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.
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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 Monday's MLB Games
By Todd Zola
The Memorial Day slate is a little light, with only 11 games. Action commences at 1:05 p.m. ET in Camden Yards with the Orioles hosting the Guardians. The holiday schedule finishes with the Mariners hosting the Yankees at 9:40 p.m. ET. It may be the first day of the fantasy week, but it's not a day to sleep on quality pitching to stream.
The top option to pick up for a spot start is rookie Bobby Miller (19.4% rostered in ESPN leagues) for the Dodgers' home date with the Nationals. Miller limited the potent Braves lineup to just one run in five frames, fanning five in Truist Park. Washington doesn't strike out much, but the Nats tote the eighth-lowest wOBA facing right-handers into Chavez Ravine.
The Orioles-Guardians tilt features teams heading in opposite directions, with Baltimore sporting the second-best record in MLB and Cleveland still within striking distance in the AL Central, but the Guardians offense has struggled to manufacture runs in the manner they did last season. The pitching matchup is intriguing with another rookie, Logan Allen (10.8% rostered), ranked highly today, to be opposed by Tyler Wells (53%). Allen faces a tough Orioles lineup, but he has allowed only three homers in 32 2/3 frames, which is key when facing the Orioles. Wells has been inconsistent and the Guardians don't fan much, but he pitches deep into games and his proclivity for the long ball is mitigated facing Cleveland. Wells is ranked lower, but with the support he usually gets from the lineup and bullpen, Wells is a better spot to capture a win.
It's risky to allow a pair of games to erase a much larger sample, but Michael Kopech (34.7%) has been outstanding for his last two outings, fanning 19 with just one free pass in 15 scoreless innings. Kopech yielded just three hits during that span, albeit to the Guardians and Royals, a couple of lesser lineups. Even so, the results merit attention. Next up is a home date with a more potent, but still league average, Angels lineup.
The Braves will reportedly call up Michael Soroka (4.8%) for his first MLB start since 2020. Soroka hasn't been on rehab, but rather he has been pitching regularly for Triple-A Gwinnett, so there is less risk trusting the righty than if he was returning after just a few rehab outings. In his last effort for the Stripers, Soroka fanned eight over six frames, so there should be no workload restrictions. Furthermore, facing the below-average Oakland lineup in pitcher-friendly RingCentral Coliseum bodes well for a productive 2023 debut.
As mentioned, Monday is plush with streaming options. On a lesser slate, Rich Hill (4.9%), Anthony DeSclafani (44.9%), Adam Wainwright (10.9%), J.P. France (6.6%) and Griffin Canning (0.9%) may have been featured. With just 11 games, fantasy lineups may have some hitting holes. The Cardinals' Lars Nootbaar (25.3%) and Alec Burleson (0.5%) enjoy the platoon edge on Royals starter Mike Mayers, with a small chance Nolan Gorman (75.2%) is also available. Some standalone batters in a favorable spot with the platoon advantage include Jake McCarthy (15.4%), Seth Brown (5.9%), J.D. Davis (8.1%), Casey Schmitt (15.1%) and Bubba Thompson (0.2%).
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Starting pitcher rankings for Monday
Bullpen usage watch for Monday
By Todd Zola
Ryan Helsley was asked to protect a 3-2 lead in Cleveland yesterday, but after sandwiching two walks between two outs, the Cardinals closer surrendered a walk-off double to Jose Ramirez, using 20 pitches in the process. This came on top off 18 tosses on Saturday, so accumulating 38 over the past two days probably has Helsley unavailable for the first game of a short two-game series with the Royals. Giovanny Gallegos has two saves over the past week and could be in line for a third today. An interesting note about the Cardinals and Royals is they both have Wednesday and Thursday off, so replacements will be needed two days in a row, which is rare.
It was noted that David Bednar would be available yesterday, despite accruing 18 pitches on Saturday. Sure enough, he was asked to pitch the ninth after the Pirates scored two in the eighth to tie Seattle at 3-3. Bednar did his job, but the Mariners scored three in the 10th to win 6-3. However, Bednar needed 11 pitches, and even though that isn't many, he has now thrown 29 over two days, and there is no precedent for Bednar pitching on three consecutive days. Colin Holderman also pitched yesterday, but he threw only 14 pitches and had not worked since Wednesday, so he's the likely fill-in.
The Dodgers remain the top bullpen for pickups in the first half of the week since they'll be favored in each game of their three-game home set with the Nationals. Evan Phillips leads the club in saves, but he shares duties with Brusdar Graterol and Caleb Ferguson. All three are in the mix for holds.
Best sub-50% rostered hitters for Monday
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.
Andrew Benintendi (CHW, LF -- 16%) vs. Canning
Jurickson Profar (COL, LF -- 11%) at Nelson
Max Kepler (MIN, RF -- 3%) at France
Worst over-50% rostered hitters for Monday
Gunnar Henderson (BAL, 3B -- 55%) vs. Allen
Andres Gimenez (CLE, 2B -- 56%) at Wells
Isaac Paredes (TB, 3B -- 52%) at Stroman
Ian Happ (CHC, LF -- 63%) vs. Bradley
Jeremy Pena (HOU, SS -- 60%) vs. Gray
The Bat X's Best Stacks for Monday
Prop of the Day
Sonny Gray, Minnesota Twins: Pitching outs prop is set at 16.5 (-135/-105).
THE BAT sees Gray putting up 14.3 pitching outs for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 35.2% of the time. THE BAT believes there is positive value on the UNDER, with an expected value of $27.85.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE OVER:
Per THE BAT, Gray is projected to be the 17th-best pitcher in the game.
Minute Maid Park has the third-highest fence height (on average) in the league.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER:
The Houston Astros' projected offense profiles as the third-best on the slate.
According to THE BAT X, the Astros rank as the third-unluckiest offense in the majors this year, but there is potential for improvement in their future performance.
According to THE BAT projection system, Minute Maid Park holds the No. 9 position for walks among all stadiums in the league.
According to the weather report, the temperature and humidity for this matchup will be the fifth-most suitable for hitting on the schedule today.