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 Caesars Sportsbook, and fantasy advice is geared towards ESPN 10-team leagues with standard scoring.
Note: This file has been updated with overnight pitching changes and weather-related game postponements, along with the addition of the latest MLB game odds as of the indicated time of publication.
What you need to know for Friday's MLB Games
By Mike Sheets
One of this season's pleasant surprises, Brady Singer (63% rostered in ESPN leagues) continues to impress. Dating back to July 1, the KC right-hander has delivered a 2.28 ERA over 14 starts with more than a strikeout per inning. Friday's matchup against the Seattle Mariners, who are trying to secure an AL Wild Card spot, isn't particularly favorable, but Singer has earned the benefit of the doubt with his recent performance. After all, he hasn't been phased by tough opponents, spinning a combined 19 shutout innings against the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox in the second half.
Javier Assad (4% rostered) doesn't necessarily have an exciting profile. Relying mostly on a sinker/cutter mix, he hasn't shown great control at the big-league level (5.4 BB/9), and his stuff hasn't generated much swing and miss. Assad has made it work, though, as he's held opponents to one or zero runs in four of his six starts this season, leading to a solid 3.63 ERA as a starter. What the 25-year-old has going for him on Friday is a matchup against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Since the All-Star break, the Pirates sport the second-worst wRC+ (78) and the worst strikeout rate in baseball at 26.6%. This matchup is enough to put Assad on the streaming radar, despite his underwhelming repertoire.
The Milwaukee Brewers have a lot going for them in their road matchup against Mike Minor on Friday. Not only is Great American Ballpark one of the most hitter-friendly parks in the majors, but Minor has been a powder keg of late, combusting to a 5.95 ERA over his last 11 outings, including four homers and eight walks allowed in his last two turns. With a .414 wOBA allowed to right-handed batters this season, the Brewers' righty swingers - Willy Adames (91%), Hunter Renfroe (81%), Andrew McCutchen (51%), Luis Urias (46%) and Tyrone Taylor (1%) - find themselves in a prime spot on Friday.
While Josiah Gray has been adept at missing bats this season (9.8 K/9), he's been even more adept at giving up homers. His HR/9 rate currently sits at 2.4, which ranks worst in baseball (min. 130 IP). For comparison, the next highest HR/9 is Sean Manaea's 1.7. Needless to say, we could see some fireworks in Miami on Friday evening. There isn't a ton of power to be found in the Miami Marlins' lineup, but the best bets to go yard include Garrett Cooper (7%), JJ Bleday (1%), Brian Anderson (2%) and Bryan De La Cruz (2%).
The latest top prospect to get the call is the Colorado Rockies' Ezequiel Tovar (1%), who is expected to join the big-league club on Thursday. Despite missing significant time with a groin injury this season, the 21-year-old shortstop hit a combined .319/.387/.540 between Double- and Triple-A with 14 homers and 17 steals in 71 games. While the Rockies haven't given long leashes to many of their prospects in the recent past, Tovar's elite defense at shortstop should help keep him in the lineup on a regular basis. There's not much time left for him to make an impact this season, but this power/speed combo at Coors Field shouldn't be ignored.
Starting pitcher rankings for Friday
Best Sub-50% Rostered Hitters for Friday
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.
Evan Longoria (SF, 3B -- 2%) at Tommy Henry
Elias Diaz (COL, C -- 5%) vs. Manaea
MJ Melendez (KC, C -- 29%) vs. Gonzales
Connor Joe (COL, LF -- 28%) vs. Manaea
Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Friday
J.D. Martinez (BOS, LF -- 94%) at Cole
Enrique Hernandez (BOS, CF -- 51%) at Cole
Michael Harris II (ATL, CF -- 86%) at Nola
Dansby Swanson (ATL, SS -- 98%) at Nola
Alex Verdugo (BOS, LF -- 94%) at Cole
Xander Bogaerts (BOS, SS -- 100%) at Cole
THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Today
Prop of the Day
Aaron Nola Pitching Outs: Over/Under 18.5 (+125/-165)
THE BAT sees Nola putting up 19.9 pitching outs for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 59.7% of the time. THE BAT believes there is positive value on the OVER with an expected value of $34.37.
Note: Expected Value is a measure of how good a bet is, factoring the probability that it will win versus the odds the book is providing. If you were to wager $1.00 100 times on a bet with an Expected Value of $25, you would win some and you would lose some, but in the end you would expect to come away with $25 in profit on your $100 investment.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE OVER
The Atlanta Braves have been the sixth-luckiest offense in the game this year, according to THE BAT X, and are likely to negatively regress the rest of the season
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
The Braves projected batting order ranks as the fifth-best on the slate today.