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Fantasy baseball pitcher rankings, lineup advice for Friday's MLB games

Alex Cobb has a 2.84 ERA over his last six starts and faces a Cubs lineup that could missing players who are on the trade block. Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

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 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 Friday's MLB Games

By Todd Zola

  • All 15 games of Friday's slate will be evening affairs, beginning with a pair of 6:40 p.m. ET matchups. Sandy Alcantara and the Florida Marlins hosting Chris Bassitt and the New York Mets may be one of the top matchups of the night, but Mike Minor and the Cincinnati Reds hosting Dean Kremer and the Baltimore Orioles has more fantasy implications. It's a rare scenario where an argument can be tendered to stream both pitchers, as the Reds are weak facing righties and the Orioles struggle facing southpaws. However, neither hurler is pitching well, but let's give the slight nod to Kremer (12% rostered in ESPN leagues) despite being ranked lower as Minor (4% rostered) has been bad all season. This renders Adley Rutschman (56%), Ramon Urias (29%) and Jorge Mateo (16%) as options to fortify fantasy hitting with the platoon edge over Minor.

  • The Tampa Bay Rays' Jeffrey Springs (33%) checks in as Friday's top streamer, though it's more for run prevention than strikeouts, as the Cleveland Guardians don't fan much. Still, at home in pitcher-friendly Tropicana Field, Springs is in play. Next up is Alex Cobb, who should be rostered in more than 21% of ESPN leagues. Over his last six starts, Cobb has posted a 2.84 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. On Friday, he draws the Chicago Cubs at home. With Willson Contreras and Ian Happ the subject of trade rumors, there's a chance a soft lineup is even weaker come game time.

  • Jose Quintana (14%) is also reportedly on the block. If true, his last effort for the Pittsburgh Pirates could be Friday at home against the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies handle left-handed pitching well, but Quintana is on a role, recording a 3.78 ERA and 1.20 WHIP over his last six outings, fanning a respectable 30 with only seven free passes during those 33 1/3 frames. James Kaprielian wraps up a rather uninspiring slate for streamers with a road date against the Chicago White Sox. On paper, it's a favorable matchup against an offense with the fifth-worst wOBA against right-handers. However, the White Sox are getting healthy after being riddled with injuries, and even though Kaprielian has registered a 2.76 ERA and 1.10 WHIP over his last six stats, he has only fanned 22 while walking 15 in those 32 2/3 stanzas.

  • The Colorado Rockies are home against the Los Angeles Dodgers this weekend. Julio Urias is best left on reserve; it's just too risky using pitchers in Coors Field. Most of batters in this game are heavily rostered in traditional fantasy, though if Jake Lamb is playing for the visitors, and Randal Grichuk or Yonathan Daza are in the lineup for the hosts, they're all widely available while enjoying the platoon edge.

  • Aside from Coors Field, there are several targets for DFS stacks, some of them on the pricey side. The Atlanta Braves and Toronto Blue Jays head the pack, with the Milwaukee Brewers a cost-efficient alternative. The following hitters can be used as salary savers in a DFS lineup or streamers in traditional fantasy, as they all enjoy the platoon bump in a favorable scenario: Nolan Gorman (15%), Brendan Donovan (19%), Luis Garcia (3%), Brandon Belt (34%) and Michael Chavis (3%).



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.


Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Friday


THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Friday


Prop of the Day

Robbie Ray pitching outs: Over/Under 17.5 (-145/+110)

PROJECTION

THE BAT X sees Ray putting up 16.1 pitching outs for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 40.4% of the time. THE BAT X believes there is positive value on the UNDER with an expected value of $25.09.

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 Minute Maid Park roof projects to be closed today, making weather conditions in this contest 5-degrees colder than the average outdoor game of the day - favorable for pitching.

  • Ray's fastball velocity over his last three outings (94.1 mph) has been considerably faster than than his seasonal rate (92.7 mph).

FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER

  • The expected batting order for the Astros projects as the fifth-best of all teams on today's slate.

  • Nic Lentz, expected to be behind the plate in this game, projects as a extreme hitter's umpire.

  • Minute Maid Park ranks as the No. 10 park in baseball for walks, via THE BAT X projection system.

  • Ray's fastball velocity has fallen 1.8 mph this season (92.4 mph) below where it was last season (94.2 mph).