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 overnight pitching changes and weather-related 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
By Mike Sheets
You're probably not going to bench Shane Bieber after drafting him in one of the first few rounds, but the right-hander's struggles are still worth discussing. In a tough matchup against the Toronto Blue Jays last Saturday, Bieber was tattooed for seven runs over 3 1/3 innings, as his velocity continued its decline. Back in 2020, when Bieber won the AL Cy Young, he averaged 94.2 mph with his fastball. Last season it was down to 92.8 mph. In his last start, his heater sat at just 89.9 mph. Against a Minnesota Twins offense that ranks seventh in baseball with a 110 wRC+, it's fair to lower expectations for Bieber on Saturday.
George Kirby (33% rostered in ESPN leagues) was flat-out dominant in his MLB debut, spinning six shutout frames against the Tampa Bay Rays while fanning seven and walking none. This came after he posted a 1.82 ERA with an 11.7 K/9 and a 1.8 BB/9 in five starts at Double-A. It's unwise to get overly excited about just one start, but the former first-round pick still deserves to be rostered in more than 33% of leagues based solely on his upside. Saturday's outing versus the New York Mets, who sport a 121 wRC+ against right-handed pitchers this season, will be another good test for Kirby.
Since his promotion, Juan Yepez (15%) is batting .400 with a pair of homers through his first eight games. That's obviously a tiny sample size, but it's simply the continuation of what the 24-year-old has been doing over the past year in the minors. Yepez produced a combined .969 OPS with 27 home runs in 111 games between Double- and Triple-A in 2021, and he had a .974 OPS with nine dingers in 22 games at Triple-A prior to getting the call this season. He's worth grabbing as a potential long-term asset if your offense needs a boost.
Bruce Zimmermann (19%) has been a pleasant surprise this season, putting up a 2.67 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP over his first six starts. The 27-year-old lefty is more of a soft-tosser, averaging just 90.3 mph on his fastball, but he's still getting nearly a strikeout per inning, thanks to a slider that boasts a 53.8% whiff rate. There's certainly some regression risk here, but we're unlikely to see that regression hit against a Detroit Tigers lineup that's been below-average versus lefties.
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 Saturday
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.
Ramon Laureano (OAK, CF -- 12%) vs. Diaz and Lorenzen
Carlos Santana (KC, 1B -- 46%) at Marquez
Sheldon Neuse (OAK, 2B -- 18%) vs. Diaz and Lorenzen
Christian Bethancourt (OAK, C -- 0%) vs. Diaz and Lorenzen
Kevin Smith (OAK, 3B -- 2%) vs. Diaz and Lorenzen
Worst over-50% rostered hitters for Saturday
Eugenio Suarez (SEA, 3B -- 52%) at Bassitt
Yasmani Grandal (CHW, C -- 89%) vs. Montgomery
J.P. Crawford (SEA, SS -- 87%) at Bassitt
THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Today
Prop of the Day
German Marquez Strikeouts: Over/Under 4.5 (-125/-105)
THE BAT sees Marquez putting up 4.0 Strikeouts for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 36.6% of the time. THE BAT believes there is positive value on the UNDER with an expected value of $25.00.
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
German Marquez has been unlucky with his strikeouts this year, notching a 7.31 K/9 despite THE BAT estimating his true talent level to be 8.80 - a 1.49 K/9 deviation.
German Marquez was in good form in his last game started and accumulated 7 strikeouts.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
THE BAT X projects German Marquez to throw 84 pitches in this matchup (11th-least of the day), considering both his underlying tendencies and the matchup.
Coors Field ranks as the #30 ballpark in Major League Baseball for strikeouts, per THE BAT projection system.
Hot weather is strongly correlated with more offense (and fewer whiffs), and the weatherman calls for the 2nd-hottest weather of the day at 84°.
German Marquez has put up an 8.8% Swinging Strike% this year, ranking in the 21st percentile.