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.
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Note: This file will be 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 Monday's MLB games
By Todd Zola
Monday's slate is only eight games, including the makeup of last Friday's rainout between the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays, whose doubleheader Saturday was a previously scheduled makeup of a previous rainout. Monday had originally been a travel day for both teams. The contest kicks off the slate at 4:05 PM ET, so please note the unusual transaction or lineup lock for some leagues. Shane McClanahan will take the hill for the Rays, to be opposed by Brayan Bello. Even though the Red Sox are among the league leaders in scoring, McClanahan is matchup proof. Bello (8.4% rostered) has shown indications he's making strides, but he's still vulnerable to the grinding nature of the Tampa offense. Bello is safer in points leagues but is probably best left on reserve in category-based formats, especially since Monday is the first day of the fantasy scoring week.
Braxton Garrett (6.1%) checks in as Monday's top streaming option. The matchup is favorable with the offensively challenged Kansas City Royals visiting pitcher-friendly LoanDepot Park. The visitors tote the fourth-lowest wOBA and fifth-highest strikeout rate against right-handers into South Beach. Furthermore, Braxton has quietly strung together five solid outings, with the only blip a start in Coors Field. Over this stretch, Garrett has recorded a 2.67 ERA and 0.96 WHIP, but more importantly it's supported with 32 punch outs to only seven free passes spanning 27 stanzas.
JP Sears (3.0%) is another under-the-radar hurler coming off a strong May. Sears posted a 2.94 ERA and 0.95 WHIP last month. His 27 strikeouts to five walks in 33 2/3 innings weren't as strong as Garrett's, but they are stream worthy. Garrett and the Athletics begin an interleague set in Pittsburgh. The Pirates are no longer a pushover with a league average offense, but they are below average in terms of power, which is Sears' chief pitfall. Johan Oviedo (9.4%) will oppose Sears and the Athletics. Oakland put a five-spot on Sandy Alcantara on Sunday, but in general their offense has trouble scoring as they're averaging the fewest runs per game in MLB. Oviedo has been uneven over the first two months, recording an ERA of 9.39 in five games in which he's yielded at least three runs, but he's boasting a 1.29 ERA in six games where he's surrendered no more than one run.
Yet another pitching prospect will be promoted with the Cincinnati Reds calling up Andrew Abbott (6.7%) for today's home tilt with the Milwaukee Brewers. Abbott was sporting a 3.05 ERA and 1.05 WHIP with an impressive 54 strikeouts in 38 1/3 innings for Triple-A Louisville. The 24-year-old southpaw will reportedly stay in the Reds rotation past today's debut. It's early in the fantasy week to take chances, but the rookie lefty has a favorable matchup facing a lineup sporting below-average power while fanning at a league-high 29.3% clip against left-handers.
Stacking multiple players from the same offense is more popular in DFS than traditional fantasy, but on a short slate, it's possible to deploy the tactic to fortify a lineup with a couple of holes. In DFS, better players are often included. In traditional fantasy, they can be as well, but they need to already be on your roster. Team managers with Paul Goldschmidt or Nolan Arenado may want to add more Cardinals for their road tilt against Martin Perez as the Rangers' southpaw is again experiencing home run issues this season. Juan Yepez (.4%), Paul DeJong (6.3%), Luken Baker (0%) and Jordan Walker (30.5%). Baker slugged 18 homers in 244 plate appearances with Triple-A Memphis, earning the 26-year-old right-handed hitting first baseman his first visit to The Show. Baker will primarily be the designated hitter against lefties.
Starting pitcher rankings for Monday
Bullpen usage for Monday
By Todd Zola
For the first time this season, the Pirates asked David Bednar to pitch for a third straight day and he came through, registering a save, just like he did the prior two days. Even though he averaged a reasonable 14 pitches per outing over the weekend, the combined 42 will likely prevent him from getting the call for the fourth straight day. Colin Holderman did not pitch yesterday, so he's the likely replacement. With the Pirates hosting the Athletics for a three-game set, Pittsburgh's bullpen could be busy collecting saves and holds for a few days.
Kenley Jansen didn't pitch yesterday, but his availability for today's late-afternoon series finale between the Red Sox and Rays is in jeopardy. The veteran closer may still need another day to recover from a combined 43 tosses after toiling in both ends of Saturday's doubleheader. Chris Martin and Josh Winckowski will likely share late-inning duties as Boston tries to salvage a series split against the AL East frontrunner.
Staying in the AL East, Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano has three saves so far this month, logging his third yesterday. Romano has pitched three of the last four days, but he's needed only 28 total pitches and had Saturday off, so he's probably safe to leave in a fantasy lineup. Erik Swanson is the hedge, and could be in line for a hold today or even a save tomorrow if Romano is asked to pitch today. Toronto hosts the Astros for a three-game set.
The Phillies top the list of teams with the best chance of securing wins over the next few days as they host the Tigers for an early-week interleague set. Craig Kimbrel (17.2% rostered) leads Philadelphia with eight saves while also chipping in three holds. After a shaky start to the campaign, Kimbrel has posted a 1.80 ERA and an 0.50 WHIP with 16 strikeouts and just two walks over his last 10 innings. Gregory Soto and Seranthony Dominguez lead the club in holds.
The Marlins make a rare appearance on the list by virtue of hosting the Royals for a trio of interleague affairs. Miami is deploying a committee approach, with Dylan Floro, JT Chargois and George Soriano all collecting a save over the past two weeks. Floro (6.8%) is the primary target as he has compiled six saves and five holds for the season.
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.
William Contreras (MIL, C -- 38%) at Andrew Abbott
Ke'Bryan Hayes (PIT, 3B -- 15%) vs. Sears
Matt McLain (CIN, SS -- 23%) vs. Teheran
Spencer Steer (CIN, 3B -- 44%) vs. Teheran
Kevin Newman (CIN, 2B -- 1%) vs. Teheran
Connor Joe (PIT, LF -- 5%) vs. Sears
Brian Anderson (MIL, 3B -- 21%) at Abbott
Worst over-50%-rostered hitters for Monday
Jeremy Pena (HOU, SS -- 63%) at Manoah
Dansby Swanson (CHC, SS -- 92%) at Snell
Seiya Suzuki (CHC, RF -- 53%) at Snell
Salvador Perez (KC, C -- 93%) at Garrett
Vinnie Pasquantino (KC, 1B -- 91%) at Garrett
THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Monday
Prop of the Day
Blake Snell, San Diego Padres versus Chicago Cubs: Pitching outs prop is set at 16.5 pitching outs (+115/-140)
THE BAT sees Snell putting up 17.8 Pitching Outs for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 59.1% of the time. THE BAT believes there is positive value on the OVER with an expected value of $26.99.
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 been the 10th-luckiest offense in the game this year, according to THE BAT X, and are likely to perform worse in the future
Phil Cuzzi projects as a Extreme Pitchers Umpire and is expected to be in charge of the strike zone in this game.
Petco Park profiles as the #27 ballpark in Major League Baseball for batting average, according to THE BAT projection system.
The weather report the 2nd-most suitable pitching weather of all games today, as it relates to temperature and humidity.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
The Chicago Cubs have 9 bats in the projected batting order that will have the handedness advantage over Blake Snell in this matchup.
Blake Snell's fastball velocity has decreased 1.1 mph this season (94.2 mph) below where it was last year (95.3 mph).