Fantasy baseball pitcher rankings, lineup advice for Friday’s MLB games

Look for our fantasy baseball starting pitcher rankings, hitter upgrades and daily downgrades 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 toward ESPN 10-team leagues with standard scoring.

Notes: This file has been updated with overnight pitching changes and weather-related 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

By Todd Zola

  • Amid reports that using the humidor in all 30 parks has unwittingly contributed to suppressed scoring, offense has actually picked up this week as the wonky schedule has forced many teams to use lesser pitchers with batters taking advantage. That said, Friday features several aces on the hill, so runs could be less frequent than prior slates. As has been mentioned in the betting section of this space frequently over the first month of the season, backing the under on a pitcher strikeout prop has been a profitable endeavor. However, in some instances, taking the over is in play – not to mention more fun to root for while watching the games. Kevin Gausman is in a great spot to rack up bountiful punchouts on Friday as he’s fanned 32 over his previous four outings, spanning 27 1/3 innings. He’ll face the Tampa Bay Rays lineup surprisingly leading the league with a 26% strikeout rate facing right-handers.

  • Jordan Lyles (4%) is a potential streaming candidate as he’ll take the ball for the visiting Baltimore Orioles in the Motor City, against a Detroit Tigers offense that was averaging well under two runs per game over their last eight games heading into Thursday’s action.

  • One of the chief filters for streaming batters is position in the batting order, with a top-five spot being optimal. The three-hole scores the most points, with leadoff and cleanup next, followed by second and fifth. With less credence being given to traditional lineups, the difference between the average points-per-spot is lessening. For example, Juan Soto, Paul Goldschmidt, Mike Trout and Freddie Freeman are routinely batting second, which used to be dedicated to someone capable of bunting the leadoff hitter over. Here are some widely available batters slotted at (or near) the top of the order, all of which are in consideration as streamers to fill a hole. TJ Friedl (less than 1%), Brandon Drury (38%), Robbie Grossman (44%), Jesus Aguilar (39%), Aaron Hicks (6%), Sheldon Neuse (18%), Alec Bohm (40%) and Adam Frazier (57%).

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Tristan Cockcroft discusses why Shohei Ohtani should be a go-to when it comes to the pitching side of things.

  • Now that we’re over a month into the season, some actionable trends have surfaced. For example, the Angels and Reds are by far the easiest teams to target for opposition stolen bases. Oakland hitters in a favorable position to take advantage of Angels’ batteries are Ramon Laureano (12%), Tony Kemp (5%) and Kevin Smith (2%). The Pirates have pilfered only 11 bags through Wednesday, but Ben Gamel (2%) and Diego Castillo (1%) are best set up to pad their steals this weekend.



Starting pitcher rankings for Friday

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