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Note: This file has been updated with any overnight pitching changes or weather-related game postponements, along with the addition of the latest MLB game odds as of the indicated time of publication.
What you need to know for Wednesday's MLB Games
By Todd Zola
Much like last year, day games populate the Wednesday well into the summer. The schedule begins early with a 12:10 ET contest in Tropicana Field with the Milwaukee Brewers visiting the Tampa Bay Rays for an interleague affair. Both teams recently bolstered their middle infield with Kolten Wong returning for the visitors while Wander Franco is back for the hosts. Isaac Paredes (29% rostered in ESPN leagues) recent hot streak has cemented a regular lineup spot. He along with Yandy Diaz (23% rostered) and Harold Ramirez (3%) are in play as hitters to stream with the platoon edge on Eric Lauer. Luis Urias (50%), Tyrone Taylor (4%) and Andrew McCutchen (33%) are the best Brewers options, as they also benefit from the platoon bump on Jeffrey Springs.
The crop of pitchers to stream features more quantity than quality as there are a handful of options, but the matchups aren't as enticing as usually desired. Reds rookie Hunter Greene (36%) surrendered three homers to the Dodgers in his last start, but this time he draws the Chicago Cubs, where his 28.9% strikeout rate has a better chance to amass fantasy points. Opposing Greene is southpaw Justin Steele (4%) who has a favorable start at home against an improving but still beatable Reds lineup.
Chris Flexen (35%), Dylan Bundy (20%), Dane Dunning (10%) and Mitch Keller (2%) round out the streamers. Flexen is at home against the surprising Orioles. Adley Rutschman has provided a boost to Baltimore's lineup, but even over the past month they've fanned at a 25% clip against righthanders, along with a below average .302 wOBA. Bundy has a road date with a pesky Guardians offense. Cleveland doesn't fan much, but they also don't possess much pop. Bundy has pitched well lately, walking just two with only two earned runs allowed over his lat two outings, spanning 14 frames. Dunning's first half has been uneven, but he's in good shape to post back-to-back solid efforts against the Royals, despite their recent promotion of rookie Vinnie Pasquantino. Keller is still honing control over his sinker, a pitch he's recently added in lieu of his four-seam fastball. Even so, the early results are encouraging with a 2.82 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in June.
Pasquantino (8%) leads the list of hitters to pick up, especially in points leagues where his plate patience should yield walks with a low strikeout rate. Pirates batters are in a good spot facing Paulo Espino. The primary candidates are Oneil Cruz (55%), Bligh Madris (4%), Michael Chavis (3%), Daniel Vogelbach (2%) and Jack Suwinski (5%).
Whether to start Clayton Kershaw in Coors Field is a decision his fantasy managers have had to contemplate two of three times a season. Overall, his numbers are not favorable in this scenario. Even so, Colorado's offense is not as potent this season, so it's worth the risk. Here is one last reminder that neither Tanner Houck nor Jarren Duran are available for the Red Sox today. Those picking up Clay Holmes while Aroldis Chapman is out should continue to hold since Bret Boone has indicated Chapman may have to earn his way back into the closer role when he returns late this week.
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 Wednesday
Best Sub-50% Rostered Hitters for Wednesday
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.
Josh Naylor (CLE, RF -- 43%) vs. Bundy
Steven Kwan (CLE, CF -- 37%) vs. Bundy
Garrett Cooper (MIA, RF -- 20%) at Pallante
Oscar Gonzalez (CLE, RF -- 6%) vs. Bundy
Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Wednesday
Mark Canha (NYM, LF -- 67%) vs. Verlander
Jeff McNeil (NYM, 2B -- 91%) vs. Verlander
Joey Votto (CIN, 1B -- 66%) at Steele
Tim Anderson (CHW, SS -- 97%) at Ohtani
Francisco Lindor (NYM, SS -- 100%) vs. Verlander
THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Wednesday
Prop of the Day
Dane Dunning strikeouts: Over/Under 3.5 (-166/+130)
THE BAT X sees Dunning putting up 3.4 strikeouts for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 46.2% of the time. THE BAT X believes there is positive value on the UNDER with an expected value of $23.72.
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
Ed Hickox, expected to be behind the plate in this game, grades out as a pitcher's umpire.
Dunning has gone to his sinker 11.1% less often this season (41.4%) than he did last season (52.5%).
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
Kauffman Stadium profiles as the No. 29 park in baseball for strikeouts, per THE BAT X projection system.
Hot weather is strongly correlated with more offense (and fewer Ks), and the weather report calls for the third-highest temperatures of all games on the slate today at 87 degrees.
The wind projects to be blowing out to left at 8.2 mph in this contest, the third-strongest of the day for bats.
Dunning's fastball velocity has dropped 1.2 mph this season (88.5 mph) below where it was last season (89.7 mph).