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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
Since getting roughed up by the Arizona Diamondbacks in early May, Andrew Heaney (40% rostered in ESPN leagues) has been lights out, posting a 1.75 ERA and 0.97 WHIP over his past four turns. While his K/9 rate sits at just 9.0 this season (compared to 13.6 in 2022), the left-hander is generating more grounders and is doing a much better job avoiding hard contact (47.7% in 2022, 33.8% this season). Against the Seattle Mariners, who have one of baseball's worst offenses versus lefty pitching this season (.294 wOBA, 26.5% K%), Heaney is one of the better streaming options on the Saturday slate.
Eury Perez (28% rostered) has electric stuff, but he's had trouble harnessing it with the Miami Marlins, illustrated by his 4.7 BB/9 rate across his first four big league starts. And while the 2.84 ERA is impressive, it comes with a 5.12 xERA, which suggests he's had some good fortune. Even so, the 20-year-old fireballer is fanning a batter per inning while opposing hitters are collectively slashing .188/.291/.406 against him. Some bumps in the road are surely on the horizon for the youngster, but it's doubtful those show up on Saturday against the Oakland A's. After all, Oakland's 87 wRC+ ranks bottom five in baseball, while its 24.7% K rate also ranks bottom five.
You wouldn't know it from his 14% rostered percentage, but it looks like the Cleveland Guardians' Logan Allen might be putting it all together. Through seven starts, the 24-year-old southpaw owns a 2.72 ERA to go along with a 9.8 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9. Most impressive was his domination of the Baltimore Orioles his last time out, as he twirled seven shutout frames with 10 Ks and two walks. If Allen can build off that performance on Saturday against the Minnesota Twins, his rostered percentage should spike. For now, he makes for a solid streaming option against a Minnesota lineup that has struggled against lefties this season, putting up a 90 wRC+ and 27.8% strikeout rate.
Aside from a hiccup against the Kansas City Royals early last week (5 ER in 5⅔ IP), Michael Lorenzen (8%) has been awfully impressive since the beginning of May. During that five-start stretch, he has registered a 1.90 ERA and a 0.87 WHIP over 32⅓ innings, allowing more than one earned run in only one game. As a pitch-to-contact hurler (6.8 K/9), Lorenzen has little margin for error, giving him some risk as a streamer. However, a matchup against a Chicago White Sox offense that ranked 23rd in baseball with a 93 wRC+ in May is not intimidating.
With the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox scheduled for a doubleheader on Saturday, streaming one or two of their hitters gives you the opportunity to rack up additional plate appearances and counting stats. From the Rays, Isaac Paredes (56%), Taylor Walls (47%), and Jose Siri (6%) are all widely available batters with a chance to double dip. On Boston's side, Justin Turner (62%), Jarren Duran (11%), Enrique Hernandez (8%), and Enmanuel Valdez (1%) are worth a look.
Starting pitcher rankings for Saturday
Bullpen usage for Saturday
Jordan Romano logged his 14th save last night, making it two days in a row he's locked down a Blue Jays victory. He only needed 10 pitches yesterday and 12 during Thursday's outing, but there is no precedent for Romano getting the call on three straight days this season, and the bullpen is otherwise well rested. Nate Pearson has transitioned well to bullpen work, as evidenced by nine strikeouts to one walk over his last six appearances, and he's starting to be trusted in late-inning scenarios. Erik Swanson continues to be one of the league's top setup men, with 13 holds. Both are apt to pitch in today's interleague affair in Citi Field.
Devin Williams threw a scoreless ninth in Cincinnati, sending yesterday's late afternoon affair into extra innings. The Brewers won in the 11th, but extended their bullpen in the process. Willams effort was his second in three days, using a total of 29 pitches. He's only pitched on consecutive days once this season, and that was to register just one out. Peter Strzlecki threw 14 pitches yesterday, he's only worked one other time since Sunday, so Strzlecki should be good for an inning today, perhaps even the ninth. Joel Payamps and Hoby Milner don't always work in late-inning scenarios, but could be asked to do so today.
Four more relievers are flagged for questionable availability today, but their usage patterns indicate they'll all be summoned if presented with a save situation. But just in case you want to hedge, with Colin Holderman also pitching last night, Dauri Moreta could be a candidate for a save if David Bednar is held out. Felix Bautista and Yennier Cano both worked yesterday, but are otherwise well-rested so they're probably both available, with Bryan Baker the fallback. Lastly, Alexis Diaz worked an inning yesterday, but has only thrown 25 pitches since Sunday so he's safe to keep in a lineup.
Last night's rainout in Boston doesn't change much for today, as there was already a doubleheader scheduled between the Red Sox and Rays. The starting pitchers were shuffled and the bullpens enjoyed an unscheduled day of rest, increasing the chance Kevin Cash and Alex Cora double down with their primary closers. That said, with Peter Fairbanks out, Jason Adam has been extended lately, throwing 61 pitches since Sunday, so he's probably earmarked for just one of the pair. Kevin Kelly and Colin Poche are the top candidates for a save, and are definitely in play for holds. Kenley Jansen has only tossed 13 pitches since last Saturday, all Thursday night. He could be good for double duty, with Chris Martin and Josh Winckowski also in the late-inning mix.
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.
Triston Casas (BOS, 1B -- 28%) vs. Criswell and Glasnow
Enrique Hernandez (BOS, CF -- 8%) vs. Criswell and Glasnow
Enmanuel Valdez (BOS, 2B -- 1%) vs. Criswell and Glasnow
Jake Fraley (CIN, LF -- 7%) vs. Rea
Matt McLain (CIN, SS -- 23%) vs. Rea
Worst over-50%-rostered hitters for Saturday
Christian Walker (ARI, 1B -- 87%) vs. Strider
Dansby Swanson (CHC, SS -- 92%) at Darvish
Seiya Suzuki (CHC, RF -- 53%) at Darvish
Ryan Mountcastle (BAL, 1B -- 78%) at Cobb
The Bat X's Best Stacks for Saturday
Boston Red Sox vs. Cooper Criswell
Cincinnati Reds vs. Colin Rea
Tampa Bay Rays at Garrett Whitlock
Prop of the day
New York Yankees Gerrit Cole 17.5 pitching outs (-200/+150)
THE BAT sees Cole putting up 15.7 pitching outs for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 37.9% of the time. THE BAT believes there is positive value on the UNDER with an expected value of $55.23.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE OVER:
THE BAT projects Cole in the 91st percentile when assessing his overall pitching skills.
John Tumpane projects as a Pitchers Umpire and is expected to be in charge of the strike zone in this game.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER:
The Los Angeles Dodgers projected lineup ranks as the third-best of all teams today.
Dodger Stadium ranks as the No. 4 stadium in MLB for home runs, according to THE BAT projection system.
The wind projects to be blowing out to RF at 8.7-mph in this game, the second-best of the day for bats.