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

Matt Waldron has added increased velocity to his knuckleball. John Adams/Icon Sportswire

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.

Waldron's knuckleball upgrade

Knuckleballers are notoriously difficult to project, as they can be prone to stretches of inconsistency depending on how the knuckler is working. A quick glance at Matt Waldron's game log this season for the San Diego Padres supports that point. Despite surrendering two or fewer earned runs in six of 10 starts, a few bad outings have ballooned his ERA to 4.86. That said, a recent tweak to Waldron's repertoire has piqued our interest.

When Waldron was hammered for eight runs (seven earned) by the Arizona Diamondbacks back in early May, his knuckleball velocity sat at 77 mph. Since then, that velocity has slowly ticked up, averaging 79.7 mph with the pitch (and topping out at 82.2 mph) in his last start. According to work done by Eno Sarris, increased knuckleball velo does make the pitch more effective, and we've witnessed that from Waldron in his last few turns.

Not only does Waldron own a 2.81 ERA and 1.18 WHIP over his past three outings, but he has also struck out 23 batters over his past 16 frames, including fanning a career-high 10 hitters against the Atlanta Braves on May 17. We'll need more than three starts to know whether these velocity gains will hold, but it's certainly an interesting development for the right-hander, who is still available in 98% of ESPN leagues.

Caution is still warranted here, but there's little reason not to employ Waldron as a streamer Tuesday. On top of his recent success, he has an extremely favorable matchup, squaring off against a Miami Marlins club that has been the worst in baseball versus right-handed pitching with a 70 wRC+. Scoop up the knuckleballer for the Miami start and see where things go from there.

What you may have missed on Monday

By Todd Zola

  • Toronto Blue Jays SP Chris Bassitt logged the win in yesterday's 5-1 road win over the Chicago White Sox. Bassitt left after five frames with a 3-0 lead. He fanned seven with no walks while scattering five hits. After the game it was revealed that Bassitt had been taken out due to neck spasms which had started before the game, but he pitched through the issue. However, it's unclear if he'll be able to make his next start, currently slated for the weekend.

  • San Francisco Giants 1B/OF LaMonte Wade Jr. will receive an MRI today after being forced out of yesterday's contest due to a strained hamstring he suffered after doubling in the fifth inning. Wade currently holds the busier side of a platoon with Wilmer Flores. If Wade must miss time, Flores is likely to play regularly.

  • The Seattle Mariners promoted 2B/SS Ryan Bliss from Triple-A Tacoma. The 24-year-old infielder made his MLB debut on Monday, starting at second base. The move was due to 2B Jorge Polanco being put on the 10-day IL due to the recurrence of a right hamstring strain. Bliss isn't considered to be a top prospect, but he has hit seven homers and stolen 28 bases in 34 tries over 50 games in the minors this season. The right-handed Bliss will likely play against southpaw pitching, but the club could try to get his speed in the lineup on other occasions.

  • Houston Astros SP Cristian Javier was placed on the 15-day IL due to a sore right forearm. He's scheduled for an MRI today. In the short term, SP Hunter Brown will take Javier's spot (slated for today), with everyone else moving up a day. It's unclear how the club will adjust if Javier requires a lengthy absence.

  • St. Louis Cardinals OF Lars Nootbaar missed the squad's 3-1 Memorial Day loss to the Cincinnati Reds as he was still nursing a sore hamstring. The injury is not considered serious, but with the Reds sending left-handed Andrew Abbott to the hill today, the lefty swinging Nootbaar may get another day to heal.

  • Veteran 1B Jose Abreu returned to the Astros lineup last night. Batting eighth, Abreu contributed an RBI single in the 3-2 loss to the Mariners. It's not known how manager Joe Espada plans on dividing the playing time at first base with Jon Singleton posting a .774 OPS during Abreu's absence. It is noteworthy, though, that RHP Bryce Miller was on the hill for the Mariners with the left-handed Singleton on the bench.

Everything else you need to know for Tuesday

  • Yesterday's washout in Queens will be made up today as part of a single-admission doubleheader between the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers. The opener is at 4:10 p.m. ET, moving up the waiver lock time in standard ESPN leagues. Both of yesterday's scheduled starters will take the hill today. They were highlighted as streamers in Monday's notes and remain in the mix today. Dodgers RHP Gavin Stone (17.5% rostered in ESPN leagues), had a string of four straight quality starts snapped in his last outing, but he still tossed six innings, fanning five with just one walk while yielding four runs. Stone only has 34 punchouts in 50 innings, but he's surrendered only four long balls. The Mets sport a below-average wOBA and Citi Field is the top pitching venue in the league.

  • Normally, streaming against the Dodgers lineup isn't a consideration, but it's an extremely top-heavy lineup and DH Shohei Ohtani is playing through a lingering hamstring issue. Heading into Tuesday's action, the Dodgers had averaged just 2.2 runs over the previous week, lowest in the league. Tylor Megill returned to action on May 20 after being sidelined since March 31 due to shoulder inflammation. The right-hander fanned seven Cleveland Guardians in five frames, a feat rendered more impressive because the Guardians sport the seventh-lowest strikeout rate in the league.

  • Zack Littell (15% rostered in ESPN leagues) hasn't generated much interest in fantasy circles, but it's not because he hasn't earned it. Through 10 starts, the righty has delivered a 3.42 ERA with a 9.0 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9, with his ERA being fully supported by a 3.26 xERA. Fire Littell up Tuesday against an exploitable Oakland lineup that's striking out 26% of the time with a bottom-10 wOBA (.302).

  • Another undervalued hurler, Andrew Abbott (19%) has produced a 2.68 ERA and 1.09 WHIP across 10 starts for the Cincinnati Reds. The lefty's strikeout rate is down this season (6.8 K/9), but he's showing better control (2.4 BB/9) and is allowing way less hard contact this year (30.6%) compared to last (42.5%). On Tuesday, Abbott is set to match up against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cards have been playing better lately, but are still below average against lefties, ranking 23rd in baseball with a 92 wRC+ versus southpaws. The Reds left-hander is firmly in the streamer discussion.

  • After being sidelined since May 6 with a hamstring injury, Wyatt Langford is expected to be activated from the injured list Tuesday. The 22-year-old didn't set the league on fire in his first 31 big league games, slashing .224/.295/.293 with one homer and one steal. However, as one of the game's top prospects, his upside remains significant. Currently rostered in 38% of leagues, Langford is at least worth monitoring as he rejoins the Texas Rangers' outfield.

  • Ben Brown is coming off an outing against the Atlanta Braves in which he fired four shutout frames while striking out six. While it was an impressive (albeit short) performance, he figures to have his hands full on the road against the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday. With a 119 wRC+ and 337 wOBA versus right-handed pitching, the Brewers' offense has been tops in the National League this season. Plus, after throwing just 66 pitches in his last outing, Brown figures to have a short leash again, making him a risky streaming option.

  • Betting tip of the day: Take Waldron for over 4.5 Ks (-125) against the Marlins on Tuesday. The knuckleballer is fanning more than one batter per inning (9.4 K/9), and he's cruised past 4.5 strikeouts in each of his last three starts, with strikeout totals of six, 10, and seven against far tougher opponents (LAD, ATL, CIN).

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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.

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 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