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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 Sunday's MLB Games
By Todd Zola
For one of the few times this season, there are no extra early Sunday games, with the first block all commencing in the 1:00 PM ET hour. Sunday is approaching the midway point of the championships in standard ESPN head-to-head leagues as the season-ending Monday through Wednesday series is tacked onto the end of the usual two-week finals.
Not only is Sunday replete with solid options to stream, but it is also extra important to take advantage since there are only four games scheduled for Monday and it's best to strike while the supply exceeds the demand. Using our Starting Pitcher Rankings for Sunday as a guide, Nick Lodolo (32% rostered in ESPN leagues) is the clearcut top option. The rookie righthander is at home against a Milwaukee Brewers lineup offering Lodolo a great opportunity to tap into his high strikeout potential.
The next three highest ranked candidates for a spot start are Ross Stripling (44%), Edward Cabrera (47%) and Drey Jameson (3%). Stripling and the Toronto Blue Jays wrap up an important series in St. Petersburg against the Tampa Bay Rays, a decent, but not daunting lineup with some a swing and miss penchant. Cabrera's strong second half suggests starting pitchers do grow on trees, at least in South Beach. The Miami Marlins right is at home against a Washington Nationals lineup looking at players for next season. Jameson has pitched only two games at the MLB level, but they've been against the Padres and in Dodgers Stadium where he's tossed a combined 13 innings with 12 strikeouts and only two runs allowed. On Sunday, Jameson is at home as the Arizona Diamondbacks finish a weekend set with the San Francisco Giants.
Four more starters check ample boxes for a Sunday fantasy spot start. Jose Suarez (9%) and the Los Angeles Dodgers visit a Minnesota Twins squad fanning at a bloated rate against southpaws. Adrian Sampson (4%) has a great chance for a fourth consecutive quality start with the Chicago Cubs squaring off with the Pittsburgh Pirates in PNC Park. Aaron Civale (36%) and the Cleveland Guardians continue their march to the AL Central against a beatable Texas Rangers lineup in Arlington. Lastly, Dylan Bundy has been inconsistent but if he can keep Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani in check, the Twins righty should be able to handle the rest of the Halos lineup.
Sunday's sixpack of hitters starts with the Guardians Oscar Gonzalez (39%) enjoying the platoon edge over Rangers lefty Cole Ragans. Next is Ha-Seong Kim (14%) representing the final recommendation of a hitter in Coors Field as the Rockies are on the road for their final three series. Kim faces lefty Kyle Freeland. Batting third in the six-pack is Jake McCarthy (27%), one of the exciting Diamondbacks outfielders. McCarthy's power/speed combo plays well against the Giants Jake Junis. While all eye have deservedly been on Albert Pujols, the Cardinals' Lars Nootbaar (12%) continues to post a solid second half. He's in a good spot on the road against the Dodgers Michael Grove. AJ Pollock (23%) and Jose Miranda (33%) round out the six-pack, as both righty swingers have the platoon edge at home against left-handers.
Starting pitcher rankings for Sunday
Best Sub-50% Rostered Hitters for Sunday
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.
Albert Pujols (STL, 1B -- 19%) at Grove
Oneil Cruz (PIT, SS -- 35%) vs. Sampson
Brian Anderson (MIA, 3B -- 2%) vs. Sanchez
Elvis Andrus (CHW, SS -- 44%) vs. Alexander
Ben Gamel (PIT, LF -- 2%) vs. Sampson
Nick Fortes (MIA, C -- 0%) vs. Sanchez
Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Sunday
Teoscar Hernandez (TOR, LF -- 91%) at McClanahan
Whit Merrifield (TOR, 2B -- 79%) at McClanahan
Enrique Hernandez (BOS, CF -- 51%) at Cortes
THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Sunday
Prop of the Day
Brayan Bello earned runs: Over/Under 2.5 (-120/-110)
THE BAT X sees Bello putting up 2.35 earned runs for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 37.1% of the time. THE BAT X believes there is positive value on the UNDER with an expected value of $22.14.
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 weatherman calls for the fifth-best hitting weather of all games on the slate, as it relates to temperature and humidity.
The wind projects to be blowing out to left at 11.2 mph in this contest, the fifth-most-favorable of the day for bats.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
The Yankees have been the sixth-luckiest offense in baseball this year, according to THE BAT X, and are likely to negatively regress the rest of the season
Chris Conroy, expected to be behind the plate today, projects as a pitcher's umpire.
Yankee Stadium grades out as the No. 26 park in the game for batting average, according to THE BAT X projection system.
Bello will have the handedness advantage against seven opposing bats in this matchup.