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 will be 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 Mike Sheets
Since joining the Kansas City Royals' rotation earlier this month, Brady Singer (11% rostered in ESPN leagues) has thrown seven shutout innings in back-to-back outings. Prior to this season, the 25-year-old owns a 4.62 ERA over 39 starts, so it's natural to be skeptical about Singer's 2022 performance. However, it's worth noting that he's getting a lot more whiffs from his slider compared to last year, and he's also relying more on his changeup, which he revamped over the offseason. That's not to say we should trust Singer after two strong starts, but it's at least encouraging to see some changes from his earlier profile. Although Saturday's matchup against the Minnesota Twins isn't particularly favorable, Singer is at least worth monitoring to see if he can keep this up.
Aside from a pair of clunkers against the San Francisco Giants, Chad Kuhl (30%) has had pretty favorable results this season, generating a 3.67 ERA across eight starts. If you remove his two starts versus the Giants, his ERA sits at 1.85 ERA. That said, Kuhl hasn't shown great control (3.7 BB/9), he's not missing many bats (6.7 K/9), and while his slider (which he throws 38% of the time) is a nasty pitch, the rest of his repertoire isn't particularly effective. All of that suggests that Kuhl is not a strong long-term investment. However, as a short-term play, he carries some nice streaming appeal against a Washington Nationals lineup that's posted a bottom-three wRC+ (77) over the past two weeks.
Brendan Donovan (5%) looks like the latest member of the St. Louis Cardinals to provide production after seemingly coming out of nowhere. Since his promotion on May 10 (which coincided with Paul DeJong's demotion), Donovan has batted .333/.471/.500 with a homer, a steal, and more walks than strikeouts. He's seen action at five different positions and has frequently batted near the top of the order when there's a right-hander on the mound. Donovan is not a high-upside bat, but his versatility and strong plate discipline (he consistently posted double-digit walk rates in the minors) should help him continue to get regular playing time. On Saturday, he gets the platoon edge against Adrian Houser, who frequently hands out free passes.
Like Donovan, Christopher Morel (3%) is making an impact with his ability to play all over the field. The 22-year-old has played nine games for the Chicago Cubs, and he's already seen time at third base, second base, shortstop, and center field. At the dish, he's batting .313/.405/.563 with two home runs, and he's swiped two bags with a sprint speed that ranks in the 94th percentile. Morel has even slotted in at leadoff for the last three games. He should continue playing as long as he's producing, and on Saturday he'll enjoy a nice park upgrade, as Guaranteed Rate Field is one of the best parks in baseball for right-handed power.
After getting roughed up in his first two outings, JT Brubaker has delivered a 3.57 ERA over his last seven starts with 40 Ks in 35 1/3 innings. Now he squares off against a San Diego Padres team that has not fared well against righties, ranking 26th in baseball with an 86 wRC+. Because of the Pittsburgh Pirates' wobbly offense, Brubaker has yet to register a victory this season, so he's not a great pickup if you're looking for help in the wins category. However, he can still provide help in strikeouts and ratios.
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 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.
Jackie Bradley Jr. (BOS, CF -- 1%) vs. Jordan Lyles and Denyi Reyes
Maikel Franco (WSH, 3B -- 7%) vs. Austin Gomber and Chad Kuhl
Brendan Rodgers (COL, 2B -- 41%) at Joan Adon and Aaron Sanchez
Jose Iglesias (COL, SS -- 5%) at Joan Adon and Aaron Sanchez
Ramon Urias (BAL, 2B -- 1%) at Josh Winckowski and Nathan Eovaldi
Victor Robles (WSH, CF -- 1%) vs. Austin Gomber and Chad Kuhl
Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Friday
Manuel Margot (TB, RF -- 51%) vs. Gerrit Cole
Prop of the Day
Zach Eflin Pitching Outs: Over/Under 17.5 (-170/+130)
THE BAT sees Eflin putting up 16.7 Pitching Outs for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 44.3% of the time. THE BAT believes there is positive value on the UNDER with an expected value of $28.04.
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:
THE BAT projects Zach Eflin in the 82nd percentile when it comes to his overall pitching talent level.
The New York Mets have been the 2nd-luckiest offense in the game this year, according to THE BAT X, and are likely to hit worse in future games
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER:
The New York Mets have 7 bats in the projected offense that will hold the platoon advantage over Zach Eflin in this matchup.
Citi Field grades out as the #5 field in the league for walks, per THE BAT projection system.
The weatherman calls for the 5th-best hitting weather of all games on the slate.
The Philadelphia Phillies outfield defense grades out as the 4th-worst of all teams on the slate.