Fantasy baseball pitcher rankings, lineup advice for Friday's MLB games

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.

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 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 Friday's MLB games

By Todd Zola

  • Friday's action gets underway at 2:20 PM ET with a matinee in Wrigley Field. Despite it being the only afternoon game on the docket, the gametime temperature will be lower than most of the evening affair, which aids pitching. The scheduled starters are Jameson Taillon (14.3% rostered) and Zac Gallen. Gallen doesn't usually need any help, plus he's facing a lineup with below average production with a righty on the hill, even as they've played better over the second half. Taillon, however, can use the help. He's surrendered at least one homer in seven straight games, including five over his past two outings. The Diamondbacks have exhibited below average power for the past month, so Taillon is a possible streamer, but only for teams behind in their head-to-head playoff matchup.

  • Friday's top spot starter is Kyle Harrison (11.5%) for the San Francisco Giants home date with the Colorado Rockies. The rookie southpaw seemingly broke out in his second career start when he fanned 11 in 6 1/3 scoreless frames at home against the Cincinnati Reds. However, in his third start, the Padres took him deep four times in Petco Park. Look for Harrison to rebound, facing a Rockies lineup experiencing a big park downgrade.

  • Logan Allen (12.5%) may be hitting the rookie wall, but his road date with the Los Angeles Angels could be his pathway to getting over the hump. The Cleveland Guardians need to win to maintain their slim chances of catching the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central. Allen struggled in his last two starts, surrendering nine runs in nine frames combined to the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays. However, the Angels lineup, especially if Shohei Ohtani remains out, isn't nearly as potent as Allen has recently encountered.

  • Allen will be opposed by Griffin Canning (20.3%). It took the right-hander a couple of appearances off the IL to find his groove, but Canning has pitched well in his last two starts, punching out 16 in 13 frames, while yielding just one walk and three earned runs. Cleveland isn't the ideal lineup to face for strikeouts, though their rate has edged up since the All-Star break. Despite putting the ball in play, the Guardians don't sport a scary offense, though the return of Josh Naylor should help.

  • Cristopher Sanchez (11.2%) rounds out a relatively weak inventory of pitchers to stream. His run of three straight quality starts was snapped last time out, but the Philadelphia Phillies southpaw still fanned five without surrendering a free pass in 4 2/3 innings, bringing him strikeouts to a palatable 21 over his previous 22 1/3 frames, with just three walks. Next up is a Miami Marlins lineup experiencing a collective second half swoon, especially facing lefties. Both teams have playoff aspirations, so that's a wash, though Sanchez has an edge with the game in Citizens Bank Park.

  • There are a few pair of teammates each enjoying the platoon edge on a vulnerable pitcher, beginning with Jordan Walker (38.3%) and Tyler O'Neill (16.1%) facing lefty Andrew Abbott. The Athletics offense has been underwhelming, but Zack Gelof (16.2%) and Brent Rooker (12.4%) are in play against Jordan Montgomery. Wilmer Flores (34.5%) and Austin Slater (.1%) are in a favorable spot stepping in against Ty Blach. Lastly, Ronny Mauricio (6.8%) and Mark Vientos (.4%) square off with Dallas Keuchel.

Starting pitcher rankings for Friday

Bullpen usage watch for Friday

By Todd Zola

  • Emmanuel Clase has been quite the conundrum in 2023 -- 38 times he's been very, very good, but 10 times, he's been horrid. Clase's latest blow up was last night when he failed to hold a 2-1 Cleveland Guardians lead over the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels parlayed hour hits and a walk into a pair of runs to walk it off with two outs. Clase was appearing on consecutive days, but that shouldn't have been a factor since he threw only 10 pitches on Wednesday and hadn't previously pitched since Saturday. However, last night's 26-pitch effort gives him 36 over the last two days, which likely renders him unavailable tonight. Trevor Stephan posted a hold last night, but he tossed only eight pitches, so he's a candidate to fill in at closer tonight.

  • Raisel Iglesias was brought in to secure the Atlanta Braves' five-run lead in the ninth inning, but as so often occurs in a non-save situation when the reliever doesn't have the same adrenaline rush, the St. Louis Cardinals scored twice. The Braves did hang on for the 8-5 win, but Iglesias threw 30 pitches. He had last appeared on Saturday, which is why he was used, as he needed the work. Gauging Iglesias' availability for tonight is tricky with last night's high pitch count, but he was extremely well-rested, so he could give the club an inning in a pinch. Kirby Yates hasn't appeared since Tuesday, so he's a strong candidate to take the hill tonight, with a solid chance to log a hold, or even save.

  • The Los Angeles Dodgers visit the Washington Nationals for a weekend series. The matchup isn't as lopsided as it may seem based on team records. Since the All-Star break, the Dodgers and Baltimore Orioles are tied for the best record in baseball, but the Nationals actually check in with the 12th-best mark. Both clubs' bullpens should be ready for a competitive series. Kyle Finnegan (25.8% rostered) has 14 saves since the break, tied for third-most in the league. Evan Phillips (35.4%) and Brusdar Graterol (7.2%) continue to tag-team late-inning duties for the Dodgers, with Phillips serving as the primary, but not sole closer.

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.

Worst Over-50% rostered hitters for Friday

THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Friday

Prop of the Day

Griffin Canning, Angels, 1.5 earned runs (-160/+130)


THE BAT X sees Canning putting up 3.06 earned runs for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 73.9% of the time. THE BAT X believes there is positive value on the OVER with an expected value of $32.09.

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.


  • The Guardians have been the eighth-unluckiest offense in MLB this year, according to THE BAT X, and are likely to perform better going forward

  • Pat Hoberg, expected to be behind the plate today, projects as a hitter's umpire.

  • Angel Stadium has the shortest fences in the league.

  • High temperatures are strongly correlated with more offense (and fewer strikeouts), and the weather report projects the hottest weather of all games on today's slate at 84 degrees.


  • Angel Stadium grades out as the No. 25 park in the league for batting average, via THE BAT X.

  • Canning has a reverse platoon split and should be aided by facing seven opposite-handed bats in today's game.