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.
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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 Saturday's MLB Games
By Mike Sheets
Tyler Glasnow is set to make his 2023 debut after being sidelined since late February with a left oblique strain. The 29-year-old right-hander made four rehab starts at Triple-A, posting a 0.68 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, and 13.5 K/9 rate across 13.1 frames. In Glasnow's final rehab outing, he spun six innings of two-run ball, getting up to 67 pitches. Reports have had him averaging 95-97 mph with his fastball during his rehab, so he looks primed and ready to go. On Saturday, Glasnow gets a rough landing spot against the Los Angeles Dodgers, but if you've been stashing him on your bench for the past two months, go ahead and fire him up for this weekend's matchup.
At first glance, it appears that Josiah Gray (24% rostered in ESPN leagues) is putting it all together this season, registering a 2.65 ERA over his first 10 starts. A closer look reveals a declining strikeout rate (7.3 K/9), an increasing walk rate (4.4 BB/9), and a 1.39 WHIP that suggests he's gotten lucky with runners on base. Despite the red flags, Gray has now held opposing teams to three or fewer earned runs in nine consecutive starts, and Saturday's matchup versus the Kansas City Royals is extremely favorable. Among all MLB teams, the Royals rank third-worst in baseball with an 81 wRC+ in 2023.
After getting roughed up by the Arizona Diamondbacks in early May (6 ER in 4.2 IP), Andrew Heaney (37%) has seemingly found his stride. He has reeled off three straight quality starts while giving up just one earned run over his past 12 innings. Although Heaney hasn't matched his strikeout prowess from last season (13.6 K/9), he's still missing plenty of bats (9.8 K/9), and he's doing a better job limiting hard contact. The Baltimore Orioles lineup presents a tough matchup on Saturday, but Camden Yards now plays much more pitcher-friendly than it did a couple of years ago.
Jameson Taillon is a hurler we want to attack right now. The right-hander put up a 4.50 ERA in his first three starts of the year, and after a short IL stint, his ERA has ballooned to 8.10 over his past four outings. Lefty batters have done a large portion of the damage against him, slashing .358/.452/.679 with a .476 wOBA. With the Cincinnati Reds in town this weekend, left-handed hitters Jake Fraley (13%) and TJ Friedl (4%) are both interesting streamers. Fraley looks particularly enticing, as he owns a .304/.398/.487 slash line versus right-handers this season.
There are some Chicago Cubs hitters worth targeting in this matchup, too. With southpaw Brandon Williamson toeing the rubber for the Reds, Seiya Suzuki (53%), who is batting .310/.405/.606 in May, Patrick Wisdom (31%), and Yan Gomes (7%) all find themselves in favorable spots. Plus, if Christopher Morel (56%) is somehow still available in your league after bombing nine homers in 13 games this year, then he moves to the top of the list.
Starting pitcher rankings for Saturday
Bullpen usage watch for Saturday
By Todd Zola
Whether it's due to not fully adjusting to the pitch clock or something else, Emmanuel Clase isn't dominating like he did last season. Sure, he captured his league-leading 17th save last night, but it took 30 pitches and he was perilously close to his sixth blown save (he leads the league with five). Clase's strikeouts are down and his walks are up. His average cutter velocity is down over a tick, but it's still 98.2 mph. Trading Clase may be easier to do in category-based leagues and is worth investigating, since the return is likely to be huge and saves can be collected with sage waiver pickups. As for today, Clase likely needs a day to recover, so a well-rested James Karinchak is the favorite for a Saturday save.
As noted yesterday, Josh Hader pitched on two of the previous three days using just 23 pitches total, which was likely not enough to avoid him on Friday. Sure enough, he was used to protect a four-run lead in Yankee Stadium. Normally, a manager doesn't use his closer in a non-save situation unless he is comfortable bringing him back the next day. In this instance, Padres manager Bob Melvin likely felt beating the Yankees last night was important enough to bring in his main guy, who rewarded the decision by striking out the side on 15 pitches. However, Hader has now worked on consecutive days and three of the past four. As such, Hader will likely get Saturday off, especially since it is a quick turnaround with a 1:05 p.m. ET start in the Bronx. Neither Nick Martinez nor Luis Garcia pitched last night, putting them both in play for a save or hold in today's matinee.
Jordan Romano had been sitting on 10 saves until he recorded No. 11 last night in Minnesota. Romano needed 20 pitches, but last night's appearance was his first since last Saturday, so he's likely available 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.
Francisco Alvarez (NYM, DH -- 9%) at Chase Anderson
Mark Vientos (NYM, DH -- 3%) at Anderson
Elias Diaz (COL, C -- 44%) vs. Justin Verlander
Randal Grichuk (COL, RF -- 3%) vs. Verlander
Brett Baty (NYM, 3B -- 11%) at Anderson
Mark Canha (NYM, LF -- 5%) at Anderson
Charlie Blackmon (COL, RF -- 21%) vs. Verlander
Luis Garcia (WSH, SS -- 7%) at Brady Singer
Jurickson Profar (COL, LF -- 11%) vs. Verlander
Josh Naylor (CLE, 1B -- 44%) vs. Jack Flaherty
Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Saturday
James Outman (LAD, LF -- 53%) at Tyler Glasnow
Brent Rooker (OAK, LF -- 55%) vs. Framber Valdez
Jorge Mateo (BAL, SS -- 51%) vs. Andrew Heaney
Michael Harris II (ATL, CF -- 72%) vs. Zack Wheeler
Isaac Paredes (TB, 3B -- 53%) vs. Clayton Kershaw
Thairo Estrada (SF, 2B -- 76%) at Corbin Burnes
Nolan Gorman (STL, 2B -- 74%) at Tanner Bibee
Ozzie Albies (ATL, 2B -- 99%) vs. Wheeler
J.D. Martinez (LAD, DH -- 62%) at Glasnow
Alec Bohm (PHI, 3B -- 80%) at Charlie Morton
THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Today
New York Mets at Chase Anderson
Colorado Rockies vs. Justin Verlander
Kansas City Royals vs. Josiah Gray
Prop of the Day
Josiah Gray, Nationals, 17.5 pitching outs (-125/-110)
THE BAT sees Gray putting up 14.8 Pitching Outs for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 31.8% of the time. THE BAT believes there is positive value on the UNDER with an expected value of $33.14.
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
Kauffman Stadium has the deepest RF fences among all parks.
Despite common assumptions, fastballs are typically the least efficient pitch for a pitcher. Josiah Gray has increased his usage of off-speed and breaking pitches by 11.3% this season (68.4%), compared to last season (57.1%).
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
According to THE BAT X, the Kansas City Royals rank as the eighth-unluckiest offense in Major League Baseball this year, but there is potential for improvement in their future performance.
Via THE BAT projection system, Kauffman Stadium is ranked as the third stadium in Major League Baseball for batting average.
According to the weather report, the temperature and humidity for this matchup will be the third-most favorable for hitting on the slate.
The Kansas City Royals have seven hitters in the projected batting order that will receive the benefit of the platoon advantage against Josiah Gray in this matchup.