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

Bobby Miller of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire

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 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 Friday's MLB games

By Todd Zola

  • Friday's slate is the standard 15 games, but a few contests have unusual start times. There's nothing odd about an early 2:20 p.m. ET Wrigley Field game, this time featuring the Chicago Cubs hosting the Cleveland Guardians. However, a 5:10 p.m. ET first pitch in Great American Ball Park between the Cincinnati Reds and San Diego Padres, followed an hour later when the Philadelphia Phillies host the Washington Nationals are both different than normal.

  • A pair of rookies sharing a last name (and first initial) check in as the day's top two streamers. Let's start with Bobby Miller (44.6% rostered) as he has the easier matchup when the Los Angeles Dodgers visit the Kansas City Royals. The 24-year-old right-hander has struggled over his last two outings, yielding 13 total runs in 9⅔ innings. However, he faced the Houston Astros and San Francisco Giants, a pair of offenses more potent than the Royals who sport the third-lowest wOBA facing righties. Kansas City fans at an above average 24.5% clip, aiding Miller's cause.

  • Bryce Miller (41.2%) is also coming off a subpar effort, but he was pitching well before the Baltimore Orioles tallied three runs in 4⅓ frames in his last outing. The Seattle Mariners right-hander draws a pesky Tampa Bay Rays lineup, albeit at home in T-Mobile Park. Shane McClanahan will take the hill for the visitors, so even though this Miller is ranked one spot ahead of the Dodgers version, Bobby is preferred over Bryce.

  • In the event you prefer to avoid Miller's Crossing altogether, James Paxton (32.9%) has been a strikeout machine this season, fanning batters at a 31.8% clip, fifth-highest among pitchers compiling at least 40 innings. It will be a good test for Paxton as he'll face a Toronto Blue Jays lineup with one of the lower strikeout rates against southpaw pitching. Even so, Paxton has also been giving the Boston Red Sox innings, which is integral to fantasy scoring and the Blue Jays offense is surprisingly below average.

  • Griffin Canning (14.4%) at home against the Arizona Diamondbacks appears like a stream-worthy matchup, and it is, but the Diamondbacks have been quietly productive against right-handers. However, Canning has recorded a 2.25 ERA and .89 WHIP over his last six starts, spanning 36 frames. The success is supported with 37 punchouts to only six free passes over this stretch.

  • Colorado Rockies lefty Austin Gomber has registered an 8.72 ERA and 1.77 WHIP at home. On Friday, the Detroit Tigers open a series in Coors Field. Considering Detroit has averaged the third-fewest runs per game in MLB, it's rare to target its hitters. However, the right-handed contingent is in a great spot, including Javier Baez (13.9%), Spencer Torkelson (8.4%), Matt Vierling (1%), Andy Ibanez (1%), Jonathan Schoop (0.7%) and Miguel Cabrera (0.6%).

  • Most of the Los Angeles Dodgers batters are already rostered, but adding James Outman (23.3%) or David Peralta (.8%) could prove fruitful as they enjoy the platoon edge on Royals righty Alec Marsh in what should be another high-scoring contest for the Dodgers. Marsh is a 25-year-old right-hander who will be making his MLB debut after Jordan Lyles was scratched due to illness.

Starting pitcher rankings for Friday

Bullpen usage watch for Friday

By Todd Zola

  • It was a 26-pitch adventure, but Devin Williams collected his third save in four days, all against the New York Mets. The Milwaukee Brewers closer allowed the Mets to load the bases yesterday, but then he fanned Starling Marte for his 16th save. Williams has now pitched on consecutive days, throwing 39 pitches. He's worked four of the past five days, amassing 61 pitches which will probably keep him out of tonight's road date with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Brewers have shuffled their bullpen with Joel Payamps emerging as the main setup man, but he's also pitched on two straight days. This could leave late-inning duties to Matt Bush, who hasn't pitched since last Saturday.

  • Before last night, Emmanuel Clase had thrown 13 1/3 scoreless innings, last allowing an earned run on May 26. However, the Kansas City Royals scored twice in the bottom of the 10th to earn a walk off over the Cleveland Guardians, handing Clase his sixth blown save. He threw 15 pitches, which comes on top of 14 accrued on Tuesday. However, there are multiple instances of Clase working in back-to-back fashion with a similar recent workload.

  • David Bednar garnered his 16th save yesterday, capping off the Pittsburgh Pirates come-from-behind win over the San Diego Padres. Bednar needed 20 pitches, but he was working on four days of rest, so he should be fine to come back tonight when the Pirates host the Brewers.

  • Jordan Romano wasn't as sharp as usual, but he managed to post his 24th save yesterday in the Toronto Blue Jays 2-1 home win over the San Francisco Giants. The Blue Jays held a 2-0 lead entering the ninth, but a leadoff double followed by a run-scoring single cut the lead in half. Aided by a caught stealing, Romano nailed it down, using 19 pitches in the process. Since he was also pitching on four days' rest, Romano should be able to pitch tonight when the Blue Jays welcome in the Boston Red Sox.

  • Kenley Jansen pitched the top of the ninth with the Boston Red Sox down 1-0 to the Miami Marlins. Jazz Chisholm extended the lead with a solo home run off Jansen, who allowed two more hits, but no more runs in the 15-pitch frame. Jansen is the third closer to be flagged today but was working on four days of rest. Like the others, he should be available tonight when the Red Sox open a weekend set in Toronto.

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 Today

Prop of the Day

Zack Short O/U 0.5 total bases (-170/+140)


THE BAT sees Short putting up 0.67 total bases for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 49.5% of the time. THE BAT believes there is positive value on the UNDER with an expected value of $21.13.

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.


  • Coors Field grades out as the No. 1 ballpark in Major League Baseball for righty batting average, according to THE BAT.

  • Zack Short will have the handedness advantage over Austin Gomber in today's matchup.


  • Zack Short has been replaced by a pinch-hitter 50% of the time when starting against a left-handed pitcher this year.

  • According to the weather report, the temperature and humidity for this contest will be the most suitable for pitching on the slate today.

  • The wind projects to be blowing in from CF at 8.1-mph in this contest, the second-best of the day for hurlers.

  • Over the past two weeks, Short's exit velocity on flyballs has fallen from his seasonal average of 90.2 mph to 84.8 mph.