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.
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Note: This file will be 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 Saturday's MLB games
By Mike Sheets
After being sidelined since May 20 with a hamstring injury, Julio Urias is set to rejoin the Los Angeles Dodgers rotation on Saturday against the Kansas City Royals. The left-hander made one rehab start for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga, racking up eight strikeouts over four innings with one run allowed. He threw only 60 pitches in the outing, so it's possible that he'll be on a pitch count in his return, but a matchup against the Royals, who have been helpless against lefty pitching this season (86 wRC+), is too good to pass up. Get Urias back in your lineups.
In terms of streaming options, Tanner Bibee (16% rostered in ESPN leagues) is one of the top plays on the slate. The 24-year-old has made 11 starts for the Cleveland Guardians this season, and he's given up more than three earned runs on only two occasions, culminating in a solid 3.79 ERA. Fire him up on Saturday against a Chicago Cubs offense that's been sputtering over the last month, putting up an 89 wRC+ with a 25% strikeout rate.
Kyle Bradish (12%) has been a very reliable arm for the Baltimore Orioles of late. His last six starts have seen him produce a 3.12 ERA with an 0.98 WHIP and more than a strikeout per inning. Bradish tossed seven innings of two-run ball against the Seattle Mariners his last time out, and he draws those same Mariners against on Saturday. Considering Seattle's offense was merely middle-of-the-road in June (98 wRC+) with one of the highest strikeout rates in baseball at 26.4%, Bradish should put together another strong performance this weekend.
Brandon Williamson has struggled in the Cincinnati Reds rotation, stumbling to a 5.82 ERA across eight starts. He's been hit particularly hard by right-handed batters, who have generated a .369 wOBA against him this season. With the San Diego Padres in town this weekend, righty swingers Ha-Seong Kim (18%), Gary Sanchez (7%), and Nelson Cruz (1%) are all widely available bats who should enjoy having the platoon advantage in one of baseball's most offensive-friendly parks.
Josh Jung is the young Texas Rangers hitter is who garnering the most attention, but don't overlook what Ezequiel Duran (26%) is doing this season. Not only is he batting .326/.367/.567 with 12 homers and four steals in 62 games, but he's hitting .438/.460/.813 in his last 12 games while homering in three straight contests. Eligible at shortstop, third base, and in the outfield, Duran is an easy player to slot into your lineup. While he won't have the platoon edge against the Houston Astros on Saturday, he's done plenty of damage versus same-side pitching this year (.302/.333/.503).
Starting pitcher rankings for Saturday
Bullpen usage watch for Saturday
By Todd Zola
David Robertson allowed multiple runs in an outing for the first time all season last night. He was working in back-to-back fashion and has now pitched on three of the past four days, totalling 56 pitches. The recent heavy workload likely signals an off day for Roberston, leaving late-inning duties to Adam Ottavino, Brooks Raley and Drew Smith.
Pitching for the first time in 10 days, Josh Hader was asked to preserve a 2-2 ninth inning tie last night. He was successful, but it went for naught when the Cincinnati Reds beat the San Diego Padres in 11 innings. Hader threw 20 pitches, but since he was working on extended rest, he should be fine to come back today.
Ryan Pressly collected his 167th save last night as the Houston Astros took the first of a weekend series with the Texas Rangers. Pressly threw only 13 pitches. He's worked on consecutive days multiple times with similar or heavier recent pitch counts, including three times in June. Pressly should be available today for Game 2 of the Lone Star Series.
Alexis Diaz was charged with his first blown save of the season last night, but the Reds picked him up with a three-run walk off homer by Spencer Steer in the 11th. Diaz threw 13 pitches, and has now hurled 44 over the past three days, which will probably keep him out of today's contest. Buck Farmer hasn't appeared since Wednesday, so he's the leading candidate to capture a save 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.
Josh Donaldson (NYY, 3B -- 3%) at Flaherty and Liberatore
Anthony Volpe (NYY, SS -- 36%) at Flaherty and Liberatore
Nolan Gorman (STL, 2B -- 39%) vs. Severino and Cordero
Dylan Carlson (STL, CF -- 3%) vs. Severino and Cordero
Elias Diaz (COL, C -- 49%) vs. Zach Logue
Paul DeJong (STL, SS -- 2%) vs. Severino and Cordero
Worst over-50% rostered hitters for Saturday
Jonah Heim (TEX, C -- 89%) vs. Brown
Ty France (SEA, 1B -- 77%) vs. Glasnow
Nathaniel Lowe (TEX, 1B -- 88%) vs. Brown
Isaac Paredes (TB, 3B -- 64%) at Kirby
THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Today
Prop of the Day
Daniel Lynch O/U 15.5 pitching outs (-120/-105)
THE BAT sees Lynch putting up 15.7 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 $5.66.
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
It is scheduled that we will see a "pitchers umpire" (Ryan Blakney) in charge of the strike zone today.
Kauffman Stadium has the deepest RF fences among all major league stadiums.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
The third-best projected lineup of all teams on the slate today in terms of overall hitting skill is that of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
It may be wise to expect better numbers for the Dodgers offense going forward, given that THE BAT sees them as them as the eighth-unluckiest offense in the league this year.
The No. 22 stadium in baseball for boosting walks, according to THE BAT, is Kauffman Stadium.
Daniel Lynch's fastball velocity has dropped 1.1 mph this season (92.3 mph) below where it was last year (93.4 mph).