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

Cole Ragans will try to extend his red-hot summer stretch into September in the first game of the day, and of the ESPN fantasy baseball playoffs. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

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. 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 how to best use the information, check out our handy primer here.

Note: This file will be 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 Monday's MLB games

By Todd Zola

Congratulations to everyone advancing to Round 1 of the ESPN fantasy playoffs. For those in rotisserie formats, Monday marks the beginning of the stretch run. While most are focusing on gaining points in the counting categories, keep in mind batting average, ERA and WHIP are still volatile. It's a mistake to ignore ratios, assuming too many at-bats and innings pitched have accumulated to prohibit movement in the categories. It's all about the distribution within the categories and unlike the counting stats, your opponents' ratios can worsen and lose points, which is just as good as you gaining them.

There are only 11 games on the Labor Day schedule, beginning at 2:10 PM ET with the Kansas City Royals hosting the Chicago White Sox. Six more matinees follow, then there are four evening affairs. Only seven of the day's probable starters are rostered in more than half of ESPN leagues. Not is there a large quantity of options, there are a few quality selections.

  1. Topping the list is Baltimore Orioles rookie Grayson Rodriguez (30.2%) for the opener of a three-game set in Anaheim against the Los Angeles Angels. Rodriguez had fared much better in his second foray in the majors. He was recalled and rejoined the rotation after the All-Star break. The Los Angeles Dodgers hit him hard in his first start after returning, but since Rodriguez posted a 2.32 ERA and 0.89 WHIP, with 37 strikeouts in 42 2/3 innings, walking just 12 with only two homers surrendered. Long term, Rodriguez needs to improve his strikeout rate to maintain ace status. His minor league track record indicates he can miss more bats. As for Monday night, Rodriguez is in a good spot to pad his strikeouts as he'll face the offense fanning at the eighth-highest rate versus right-handers for the past month.

  2. Cole Ragans (33.9%) is coming off what could be the best month of any pitcher all season. In six August starts, Ragans registered a 1.72 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. It wasn't just a lucky run as the left-hander fanned an impressive 53 in 36 2/3 innings, while issuing just nine walks and one home run. Ragans' first September outing is a home date with the Chicago White Sox. The Kansas City Royals southpaw draws a lineup sporting the seventh-highest strikeout rate and 11th lowest wOBA with a lefty on the hill.

  3. Even though they're on the road, we have Bryan Woo (14.5% and the Seattle Mariners favored over the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds recently fortified their lineup, but Woo still has the advantage. The 23-year-old righty has seemingly scaled the rookie wall with a 2.57 ERA and 1.10 WHIP spanning his last four starts, though he punched out only 14 in those 21 frames. However, even though the Great American Ballpark is a hitter's venue, the Reds offense at home is below average facing right-handers.

  4. Spoiler alert: There are only five games on Thursday, so filling lineup holes on Monday can help prevent scrambling next weekend. Here are some batters with the platoon edge on a vulnerable pitcher. Chas McCormick (28.5%) and Yainer Diaz (24.5%) both have the power to take advantage of Andrew Heaney's proclivity for the long ball. Sal Frelick (9%) matches up well with Pirates starter Luis L. Ortiz while Dominic Canzone (.3%) enjoys a park upgrade as well as facing the Reds Brett Kennedy.

Starting pitcher rankings for Monday

Bullpen usage for Monday

By Todd Zola

Best sub-50% rostered hitters for Monday

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 Monday

The BAT X's Best Stacks for Monday

Prop of the day

Cole Ragans, Kansas City Royals, 17.5 pitching outs (-150/+115)


  • THE BAT sees Ragans putting up 15.9 pitching outs for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 36.6% of the time.

  • THE BAT believes there is positive value on the UNDER with an expected value of $36.31.


  • The fourth-worst projected offense of all teams on the slate in terms of overall batting ability belongs to the White Sox.

  • Ragans' fastball velocity has spiked 4.4 mph this season (95.9 mph) over where it was last year (91.5 mph).


  • It may be wise to expect better numbers for the White Sox offense going forward, considering that THE BAT X believes they are the unluckiest offense in MLB this year.

  • The No. 1 field in baseball for boosting walks, via THE BAT, is Kauffman Stadium.

  • According to the weather report, the temperature and humidity for this game will be the best for hitting on the schedule today.

  • The wind projects to be blowing out to LF at 13-mph in this contest, the best of the day for batters.