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

Logan Gilbert has pitched like Seattle's best pitcher so far this season. Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

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 ESPN BET, and fantasy advice is geared toward ESPN 10-team leagues with standard scoring.

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.

Houston, we have a problem

Houston Astros RHP Hunter Brown entered the 2023 season as one of baseball's top pitching prospects, and even though he finished his rookie campaign with a disappointing 5.09 ERA, certainly there were positive signs. Brown was 12th among starters with a 3.52 xFIP, 14th after striking out 26.8% of batters faced and many believed better statistical fortune was coming, which is why Brown was often among the top 30 starting pitchers in ESPN live drafts, a worthy upside selection.

Three starts into this season, interest in Brown quickly cratered to barely 50% rostered and things do not figure to get easier Tuesday against the Atlanta Braves, one of the top offenses in the sport. Brown comes off the worst outing of the MLB season last week, as the Royals quickly turned 11 hits and a walk into nine earned runs in the first inning. No pitcher had ever permitted 11 hits while retiring fewer than three hitters. Brown's ERA shot up to 16.43, his WHIP 3.91. Fantasy managers moved on.

Brown, who started against the Braves last season and permitted 7 hits, 2 walks and 4 earned runs over 4⅔ innings, might not thrive in this matchup, but we should remind everyone that it is merely mid-April. A season is six months long. Brown was deemed a top-30 starting pitcher for a reason, though currently that reason might confound some. Fantasy managers in deeper formats might want to keep Brown rostered for when he turns things around. He should, after all, get better. Perhaps not Tuesday, though.

What you may have missed on Monday

By Todd Zola

  • There was a scary moment in the seventh inning of yesterday's Patriots' Day game with Rafael Devers and Tyler O'Neill butting heads after both called for a pop-up in short left field. Devers was able to finish the game, but O'Neill was removed and received eight stitches on his forehead. Both are reportedly in the league's concussion protocol, thus are questionable for Game 2 of the series between the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Guardians.

  • Oakland Athletics third baseman J.D. Davis was placed on the 10-day IL due to a groin issue. Davis was batting just .196/.255/.373, so his absence isn't all that fantasy relevant. However, Davis' roster spot was filled by Esteury Ruiz, who was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas after posting a .326/.423/.581 line over 11 games, adding seven steals. Ruiz is of course known for his stolen base prowess after swiping 67 bags in 80 tries last season. His defense, however, is subpar, so he was sent to the minors while the club gave JJ Bleday and Lawrence Butler a chance to show that their hot springs were worthy of regular playing time. Both are producing at a league-average level and were in the lineup last night with Ruiz on the bench. However, Ruiz pinch hit for Butler in the eighth and homered off St. Louis Cardinals reliever JoJo Romero, providing the Athletics with their only tally in their 3-1 loss.

  • The Washington Nationals put Keibert Ruiz on the IL as he continues to deal with an illness. The backstop last played on April 8, so the move can be backdated to April 12. Being on the IL allows Ruiz to have a rehab assignment, which may be necessary after missing so many games. Ruiz entered the season as a candidate to be rostered in one-catcher leagues but has been slow out of the gate with a .194/.265/.290 line. Riley Adams will serve as the primary receiver with Drew Millas called up to be the backup. Riley posted a solid .807 OPS last year in a reserve capacity and, so far, has bettered that with an .813 mark. Adams is in play in two-catcher formats, at least while Ruiz is out.

  • More bad news on the injury front with the Chicago Cubs placing Seiya Suzuki on the 10-day IL due to a right oblique strain. ESPN's Jeff Passan noted that Suzuki was out for six weeks last season with a similar injury, but the Cubs are optimistic the absence will be shorter this time around. Alexander Canario was called up to take the roster spot, but he's likely to see limited action. Mike Tauchman, Garrett Cooper and Nick Madrigal will be asked to help pick up the slack. Suzuki was off to a .305/.368/.525 start.

