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.
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 Friday's MLB Games
By Todd Zola
Despite a lack of frontline pitching on Friday, the streaming options are rather slim. Instead of focusing on pitching, fantasy managers in deeper formats can look to fortify hitting in Florida, where Elieser Hernandez and the Miami Marlins entertain Matt Brash and the Seattle Mariners. The visitors are leading the league in scoring over the past week, with leadoff man Adam Frazier (52% rostered in ESPN leagues) crossing the plate a dozen times in that span. The Marlins' lineup has been only average of late, but their strength is plate patience and they're facing a rookie with 11 walks in his first 15 major league innings. Joey Wendle (21%) is the top pickup with a homer and steal over the previous week. Even though they won't enjoy the platoon edge, Jesus Aguilar (34%) and Avisail Garcia (53%) are in play. Despite the strong chance both teams score runs, neither lineup is a great target to stack, although betting the over is a sneaky play.
One of the pitchers available for steaming in shallower leagues is Tanner Houck, who is set to take the hill in Camden Yards as the Boston Red Sox get their first look at the Baltimore Orioles' renovated venue. Houck will be well-rested after missing the four-game set in Toronto. While his early 2.57 ERA and 1.15 WHIP are both artificially low, there is strikeout upside against the Orioles as Houck is developing one of the better sweeping sliders in the league.
One of the best examples of a drop in offense is the fly ball data emanating from the first 10 games in Coors Field. Compared to last season, average exit velocity on fly balls is down 2 mph, helping reduce the average fly ball distance by over 20 feet. The oddity is that the weather in Denver has offered some of the warmest game-day temperatures over the first month of the season. So, even though we typically support taking visiting bats in Colorado, be aware that the Cincinnati Reds lineup has been underproducing -- even when playing at home in The Great American Ballpark, another hitter's haven.
To be honest, there might not be a lot of avenues to exploit the St. Louis Cardinals entertaining the Arizona Diamondbacks for fantasy or betting purposes, but a matchup spotlighting elder statesmen Madison Bumgarner and Adam Wainwright deserves a mention as the pair has combined for 4,448⅔ innings, 3,987 strikeouts and 313 wins. Furthermore, both Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina should be in the lineup with a left-hander on the hill. It's always fun to have a little juice on a compelling game, so even though the home Cardinals will be favored, backing them in a fun game to watch should only add to the enjoyment.
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 Friday
Best Sub-50% Rostered Hitters for Friday
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.
Tyler Naquin (CIN, CF -- 5%) at Senzatela
Mike Moustakas (CIN, 3B -- 9%) at Senzatela
Nick Senzel (CIN, CF -- 2%) at Senzatela
Kyle Farmer (CIN, SS -- 7%) at Senzatela
Andrew McCutchen (MIL, LF -- 40%) vs. Hendricks
Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Friday
Eduardo Escobar (NYM, 2B -- 86%) vs. Nola
Owen Miller (CLE, 2B -- 71%) at Montas
Jeff McNeil (NYM, 2B -- 79%) vs. Nola
Amed Rosario (CLE, SS -- 55%) at Montas