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

Tanner Houck is a quality arm prospect for Tuesday's MLB slate. Photo by Paul Rutherford/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.

Left-handers on different paths

Four left-handed pitchers were among the 18 hurlers to strike out at least 200 hitters during the 2018 season. Patrick Corbin and James Paxton, then of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Seattle Mariners respectively, were two of them. Corbin won 11 games with a 3.15 ERA, and he struck out 246 hitters. Paxton won 11 games with a 3.76 ERA, and he struck out 208 hitters. Fantasy managers wanted these lefties on their teams back then.

Corbin and Paxton meet on Tuesday, the former in the final season of a painful six-year contract for the Washington Nationals, the latter in an incentive-laded, one-year contract for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Nobody would want Corbin in a fantasy league. He helped the Nationals win the 2019 World Series (flags fly forever!), but since then he has been arguably the worst pitcher in baseball, going 27-60 with a 5.71 ERA and 1.56 WHIP. Fantasy managers should load up on available Dodgers right-handed hitters on Tuesday (Enrique Hernandez, Andy Pages, Chris Taylor).

A somewhat resurgent Paxton, however, boasts an enticing 2.81 ERA over three starts, winning twice, and the Nationals are one of four NL teams scoring fewer than four runs per game. Paxton's problem this April has been control. He walked eight Padres in his most recent outing (though he permitted only three runs), and his 6.8% walk rate would lead baseball if he had more innings to qualify. Unlike Corbin, one of the most durable pitchers in the sport, Paxton has made only 28 starts since the beginning of 2020, but he has a reputation for pitching well when he is pitching.

Fantasy managers, of course, like to stream pitchers and Paxton, despite the 14 walks so far, hasn't permitted more than three runs in an outing. He gets the benefit of Dodgers bats behind him and against a struggling pitcher, but Paxton remains available in 86% of ESPN standard leagues for a reason. It has been hard to trust him in recent seasons, for health and performance. Few Nationals have faced him. None have homered against him or drawn a walk. This bodes well for the pitcher. If Paxton struggles in this game, his few fantasy investors may look elsewhere. The Dodgers may as well.

By the way, the other two left-handed starting pitchers to whiff more than 200 hitters in 2018 are also employed by other teams. A healthy Chris Sale is missing bats for the Atlanta Braves. Two-time Cy Young award winner Blake Snell is struggling for the San Francisco Giants. Oh, how quickly things change in baseball.

What you may have missed on Monday

By Todd Zola

  • It appears that Merrill Kelly will be placed on the IL today. The Arizona Diamondbacks were hopeful Kelly would avoid the visit, but after last night's game, manager Torey Lovullo suggested otherwise.

  • A pair of prominent hitters will be away from their teams for up to three days as both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are on paternity leave. Harper missed the first game of the Philadelphia Phillies' four-game road set against the Cincinnati Reds. He's expected to miss the next two and rejoin the club for Thursday's finale. Kody Clemens was called up and played first base, going 2-for-4, including a three-run homer to cap the Phillies 7-0 win.

  • Last night, Machado and the San Diego Padres opened a four-game series in Coors Field against the Colorado Rockies. Matthew Batten was called up to take Machado's roster spot. Southpaw Austin Gomber started for the Rockies, so Jurickson Profar was used as the DH and Jose Azocar played left field in the Padres' 3-1 win. Tonight, right-handed Ryan Feltner gets the ball for the home team. Graham Pauley is the only left-handed batter on the Padres bench, so he's the logical candidate to start tonight's contest.

  • The Tampa Bay Rays placed closer Pete Fairbanks on the IL due to a nerve issue. The type and extent of the problem are currently unclear. While Jason Adam is the club's top setup man, manager Kevin Cash will likely revert to playing matchups, with Colin Poche also in the mix.

  • Staying with the Rays, those taking a chance on Jose Caballero have been rewarded with a solid .284/.316/.459 start to the season, especially since Caballero has swiped seven bags. Yesterday, the club shut down Taylor Walls for 10-14 days as he's experiencing inflammation in his right hip. Walls had been rehabbing from surgery on the hip. Upon his return, Walls was expected to challenge Caballero for playing time at shortstop, but now Caballero should be the primary option until at least mid-May.

  • The Baltimore Orioles put Austin Hays on the IL yesterday as he's been dealing with calf tightness. With the emergence of lefty-swinging Colton Cowser, the right-handed Hays lost his regular role, but he was still a bit more than a platoon player. Catcher David Banuelos was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk to replace Hays. Banuelos' stay with the club could be short as the team is expected to promote Heston Kjerstad today. Kjerstad hits left-handed, so he's not a natural replacement for Hays. Kjerstad earned the promotion by batting .349/.431/.744 for Triple-A Norfolk. Baltimore faces Los Angeles Angels RHP Griffin Canning tonight, so look for Kjerstad to be in the lineup.

Other things to know for Tuesday

  • The Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Guardians open Tuesday's slate with a 6:10 p.m. ET playdate, and the road team's starting pitchers lead baseball with an incomprehensible 1.73 ERA. RHP Tanner Houck has permitted an earned run in only one of his four outings, and he comes off a three-hit shutout against the Guardians, with nine strikeouts. Houck remains available in nearly 30% of ESPN leagues, and while there may be some concerns about him lasting for more than 30 starts (his career high in innings is 106!), rely on him now. Boston's bigger concern is its offense, with 1B Triston Casas (ribs) on the IL and no obvious replacement at the position, but at least 3B Rafael Devers (knee) and OF Tyler O'Neill (concussion) are expected to return to the lineup on Tuesday.

  • Tampa Bay Rays RHP Ryan Pepiot edges out Minnesota Twins RHP Pablo Lopez for the honor of highest-rated pitcher for the day, and this is notable because Pepiot remains available in more than 50% of ESPN leagues. He has struck out 24 hitters over his past three starts, one of which came at Coors Field, and his opponent, the Tigers, are top 10 in strikeouts. Still, Lopez is one of the preeminent strikeout pitchers, and he faces the brutal Chicago White Sox, setting records for futility in most areas of the game. Pepiot's high ranking is a sign his performance warrants more attention in fantasy leagues. Let's agree that both Pepiot and Lopez come highly recommended, though one of them remains readily available.

  • New York Mets RHP Luis Severino is on quite a roll, having permitted two earned runs over his past three starts, beating the Pirates and Royals. Severino, once upon a time an ace for the New York Yankees -- speaking of 2018, he struck out 220 hitters then! -- isn't quite back to his old level in missing bats, but he is giving his new team solid innings. Pitching in San Francisco is generally a good thing for pitchers. Severino has never pitched at San Francisco's Oracle Park, but chances are he will probably enjoy it and fantasy managers should as well.

  • Betting tip of the day: Philadelphia's rotation is on quite a roll, boasting a 0.70 ERA over the team's current seven-game winning streak. LHP Cristopher Sanchez fanned 10 Rockies in his most recent outing, and he has fanned six-plus in three of his four outings. The Reds managed just two hits in Monday's 7-0 shutout loss to LHP Ranger Suarez and two relievers, striking out nine times. Take over 5.5 strikeouts (-155) for Sanchez, as well as the Phillies to continue to win (-130).

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