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

Veteran Johnny Cueto has a pretty solid matchup on Saturday, making him a potentially valuable streamer. Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire

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 Saturday's MLB Games

By Mike Sheets

  • One of the most interesting matchups on Saturday's 15-game slate is a duel between Joe Musgrove of the San Diego Padres and Sonny Gray of the Minnesota Twins. Surprisingly, both hurlers have struggled somewhat in July. Gray rebounded nicely in his last start (1 ER, 6 IP vs. DET) after three straight clunkers to begin July, but Musgrove has been hit hard in his last two outings (9 ER,10.1 IP combined). Musgrove is still a strong candidate to anchor your DFS lineup this weekend, but a Twins offense that sports a 114 wRC+ in July will make him work for it.

  • Dakota Hudson (8% rostered in ESPN leagues) hasn't pitched particularly well this season. He doesn't miss many bats (4.9 K/9) and walks too many batters (3.9 BB/9), which has resulted in an ugly 2.7 K-BB% that ranks last in baseball (min. 90 IP). The right-hander has survived by limiting hard contact and inducing lots of grounders in front of the terrific infield defense of the St. Louis Cardinals. Fortunately, that should be enough for him to keep the Washington Nationals in check on Saturday. After all, the Nationals sport the second-worst offense in the National League over the last month with a 74 wRC+ and a .279 wOBA. Hudson may not be an exciting streamer, but the matchup makes him a somewhat appealing one.

  • Like Hudson, Johnny Cueto (36%) doesn't have overpowering stuff, but he boasts a 2.89 ERA across 13 games (12 starts), including a 2.38 mark over his last seven turns. The underlying numbers suggest that the veteran hasn't fully earned that 2.89 ERA, but we probably don't need to worry about regression hitting on Saturday against the Oakland Athletics. Oakland's offense has actually been one of the worst in baseball this season, creating a prime streaming opportunity for the 36-year-old Cueto.

  • Since the start of July, Nick Pivetta has hit a wall, getting blasted for a 9.95 ERA over his last four starts. In three of those outings, he has surrendered six-plus earned runs. Needless to say, Saturday looks like a great time to load up on Milwaukee Brewers bats. Rowdy Tellez (59%), Luis Urias (52%), Andrew McCutchen (52%) and Omar Narvaez (26%) are all available in plenty of leagues. Urias, who is hitting .292/.365/.539 over his last 24 games, is the easiest to work into your lineup, as he's eligible at three different positions (2B, 3B, SS).

  • If you're digging deep for saves, take a look at A.J. Puk (3%). The left-hander has picked up two saves over the past week, and it wouldn't be at all surprising if Oakland stepped away from closer Lou Trivino, who has a 6.23 ERA over his last 10 appearances. For his part, Puk sports a 0.87 ERA in July with 13 strikeouts and only one walk over 10 1/3 innings, so he's certainly pitching like a guy who could step into the ninth-inning role on a full-time basis.



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.


Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Saturday


THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Saturday


Prop of the Day

Nestor Cortes earned runs: Over/Under 2.5 (-115/-115)

PROJECTION

THE BAT X sees Cortes allowing 2.25 earned runs for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 34.2% of the time. THE BAT X believes there is positive value on the UNDER with an expected value of $26.46.

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

  • Jordan Baker, expected to be behind the plate in this game, profiles as a hitter's umpire.

  • Hot weather is strongly correlated with more offense (and fewer strikeouts), and the weatherman calls for the second-highest temperatures on the slate at 85 degrees.

FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER

  • The Royals projected offense grades out as the fifth-worst on today's slate.

  • Yankee Stadium projects as the No. 29 field in the majors for batting average, according to THE BAT X projection system.

  • Cortes's fastball velocity over his last three starts (91.9 mph) has been considerably higher than than his seasonal rate (90.9 mph).

  • Cortes has relied on his cut-fastball 27.8% more often this season (34.7%) than he did last year (6.9%).