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 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 Saturday's MLB Games
By Mike Sheets
Toronto Blue Jays ace Kevin Gausman was originally scheduled to start today against the Arizona Diamondbacks but was scratched due to "discomfort in his left side." He is listed as day-to-day. Chris Bassitt will now take the mound while Yusei Kikuchi remains on track for his originally scheduled Sunday start.
We seemingly cover Braxton Garrett (52%) in this space on a weekly basis, and that's because, despite his impressive numbers, he remains rostered in only about 50% of ESPN leagues. The Miami left-hander owns a 2.52 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, and 10.8 K/9 rate over his last 11 starts, allowing more than three earned runs just once during that stretch. Even though the Baltimore Orioles' offense has been above average against left-handed pitching this season, Braxton's recent track record is enough to give him the nod as a streaming option this weekend.
One of this season's most pleasant surprises, James Paxton (56%) continues to dominate on the mound. He's made 10 starts for the Boston Red Sox, delivering a 2.73 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, and 64 Ks across 56 frames. Odds are probably against him staying healthy for the entire second half, but fantasy managers looking to stream him don't have to look that far ahead. On Saturday, Paxton draws a Chicago Cubs lineup that's cratered over the last couple of weeks, putting up an 82 wRC+ that ranks 26th in MLB.
Although the Pittsburgh Pirates have recently called up some prospects - Henry Davis and Nick Gonzales - with hopes of sparking the offense, it hasn't worked. Over the past month, Pittsburgh's offense has been the worst in baseball, ranking last in both wRC+ (68) and wOBA (.273) while fanning 25.6% of the time. With such a favorable matchup on tap, Alex Cobb (56%), who boasts a 2.91 ERA in 16 starts this year, is a no-brainer streaming target if he's available in your league.
Because of injuries and general streakiness, Giancarlo Stanton finds himself rostered in just 50% of ESPN leagues. This is a good time to roster the veteran slugger, though, as the New York Yankees travel to Coors Field this weekend. Against Connor Seabold, who sports a 6.41 ERA in Colorado this season, Stanton is in good position to do some damage. Also take a look at DJ LeMahieu (43%), Anthony Volpe (40%), Harrison Bader (17%), and Josh Donaldson (3%) for this Coors matchup.
The San Diego Padres and Philadelphia Phillies are scheduled for a doubleheader on Saturday, meaning there's an opportunity for an extra game's worth of at-bats for their players. With that in mind, Bryson Stott (53%) and Brandon Marsh (11%) are candidates for the double-dip on the Phillies' side, while Jake Cronenworth (65%), Ha-Seong-Kim (30%), and Trent Grisham (3%) could suit up for both games for San Diego.
The Kansas City Royals and Tampa Bay Rays will also play two after Friday's game was rained out. Tyler Glasnow takes the hill for the Rays in Game 1 but the other three pitchers on the double-bill are much less inspiring: Cooper Criswell is getting called up to start the second game for Tampa and has struggled so far this season at both Triple-A and in the majors with ERAs and WHIPs checking in north of 5.50 and 1.50, respectively, at both levels. The Royals, meanwhile, roll out Alec Marsh and "emergency" spot starter Cole Ragans, who rank lower than anyone on the Saturday slate not playing at Coors or being pressed into doubleheader duties of their own. This could be a good day to start your players from both squads.
For those of your wondering about the suspended game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Washington Nationals, that game will resume today but count against Friday's roster. Players added to your starting lineup today who were not in your lineup yesterday will not accumulate statistics from the resumed game. See the rules for more details.
Starting pitcher rankings for Saturday
Bullpen usage watch for Saturday
With everyone refreshed coming out of the break, instead of focusing on tired bullpens, this is a good opportunity to highlight the top closers still available in at least half of ESPN leagues.
Leading the way is A.J. Puk (17.3%), with 15 saves for the Miami Marlins. He's also collected four wins and has fanned 36 batters in 29 innings. Dylan Floro has chipped in with seven saves, but the last came on June 5, so Puk is currently the clear primary closer in South Beach.
At least for now, Will Smith (27.4%) is the chief closer for the Texas Rangers. The caveat is the club may trade for more bullpen help, pushing Smith to a setup role. Texas has already acquired Aroldis Chapman, but he hasn't collected so much as a hold in his three appearances with the Rangers. The risk Smith loses the job is a concern for deeper formats, but he's ideal for streaming into a daily lineup.
Closers on teams with records under .500 still register saves, but are often overlooked. An example is Alex Lange (17.8%) with 14 saves for the Detroit Tigers. In daily leagues, it makes sense to deploy closers whose teams are favored to win that day. They're not talked about much as a first half surprise, but the Tigers are in third place in the AL Central, so there will be some opportunities to slide Lange into your lineup when Detroit plays the Chicago White Sox or Kansas City Royals, as well as most of the times that Eduardo Rodriguez takes the hill.
Craig Kimbrel (41%) has had more downs than ups over the past five seasons, but he's experiencing a renaissance campaign for the Philadelphia Phillies, emerging as their closer with 14 saves and no blown leads. He's also fanned 57 in 37 stanzas. It's time to let bygones be bygones and trust Kimbrel can help your fantasy squad. In fact, with a doubleheader today, there is no better time than the present.
When Jhoan Duran (43.9%) is in, it's a wonder a hitter can even make contact. However, Duran has control issues, thus has been charged with four losses and three blown saves to go along with his 13 saves and a hold. Still, he's the primary option on the Minnesota Twins, so Duran has streaming appeal in daily formats.
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.
Kyle Isbel (KC, RF -- 0%) vs. Cooper Criswell and Tyler Glasnow
Maikel Garcia (KC, SS -- 9%) vs. Cooper Criswell and Tyler Glasnow
Michael Massey (KC, 2B -- 0%) vs. Cooper Criswell and Tyler Glasnow
Nicky Lopez (KC, 2B -- 1%) vs. Cooper Criswell and Tyler Glasnow
Drew Waters (KC, RF -- 0%) vs. Cooper Criswell and Tyler Glasnow
Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Saturday
Luis Robert Jr. (CHW, CF -- 97%) at Spencer Strider
Andrew Vaughn (CHW, RF -- 78%) at Spencer Strider
Josh Bell (CLE, 1B -- 55%) at Andrew Heaney
Steven Kwan (CLE, LF -- 91%) at Andrew Heaney
Bryson Stott (PHI, SS -- 54%) vs. Ryan Weathers