  • If last night is any indication, Kirby Yates will take over ninth inning duties for the Texas Rangers while erstwhile closer Jose Leclerc gets back on track. Michael Lorenzen made his first start last night, recording five scoreless frames against the Detroit Tigers. He issued five walks but was bailed out by double plays in the third, fourth and fifth innings. Leclerc preserved the shutout with two shutout innings then passed the baton to David Robertson for a scoreless eighth. Yates collected his first save by completing the 1-0 victory. Reese Olson pitched well in the loss, yielding just the one run in 6 1/3 stanzas, collecting eight strikeouts.

  • The Chicago White Sox will summon Jonathan Cannon for a spot start. The 23-year-old righty will make his MLB debut at home against the surprisingly productive Kansas City Royals. Cannon is a low-level prospect with a 2.79 ERA and 1.63 WHIP spanning 9 2/3 innings for Triple-A Charlotte. He's expected to be sent back down after the game with the White Sox wanting to give Erick Fedde and Garrett Crochet an extra day before their next outings. Cannon has no streaming allure.

Everything else you need to know for Tuesday

  • Meanwhile, the pitching factory that is Atlanta sends RHP Reynaldo Lopez (16.5% rostered) to the mound, and the converted reliever has permitted one earned run through 12 innings against the White Sox and Mets, with 11 strikeouts. Lopez is relying more on his fastball but he is throwing it considerably slower than in years past, at 95 mph, combining it with a slower slider and newfound usage in an effective curveball. Whether Lopez can remain a viable starter for six months -- he last reached 70 innings pitched in 2019 -- is problematic, so worry about that later. Lopez is thriving now.

  • Another hurler who did not start major league games last season faces a home outing with the Royals. RHP Erick Fedde, 31, compiled a 5.41 ERA over parts of six seasons with the Nationals. Then he went to Korea, and he dominated for his one season. The White Sox are not good, but Fedde is not their biggest problem, with a 4.30 ERA after three divisional outings, including one at Kansas City in which he permitted one run over five innings. Hunter Brown saw what the upstart Royals can do offensively, so Fedde likewise is not recommended, but if he can control the home runs (five in three starts), perhaps a useful fantasy option lurks.

  • On a slate with myriad left-handed starting pitchers, Brewers veteran Wade Miley hardly stands out, but perhaps he should. Miley tossed four innings of one-hit, one-run ball in his season debut at Cincinnati, delayed due to a shoulder impingement, and he struck out nary a hitter. It didn't help fantasy managers so much, but Miley, who hosts the Padres Tuesday, boasts a 3.25 ERA since the start of 2021 in 60 starts, with a 1.23 WHIP. That's something! He reminds of Mets LHP Jose Quintana (also hurling Tuesday), another "finesse" lefty who misses few bats but finds a way to get outs. Quintana faces the Pirates, one of his former clubs, Tuesday, and has a 3.15 ERA since 2022. These fellows are streamers, but useful ones.

  • Betting tip of the day: The Oakland Athletics enter Tuesday leading the AL in hitter strikeouts, and the St. Louis Cardinals send veteran RHP Lance Lynn to the mound. Lynn is dangerous for fantasy -- he permitted 44 home runs a season ago -- but he does miss bats. Lynn has 18 strikeouts over his three starts, which have covered only 13 2/3 innings. Look for Lynn to miss Oakland bats and take the over on 6.5 strikeouts (+110).

It's not too late to start a free fantasy baseball league. Leagues drafted this week will start scoring fresh the following Monday. Come and join the fun!

Starting pitcher rankings for Tuesday

Reliever report

To get the latest information on each team's bullpen hierarchy, as well as which pitchers might be facing a bit of fatigue and who might be the most likely suspects to vulture a save or pick up a surprise hold in their stead, check out the latest Closer Chart, which will be updated every morning.

Best sub-50% rostered hitters for Tuesday

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 Tuesday

THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Tuesday