Desperate times call for desperate measures. Hopefully, your fantasy baseball scenario isn't anything close to desperate, but if you're on the outside looking in with respect to the playoffs, it's time to pull out all the stops. Usually, this means taking the chance on a risky starting pitcher or an unproven rookie. Sunday's streaming recommendations feature both, with everyone available in at least half of ESPN leagues.
Dylan Bundy (R), rostered in 24% of ESPN leagues, Baltimore Orioles vs. Tampa Bay Rays: We may as well start off with an arm who comes with some risk in Bundy. The enigmatic righty is coming off a solid outing, holding the Royals to one run in seven innings, fanning seven along the way. However, only seven of Bundy's 24 starts have been of the quality variety. On Sunday, Bundy draw a Rays offense in the lower half of the league against right-handers.
Reynaldo Lopez (R), 18%, Chicago White Sox vs. Texas Rangers: It may not be showing up in Lopez's numbers, especially for the season, but his velocity over his last three efforts has been the highest of the year. One of the recurring themes of the off-season will be "Who is this year's Lucas Giolito?" It very well may be Giolito's rotation mate. Lopez sports a 3.10 ERA and 1.28 WHIP since the break, with 46 K's in 49 ⅓ frames. For the last month, Texas has been the third worst offense with a righty on the hill.
Brett Anderson (L), 15%, Oakland Athletics vs. San Francisco Giants: Anderson's 25 starts and 144 innings are both the third highest of his injury-riddled career. This start was in question after the veteran lefty his last outing with a blister, but he's slated to go in a battle of Bay Area clubs. The Giants have handled lefty pitching well over the second half, so it won't be a cakewalk.
Logan Webb (R), 3%, San Francisco Giants at Oakland Athletics: In contrast, the Athletics offense has been in a rut with right-handers on the hill. The 22-year-old Webb will be making his second MLB start, holding the Diamondbacks to one earned run in five innings with seven strikeouts.
Brian Johnson (L), 1%, Boston Red Sox at San Diego Padres: Suggesting Johnson would be better if the Red Sox bullpen could be counted on to hold a lead, but alas, they cannot. Still, Johnson should get decent run support if you're in need of a win. The Padres are league-average against lefties but are without Fernando Tatis Jr., and depending on their lineup, they offer strikeout upside.
Clay Buchholz (R), 1%, Toronto Blue Jays at Seattle Mariners: Break glass in case of emergency. Buchholz hasn't pitched in the majors since early May, convalescing on the injured list with a sore shoulder. The 34-year-old veteran isn't likely to work more than five frames, but that could be ample for a win against the stumbling Mariners offense.
Catcher -- Kurt Suzuki (R), 3%, Washington Nationals at Chicago Cubs (LHP Cole Hamels): Consider this spot either Suzuki or Yan Gomes as both are in a good spot, enjoying the platoon edge on Hamels. Suzuki gets the bandwidth as he sat Saturday and will likely be back squatting on Sunday. The 35-year-old backstop is slashing .319/.373/.419 in August, helping fuel the Nationals' surge.
First Base -- Miguel Cabrera (R), 48%, Detroit Tigers at Minnesota Twins (LHP Martin Perez): Cabrera may be entering the twilight of his career, though opposing lefty hurlers beg to differ. The future Hall of Famer is still crushing southpaw pitching to the tune of .333/.391/.551. Over his last 32 stanzas, Perez has whiffed only 22 with 15 free passes, surrendering 10 homers in that span.
Second Base -- Nick Solak (R), 2%, Texas Rangers at Chicago White Sox (RHP Reynaldo Lopez): A second baseman by trade with some experience in the outfield, Texas is working Solak out at both corner infield spots, an indication they want to keep his bat in the lineup down the stretch. It will be interesting to see if the Rangers allow the former Rays farmhand to run, as Solak's stolen base totals have fallen precipitously this season. Sunday could be a good test as the Rangers rate a solid 8 in stolen bases in the Hitting Forecaster.
Third Base -- Abraham Toro (S), 1%, Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Angels (RHP Jaime Barria): The rich get richer. With Carlos Correa sidelined, the Astros dipped into their overstuffed system and promoted Toro to man the hot corner, sliding Alex Bregman to shortstop. After dominating Double-A Corpus Christi, the 22-yeal-old Toro was advanced to Triple-A Round Rock where he posted a .424/.506/.606 line in 16 games before his call to the bigs. Toro's forte is strong discipline and contact, two traits especially nice in points leagues. He has more power than speed but will run when given the chance.
Shortstop -- Willy Adames (R), 10%, Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles (RHP Dylan Bundy): Chances are Adames will improve when facing lefty pitching, but to this point in his career he's much more successful devoid of the platoon edge. Add in a nice park bump and Adames is in play.
Corner Infield -- C.J. Cron (R), 42%, Minnesota Twins vs. Detroit Tigers (LHP Matthew Boyd): Cron is losing playing time, mostly against right-handers. If he's sitting, Miguel Sano qualifies at this spot and is a better option. However, Sano has been mentioned a lot lately so let's take this opportunity to point out Cron is slugging .627 facing lefties.
Middle Infield -- Josh Rojas (L), 6%, Arizona Diamondbacks at Milwaukee Brewers (RHP Zach Davies): Rojas currently qualifies only at second base, though it won't be long before he adds outfield to his fantasy resume as he's ticketed for the strong side of a platoon with Adam Jones in right field. Like Toro, Rojas exhibits advanced plate discipline and contact skills for his age. However, his power and speed are both superior though note he's 25 years old, thus a couple years older. Rojas has the makings of the prototypical draft for steals without sacrificing too much power label.
Outfield -- Oscar Mercado (R), 27%, Cleveland Indians vs. Kansas City Royals (LHP Eric Skoglund): Inexplicably, the Indians have been using Mercado in a platoon with Tyler Naquin, giving regular play to Greg Allen. Mercado should be the one playing every day. Mercado should be in the lineup on Sunday, squaring off with one of the weakest arms on the docket.
Outfield -- Josh VanMeter (L), 22%, Cincinnati Reds at Pittsburgh Pirates (Undecided): Entering Saturday's action, VanMeter hit safely in 10 of 11 games, earning a promotion to the leadoff spot. It remains to be seen if this is permanent. He's in play regardless, but it's always nice to get the extra trip to the dish.
Outfield -- Jake Fraley (L), 1%, Seattle Mariners vs. Toronto Blue Jays (RHP Clay Buchholz): Fraley is the fourth recent callup to be featured. At least short term, he could have the greatest fantasy potential as his pathway to playing time is clearest, though Rojas' role also appears to be set. Fraley's prospect star has been dimmed with injuries but don't sleep on him, he has 20/20 potential and strong plate skills.