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 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 Monday's MLB Games
By Todd Zola
The dog days of August continue with a nine-game slate to open the fantasy week. Monday's action gets going at 6:40 PM ET in South Beach with Braxton Garrett and the Miami Marlins entertaining Framber Valdez and the Houston Astros. This will be a great test for Garrett (26.1% rostered) who is enjoying a breakthrough campaign. It's in the books, but if you overlook his May 3 home disaster when the Atlanta Braves tallied 11 times in 4 1/3 innings, Garrett is sporting a 3.36 ERA and 1.09 WHIP, fully supported with 122 strikeouts in 112 2/3 innings, while issuing just 17 walks. To merit fantasy ace status, Garrett needs to show he can navigate the potent lineups, like Braves and Astros. Since Jose Altuve and Yordan Alvarez returned in late July, the Astros have averaged the third most runs per game in MLB. Perhaps the risk precludes Garrett's pickup so early in the fantasy week, but he warrants being active in deeper leagues and could be a contrarian DFS hurler.
The highest ranked streaming option is Baltimore Orioles freshman Grayson Rodriguez. Rodriguez has seemingly climbed over the rookie wall with a 2.66 ERA and 0.93 WHIP over his last four starts, though he's fanned a modest 20 batters with eight walks in those 23 2/3 innings. Still, Rodriguez is showing the ability to get out of jams, unlike earlier in the season when a couple of runners opened the floodgates. On Monday, Rodriguez will toe the rubber in Petco Park. The knee-jerk reaction to facing the San Diego Padres is to avoid it, but after four and a half months, the numbers indicate they're a below average offense facing righties.
Miles Mikolas (22.8%) isn't known for missing bats, though the dozen punchouts he's registered over his past two outings is by far his highest total in consecutive starts. Still, Mikolas is best deployed for innings, run prevention and a chance for a win, all three of which are in play with a home date against the Oakland Athletics. It doesn't hurt that the visitor's lineup has fanned at the third highest level with a right-hander on the hill.
Pitching decisions are always critical, but with just over a quarter of the season remaining, there is less margin of error. Brady Singer (59.5%) is regaining fantasy trust with a 2.94 ERA and 0.86 WHIP since the break. He punched out 31 while issuing only five walks and allowing three homers in that 33 2/3 inning span. Singer is in a favorable spot to maintain the high note with a road affair in Safeco Field when the Kansas City Royals open set with the Seattle Mariners. The hosts fan at a 26.0% clip facing righties, the second highest in MLB. Monday marks the first of six games in Coors Field this week. Despite their woes, the Colorado Rockies still sport the seventh highest home wOBA facing right-handers.
Monday's matchup with Arizona Diamondbacks righty Merrill Kelly is challenging, but picking up some Colorado bats to use the rest of the week in deeper leagues makes sense. Jurickson Profar (8.7%), Ezequiel Tovar (9.0%), Ryan McMahon (29.0%), Brendan Rodgers (10.1%), Elias Diaz (40.6%) and Nolan Jones (7.3%) are the typical top-six in the order, thus are the best options.
On the other side, Coors Field could be the panacea for the Diamondbacks post-break malaise. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (54.4%), Tommy Pham (3.1%), Alek Thomas (.8%) and Jace Peterson (0.3%) are the worthiest considerations.
Starting pitcher rankings for Monday
Bullpen usage watch for Monday
By Todd Zola
After garnering his first save for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday, Paul Sewald collected his second yesterday in the club's come-from-behind win over the San Diego Padres. Previous to this weekend, the last time Sewald appeared was the prior Sunday, but after tossing 22 pitches yesterday, on top of a dozen on Saturday, Sewald's availability for tonight's road date with the Colorado Rockies is in jeopardy. Even with likely roster holes from the abbreviated schedule, it's not risking another Diamondbacks reliever in Coors Field.
Working with six days of rest, Camilo Doval was asked to secure the final out and preserve Logan Webb's 8 2/3 innings masterpiece. Webb retired the first two Texas Rangers batters, but after J.P. Martinez doubled, Doval was summoned. The San Francisco Giants closer induced Ezequiel Duran to hit a grounder towards the shortstop hole. J.P. Crawford fielded it, but his throw on the run to first base was late. An alert Martinez didn't hesitate rounding third and easily scored, sending the game to extras. Doval stayed in to pitch the 10th, but balked in the go-ahead run. However, Patrick Bailey's two-run homer in the bottom of the frame sent the fans home happy, while giving Doval his fourth win. He needed 20 pitches to record four outs, but considering how long it had been between appearances, Doval should be ready tonight when the Giants host the Tampa Bay Rays.
Andres Munoz (48.5% rostered) falls just short of the filter for inclusion in the table, but after appearing both Saturday and Sunday, using a total of 34 pitches, it's worth mentioning he'll probably have Monday off. This is even more relevant with the Seattle Mariners hosting the Kansas City Royals, thus the club tops the list of teams with the best chance to string together some wins. Matt Brash tossed 20 pitches yesterday, but he was working with three days of rest, so Brash could give the club an inning. Justin Topa also appeared yesterday, but only tossed 13 pitches, so he should also be in the late-inning mix. Brash and Topa are not only in play today, but for the entirety of the Royals series.
Best Sub-50% Rostered Hitters for Monday
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.
Ryan McMahon (COL, 3B -- 29%) vs. Kelly
Gabriel Moreno (ARI, C -- 5%) at Flexen
Ezequiel Tovar (COL, SS -- 9%) vs. Kelly
Jake McCarthy (ARI, RF -- 17%) at Flexen
Elias Diaz (COL, C -- 41%) vs. Kelly
Nolan Jones (COL, RF -- 7%) vs. Kelly
Jace Peterson (ARI, 3B -- 0%) at Flexen
Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Monday
Hunter Renfroe (LAA, RF -- 56%) at Scherzer
Ha-Seong Kim (SD, SS -- 75%) vs. Rodriguez
THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Today
Arizona Diamondbacks at Chris Flexen
Colorado Rockies vs. Merrill Kelly
Prop of the Day
JP Sears O/U 16.5 pitching outs (-125/+100)
THE BAT sees Sears putting up 15.2 pitching outs for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 35.7% of the time. THE BAT believes there is positive value on the UNDER with an expected value of $28.70.
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 may be smart to expect worse results for the St. Louis Cardinals offense the rest of the season, given that THE BAT X sees them as them as the seventh-luckiest offense in baseball this year.
The No. 8 ballpark in MLB for suppressing walks, via THE BAT, is Busch Stadium.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
The fourth-best projected batting order of all teams on the slate in terms of overall batting ability belongs to the St. Louis Cardinals.
As far as temperature and humidity go, the third-most suitable hitting weather on the schedule is expected for this game.
The wind projects to be blowing out to right field at 10.8-mph in this game, the second-most-favorable of the day for bats.
Because of his huge platoon split, JP Sears will be in a tough position being matched up with seven hitters in the projected offense who bat from the other side today.