Sunday was a full and fruitful fantasy day across the Majors. Last night’s thriller in LA was the perfect nightcap afta a day full of great baseball action, unless of course your team is the other LA team who keep inventing new ways of losing baseball games even to the Padres.
Josh Beckett, Max Scherzer, Tim Hudson, Josh Johnson, Colby Lewis, and Jake Peavy all pitched their teams to victory Sunday afternoon, but pitching wasn’t the only skill on display on Sunday as there was plenty of offense as well. The Brewers, White Sox, Mariners, and Nationals all had three or more team home runs.
There were plenty of surprise contributions both on the mound and at the plate, and those undervalued sources of production can be fantasy baseball gold. Here’s our lineup for today of productive players owned in less than 50% of ESPN leagues. For more fantasy baseball addition options check out our archive for a full daily lineup of sleepers.
Sleeper Starting Lineup
C-Jonathan Lucroy-Mil: (24.5%) Someday picking a catcher will be difficult, but with Jarrod Saltalamacchia, J.P. Arencibia, and Jonathan Lucroy taking turns at crushing opposing pitching it’s been easy lately. There’s no excuse for having a non-producing catcher when Lucroy is available in 75% of leagues with a .342 average with four home runs and 27 RBI. He went 3-5 yesterday with two home runs and seven RBI while fueling a Brewers onslaught that overwhelmed the Twins 16-4.
1B-Justin Smoak-Sea: (1.5%) After going 2-4 yesterday, Smoak’s average is up to .218. Only three games this season has his average been higher than that and now since April 19. In May he’s hit .239 while hitting 2 of his five home runs. One of those was last night at Coors field. He has multiple his in five of his last nine games and the Mariners power-starved lineup could use his resurgence to continue. If you’re desperate at 1B or in a deep AL only league he’s worth a look. Otherwise, monitor his progress to see if he can keep getting it turned around.
2B-Danny Espinosa-Was: (46%) Despite his .214 start, the Nationals have been committed to Espinosa at 2B. His fantasy owners have not been as loyal which is why he qualifies for this list after being dropped in many leagues. He did have a nice night last night from the leadoff spot going 2-5 with two runs scored, a double, a home run, and 2 RBI. He how has four home runs, nine RBI, 19 runs scored, and three stolen bases. If he stays in the leadoff spot he’ll have opportunities, and he’s worth a look if you need middle-infield help.
3B-Greg Dobbs-Mia: (0.1%) One of the biggest “winners” from the demotion of Gaby Sanchez is Greg Dobbs. He should keep picking up the at-bats at the corner infield spots especially if he has more games like last night. Dobbs finished 3-4 with a pair of doubles, a runs scored, and an RBI. He raised his average to .271 and in just 59 at-bats he has eight RBI, six runs scored, three doubles, three walks, and a triple. See how he does, but be ready to act quickly if he excels in his new role as the starting 1B. He played at third last night, but on most nights will get the nod at first base.
SS-Cliff Pennington-Oak: (2.4%) Although he’s still just hitting .224 after going 2-5 yesterday, Pennington seems very secure as the A’s everyday SS. He’s also becoming a fixture in the number two spot in the Oakland lineup right in from of the emerging Josh Reddick. He has seven steals on the year and has scored six runs in his last ten games. He’s an option for speed and runs scored at a thin SS position.
OF-Xavier Avery-Bal: (0.5%) Rounding out a nice series against the Nats, Avery went 2-4 with an RBI, run scored, and his first stolen base in the Majors. He’s batting .313 since his call-up (10-32) with three doubles, two RBI, four walks, and six runs scored. He’s been leading off for the O’s and he’ll have deep-league value as long as he keeps that position.
OF-Eric Young Jr.-Col: (0.0%) The Rockies utility man got the start against the M’s yesterday and had two singles in five at-bats scoring a run and stealing his fifth base of the year. See if he is picking up starts since his speed will get him plenty of opportunities to steal bases and score runs. He’s hitting .341 in his first 28 ABs and missed some time due to a death in the family. He’s fully healthy and ready to contribute.
OF-Jeff Francouer-KC: (40.8%) In a game where the Royals didn’t score a run and mustered only seven hits on the night, Francouer went 4-4 with a triple. He raised his average to .255 . With the Royals overall offensive struggles he’s only been able to get eight RBI and 16 runs scored despite connecting on 13 extra base hits. He’s an everyday outfielder for the Royals so he’s worth a look if you’re fishing for a solid OF.
AL Starting Pither-Nate Adcock-KC: (0.0%) Adcock should have earned another start with a solid outing against the D-Backs. He took a hard-luck loss against Wade Miley (see below), but pitched well going five innings allowing five hits and a run while striking out three. If he gets to start again, he’ll be worth a look depending on the matchup.
NL Starting Pitcher-Wade Miley-Ari: (17.8%) Miley’s emergence has been a pleasant surprise for the disappointing D-Backs. The lefty shut down the Royals yesterday allowing six hits and two walks in seven shutout innings with three strikeouts. He’s allowed one or zero runs in four of his six starts and is 5-1 with a 2.14 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. He’s third in the NL in wins and sixth in ERA. He’s definitely worth a look in NL only leagues and in mixed leagues as a spot starter. If you need starting pitchers, check out our three spot starter selections each day.
RP-Ernesto Frieri-LAA: (13.1%) Since being acquired by the Angers, Frieri has pitched in seven games and has yet to allow a run while striking out 14 6.2 innings. On the year he has an ERA of 1.47 while striking out 32 in 18.1 innings. He could end up with a chance to close later this season, but for now he has become an elite setup option for the Angels.