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 towards ESPN 10-team leagues with standard scoring.
Note: This file will be 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 Saturday's MLB Games
By Mike Sheets
Saturday's 17-game slate includes a double-header between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Toronto Blue Jays, is headlined by two big-time pitching matchups. Shane McClanahan and Kevin Gausman are set to square off in the first game of the day at 12:07 ET. McClanahan has been the No. 1 pitcher in fantasy this season, according to the ESPN player rater, not a bad way to kick off the weekend.
The New York Yankees and Cleveland Guardians were rained out Friday and will also play a double-header today to make it up. Yesterday's Yankees starter Gerrit Cole will take the early game while Friday Guardians starter Aaron Civale will start the nightcap.
George Kirby (29% rostered in ESPN leagues) was drilled for seven runs in his last start, but let's not overreact to one bad outing. All in all, the 24-year-old righty has been very good since getting called up in early May. Prior to that blowup outing, Kirby held a 2.17 ERA over his previous five turns, going six frames in all but one start. If there's any risk in rolling with Kirby in his next start, it's mitigated by his enviable matchup against the Oakland A's. The A's offense was MLB's worst in June, ranking last in wRC+ (72) and wOBA (.262). Stream Kirby with confidence on Saturday.
After getting roughed up by the San Francisco Giants two starts ago (6 ER in 3 2/3 IP), Spencer Strider (54% rostered) rebounded against the Los Angeles Dodgers in his last outing, firing six shutout frames with seven strikeouts and no walks. Since joining the Atlanta Braves' starting rotation, Strider owns a 3.68 ERA over six starts with an impressive 12.9 K/9. There's still some volatility here given his less-than-stellar walk rate (3.7 BB/9) and the fact that he doesn't induce a ton of grounders, but the upside here is undeniable. The 23-year-old is a quality streaming option on Saturday against a Cincinnati Reds team that's been a pushover (87 wRC+) against right-handed pitching this season.
Adley Rutschman (50%) got off to slow start after being promoted from Triple-A, hitting .143/.226/.196 over his first 15 games. Since then, however, the former No. 1 overall pick has produced a .310/.365/.638 triple slash with three homers and nine RBI in 16 games. Given Rutschman's pedigree, it's a little surprising that he's so widely available, but don't miss the opportunity to grab him if he's still available in your league. You don't have to squint very hard to envision the rookie being a top-10 fantasy catcher the rest of the way.
Saturday presents us with an enticing opportunity to stream bats against the Orioles' Jordan Lyles, who has been hit hard consistently. The righty has been tagged for at least four runs in four of his last five starts, and his ERA over his last six outings sits at 6.27. The Minnesota Twins bats to target in this matchup include Jose Miranda (2%), Gary Sanchez (44%), Gio Urshela (23%) and Alex Kirilloff (28%), who is batting .333/.349/.539 in 11 games since returning from the injured list.
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 Saturday
Best Sub-50% Rostered Hitters for Saturday
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.
Isaac Paredes (TB, 2B -- 27%) at Gausman
Josh Lowe (TB, LF -- 4%) at Gausman
Francisco Mejia (TB, C -- 2%) at Gausman
Taylor Walls (TB, SS -- 0%) at Gausman
Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Saturday
Joc Pederson (SF, CF -- 80%) vs. Cease
Mike Yastrzemski (SF, RF -- 67%) vs. Cease
Prop of the Day
Yu Darvish Pitching Outs: Over/Under 17.5 (-155/+115)
THE BAT sees Darvish putting up 15.7 Pitching Outs for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 37.6% of the time. THE BAT believes there is positive value on the UNDER with an expected value of $34.06.
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
THE BAT projects Yu Darvish in the 78th percentile when assessing his overall pitching talent level.
Ben May profiles as a Pitchers Umpire and is expected to be behind the plate today.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
The Los Angeles Dodgers projected lineup profiles as the 2nd-best of all teams today.
Dodger Stadium projects as the #4 venue in the game for home runs, via THE BAT projection system.
Dodger Stadium has the lowest fence height (on average) in MLB.
The wind projects to be blowing out to RF at 9-mph in this game, the 5th-best of the day for batters.