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 overnight pitching changes and 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
Monday begins the lockout-induced "extended" regular season with all 30 teams in action. Everything is under the lights, beginning at 6:10 PM ET in Progressive Field with the Kansas City Royals facing the Cleveland Guardians. The rule of thumb this time of the season is to focus on teams with something to play for and to fade those teams already in the playoffs who are locked into their seed. Teams playing against competition that is still vying for a playoff spot (or higher seeding) often play their best available players as well.
In the Senior Circuit, the NL East and a bye is still up for grabs, so focus on batters when the Atlanta Braves visit the Miami Marlins and New York Mets host the Washington Nationals. The final wild card spot isn't settled, so the top hitters in the Arizona Diamondbacks at Milwaukee Brewers and Philadelphia Phillies at Houston Astros affairs should see action, though Houston could opt to give some rest to its regulars. The American League wild card seeding has not been finalized. This places the Detroit Tigers-Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays-Baltimore Orioles tilts as targets for offense. Teams to avoid include the Astros, New York Yankees, Guardians, Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals. Pitchers are likely to have abbreviated outings and hitters are in danger of sitting or being taken out early.
Shifting to individual players, the slate's top streamer is Braves' right-hander Bryce Elder (16% rostered in ESPN leagues). Given, Elder's last four starts include a pair each against the lowly Marlins and Nationals, but he's spun a 0.65 ERA and an 0.83 WHIP with 28 strikeouts over 27 2/3 innings -- and now he gets another matchup against Miami.
The rest of the streaming options will play in "meaningless" games, at least with respect to the postseason. As it happens, those four hurlers are confined to just two games. Topping the list is Cincinnati Reds rookie Hunter Greene (43%), for a home date with the Chicago Cubs. Greene's 30.6% strikeout rate matches up well with the Cubs and their 23.8% mark facing right-handers. Adrian Sampson (42%) will be looking for his sixth straight quality start when he opposes Greene (and the fourth least productive lineup with a right-hander on the hill). Minnesota Twins RHP Bailey Ober (42%) has pitched well between injuries this season. He'll try to close the season on a high note against a disappointing Chicago White Sox lineup. Veteran Johnny Cueto (13%) kept the White Sox in the AL Central race for a bit, but he ultimately ran out of gas. Of all the spot starters discussed, he's the most "break glass in case of emergency" option.
With fantasy championships on the line, a six-pack of sticks isn't enough, so a few bonus batters will be recommended. Gunnar Henderson (33%) facing Jose Berrios tops the list. Harold Ramirez (19%) and Jose Siri (2%) with the platoon edge on Rich Hill are strong plays. The Brewers' Tyrone Taylor (2%) and the Mets' Tyler Naquin (4%) play in meaningful games while enjoying the platoon edge. Jake Fraley (6%) and Michael Massey (1%) also have favorable matchups. If you need steals, old friend Jon Berti (22%) is the best bet with Nick Gordon (9%) also in the mix.
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.
Cal Raleigh (SEA, C -- 12%) vs. Bryan Garcia
Jake Fraley (CIN, LF -- 6%) vs. Wesneski
Brendan Donovan (STL, 3B -- 26%) at Keller
Manuel Margot (TB, RF -- 15%) at Hill
Jarred Kelenic (SEA, CF -- 31%) vs. Garcia
Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Monday
Ketel Marte (ARI, CF -- 89%) at Woodruff
Mike Yastrzemski (SF, RF -- 54%) at Musgrove
Daulton Varsho (ARI, C -- 96%) at Woodruff
THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Today
Prop of the Day
Hunter Greene Pitching Outs: Over/Under 17.5 (-175/+130)
THE BAT sees Greene putting up 16.9 pitching outs for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 46.0% of the time. THE BAT believes there is positive value on the UNDER with an expected value of $24.27.
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 projects Hunter Greene in the 83rd percentile as it relates to his overall pitching talent level.
Greene will hold the platoon advantage against six opposing batters today.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
Jerry Meals profiles as a "hitters umpire" and is expected to be calling pitches today.
Great American Ball Park grades out as the No. 1 venue in the majors for home runs, per THE BAT projection system.
Greene is an extreme flyball pitcher (39.2% FB% according to THE BAT projections) and is stuck pitching in the No. 1 HR venue.