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 Sunday's MLB Games
By Todd Zola
Sunday's early game begins at 12:05 PM ET featuring the Kansas City Royals visiting the Detroit Tigers. There will not be traditional broadcasters in the booth. Instead, the audio will entail reporters scattered about Comerica Park, interviewing fans during the action. There isn't much by way of fantasy implications, though Royals starter Brady Singer (13% rostered in ESPN leagues) is in play for those trying to make up ground on the last day of the head-to-head week. Tigers starter Tarik Skubal has been in a rut, and although the Royals lineup isn't productive, they rarely fan facing southpaws so be wary of a Skubal prop bet, unless you expect him to go deep into the game.
Fortunately, the rest of the ledger features solid options for those needing a last-minute pitching boost. Tyler Wells (36%), Ross Stripling (19%), Devin Smeltzer (18%) and Erick Fedde (4%) all enjoy favorable matchups. Wells facing the Twins on the road isn't ideal, but he's coming off a June with a 2.42 ERA and 0.96 WHIP, albeit with only 15 strikeouts in 26 innings. Stripling against the Rays, Smeltzer versus the Orioles and Fedde facing the Marlins all encompass the starter facing one of the weaker lineups against hurlers of their handedness.
Another Sunday ritual in head-to-head formats is chasing saves. Hopefully you've held Clay Holmes as he'll continue to close even with Aroldis Chapman off the IL. Tanner Houck (48%) is back with Boston to handle closing duties. Joe Barlow (45%) has been quietly doing a solid job for Texas. Look for Jhoan Duran (21%) to take over for the Twins after Emilio Pagan was removed from ninth inning responsibilities. Seattle has been using a closer committee, but Paul Sewald (19%) has four saves since June 23, so he has emerged as the primary option.
Sunday marks the last day of a Rockies homestand before they head out on a road trip, so it's your last chance to take advantage of Coors Field for a week. Another sneaky course of offense is the Chicago Cubs facing rookie Connor Seabold as the Red Sox wrap up a weekend visit to Wrigley Field. Seabold's MLB debut was a mixed bag as he fanned seven Blue Jays in 4 2/3 innings, but he also surrendered three homers. Christopher Morel (25%), Patrick Wisdom (43%), Nico Hoerner (18%) and Rafael Ortega (2%) are the chief targets.
Some other standalone batters in a favorable spot to help fantasy hitting are Jarren Duran (12%), Jeremy Pena (56%), Jake Meyers (1%), Tyrone Taylor (4%) and Hanser Alberto (less than 1%). And of course, those needing stolen bases may still be able to grab Jon Berti (38%), who began July with a two-steal effort.
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.
Alek Thomas (ARI, CF -- 12%) at Kuhl
David Peralta (ARI, LF -- 14%) at Kuhl
Josh Rojas (ARI, SS -- 28%) at Kuhl
Harold Ramirez (TB, LF -- 2%) at Stripling
Buddy Kennedy (ARI, 3B -- 0%) at Kuhl
Elias Diaz (COL, C -- 6%) vs. Gallen
Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Saturday
Jake Cronenworth (SD, 2B -- 97%) at Kershaw
Eduardo Escobar (NYM, 2B -- 61%) vs. Gray
THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Today
Prop of the Day
Robbie Ray Pitching Outs: Over/Under 18.5 (+135/-180)
THE BAT sees Ray putting up 19.2 pitching outs for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 54.6% of the time. THE BAT believes there is positive value on the OVER with an expected value of $28.31.
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 Oakland Athletics projected offense ranks as the worst on the slate today.
T-Mobile Park ranks as the No. 28 venue in the game for batting average, via THE BAT projection system.
The weatherman calls for the second-best pitching weather on the slate, as it relates to temperature and humidity.
Robbie Ray has used his slider 8% more often this year (38.6%) than he did last season (30.6%).
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
Andy Fletcher profiles as a Hitters Umpire and is expected to be behind the plate in this game.
Ray's fastball velocity has decreased 1.7 mph this year (92.5 mph) below where it was last season (94.2 mph).