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

Jack Flaherty takes the bump against the Diamondbacks. Nic Antaya/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.

Eye of the Tiger

Expectations for Jack Flaherty were mixed heading into the fantasy draft season. He was coming off a season where he started with the St. Louis Cardinals, then was dealt to the Baltimore Orioles at the trade deadline. For the year, Flaherty recorded a subpar 4.99 ERA and 1.58 WHIP, though a .356 BABIP bloated both of those ratios.

The Detroit Tigers weren't deterred by Flaherty's 2023 performance, signing him to a one-year, $14 million deal with incentives for 26, 28 and 30 starts. This felt like the perfect match as the Tigers needed a veteran presence for their young staff and club on the rise. Meanwhile, Flaherty landed in a great place to rejuvenate his career, pitching in the perceived weaker AL Central Division.

So far, both the Tigers and Flaherty have made a smart decision, though the club was hoping to be a few games above .500 and closer to the top of their division. Flaherty's record is oddly 0-3, but he's posted a 3.88 ERA and 1.05 WHIP, with a remarkable 32.5% strikeout rate and frugal 3.1% walk rate. His 29.4% K-BB% is tops among qualified pitchers.

Flaherty (41% rostered in ESPN leagues) will seek his first win on Saturday when he takes the hill in Chase Field against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The right-hander has a tough draw with Zac Gallen getting the nod for the home team in what portends to be a low-scoring affair. The Diamondbacks offense has struggled facing righties, checking in with the sixth lowest wOBA in that scenario. Flaherty may not be favored to finally record his first win this season, but he's in the mix as a spot starter.

What you may have missed on Friday

By Todd Zola

  • The Los Angeles Dodgers placed Max Muncy on the 10-day IL with a Grade-1 right oblique strain. Enrique Hernandez will fill in at the hot corner, with some help from Miguel Rojas and possibly Chris Taylor. Jason Heyward was activated from the 10-day IL, filling Muncy's spot on the active roster. The club also optioned OF James Outman to Triple-A Oklahoma City, replacing him with OF Miguel Vargas. Vargas posted a 1.032 OPS for Oklahoma City, playing exclusively in left field. With Hernandez needed at third base, Vargas could play the outfield against lefty starters.

  • Atlanta Braves C Travis d'Arnaud experienced dizziness after being hit in the mask with a foul ball last night. He left the game in the fifth inning. He passed the initial concussion tests but will be reevaluated today. Chadwick Tromp is the only other backstop on the major league roster, though veteran C Sandy Leon could be summoned from Triple-A Gwinnett. Regular C Sean Murphy has been sidelined with a sore oblique since opening day. He's slated to embark on a rehab assignment early next week, with the hope he can return by the end of the month.

  • The San Francisco Giants received bad news yesterday when it was announced OF Jung Hoo Lee requires season-ending surgery for a torn labrum in his left shoulder. Luis Matos will be the primary center fielder. He responded last night with a 3-for-5 effort, including a pair of doubles and five RBI in the Giants 10-5 home win over the Colorado Rockies. Before the game, the club placed SP Keaton Winn on the 15-day IL, replacing him with Mason Black. It's unclear how the Giants will shuffle their rotation though SP Blake Snell is slated to return late next week.

  • Yesterday, the Boston Red Sox shut down SP Garrett Whitlock after he experienced soreness in his right elbow. Whitlock has been rehabbing from an oblique issue and was expected to return next week. He'll be evaluated Monday.

  • Those hoping for the Baltimore Orioles to promote Coby Mayo will need to be patient after the prized prospect was placed on the minor league 7-day IL list yesterday. Mayo was diagnosed with a fractured rib after running into the dugout on Thursday. The 22-year-old infielder is batting .291/.359/.605 for Triple-A Norfolk.

Everything else you need to know for Saturday

• Saturday's slate is the standard 15 games, commencing at 1:05 PM ET with the Chicago White Sox visiting the Bronx to face the New York Yankees. Luis Gil (43.1% rostered) will start for the home team. The right-hander is coming off three straight quality starts where he's allowed just one earned run over 18 1/3 innings. Gil only fanned 13 with seven walks in that span, but with a weak White Sox lineup on tap, the likely ERA correction should survive this outing.

• The ledger's top-ranked streamer is Cristopher Sanchez (11.5% rostered). He'll toe the Citizens Bank Park rubber for the Philadelphia Phillies as they take on the Washington Nationals. Sanchez is sporting a low 3.43 ERA, but a high 1.50 WHIP indicates the lefty is outpitching his peripherals, though a high .344 BABIP is contributing to the elevated WHIP. Even almost a third of the way into the season, splits facing left-handers are sketchy, but the Nationals .273 wOBA facing southpaws is sufficiently low to give Sanchez the nod as a spot starter.

Luis Severino (24% rostered) has recorded a slow 3.00 ERA, albeit with a relatively high 1.20 WHIP. Control has been Severino's chief issue as he's sporting a high 10.5% walk rate, which is countering the potential good fortune of a .250 BABIP. Severino has also benefited from a low 8.3% home run per fly ball mark. On Saturday, Severino and the Mets have a road date with the Miami Marlins. On paper, this benefits Severino since the Marlins are the least patient team in MLB.

Betting Tip of the Day: Saturday presents one of my favorite scenarios with the Colorado Rockies on the road facing a left-handed starter. Kyle Harrison will get the nod today, so I'll take the bet the Run Line San Francisco Giants -1.5 (+115). I'll back that up with Harrison over 5.5 strikeouts (+105).

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 Saturday

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.

Hitting report

Plan ahead in fantasy baseball with help from our Forecaster projections. Each day, we will provide an updated preview of the next 10 days for every team, projecting the matchup quality for hitters (overall and by handedness) as well as for base stealers.

Best sub-50% rostered hitters for Saturday

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 Saturday

THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Saturday