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
There is only one more week until the break, with a doubleheader highlighting Monday's action as the Kansas City Royals entertain the Detroit Tigers for some day/night action, with the opener at 2:10 p.m. ET. This is an odd scenario where three of the four starters are in play as streamers, but there are hitters on both clubs worthy of a spot start, as well. The rankings below reflect the better streaming options, with all three available in well over 90% of all ESPN leagues.
Alex Cobb (20% rostered in ESPN leagues) was one of the league's unluckiest pitchers over the first half, as his ERA estimators earmarked Cobb's 4.74 ERA to be almost two runs lower. His fortune has already begun to change with a 2.84 ERA and 1.14 WHIP over his past five outings. On Monday, Cobb and the Giants host a league-average Diamondbacks lineup. Brayan Bello is a risk as he makes his second career start for the Red Sox, but he'll face a depleted Rays lineup that will be without Wander Franco for six to eight weeks after surgery to remove a hamate bone.
The Colorado Rockies have a seven-game homestand heading into the break. While the focus of this space is the day's slate, sometimes it helps to look ahead, and three of the first five starters visiting Coors Field are slated to be southpaws. Therefore, Randal Grichuk (45%), Jose Iglesias (6%), Connor Joe (59%) and Elias Diaz (6%) are in play for Monday and are candidates to hold for a few days. The San Diego Padres begin the week at Coors Field, so the same idea holds true for Trent Grisham (47%), Luke Voit (31%), Jorge Alfaro (6%), Nomar Mazara (1%) and Ha-Seong Kim (9%).
Collectively, Texas Rangers catchers have thrown out only three of 40 runners trying to steal. This is good news for the Athletics Tony Kemp (3%), Ramon Laureano (11%) and Skye Bolt (less than 1%), all of whom are threats to run with righty Glenn Otto on the hill in Arlington.
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.
Edward Olivares (KC, RF -- 1%) vs. Pineda and Faedo
Michael Taylor (KC, CF -- 1%) vs. Pineda and Faedo
Jonathan Schoop (DET, 1B -- 43%) at B. Keller and Lynch
Nicky Lopez (KC, SS -- 6%) vs. Pineda and Alex Faedo
Spencer Torkelson (DET, 1B -- 47%) at B. Keller and Lynch
Miguel Cabrera (DET, 1B -- 7%) at B. Keller and Lynch
Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Monday
Dansby Swanson (ATL, SS -- 96%) vs. Scherzer
Austin Riley (ATL, 3B -- 99%) vs. Scherzer
Marcell Ozuna (ATL, LF -- 91%) vs. Scherzer
Mark Canha (NYM, LF -- 63%) at Fried
Eduardo Escobar (NYM, 2B -- 64%) at Max Fried
THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Monday
Prop of the Day
Alex Cobb strikeouts: Over/Under 4.5 (+105/-135)
THE BAT X sees Cobb putting up 5.9 strikeouts for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 67.2% of the time. THE BAT X believes there is positive value on the OVER with an expected value of $37.74.
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 X projects Cobb in the 85th percentile when assessing his strikeout skill.
Cold weather is strongly correlated with less offense (and more strikeouts), and this game projects for the coldest weather of all games on today's slate at 58 degrees.
Cobb has a reverse platoon split and should be aided by facing eight opposite-handed bats in this matchup.
Cobb's fastball velocity has jumped 1.9 mph this season (94 mph) over where it was last year (92.1 mph).
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
The wind projects to be blowing out to left at 9.4 mph in this game, the second-best of the day for bats.
Cobb has been lucky with his strikeouts this year, compiling a 9.32 K/9, despite THE BAT X estimating his true talent level to be 8.87 - a 0.45 K/9 discrepancy.