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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What you need to know for Saturday's MLB Games
By Mike Sheets
Saturday marks the beginning of a two-game series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs in London. The last time two MLB clubs squared off in London Stadium was back in 2019, when the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox combined for a whopping 50 runs and 10 homers across the two games. While the park dimensions have reportedly been altered since 2019, it's still expected to be hitter-friendly, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see some high-scoring affairs this weekend. With that in mind, it's best to focus on hitting streamers in Saturday's matchup that pits Justin Steele against Adam Wainwright. For the Cardinals, Brendan Donovan (29% rostered in ESPN leagues), Dylan Carlson (3% rostered), Paul DeJong (3%), Lars Nootbaar (18%), and the struggling Nolan Gorman (48%) are all available in more than 50% of ESPN leagues. The top target, however, might be Jordan Walker (42%), who is batting .339/.418/.593 in 17 June games since getting called back up. Seiya Suzuki (48%), Christopher Morel (42%) and Mike Tauchman (2%) are names to consider for the Cubs.
It's been an up-and-down season for Bryce Miller (47%). After dominating in his first few big league starts, he hit a rough patch where he was hammered for 15 runs across two starts against the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers. Now, the 24-year-old appears to be back on track, allowing just two earned runs over his last two starts that spanned 13 innings. Miller will look to continue that success on Saturday against a Baltimore Orioles lineup that's essentially been league average (101 wRC+) over the last month.
Fantasy managers have been witnessing a resurgence from James Paxton (40%) this season, as the left-hander owns a 3.29 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and 12.0 K/9 across seven starts. While it's true that he's been picking on some below-average offenses of late, he gets another one on Saturday against the Chicago White Sox. Over the last month, the Pale Hose's 81 wRC+ is second-worst in baseball, setting up Paxton as one of the day's better streamers.
While the White Sox's offense has been terrible lately, the Milwaukee Brewers have been even worse, ranking dead-last in baseball over the last 30 days with a 73 wRC+ and a 27.2% strikeout rate. This puts Cleveland's Tanner Bibee (16%) in a very appealing spot. The right-hander has struggled with start-to-start consistency, but he has a strong arsenal and should be able to keep Milwaukee's struggling offense in check this weekend.
Graham Ashcraft gets the unfortunate distinction of being one of this year's most hittable hurlers, illustrated by his 6.78 ERA and 1.62 WHIP over 13 starts. With the Atlanta Braves in town, there are multiple hitters who belong on your streaming radar. First up is the red-hot Eddie Rosario (22%), who is batting .362/.413/.797 with eight homers and 19 RBI over his last 18 games. Orlando Arcia (35%), Travis d'Arnaud (15%), and Marcell Ozuna (14%) are quality plays, too.
Starting pitcher rankings for Saturday
Bullpen Usage for Saturday
by Todd Zola
David Bednar was asked to lock down Luis Ortiz's eight-inning gem, and he did as a late rally gave the Pittsburgh Pirates a 3-1 win in Miami. Bednar used 20 pitches to collect his 15th save, so now he has 42 pitches over the last three days, so his availability for today's tilt with the Marlins is in jeopardy. The Pirates bullpen is thin, with several setup men on the IL. Dauri Moreta is the likeliest candidate to fill in.
Kenley Jansen logged his 16th save last night, needing only nine pitches in the process. Jansen also threw nine pitches on Wednesday, but even though he's worked two of the past three days, the 18 total tosses probably isn't enough to force Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora to look elsewhere. That said, Chris Martin is always in play for a hold, and would be the logical next-in-line for a save if Jansen isn't available.
Camilo Doval logged his 21st save last night, just two days after recording No. 20. The 28 combined pitches over the last three days may keep some closers down, but there are several instances where Doval has worked in a back-to-back fashion after a similar workload. Taylor Rogers hasn't pitched since Wednesday, so he's the best reliever to pick up as a hedge
Entering last night, Jordan Romano had recorded a save in 12 straight appearances. No. 13 proved unlucky as he was charged with his third loss after failing to preserve a 4-4 tie in the ninth, allowing the Oakland Athletics to defeat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-4. Romano tossed only 12 pitches, but that brought him to 33 over the past three days, and 48 spanning the past four. Erik Swanson has also pitched on three of the past four days, but he used just 16 last night and 20 on Tuesday and Wednesday, so there is a chance he comes back today. More likely, Nate Pearson and Tim Mayza will tag-team the late innings if needed today.
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.
Christopher Morel (CHC, CF -- 41%) at Adam Wainwright
Mike Tauchman (CHC, LF -- 2%) at Adam Wainwright
Marcell Ozuna (ATL, LF -- 15%) at Graham Ashcraft
Elias Diaz (COL, C -- 45%) vs. Griffin Canning
Jurickson Profar (COL, LF -- 10%) vs. Griffin Canning
Ezequiel Tovar (COL, SS -- 8%) vs. Griffin Canning
Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Saturday
Jose Abreu (HOU, 1B -- 59%) at Bobby Miller
Jonah Heim (TEX, C -- 88%) at Luis Severino
Nick Castellanos (PHI, RF -- 90%) vs. Max Scherzer
Adolis Garcia (TEX, RF -- 97%) at Luis Severino
Christian Walker (ARI, 1B -- 91%) at Ryan Walker
THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Saturday
Atlanta Braves at Graham Ashcraft
Prop of the Day
Cristopher Sanchez, New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies: Strikeouts prop is set at 3.5 strikeouts (-170/+130).
THE BAT sees Sanchez putting up 3.6 Strikeouts for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 49.3% of the time. THE BAT believes there is positive value on the UNDER with an expected value of $16.66.
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
Brian Walsh grades out as a Pitchers Umpire and is to be in charge of the strike zone .
Citizens Bank Park ranks as the #7 park in MLB for strikeouts, per THE BAT projection system.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
The New York Mets (20.9 K%, per THE BAT X) project to have the 5th-least strikeout-prone set of hitters on the slate.
The weather forecast projects the 4th-most favorable hitting weather of all games today, as it relates to temperature and humidity.
The wind projects to be blowing out to RF at 8.1-mph in this match-up, the 3rd-most-favorable of the day for bats.
The New York Mets have 6 batters in the projected offense that will have the handedness advantage over Cristopher Sanchez in this gam