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

Cristopher Sanchez is coming off a quality start and faces a lackluster Rockies lineup. Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

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.

Waiver wire Wednesday

Wednesday's pitching slate is rich in streaming candidates, with three of the four and six of the 13 best projected starters available in more than 80% of ESPN leagues.

Two in particular stand out, and it's because they draw arguably the two most favorable matchups for starting pitchers to face: the Chicago White Sox and the away-from-home Colorado Rockies. The White Sox are baseball's worst offensive team, buried in last place in both runs per game (2.13) and team wOBA (.254). Despite the recent return of Eloy Jimenez, they rank a clear notch beneath the rest of the pack in terms of the Forecaster projections. The Rockies, playing a road game, are a bottom-half team in terms of runs per game and are projected as baseball's most strikeout-prone team when away from Coors Field.

Philadelphia Phillies left-hander Cristopher Sanchez, coming off a quality start effort against the Pittsburgh Pirates while continuing to generate a near-60% ground ball rate, faces those Rockies at Citizens Bank Park. Kansas City Royals right-hander Michael Wacha, who had a forgettable most recent turn but otherwise has a 3.13 Statcast xERA through his first three starts, faces the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field in one of the two scheduled games there today.

If you rely heavily on a streaming-starters strategy in your fantasy baseball league -- and you should, excepting those with strict starts limits -- scoop up both pitchers and capitalize upon the likely good numbers that await them. Wacha has already faced these White Sox this season, throwing seven shutout innings of two-hit, eight-strikeout baseball on April 6, and Chicago's projected starting nine is a combined 10-for-54 (.185 BA) with three extra-base hits lifetime against him.

To add two more strong streaming choices to your radar, Cincinnati Reds left-hander Andrew Abbott and New York Mets right-hander Luis Severino also draw favorable matchups that rise to the occasion.

Abbott, who has been excellent through his first three starts of his sophomore season, most notably lowering both his walk and hard-hit rates allowed, works at pitching-friendly Seattle's T-Mobile Park. He'll face the toughest opposing starter among the four mentioned in Bryce Miller, but the Seattle Mariners' offense has been bottom-five, and in fact grades as the game's second-most strikeout prone.

Severino is coming off back-to-back solid outings, and he'll now face the Pirates and hittable lefty Bailey Falter at Citi Field. Severino's fastball velocity has been within range of his 2023 number but with considerably better results -- .238 wOBA allowed with .300 expected wOBA, compared to .462/.407 last year -- and his ground ball rate is an elevated 51.1% through three turns. It's the toughest matchup of any of the four starters, but the Pirates still grade as an above-average one.

While it's unclear what his pitch count will be, Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Landon Knack is a streaming sleeper for Wednesday due to his matchup against the Washington Nationals, graded top-four for a starter by the Forecaster projections. A second-rounder in the 2020 draft, Knack had a 3.22 ERA and 21.9% strikeout rate across 13 starts for Triple-A Oklahoma City between the second half of last season and first month of this.

What you may have missed on Tuesday

By Todd Zola

  • Injuries continued to mount on Monday with Atlanta Braves 2B Ozzie Albies being put on the 10-day IL due to a fractured big toe after being hit in the foot by a pitch. There is no return-date estimate since breaks of this nature take varying times to heal. In his stead, Luis Guillorme and David Fletcher will cover the keystone. Michael Harris II took Albies' second spot in the order last night. Harris has been hitting in the lower-third of the lineup. If he continues to be slotted in the two-hole against righties, Harris' production should benefit.

  • Christian Yelich was also placed on the IL, in his case due to a lower-back strain. Yesterday marked his fourth missed game in a row, so the Milwaukee Brewers opted for the IL stint and called up Owen Miller to take his roster spot. Blake Perkins should remain the primary left fielder in Yelich's absence.

  • The already thin Baltimore Orioles rotation suffered another blow with Tyler Wells needing an IL visit due to right elbow inflammation. There is no timeline for his return. Albert Suarez has been summoned for today's start when the Orioles host the Minnesota Twins. Suarez last appeared in an MLB game back in 2017. Since then, he's been pitching in Japan and Korea. Suarez signed a minor-league contract with the Orioles over the winter. In three appearances for Triple-A Norfolk, Suarez struck out 17 over 15 1/3 IP, with just one walk. With John Means slated for his fourth rehab start tonight, he could be ready to join the big club the next time this spot in the rotation comes up (next Tuesday).

