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 Monday's MLB Games
By Todd Zola
After a weekend filled with rainouts and doubleheaders, Monday forecasts to be dry, with a warming trend in the Midwest. That said, there are a pair of makeup games on the schedule, both matinees. The first game starts at 12:05 PM ET in Camden Yards, with Tyler Wells (7% rostered in ESPN leagues) taking the hill for the Baltimore Orioles to be opposed by Carlos Hernandez (8%) and the Kansas City Royals. Wells is the better streamer while the hometown bats are preferred for those looking to full holes. The Royals don't fan much, but they're averaging the second fewest runs per game, putting Wells in play. Austin Hays, Anthony Santander and Trey Mancini are all rostered in just over 60% of ESPN leagues, so they could be available in some 10 and 12 team formats. Jorge Mateo (11% rostered) and Ramon Urias (1%) are more widely available.
On April 26 of last season, Austin Gomber (6%) was coming off three quality starts and was slated to face the San Francisco Giants in Oracle Park. At the time, the Giants were still considered an easy mark for pitchers, so Gomber was a popular DFS and streamer. After surrendering nine earned runs in 1 2/3 frames, the term, "Gombered" was introduced into the fantasy lexicon as in, "I thought Reiver Sanmartin was in a good spot but instead I was Gombered." Fast forward a little over a year and Gomber is still pitching well, but the book is out on the platooning Giants. Even so, the San Francisco lineup isn't hitting well against southpaws, putting Gomber in the streaming mix.
One of the most difficult decisions for a fantasy manager is whether to start a pitcher coming off a long absence. Most play it safe, but in the current reduced run-scoring environment, it is tempting to jam as many innings as possible onto the ledger. Specifically, Luis Castillo will take the hill for the first time this season as the Cincinnati Reds entertain the Milwaukee Brewers. There is a narrative suggesting Castillo favors warm weather and the early forecast calls for around 77 degrees at game time. The Brewers are hitting right-handers well but they're also fanning over 25% of the time. It's risky, but the aggressive call is rolling with Castillo, likely one of the top three arms on a fantasy staff.
Paul Blackburn (49%) has been solid with a chance to keep the roll going on Monday as the Oakland Athletics visit the Detroit Tigers. The home team has posted the second lowest wOBA with a righty on the hill while fanning 25% of the time.
In a season featuring a slew of youngsters making their MLB debut, Alek Thomas (1%) is the latest prospect to be promoted. With Carson Kelly on the IL, the Arizona Diamondbacks will move Daulton Varsho behind the plate, clearing an outfield spot for Thomas who put up an .857 OPS for Triple-A Reno. Thomas batted eighth in his Sunday debut which isn't ideal for DFS. However, David Peralta (14%) Christian Walker (5%) and Josh Rojas (22%) comprise a cost-efficient stack against Miami's Elieser Hernandez, while also serving as standalone pickups to fill holes in Monday's traditional fantasy lineups.
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 Monday
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.
Pavin Smith (ARI, RF -- 8%) vs. Hernandez
Jesus Sanchez (MIA, RF -- 42%) at Castellanos
Joey Wendle (MIA, SS -- 32%) at Castellanos
Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Monday
Randal Grichuk (COL, RF -- 76%) at Rodon
C.J. Cron (COL, 1B -- 95%) at Rodon
Charlie Blackmon (COL, RF -- 89%) at Rodon
Connor Joe (COL, LF -- 84%) at Rodon
Nathaniel Lowe (TEX, 1B -- 51%) at Britton
THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Monday
Prop of the Day
Chris Flexen strikeouts: Over/Under 5.5 (-116/-110).
THE BAT X sees Flexen putting up 3.9 strikeouts for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 21.6% of the time. THE BAT X believes there is positive value on the UNDER with an expected value of $54.59.
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
T-Mobile Park projects as the No. 5 stadium in Major League Baseball for strikeouts, per THE BAT X projection system.
Cold weather is strongly correlated with less offense (and more Ks), and this game projects for the second-coldest temperature of all games today at 52 degrees.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
THE BAT X projects Flexen in the 12th percentile when estimating his strikeout talent.
Flexen struggled in his last outing and posted just two strikeouts.
Flexen's 2,118 rpm fastball spin rate this year is in only the 12th percentile among starters.
Flexen has compiled an 8.8 swinging strike percentage since the start of last season, ranking in the 16th percentile.