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.
Note: This file has been updated with overnight pitching changes and weather-related 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
By Mike Sheets
There's some excitement in St. Louis with the expected promotion of a pair of top prospects. First up is Matthew Liberatore (1% rostered in ESPN leagues), who is set to make his MLB debut on Saturday. Liberatore, acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays back in 2020 in the Randy Arozarena deal, is a former first-round pick who posted a 3.83 ERA, a 10.4 K/9, and a 2.7 BB/9 in seven starts at Triple-A. Trusting a rookie hurler in his debut always carries some risk, but he gets a soft landing spot against a Pittsburgh Pirates team that sports a bottom-five wRC+ (86) to go along with a 24.6% strikeout rate. Although the young southpaw isn't a "must start" in standard 10-team leagues, his performance Saturday is definitely worth monitoring.
The Cardinals are also expected to call up Nolan Gorman (4% rostered) on Friday after the 22-year-old went on a HR binge at Triple-A, hammering 15 bombs in 34 games while hitting .308/.367/.677. The concern with Gorman is the amount of swing-and-miss in his game. He whiffed 34% of the time in Triple-A, which could result in a tough transition to the big leagues. Even so, the mammoth power is worth taking a chance on. Keep in mind, though, Gorman won't have the platoon edge on Saturday, so he's more of a long-term play than just a one-day streamer.
Opposing Liberatore is Jose Quintana (18%), who figures to be a popular streaming option given his early-season success. He has a 2.19 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP over seven starts, which includes five consecutive outings of two-or-fewer earned runs allowed. The veteran left-hander could very well keep this up for a few more starts, but with career-worst fastball velocity (90.7 mph) and a 4.50 xERA that suggests his 2.19 ERA is somewhat fluky, there's definite risk here. Proceed with caution against a St. Louis Cardinals lineup that has been the best in baseball against left-handed pitching with a .367 wOBA and a 141 wRC+.
Alex Faedo (1%) has a mere three big-league starts under his belt, and so far, he's made a positive impression, holding a 2.87 ERA over 15 2/3 frames. Although his strikeout numbers (note the 18.8% K-rate) haven't shown up just yet, he displayed an ability to miss bats in the minors (10.5 K/9 in Double-A). Plus, Faedo's slider, which has a 44.4% whiff rate, looks like it can be a put-away pitch for him. On Saturday, the 26-year-old righty draws a decent matchup versus the Cleveland Guardians, earning him streamer status in deeper formats. While the Guardians lineup has hit well this season, the team has been slowing down of late, illustrated by an 81 wRC+ over the last week.
Michael Lorenzen (24%) is coming off his best start of the season -- a seven-inning, one-run performance against the Oakland Athletics. As luck would have it, he gets those same A's once again on Saturday, putting him on the board as a worthwhile streaming option. Although Lorenzen is a low-upside arm given how much he's pitching to contact, he's showing improved control (2.8 BB/9). He's also generating a ton of grounders (55%), and is limiting hard contact (25.2%). He shouldn't have trouble holding down an Oakland offense that ranks dead-last in MLB in both wOBA (.265) and wRC+ (79).
It's not too late to start another free fantasy baseball league. Leagues drafted this week will start scoring fresh the following Monday.
Starting pitcher rankings for Saturday
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.
Harold Ramirez (TB, LF -- 0%) at Bradish
Seth Brown (OAK, RF -- 3%) at Lorenzen
Ben Gamel (PIT, LF -- 15%) vs. Mikolas
Worst over-50%-rostered hitters for Saturday
Jonah Heim (TEX, C -- 53%) at Verlander
Jurickson Profar (SD, 1B -- 68%) at Rodon
Jake Cronenworth (SD, 2B -- 94%) at Rodon
THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Saturday
Prop of the Day
Carlos Rodon strikeouts: Over/Under 7.5 (+115/-150)
THE BAT X sees Rodon putting up 8.4 strikeouts for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 61.9% of the time. THE BAT X believes there is positive value on the OVER with an expected value of $33.15
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
Rodon projects as the second-best pitcher in the game as it relates to his strikeout talent, according to THE BAT X.
Rodon has averaged 101.2 adjusted pitches per start this year, checking in at the 99th percentile.
Oracle Park grades out as the No. 7 field in baseball for strikeouts, according to THE BAT X projection system.
Low temperatures are strongly correlated with less offense (and more whiffs), and this game projects to be the fifth-lowest temperature on the slate at 59 degrees.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
The wind projects to be blowing out to center at 8.4 mph in this contest, the fifth-most-favorable of the day for bats.
The Padres have seven bats in the projected batting order that will hold the platoon advantage over Rodon today.