Fantasy baseball pitcher rankings, lineup advice for Thursday's MLB games

Although Luis Severino could well have a strong 2022, it might be best to exercise some caution on Thursday. Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

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 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 Thursday's MLB Games

By Mike Sheets

  • It might be prudent to bench Luis Severino (87% rostered in ESPN leagues) in a tough home matchup against the Toronto Blue Jays. That said, the 28-year-old right-hander showed some encouraging takeaways in his 2022 debut, his first start since 2019. Despite lasting only three innings against the Boston Red Sox, Severino averaged 96.1 mph on his fastball (up 1.7 mph from 2021) and topped out at 100.3 mph, fanning five batters and walking none. Some patience may be required, but there's hope for a bounce-back season.

  • Connor Joe (14% rostered), who has been slotting in as the Colorado Rockies' leadoff hitter whenever there's a southpaw on the mound, is one of Thursday's more intriguing streamers and DFS options with left-hander Justin Steele starting for the Chicago Cubs. Eligible at both first base and outfield, Joe has consistently produced double-digit walk rates across his professional career, and he's already clubbed two homers and swiped a bag in five games in 2022. Elias Diaz (8%) is another interesting name if you need help at the catcher spot.

  • With Lucas Giolito and Lance Lynn both sidelined, the pitching depth of the Chicago White Sox is being tested. As a result, they'll be rolling out Jimmy Lambert against the Seattle Mariners on Thursday, which presents a nice stacking opportunity for Seattle's bats. Not only do the Mariners get to square off against one of the day's most exploitable hurlers, but they also get a big park upgrade, as Guaranteed Rate Field is significantly more homer-friendly than T-Mobile Park.

  • After stumbling to a 5.36 ERA across 24 starts in 2021, JT Brubaker picked up where he left off in his 2022 debut, surrendering four earned runs to the St. Louis Cardinals in just three frames. Needless to say, he's a hurler we want to attack in Thursday's matchup versus the Washington Nationals. Most of Washington's big bats are already rostered, but switch-hitting leadoff man Cesar Hernandez (9%) is widely available and should have some run-scoring opportunities while setting the table for Juan Soto, Nelson Cruz, and Josh Bell. Lane Thomas (2%), who offers a bit of power and speed, is another name to consider in deeper formats.

  • Although Luis Cessa will technically be the starter for the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday, he's only expected to be used an "opener" against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Reiver Sanmartin, the originally scheduled starter, is still expected to pitch and may well end up working deeper into the game in this scenario than he would have had he been forced to face the top of a very strong top of the Dodgers lineup right out of the gate. As a result, you'll find Sanmartin ranked in the grid below instead of Cessa, who is projected for only 1.4 fantasy points today.

Starting pitcher rankings for Thursday

Best Sub-50% Rostered Hitters for Thursday

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.

Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Thursday

THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Today

Prop of the Day

Justin Steele strikeouts: Over/Under 3.5 (-150/+110)


THE BAT sees Steele putting up 2.4 strikeouts for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total only 33.6% of the time. THE BAT believes there is positive value on the UNDER with an expected value of $41.63.

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.


  • Cold weather is strongly correlated with less offense (and more strikeouts) and the weather report calls for the third-lowest temperature of all games on the slate at 58 degrees.

  • The wind projects to be blowing in from left at 11.4 mph in this contest, the best of the day for mound aces.


  • Coors Field profiles as the No. 30 stadium in baseball for strikeouts, according to THE BAT projection system.

  • The Rockies (20.0 K%, per THE BAT X) project to have the least strikeout-heavy lineup today.

  • The Rockies have eight bats in their projected offense that will hold the platoon advantage over against Steele today.

  • THE BAT X projects Steele to throw only 59 pitches in this matchup (third-least of the day), considering both his underlying tendencies and the matchup.