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

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 toward ESPN 10-team leagues with standard scoring.

For an in-depth look at what to expect in this daily article and for how to best utilize the information contained within, check out our handy primer here.

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 Sunday's MLB games

By Todd Zola

  • We've got some bonus baseball ahead! Saturday's postponement in Queens will be made up on Sunday as part of a split doubleheader with the nightcap between the Cleveland Guardians and New York Mets being the Sunday night ESPN affair.

  • Sunday's games get an early start with the Cincinnati Reds and New York Yankees wrapping up an interleague set at the Great American Ballpark, with the first pitch set for 11:35 a.m. ET. Luis Severino is slated to make his 2023 debut. The Yankees' right-hander has been out since being diagnosed with a right lat strain late in the spring. His recovery took longer than expected, but after a pair of rehab starts, Severino is ready for the Show. However, he only threw 58 pitches in his final rehab outing, so he may not be ready for a fantasy lineup, at least those wanting a chance at a win.

  • There are several solid candidates to stream for those needing some pitching help on the last day of the scoring period. The top option is Josiah Gray (22% rostered), who gets the ball for the Washington Nationals in a home date with the Detroit Tigers. Gray has recorded a quality start in four of his past five outings -- the last two being of the seven-inning variety. He's fanned 29 in his 31 frames over this span, albeit with 13 walks. Detroit is one of the least patient teams in the league, which contributes to their sporting the second lowest wOBA with a right-hander on the mound.

  • Alex Wood (4.1%) takes the hill at home for the San Francisco Giants in their series finale with the Miami Marlins. San Francisco has slow-played Wood's workload since he has come off the IL, but after throwing 72 pitches in 4⅔ innings last time out, he should be able to manage at least five frames. Beware, though, as Miami has hit well against southpaw pitching. Still, when Wood has been healthy, he's been an above-average pitcher, capable of quieting any lineup.

  • Andrew Heaney (34%) of the Texas Rangers has a juicy home matchup with the Colorado Rockies on tap. Over his prior two outings, Heaney fanned 16 with just four walks, covering 12⅔ innings. Not only might the Rockies be looking ahead to their seven-game homestand, but they also check in with the second-lowest road wOBA versus left-handers (in tandem with the third-highest strikeout rate). Heaney isn't just a solid streamer. He also has huge upside as a GPP DFS play.

  • It's been warm and dry this weekend in the nation's capital, and even though some humidity would benefit fly ball carry, the conditions favor batters. Furthermore, the Nationals have a slew of right-handers they can stack against Tigers southpaw Joey Wentz. Lane Thomas (8.2%), Joey Meneses (20.7%), Keibert Ruiz (51.1%), Jeimer Candelario (4.7%) and Alex Call (.5%) will all enjoy the platoon edge on one of the lower-ranked starters on Sunday's card.


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Starting pitcher rankings for Sunday


Bullpen usage watch for Sunday

By Todd Zola

There are a lot of closer notes with an early 11:35 AM start to the first game so let's get right to it.

  • As suggested yesterday, despite both Felix Bautista and Yennier Cano being flagged as potentially unavailable last night, there was a good chance they would be used due to the importance of the Orioles series with the Blue Jays. Sure enough, both pitched, with Bautista throwing 31 pitches to collect the extra inning win. Thus, it can be noted with more assurity that he will get today off. Cano only threw 13 pitches, but with 32 over the past two days, he'll likely also get the day to rest. The caveat is Baltimore does not play Monday, so there's a small chance manager Brandon Hyde goes to the well again, with Cano much more probable. Otherwise, Bryan Baker, Danny Coulombe and Cionel Perez will handle the leverage innings.

  • Jordan Romero was extended to 32 pitches as the Blue Jays were on the losing side of yesterday's 6-5 defeat in 10 innings, in large part because Romano surrendered a game-tying, three run homer in the eighth inning. Toronto begins a series in Tampa Bay on Monday, so Romano likely will sit out Sunday. The problem is Erik Swanson and Tim Mayza have pitched on the last two days, leaving late-inning duties to Nate Pearson and Yimi Garcia.

  • Camilo Doval has been a frequent visitor to this space and he's here again after tossing 23 pitches yesterday. The Giants play Monday, but there is precedent for Dovall working on consecutive days, even coming off a 20-plus pitch effort. Tyler Rogers has pitched two days in a row but Taylor Rogers is rested, as is John Brebbia.

  • Ryan Helsley hurled 26 pitches yesterday, collecting the win for St. Louis despite allowing the Dodgers to score twice in the eighth. Helsley began the ninth, but got into trouble, so he was lifted and then Giovanny Gallegos bailed him out, but needed 18 pitches to log his third save. The Cardinals are in action Monday, so manager Oli Marmol could look elsewhere, but he also may see securing a win over the Dodgers as a priority.

  • Twenty-two pitches landed David Bednar on the list, but he hadn't pitched since Mother's Day so he's likely available again today.

  • Ryan Pressly threw only 10 pitches yesterday, but that was on top of tossing another 10 on Friday night. Pressly hasn't pitched three straight days this season, and he probably won't do it today. Bryan Abreu and Rafael Montero are well-rested, thus are candidates for a Sunday save or hold.

  • Two walks drove his pitch count up, but Kenley Jansen broke a personal two-game losing streak with his 10th save last night. He needed 19 pitches, but he's been called up on back-to-back games with a similar workload.


Best sub-50% rostered hitters for Sunday

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 Sunday


THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Today


Prop of the Day

Taijuan Walker O/U 4.5 strikeouts (-120/-106)

PROJECTION

THE BAT sees Walker putting up 5.9 strikeouts for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 67.2% of the time. THE BAT believes there is positive value on the OVER with an expected value of $27.88.

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 Chicago Cubs have three hitters in their projected batting order today with an underlying K% over 30%, according to THE BAT X (Patrick Wisdom, Christopher Morel, Edwin Rios).

  • With his assigned duty of calling pitches today, Laz Diaz is considered a valuable asset as a "pitchers umpire."

  • Citizens Bank Park profiles as the No. 9 stadium in the league for strikeouts, via THE BAT projection system.

  • The wind projects to be blowing in from left field at 12.3-mph in this game, the best of the day for pitchers.

FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER

  • According to the weather report, the temperature and humidity for this game will be the 3rd-most favorable for hitting on the slate today.

  • Taijuan Walker has had positive variance on his side thus far when it comes to his strikeouts this year, notching an 8.49 K/9 despite THE BAT estimating his true talent level to be 7.62 - a 0.87 K/9 difference.