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

Michael Lorenzen of the Detroit Tigers. Steven King/Icon Sportswire

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.

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 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 Friday's MLB Games

By Todd Zola

  • Friday's action commences at 6:40 PM ET with a pair of contests. Michael Lorenzen and the Detroit Tigers host Ryne Nelson and the Arizona Diamondbacks in an interleague tussle while a pair of first place teams square off in Tropicana Field with Tyler Glasnow and the Tampa Bay Rays entertaining Andrew Heaney and the Texas Rangers. The 15-game slate concludes with Marcus Stroman and the Chicago Cubs visiting Anthony DeSclafani and the San Francisco Giants at 10:15 PM ET.

  • Most of the probable starters with rostership levels below 50% have some level of risk, mostly facing a solid offense. Eury Perez (31.9%) doesn't have that hurdle with the Miami Marlins visiting the Chicago White Sox as he'll face an offense with the fourth lowest wOBA versus right-handers. However, it is a big park downgrade for the rookie, and the White Sox fan a tick below league average. Perez has posted two straight scoreless outings, each five innings in length, but he's punched out only eight in those 10 frames.

  • Lorenzen (14.7%) recorded a 1.95 ERA and .87 WHIP in May, then picked up where he left off with his first June start by limiting the White Sox to one run in seven frames, striking out six with no walks. On Friday, Lorenzen draws a pesky Arizona Diamondbacks lineup, but as mentioned there aren't any streaming options checking all the boxes. Lorenzen is pitching well and enjoys the inherent advantage of pitching at home.

  • Trusting Yusei Kikuchi (19.9%) is not for the faint of heart, but there are a few reasons to take a chance on Friday when the Toronto Blue Jays welcome the Minnesota Twins to Rogers Centre. Specifically, the Twins fan at a 27.3% clip against southpaws, the second highest mark in the league. Additionally, homers are Kikuchi's bane, and Minnesota's home run rate facing lefties is below average. Kikuchi is coming off a solid effort in Citi Field where he punched out eight Mets in five innings with just one walk, though he did surrender two long balls.

  • Despite the Athletics scoring 20 runs in two games in Pittsburgh earlier this week, streaming the starter opposing Oakland is usually a winning proposition with the Athletics averaging the second fewest runs per game in MLB. The Milwaukee Brewers host Oakland for a weekend set, with Adrian Houser (3.5%) opening the series on Friday night. Houser limited the Cincinnati Reds to one run over seven frames in his last outing, though he only whiffed two, and it was before Elly De La Cruz's promotion.

  • Speaking of De La Cruz, he's still available in just under half of all ESPN leagues. Sometimes hype is overblown and even the best prospects struggle early in their careers (like Jordan Walker), but De La Cruz has all the tools, and the Reds will find a way to keep him in the lineup, even with a logjam of fledgling, young infielders. Keep in mind that De La Cruz is a switch-hitter, so he'll play regardless of the opposing starter.

  • With Austin Gomber starting for Colorado at home, the right-handed contingent of the San Diego Padres are in a great spot. Targeting hitters in Coors Field is clearly commonplace, but it's rare batters like Gary Sanchez (5.2%) and Ha-Seong Kim (11.6%) are readily available, especially since they fortify a couple of weaker positions.

Starting pitcher rankings for Friday

Bullpen Usage for Friday

By Todd Zola

  • With the Mets leading the Braves 10-9, David Robertson was summoned in the eighth inning last night. He retired two hitters, preserving the lead. However, in the ninth, he surrendered the game tying home to Orlando Arcia, setting Atlanta up for Ozzie Albies walk-off, three-run home run in the tenth off Tommy Hunter. Robertson consumed 31 pitches in his 1 2/3 innings, likely keeping him out of tonight's series opener in Pittsburgh. Adam Ottavino did not pitch yesterday, but he worked each of the previous days, giving up a run both times. Still, he's the likeliest candidate to handle ninth inning duties tonight.

  • Raisel Iglesias needed only nine pitches to retire the Mets in the top of the tenth, setting himself up for the win after Albies sent the fans home happy. However, Iglesias threw 17 pitches on Wednesday and although he's pitched on back-to-back games this season, they've been following a lesser workload. A.J. Minter was not used in last night's slugfest, so he's the chief option when Atlanta welcomes the Washington Nationals for an NL East affair.

  • The Giants notched come-from-behind wins in Colorado yesterday and Wednesday, with Camilo Doval locking both down with a dozen pitches each time. There is no precedent for Doval working on three straight days, so the safe play is reserving him for Friday's home affair with the Chicago Cubs. With Tyler Rogers and Taylor Rogers also pitching on consecutive days, closing duties could fall to Scott Alexander.

  • Felix Bautista is 51st in MLB with 62 strikeouts. That's only one fewer than Jon Gray, and more than Rich Hill, Drew Smyly and George Kirby, who have all started at least 12 games and thrown over twice the innings as Bautista. Bautista has compiled 16 saves, but he'll likely have to wait a day before getting a crack at No. 17. The Orioles closer threw 21 pitches yesterday, giving him 32 over the past three days. Yennier Cano has thrown 31 pitches over the past three days, but since he only needed six last night to record his 13th hold, Cano could be in line for his fifth save tonight when the Baltimore Orioles open a home set with the Kansas City Royals

  • Jordan Romano has thrown an efficient 19 pitches over his last two outings, but they've come on consecutive days and there is no precedent for the Toronto Blue Jays to call his number for three straight days, not to mention Romano has already appeared five times in June, notching a save in each. Erik Swanson has also pitched in five games this month, throwing 72 pitches so after working last night, he could also use an off day. Tim Mayza is well-rested, so he's an option, as is Adam Cimber when the Toronto Blue Jays host the Minnesota Twins in the opener of a weekend series.

  • Carlos Estevez collected his 16th save last night, throwing 14 pitches in the process. He tossed 15 on Wednesday, so the combined 29 renders his availability as questionable for tonight's AL West tussle between the Los Angeles Angels and Seattle Mariners in Anaheim. Jacob Webb is well-rested, so he should be in the late-inning mix. Ben Joyce did not pitch yesterday, but the rookie threw 27 pitches on Wednesday, so he may need another day to recover.

Best Sub-50% Rostered Hitters for Friday

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 Friday

The Bat X's Best Stacks for Friday

Prop of the Day

Austin Gomber 14.5 pitching outs (-145/+100)


THE BAT sees Gomber putting up 11.9 Pitching Outs for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 32.6% of the time. THE BAT believes there is positive value on the under with an expected value of $34.85.


  • Gomber has relied on his change-up 5% more often this year (21.7%) than he did last season (16.7%).


  • The Padres projected lineup ranks as the fourth-best on the slate.

  • The Padres have been the second-unluckiest offense in Major League Baseball this year, according to THE BAT X, and are likely to hit better in the future.

  • Coors Field projects as the No. 1 stadium in the majors for batting average, per THE BAT projection system.

  • The wind projects to be blowing out to RF at 11.5-mph in this contest, the second-most-favorable of the day for bats.