Cutting the line of rostering at 50 percent for pitchers leaves us with quite a shaky group of Wednesday pitcher rentals. The Athletics, Indians, Mariners and White Sox have the day off, further depleting that already shark-infested ocean of streamers (bonus water metaphor for the fans).
On that note, swim with two of these three at your own risk. I'm a huge fan of the first name, though, as long as the Rays confirm his role.
Jalen Beeks (L), 4.7 percent, Tampa Bay Rays at Miami Marlins: The former hyped Red Sox prospect boasts a 2.04 ERA in his four outings as the Rays' newest follower/bulk reliever. While his 17:6 K:BB shows a bit of erratic command, that plays less importantly when he can avoid the first inning. With his pedigreed pitch mix playing up out of the bullpen -- including a changeup that could be among the league's most dangerous -- Beeks should do plenty to hook the Marlins' lineup, which has limped to a 65 wRC+ (28th) and .263 wOBA (last). That roster percentage is way too low, so scoop him up where you can.
Matt Strahm (L), 31.8 percent, San Diego Padres at Los Angeles Dodgers: Tough draw -- the Dodgers rank top-10 versus lefties in many categories -- but Strahm is building a case not to bench him. Since his five-run disaster on Opening Day, he's churned through his next six outings: 1.98 ERA, 7.93 K/9, 0.74 BB/9, 0.74 HR/9 across 36 1/3 innings.
Sonny Gray (R), 20.9 percent, Cincinnati Reds vs. Chicago Cubs: I don't feel 100 percent safe -- heck, probably not 50 percent -- recommending a pitcher facing these red-hot Cubs, but because he's opposing Yu Darvish (8.10 BB/9), Gray deserves at least a mention for those grasping for a win off the waiver wire. Despite his 4.15 ERA, he's showing improvements on 2018 (9.46 K/9 nearly a full strikeout higher). If Anthony Rizzo (back) is missing from the lineup, this choice earns a bit more trust.
Cody Allen stumbled in his first outing back from the injured list last Wednesday but has logged two scoreless outings since. The Angels aren't writing him out of the long-term closing picture, but Hansel Robles looks like he's in the lead right now, recording the save Monday after talented setup arm Ty Buttrey chewed through two scoreless frames. Robles' 3.79 ERA could be better if he can strand more runners (67.9 percent is below the league average, and relievers often vastly exceed it).
All three relievers are worth a fantasy roster spot, yet Buttrey and Allen will require plenty of patience to help the saves column. Buttrey's top-notch setup work is actually hurting his fantasy value, because the Halos may simply want to keep him as the main bridge to the stopper.
Catcher -- Willians Astudillo (R), 13.7 percent, Minnesota Twins vs. Los Angeles Angels (RHP Trevor Cahill): Righties have had trouble with Cahill so far (.310 wOBA compared to .452 against lefties), but Astudillo, who returned from the injured list Sunday, boasts a .351/.364/.535 line in his career versus righties. The contact machine should be an instant fantasy start if he's on the card. Same goes for the scorching-hot Mitch Garver (37.7 percent) or, for the lefty-on-righty draw, Jason Castro (less than 1 percent).
First base -- Ronald Guzman (L), 1.3 percent, Texas Rangers at Kansas City Royals (RHP Jorge Lopez): Guzman's platoon role will often offer utility in deeper leagues. All three of his big flies this year have tagged right-handers, and he showed a 121-point advantage in slugging percentage last year (.448) in that split. Lopez has coughed up the fifth-highest wOBA (.432) to left-handed batters.
Second base -- Tommy La Stella (L), 25.7 percent, Los Angeles Angels vs. Minnesota Twins (RHP Jake Odorizzi): After a career of serving as a utility player, the 30-year-old already has smashed 10 home runs in 103 at-bats in 2019. The 30-year-old still carries a heavy top-side-platoon preference, with nine of his dingers leaving the yard off righty hurlers. Odorizzi's own revival notwithstanding, La Stella is rolling over his past five starts (8-for-21, three homers), including a big fly in his first clash with Minnesota on Monday.
Third base -- Gio Urshela (R), 6.9 percent, New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles (RHP David Hess, RHP Andrew Cashner): Enjoying an awakening with the bat (.341/.396/.505 over 101 plate appearances), Urshela should play at least one of the two halves of this double-header, now that he's all but locked in at third base with Miguel Andujar (shoulder) back on the injured list. Urshela may lack the platoon edge in either matchup, but neither Hess nor Cashner are daunting enough to shy away at a potential double dip of plate appearances.
Shortstop -- Aledmys Diaz (R), 1.6 percent, Houston Astros at Detroit Tigers (LHP Gregory Soto): Soto's return to Double-A Erie was short as he's being summoned after making his debut last Saturday as the 26th man, starting the nightcap of a twin-bill. His debut did not go well as the Twins tagged the rookie southpaw for seven hits and seven runs in just four frames. Soto will be working on just three days rest, so even if he controls the powerful Houston lineup, he isn't likely to pitch deep into the affair. Most Astros bats are too widely rostered to qualify for this article. Diaz, who looks set for more plate appearances with Jose Altuve (hamstring) on the injured list, gets a cookie for hitting .294 with two homers in 37 plate appearances for May.
Corner infield -- Pablo Sandoval (R), 0.4 percent, San Francisco Giants vs. Toronto Blue Jays (RHP Edwin Jackson): Sandoval isn't assured to be in the Giants lineup, though he has gone deep in both of the last two games he's started -- including last night. If Sandoval isn't in the lineup, either Brandon Belt or Evan Longoria are viable pivots as both are widely available in ESPN leagues.
Middle infield -- Keston Hiura (R), 2.0 percent, Milwaukee Brewers at Philadelphia Phillies (RHP Jake Arrieta): Hiura was called up on Tuesday and, assuming he remains on the card Wednesday, would face a slumping Arrieta, whose 4.91 ERA and four homers allowed in May show he's slipping. The veteran righty already has struggled with whiffs (just a 7.56 K/9 on the year), and the lauded prospect with a potentially elite hit tool should make at least one solid connection.
Outfield -- Jorge Soler (R), 25.6 percent, Kansas City Royals vs. Texas Rangers (LHP Mike Minor): Somewhat quietly, Soler has recaptured plenty of his 2018 excitement that was silenced when he suffered a toe injury. His .302/.326/.512 slash against lefties -- complete with a scalding .458 BABIP -- has propped up his season. Despite his strong start to 2019, Minor has allowed all six of his homers this year versus righty batters and has struggled to strike out righties (8.4 K/9) compared to lefties (11.42).
Outfield -- Jarrod Dyson (L), 2.9 percent, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP Chris Archer): Might as well roll with the 34-year-old while he's connecting and probably will lead off against a righty (.340 wOBA against them this year), especially with Archer set to come back from the injured list on the road, where he has a 5.73 ERA.
Outfield -- Randal Grichuk (R), 23 percent, Toronto Blue Jays vs. San Francisco Giants (RHP Shaun Anderson): Anderson has been tabbed to make his MLB debut with Drew Pomeranz (hamstring) sidelined. Anderson posted a 4.11 ERA and 1.29 WHIP for Triple-A Sacramento with 37 strikeouts and 11 walks in 35 frames. The Blue Jays are lacking punch from their outfield with Grichuk the only one producing, registering an .863 OPS in May, including two homers the past week.