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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 Saturday's MLB games
By Mike Sheets
Andrew Abbott (14% rostered in ESPN leagues) is set for his second big league start after firing six shutout innings against the Milwaukee Brewers in his debut on Monday. In the outing, the rookie left-hander walked four batters, but he allowed just one hit while striking out six. Abbott will need to keep his control in check, but he carries massive strikeout potential, as he racked up 90 Ks in just 54 frames (15.0 K/9) between Double- and Triple-A prior to his promotion. On Saturday, he gets a huge park upgrade by trading in Great American Ballpark for Busch Stadium, and he faces a struggling St. Louis Cardinals lineup that sports an ugly 67 wRC+ over the last two weeks.
Another young, high-upside arm, Bobby Miller (48%), also finds himself in the streamer conversation on Saturday. The rookie right-hander was considered one of the top pitching prospects in the minors, and he has made a strong impression since his callup, posting a 1.06 ERA and 0.76 WHIP over three starts. He really flashed in his last outing, spinning six shutout innings against the New York Yankees while striking out seven and allowing only three baserunners. The Philadelphia Phillies present another stiff test on Saturday, but after Miller shut down both the Yankees and the Atlanta Braves in two of his first three starts, he's a good bet to keep the Phils in check, too.
Since joining the Houston Astros rotation, J.P. France (10%) owns a 3.44 ERA and 1.15 WHIP across six starts. He's not missing a ton of bats (7.7 K/9), but he's showing strong control (2.4 BB/9) and his career 11.1 K/9 in the minors hints at there being some more K potential here. Against a Cleveland Guardians offense that ranks 24th in baseball over the last month with an 86 wRC+, France looks like a solid streaming option this weekend.
While most of the fantasy community is focused on adding rookie phenom Elly De La Cruz to their rosters, there's another De La Cruz who also deserves some attention. The Miami Marlins' Bryan De La Cruz (28%) has been mashing of late, slashing .342/.403/.561 over his last 31 games with six homers, 24 RBI, 21 runs, and a pair of steals. The righty slugger looks primed to do some damage against Michael Kopech on Saturday. Although Kopech has been pitching better over his last few starts, he's still having trouble keeping the ball in the yard, as his 15 homers allowed are second-most in the majors.
Are we witnessing a Gary Sanchez (5%) resurgence? Once considered one of the top catchers in fantasy, Sanchez has had trouble keeping a job in 2023, as he's been with three different organizations in the last month. Now with the San Diego Padres, Sanchez has seemingly rediscovered his power stroke, popping four homers in his first nine games with his new club. Given his streakiness, prolonged production can't be expected here, but he's swinging a hot stick now, and on Saturday he gets the platoon edge against Kyle Freeland in Coors Field. Streaming matchups don't get much better than that.
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Starting pitcher rankings for Saturday
Bullpen usage watch for Saturday
By Todd Zola
Friday night was busy for some of the league's top closers, leaving their availability for today in jeopardy.
Carlos Estevez captured his 17th save in 17 chances last night, making it two days in a row and three of the last four he has locked down an Angels victory. However, the 24 pitches logged last night makes it 38 over the past two days, signaling a day of rest. With Matt Moore still out and Ben Joyce reportedly headed for the IL, the Angels bullpen is thin. Chris Devenski did not work yesterday, so he'll be in the late-game mix where he'll probably be asked to collect more than three outs.
Felix Bautista needed only 10 pitches to record his 17th save last night, but that came on top of 21 pitches needed on Thursday to secure No. 16. Bautista now has accumulated 31 pitches over the past two days and 42 since Tuesday. Yennier Cano has been similarly busy, leaving Saturday's leverage work to Bryan Baker, Danny Coulombe and Cionel Perez.
Braves manager Brian Snitker may have a tough decision if his club holds a late lead. Closer Raisel Iglesias has pitched on back-to-back days, but he has compiled only nine pitches each time, so he could be asked for another quick inning today. However, with A.J. Minter and Nick Anderson both well-rested, Snitker may play it safe and give Iglesias the day to recover.
Josh Hader gathered his 14th save last night, tossing 18 pitches in the process. Combined with the 19 thrown on Wednesday, Hader could sit this one out. He has worked on consecutive days multiple times but coming off less than this recent workload. The Padres are in Coors Field over the weekend, so it is best to look for help elsewhere.
After allowing runs in five of seven appearances in mid-May, Emmanuel Clase has posted six straight scoreless outings, including last night's efficient seven-pitch effort. Clase threw 16 pitches Wednesday, but the combined 23 over the past three days is probably not enough to reserve him. He has been asked to work on consecutive days with similar recent pitch counts.
Add David Bednar to the list of closers inflating their ratios with a bad outing in a non-save situation. The Pirates were up 14-3 with two outs in the ninth, though the Mets had runners on the corners when Bednar was asked for just one out. He got it, but not before being charged with two earned runs. He threw 20 pitches, but since he had previously pitched on Sunday, Bednar will probably not only be available today, but eager to get back on track.
Ryan Pressly was saddled with a blown save last night in Cleveland. He threw 19 pitches, but since he last pitched a week ago today, Dusty Baker won't hesitate to get his closer back on the hill today for some retribution. Kenley Jansen made it interesting by allowing a pair of Yankees hits, but he and the Red Sox held on for a 3-2 win in the Bronx. Jansen's 14th save required 17 pitches, but he was working with two days of rest, so he's likely to answer the call today, if needed.
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.
Elias Diaz (COL, C -- 47%) vs. Weathers
Gary Sanchez (SD, C -- 7%) at Freeland
Jurickson Profar (COL, LF -- 10%) vs. Weathers
Ha-Seong Kim (SD, SS -- 11%) at Freeland
Brenton Doyle (COL, CF -- 1%) vs. Weathers
Ryan Noda (OAK, 1B -- 2%) at Teheran
Elehuris Montero (COL, 3B -- 0%) vs. Weathers
Worst over-50% rostered hitters for Saturday
Jonah Heim (TEX, C -- 84%) at Bradley
Jose Abreu (HOU, 1B -- 57%) at McKenzie
The Bat X's Best Stacks for Saturday
Prop of the Day
Patrick Sandoval, Los Angeles Angels: Over/Under 17.5 pitching outs (-150/+115)
THE BAT sees Sandoval putting up 16.2 pitching outs for this matchup, on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 41.0% of the time. THE BAT believes there is positive value on the UNDER, with an expected value of $26.82.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE OVER:
Phil Cuzzi projects as an extreme pitchers' umpire and is expected to be behind the plate in this game.
The weather forecast calls for the second-most suitable pitching conditions of all games on the slate today, as it relates to temperature and humidity.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER:
The Seattle Mariners have been the eighth-unluckiest offense in MLB this year, according to THE BAT X, and are likely to hit better going forward.
Angel Stadium ranks as the No. 6 park in Major League Baseball for walks, per THE BAT projection system.
The wind projects to be blowing out to CF at 8.2 mph in this matchup, the second-most-favorable of the day for batters.
The Mariners have eight hitters in the projected batting order that will have the handedness advantage over Sandoval in this matchup, which is especially troublesome given his large platoon split.