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 Saturday's MLB Games
By Mike Sheets
On Saturday, we get a monster 17-game slate, with the Cincinnati Reds taking on the St. Louis Cardinals in a doubleheader, and the Minnesota Twins playing two versus the Cleveland Guardians. In one of the Reds' two games, Hunter Greene (24% rostered in ESPN leagues) is scheduled to return to the mound after missing a month and a half with a right shoulder strain. The hard-throwing right-hander made three rehab appearances, allowing two runs while striking out 15 in seven innings. Because he threw just three frames in his final rehab start, expect him to be on a pitch count this weekend, which obviously lowers any appeal he has as a streamer. That said, Hunter's strikeout upside (11.1 K/9) could give him some value down the stretch.
After getting hammered for a 5.85 ERA through his first 19 starts and eventually landing on the injured list with a back injury, Trevor Rogers (60%) has seemingly turned a corner. Since returning from the IL, the lefty has posted a 2.95 ERA over three starts, with 22 Ks in 18 1/3 innings. Yes, it's a small sample, but it's still very encouraging after such a long stretch of struggles. Rogers' recent run of success should continue against the Washington Nationals' lackluster lineup. It's worth noting that he's on track to face the Nats again next week, too.
We've been highlighting George Kirby (61%) in this space for weeks now, and while his rostered percentage is slowly creeping up, it's baffling that he's still available in nearly 40% of ESPN leagues. As a quick refresher, Kirby has been one of the best pitchers in baseball since the All-Star break, registering a 1.90 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 10.1 K/9 and 0.95 BB/9. Over his last 11 outings, he's given up more than two earned runs just once (and that was only three runs). There's simply no reason Kirby should be on the waiver wire right now. Fire him up on Saturday against a Los Angeles Angels club that's fanning at a 25.9% clip over the last month.
Johnny Cueto (45%) may not be as young and exciting as Kirby, but he still qualifies as a quality streamer or affordable DFS play. The veteran right-hander sports a 2.94 ERA over his last 16 starts, including a 2.30 ERA on the road, which is where he'll square off against the Detroit Tigers on Saturday. There's obviously very little strikeout potential here (5.7 K/9), but he won't need to miss bats to shut down the Tigers, who sport the worst offense in the American League since the All-Star break (82 wRC+, .280 wOBA).
Elvis Andrus (29%) has found new life since being released by the Oakland A's and subsequently signing with the Chicago White Sox. Since changing digs, the veteran shortstop has hit .313/.359/.525 with five homers, 20 RBI, and three steals over 24 games. Not only that, but he's solidified himself as the White Sox's leadoff hitter, giving himself plenty of run-scoring opportunities while hitting ahead of Jose Abreu and Eloy Jimenez. As long as he's swinging a hot bat, Andrus looks to be a fantasy asset over the season's final weeks. He draws the platoon edge against Detroit's Eduardo Rodriguez on Saturday.
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.
Gio Urshela (MIN, 3B -- 21%) at Pilkington and Bieber
Brendan Donovan (STL, 3B -- 24%) vs. Greene and Minor
Nick Gordon (MIN, CF -- 7%) at Pilkington and Bieber
Nick Senzel (CIN, CF -- 1%) at Hudson and Quintana
Myles Straw (CLE, CF -- 23%) vs. Varland and Winder
Aristides Aquino (CIN, LF -- 2%) at Hudson and Quintana
Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Saturday
Michael Harris II (ATL, CF -- 85%) vs. Nola
J.P. Crawford (SEA, SS -- 66%) at Ohtani
Mike Yastrzemski (SF, RF -- 51%) vs. Urias
Dansby Swanson (ATL, SS -- 98%) vs. Nola
Ozzie Albies (ATL, 2B -- 89%) vs. Nola
THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Saturday
Cole Irvin Pitching Outs: Over/Under 17.5 (-125/-105)
THE BAT sees Irvin putting up 14.7 Pitching Outs for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 31.1% of the time.
THE BAT believes there is positive value on the UNDER with an expected value of $36.26.
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
Minute Maid Park has the third-highest fences among all parks.
This game projects for the fifth-best pitching weather on the slate, as it relates to temperature and humidity.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
The Houston Astros projected offense profiles as the fourth-best of all teams on the slate.
Mark Carlson projects as a Extreme Hitters Umpire and is expected to be behind the plate in this game.
Minute Maid Park ranks as the No. 10 ballpark in Major League Baseball for walks, according to THE BAT projection system.
The Houston Astros have 7 bats in the projected offense that will hold the platoon advantage over Irvin today.