  • Rafael Devers and Tyler O'Neill both cleared the league's concussion protocol following their nasty collision on Monday afternoon. Devers returned to the Boston Red Sox lineup last night but was removed from the game in the eighth inning due to knee soreness. The severity of the injury is unclear. O'Neill is expected to return to the Red Sox lineup on Thursday. Also in Boston, Garrett Whitlock was lifted from last night's start due to left oblique tightness. He'll likely undergo tests today to determine the extent of the injury.

  • It appears as though J.D. Martinez won't make his New York Mets debut until at least April 26 when the club returns home from a road trip. Martinez hurt his back earlier this month while playing for Single-A St Lucie. He's expected to continue his minor-league stint this week.

  • It didn't take long for Jordan Romano to record his first save as he was asked to seal the deal in his 2024 debut. Romano delivered, preserving the Toronto Blue Jays 5-4 win over the New York Yankees.

  • Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais continues to deploy Andres Munoz in a fireman capacity. Last night, Munoz recorded the final out in the seventh, then pitched a clean eighth to collect his third hold. He also has two saves. Ryne Stanek retired the first two batters in the ninth before Tayler Saucedo recorded the last out to earn his first save in Seattle's 3-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds. Munoz remains the primary reliever to roster from the Mariners, but on days when you have an open pitching spot, Stanek is a solid option.

Everything else you need to know for Wednesday

  • We have bonus baseball today thanks to yesterday's rainout in the Windy City being made up today. The White Sox and Royals will play a single-admission doubleheader, beginning at 2:10 PM ET. Yesterday's scheduled starters will work in the opener with Jonathan Cannon making his MLB debut for the home team against Brady Singer. Today's regularly scheduled pitchers will handle the nightcap with Erick Fedde getting the nod for the hosts with the visitors countering with Wacha.

  • More on the Royals: They have won each of their first five head-to-head matchups with the White Sox while limiting their division rival to five runs total in those contests. With the underrated Wacha on the mound but the Royals' offense generally regarded as below league average, a save could be in the mix for his game, and bear in mind that James McArthur has all three of his saves for the season in those five head-to-head meetings (Chris Stratton also has one save against the White Sox). McArthur remains available in more than 90% of ESPN leagues. Additionally, as White Sox right-hander Fedde continues to show a bit of a platoon split (.386 wOBA versus lefties, .345 versus righties), Vinnie Pasquantino and MJ Melendez are well worth picking up for this contest -- especially given the chances that they might well play in both games.

  • Kevin Gausman's fastball velocity increased in his past start (93.9 mph average, compared to 91.6 in the outing before it), but he wasn't much more successful, despite what was a dream matchup against a visiting Rockies team. A rematch against the New York Yankees, who got to him for six runs (five earned) on four hits, two of them home runs, in 1⅓ innings on April 6, despite the fact that he entered that game with a 1.17 ERA and 34.3% strikeout rate in seven prior starts against them as a Blue Jay, is hardly the time to chance it. Keep Gausman sidelined for evaluation purposes, paying most attention to the velocity of his fastball and splitter.

  • Max Fried, meanwhile, bounced back in a big way in his last turn after having spawned questions about his health in the outing before it. He also draws a challenging matchup in a road start against the Houston Astros, a loaded lineup on paper and baseball's most contact-oriented offense. Fried is worth your while after his Friday outing, especially as he's one of baseball's best at reining in hard contact. His Atlanta Braves teammates, particularly the lineup, also stand out from a matchups perspective against J.P. France and his .373 wOBA allowed.

  • Load up on San Francisco Giants against Miami Marlins left-hander Trevor Rogers, who has struggled over three starts (15 innings) with a low 19.4% strikeout rate and high 11.1% walk rate. As the Giants traditionally love to play lefty/righty matchups, expect Matt Chapman, Wilmer Flores and Jorge Soler to all occupy top-five lineup spots, making all three fantasy starts due to their .333-plus wOBA against lefties since the beginning of 2022. Soler has been one of baseball's best sluggers against lefties in that time, batting .253/.362/.624 with 21 of his 52 homers against them.

  • Betting tip of the day: Left-hander Reid Detmers has been excellent, winning three straight starts with a 1.04 ERA and 40.6% strikeout rate, and he has historically shown greater strikeout potential in the season's earlier stages. He gives the Angels a stronger chance at winning Wednesday than the odds say, as +115 on the money line stands out in his road start against the Tampa Bay Rays -- a team he no-hit in May of 2022.

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 Wednesday

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 Wednesday

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 Wednesday

THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Wednesday