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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
The final Saturday of the regular season presents us with multiple streaming options, with Nick Lodolo (37% rostered in ESPN leagues) being the best of the bunch. Over his last 12 starts, the rookie southpaw has delivered a 3.00 ERA with a 1.04 WHIP and an 11.0 K/9. With every start, he's seemingly increasing his fantasy draft stock for 2023. That stock should only rise on Saturday when Lodolo matches up with a Chicago Cubs team that's crawling to the finish line, sporting an 85 wRC+ and 26.9% strikeout rate in September. Lodolo has double-digit strikeout upside in this matchup.
While Pittsburgh's Luis Ortiz (5%) has made only three big-league starts, the intrigue surrounding him is quickly growing. The 23-year-old righty, who owns a 1.17 ERA and 0.78 WHIP across 15 1/3 frames, throws gas, averaging 98.7 mph with his heater. He also features a wipeout slider that generated 10 swings and misses in his last outing. For a Pittsburgh Pirates team that has the second-worst record in the National League, this is an exciting young arm with fantasy potential. Ortiz's Saturday matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals isn't particularly favorable, but given that they've already clinched the NL Central, they might be resting some of their starters over the weekend.
Speaking of exciting young arms, Drey Jameson (14%) has looked equally good in three starts since being promoted, registering a 0.98 ERA and 1.04 WHIP over 18 1/3 innings. He's lasted at least 5 1/3 frames in all three outings, including seven shutout innings against the San Diego Padres and six innings of two-run ball versus the Los Angeles Dodgers, so he's already thriving against top competition. The sledding will be easier for Jameson on Saturday, as he draws a road matchup against the San Francisco Giants, who own a bottom-five wOBA (.298) and the second-worst K% (25.5%) since the All-Star break.
After initially struggling to hit big-league pitching, top prospect CJ Abrams (5%) is finally starting to find his footing. The 21-year-old is batting .321 over his last 22 games, and, more importantly, he's beginning to look more comfortable on the bases, swiping three bags in his last four games. As a player with 90th percentile sprint speed and 42 steals in 114 minor-league games, Abrams should create a lot of fantasy value with his legs going forward. On Saturday, he gets the platoon edge against Kyle Gibson, who sports a 9.53 ERA so far in September.
It's been a rough season for Kris Bubic, who holds a 5.81 ERA over 27 appearances (26 starts), and things are not ending on a positive note, illustrated by his 7.71 September ERA. He's getting hammered start after start, providing an enticing opportunity for Cleveland Guardians bats on Saturday. If you're eyeing a DFS stack, Amed Rosario, Jose Ramirez and Oscar Gonzalez, who is hitting .307/.355/.535 over his last 24 games, all have the platoon advantage against Bubic in Saturday's matchup.
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.
Lane Thomas (WSH, CF -- 10%) vs. Gibson and Syndergaard
Luis Garcia (WSH, 2B -- 3%) vs. Gibson and Syndergaard
Luke Voit (WSH, 1B -- 30%) vs. Gibson and Syndergaard
Brandon Marsh (PHI, CF -- 7%) at Romero and Sanchez
Alex Call (WSH, RF -- 0%) vs. Gibson and Syndergaard
Ildemaro Vargas (WSH, 3B -- 1%) vs. Gibson and Syndergaard
Gio Urshela (MIN, 3B -- 25%) at Hutchison
Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Saturday
Ian Happ (CHC, LF -- 88%) vs. Nick Lodolo
Austin Hays (BAL, LF -- 75%) at Nestor Cortes
Ryan Mountcastle (BAL, 1B -- 85%) at Nestor Cortes
The BAT X's Best Stacks for Saturday
Prop of the day
Nestor Cortes Strikeouts: Over/Under 5.5 (-120/-120)
THE BAT sees Cortes putting up 7.8 strikeouts for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 81.8% of the time.THE BAT believes there is positive value on the OVER with an expected value of $59.96.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE OVER
The Baltimore Orioles (24.9 K%, according to THE BAT X) project to have the fifth-most strikeout-heavy lineup today.
Yankee Stadium profiles as the No. 8 field in the majors for strikeouts, according to THE BAT projection system.
Low temperatures are strongly correlated with less offense (and more Ks), and the weatherman calls for the second-coldest weather of all games on the slate at 53°.
The wind projects to be blowing in from LF at 14.5-mph in this game, the 2nd-strongest of the day for pitchers.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
Mark Carlson grades out as a Extreme Hitters Umpire and is expected to be behind the plate in this game.
The Baltimore Orioles have 8 batters in the projected batting order that will hold the platoon advantage over Nestor Cortes in this matchup.