineup. This is a good place to be against the potentially dominant, but still inconsistent Velazquez.
JaCoby Jones (R), under 1 percent, Detroit Tigers vs. Chicago White Sox (LHP Carlos Rodon): Jones is the current centerfielder in the merry-go-round that is the Tigers outfield. While Rodon has flashed the front-line form many expected if healthy, the lefty is still prone to bouts of wildness. While Jones will never be mistaken for a patient hitter, he possesses the desired power speed combo and does have the platoon advantage.