Look for our fantasy baseball starting pitcher rankings, hitter upgrades and downgrades daily to help you make smart fantasy baseball lineup decisions and for MLB betting tips. MLB game odds are provided by Caesars Sportsbook, and fantasy advice is geared toward ESPN 10-team leagues with standard scoring.
Note: This file has been updated with overnight pitching changes and weather-related postponements, along with the addition of the latest MLB game odds as of the indicated time of publication.
What you need to know for Friday
By Todd Zola
Friday's slate opens with the traditional "Chicago Cubs are home for the weekend" matinee. The series is a rematch from last weekend when the Cubs traveled to the desert for a set against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Last time out, Arizona starter Humberto Castellanos (1% rostered in ESPN leagues) set his 2022 high-water mark, punching out five Cubs in 5⅓ innings, but he also surrendered a pair of homers. However, the Cubs have slugged homers at the sixth-lowest rate versus right-handers while also fanning the most. This sets Castellanos up for another strong performance, and he merits some streaming consideration.
Streaming pitchers is an inexact science. All one can do is trust the process and hope things work out in a positive manner, accepting some hiccups along the way. Tyler Wells (9% rostered) looked to be in a great spot in his most recent outing, facing a weak Detroit Tigers lineup, but he surrendered three runs in four frames. On Friday, Wells draws a vulnerable Tampa Bay Rays squad in Baltimore. The visitors have a below-average wOBA facing right-handers while whiffing at the fifth-highest clip in those games. Wells has been very comfortable pitching in the renovated Camden Yards, rendering just two earned runs across 15 stanzas.
After limiting the Oakland Athletics to one hit over six scoreless innings in his major league debut, Chase Silseth (4%) earned another start, this time facing those same Athletics. The first encounter was on the road, but this time it will be in Angels Stadium, where the Angels have won 12 out of 19 games. Before he was called up, Silseth was dominant at Double-A Rocket City, striking out 37 over just 26 frames. Meanwhile, Oakland has the 10th-highest strikeout rate facing right-handers.
The New York Mets play half their games in one of the most pitcher-friendly venues in the league, so they'll welcome a weekend visit to Coors Field. Many of their better batters are obviously unavailable in most ESPN leagues, but it's worth checking out Brandon Nimmo (70%), Eduardo Escobar (68%) and Mark Canha (62%) in shallower formats. Dominic Smith (2%) and J.D. Davis (1%) are two chief targets, with Smith likely to start Friday against right-hander German Marquez and Davis probably getting the nod on Saturday with southpaw Austin Gomber on the hill.
While many will be looking to Coors Field for their streaming hitters and DFS points, the Tigers are an under-the-radar option as they face Aaron Civale, who has surrendered six earned runs in three of his past four outings. DFS prices will allow everyone in a stack. Jeimer Candelario (50%), Jonathan Schoop (45%), Robbie Grossman (42%) and Willi Castro (2%) are the best batters to target for a boost in daily leagues. Other standalone hitters in favorable spots include Alek Thomas (21%) and Chas McCormick (2%).
It's not too late to start another free fantasy baseball league. Leagues drafted this week will start scoring fresh the following Monday.
Starting pitcher rankings for Friday
Best sub-50%-rostered hitters for Friday
Best and worst hitters from the day are generated by THE BAT X, a projection system created by Derek Carty using advanced methods like those used in MLB front offices, accounting for a variety of factors including player talent, ballparks, bullpens, weather, umpires, defense, catcher pitch-framing, and lots more.
Rafael Ortega (CHC, CF -- 1%) vs. Castellanos
Frank Schwindel (CHC, 1B -- 49%) vs. Castellanos
Yandy Diaz (TB, 1B -- 35%) at Wells
David Peralta (ARI, LF -- 13%) at Hendricks
Pavin Smith (ARI, RF -- 6%) at Hendricks
Jonathan Villar (CHC, 3B -- 5%) vs. Castellanos
Jordan Luplow (ARI, CF -- 0%) at Hendricks
Worst over-50%-rostered hitters for Friday
Yasmani Grandal (CHW, C -- 87%) at Cortes
Brandon Crawford (SF, SS -- 57%) vs. Manaea
Dansby Swanson (ATL, SS -- 76%) at Rogers
Brandon Belt (SF, 1B -- 55%) vs. Manaea
THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Friday
St. Louis Cardinals at Thompson
Prop of the Day
Julio Urias Strikeouts: Over/Under 4.5 (-155/+115)
THE BAT sees Urias putting up 4.3 Strikeouts for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 42.3% of the time. THE BAT believes there is positive value on the UNDER with an expected value of $23.96.
Note: Expected Value is a measure of how good a bet is, factoring the probability that it will win versus the odds the book is providing. If you were to wager $1.00 100 times on a bet with an Expected Value of $25, you would win some and you would lose some, but in the end you would expect to come away with $25 in profit on your $100 investment.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE OVER
Citizens Bank Park grades out as the #4 ballpark in the majors for strikeouts, per THE BAT projection system.
Julio Urias has been unlucky with his strikeouts this year, putting up a 6.50 K/9 despite THE BAT estimating his true talent level to be 8.28 - a 1.78 K/9 deviation.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
Julio Urias has averaged 80.6 adjusted pitches per start this year, ranking in the 25th percentile.
The wind projects to be blowing out to LF at 10.6-mph in this match-up, the 3rd-most-favorable of the day for bats.
Julio Urias will be at a disadvantage playing on the road today.
Julio Urias's fastball velocity has fallen 1.6 mph this season (92 mph) below where it was last season (93.6 mph).