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 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 Todd Zola
The first day of July features two afternoon tilts, the first between two of the most storied franchises in the game as the Boston Red Sox visit the Chicago Cubs to kick off a weekend interleague set. Rich Hill is familiar with the mound in Wrigley Field as he spent his first four years of his career on the North Side from 2005 through 2008. On Friday, Hill (8% rostered in ESPN leagues) is a streamer against an offense sitting mid-pack in the league against southpaws.
If it seems there have been an usually high number of stream-worthy pitchers this season, it's not because of the pitchers but due to so many lineups to attack. The Angels, Orioles, Diamondbacks, Pirates, Athletics, Marlins and Guardians are susceptible to lefthanders while the Orioles, Diamondbacks, Rangers, Royals, Pirates, White Sox, Rays, Athletics and Tigers are especially vulnerable to righthanders.
With that in mind, Josiah Gray (50%), Alex Cobb (20%), Brad Keller (8%), Michael Pineda (2%) and James Kaprielian (2%) all have favorable Friday matchups. Gray faces the Marlins, Cobb draws the White Sox, Keller is slated to face the Tigers, Pineda is on track to come off the IL against the Royals while Kaprielian has a tough opponent in Seattle but is in play for those needing to make up ground on the pitching side of the ledger.
There are a few difficult pitching decisions on Friday's docket, beginning with Jose Berrios at home against Tampa. For years, Berrios has been a set it and forget it type. He began June with three solid outings, posting a 2.45 ERA and 0.64 WHIP with 26 whiffs in 22 frames but has followed it up with two clunkers, surrendering 14 earned runs in 6 2/3 innings. The Rays struggle against righties, rendering the decision even tougher. Sitting Berrios in leagues with closely contested ratios is defensible, but one of the strengths of our daily rankings is not being blinded by recency bias and Berrios is 11th out of 30 starters on the day. Trevor Rogers does not have the track record of Berrios, but Rogers was drafted in the same neighborhood as Berrios. That said, as the rankings indicate, benching Rogers against the Nationals at home makes sense. Lastly, Blake Snell is ranked high, but he's only thrown 35 1/3 innings so his struggles haven't moved his track record that much. This is a case where it's sage to override the ranking and sit him on the road against the Dodgers.
It's rare a visiting team in Coors Field has a plethora of readily available players, but such is the case with the Diamondbacks visiting the Rockies.
Some favorable standalone batters are Jesus Sanchez (13%), William Contreras (30%), Alex Kirilloff (28%) and Juan Yepez (13%). With the note Jon Berti (39%) is less useful in points leagues, he stole more bases in June than 18 entire teams.
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.
Alek Thomas (ARI, CF -- 13%) at Senzatela
David Peralta (ARI, LF -- 14%) at Senzatela
Josh Rojas (ARI, SS -- 29%) at Senzatela
Hunter Dozier (KC, RF -- 18%) at Michael Pineda
Buddy Kennedy (ARI, 3B -- 0%) at Senzatela
Carson Kelly (ARI, C -- 10%) at Senzatela
Vinnie Pasquantino (KC, 1B -- 10%) at Pineda
Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Friday
Ke'Bryan Hayes (PIT, 3B -- 81%) vs. Burnes
Wilmer Flores (SF, 3B -- 73%) vs. Lynn
THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Today
Prop of the Day
Marco Gonzales pitching outs: Over/Under 18.5 (+115/-160)
THE BAT sees Gonzales putting up 20.1 pitching outs for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 61.1% of the time. THE BAT believes there is positive value on the OVER with an expected value of $31.39.
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 Oakland Athletics projected lineup ranks as the worst of all teams on the slate.
Gabe Morales projects as a "pitchers umpire" and is expected to be behind the plate in this game.
T-Mobile Park profiles as the No. 28 park in the game for batting average, via THE BAT projection system.
The weatherman calls for the third-best pitching weather of all games on the slate, as it relates to temperature and humidity.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER