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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 Friday's MLB games
By Todd Zola
After a week with at least one afternoon game every day, the Friday slate consists of all evening affairs, with three starting at 6:40 ET. Two of the early contests feature great pitching matchups with Charlie Morton and Tyler Glasnow plus Zack Wheeler and Sandy Alcantara matched up. However, much of the fantasy community will be focused on Detroit for the return of Alek Manoah (55.8% rostered) when the Toronto Blue Jays open a weekend series with the Detroit Tigers. After getting crushed by the Yankees Rookie League club in his first start after being demoted, Manoah rebounded to fan 10 in five innings for Double-A New Hampshire, earning a spot back in the bigs. Normally, the clear call would be taking the wait-and-see route. However, perhaps by design, Manoah will face a Tigers offense with the third-lowest wOBA with a right-hander on the hill. They also fan at a 24.1% clip. In head-to-head leagues with a start limit, you might not want to risk one on Manoah, but if you've held onto him in category leagues, you must still believe in a bounce-back. Keeping him on reserve until he has a good start or two means you miss out on those starts, which are likely needed to help mitigate the ratio damage in the books.
Bailey Ober (44.3%) has a tough opponent with the Minnesota Twins hosting the Baltimore Orioles, but Ober has given his club strong numbers in the past month. After fanning only 40 in his first 46⅓ innings, Ober's strikeouts have picked up lately, with 34 over his last 30⅓ stanzas. He Orioles road wOBA versus righties is below average while their strikeout rate away from Camden Yards is a bit above average.
On the surface, Andrew Heaney (33.8%) seems like he has a favorable start with the Texas Rangers visiting the Washington Nationals. However, the Nationals possess the second-lowest strikeout rate facing lefties, with the ninth-highest wOBA against southpaw pitching. Furthermore, Nationals Park is a pitching downgrade from Globe Life Park. Heaney should get solid run support, but his line may not be as helpful as perceived.
Aaron Civale (15.7%), on the other hand, has a juicy matchup when the Cleveland Guardians host the Kansas City Royals. Civale has hurled at least six frames for three straight outings, sporting a 3.38 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in that span, albeit with only 13 punchouts in 18⅔ frames. The Royals tote the fourth-highest strikeout rate and second-lowest wOBA facing right-handers into Progressive Field.
One of the reasons the Nationals fare well against left-handed pitching is they can stack their lineup with right-handed batters and switch-hitters as they did Thursday when facing Cincinnati Reds southpaw Brandon Williamson. Shortstop CJ Abrams was the only lefty swinger, as he likely will be Friday against Heaney. The top hitters to pick up include Lane Thomas (63.5%), Keibert Ruiz (51.3%), Joey Meneses (18.8%), Jeimer Candelario (17.3%) and Stone Garrett (.3%).
Starting pitcher rankings for Friday
Bullpen usage watch for Friday
By Todd Zola
Jordan Romano is the only closer tabbed with questionable availability tonight, and there is a solid chance he'll be summoned if needed. Romano pitched a scoreless 10th inning, keeping the 0-0 tie between the Toronto Blue Jays and Chicago White Sox intact. After the Blue Jays pushed six across the plate in the 11th, Romano was credited with the win in the Blue Jays 6-2 victory. He only needed 11 pitches, which came two days after hurling 13. Romano has pitched in back-to-back fashion with more than 24 pitches amassed over the prior three days, so he'll be ready to lend a hand during Alek Manoah's return against the Detroit Tigers.
Last night, the Seattle Mariners took the first game of a four-game series against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Field. Despite being on the road, our projections favor the Mariners pitching, indicating their bullpen could line up for saves and holds. Paul Sewald (58.3% rostered) has not pitched since Monday, so he's good for at least two, if not all three games heading into the break. There is precedent for Sewald working for three straight days, having just done it from July 1-3. Andres Munoz has appeared 16 times, compiling 15 innings. He's yielded only four runs, all in the same game when the Tampa Bay Rays solved him on June 30. WIth seven holds, two wins and a save, not to mention 22 strikeouts, Munoz is a good source for fantasy points even if he's not closing.
Keep in mind the Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers begin their break early as they're only playing a two-game series against each other this weekend, with Sunday off. If you're rostering any of the relievers from the respective teams, don't hesitate to replace them tonight. The only one on either club with over 50% rostership is Carlos Estevez (64.9%) so you can likely pick up a dropped reliever back up over the break.
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.
Jarren Duran (BOS, CF -- 10%) vs. Medina
Triston Casas (BOS, 1B -- 27%) vs. Medina
LaMonte Wade Jr. (SF, RF -- 21%) vs. Gomber
Connor Wong (BOS, C -- 1%) vs. Medina
Anthony Volpe (NYY, SS -- 40%) vs. Taillon
Worst over-50% rostered hitters for Friday
Ian Happ (CHC, LF -- 53%) at Rodon
Spencer Steer (CIN, 3B -- 80%) at Burnes
Brandon Lowe (TB, 2B -- 53%) vs. Morton
THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Today
Prop of the Day
Shea Langeliers O/U 1.5 total bases (+150/-180).
THE BAT sees Langeliers putting up 2.11 total bases for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 48.1% of the time. THE BAT believes there is positive value on the OVER with an expected value of $20.15.
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
Shea Langeliers has primarily hit in the back-half of the lineup this season (81% of the time), but he is projected to bat fourth in the batting order in this game.
THE BAT profiles Fenway Park as the second-best ballpark in MLB for righty batting average.
High temperatures are strongly correlated with more offense (and fewer strikeouts), and the weather forecast forecasts the hottest weather on the slate today at 82 degrees.
The wind projects to be blowing out to left field at 9.8-mph in this game, the second-most-favorable of the day for bats.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
The league's second-tallest average fence height can be found at Fenway Park.
Langeliers's exit velocity on flyballs has declined of late; his 93.9-mph seasonal figure has fallen off to 74.8-mph in the last week.