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 Monday's MLB Games
By Todd Zola
There are a dozen games on the Monday docket, with everything played under the lights. The slate begins in the Steel City with the Pittsburgh Pirates hosting the Colorado Rockies. JT Brubaker (3% rostered in ESPN leagues) starts for the home team. The righty is sporting a career high 26.5% strikeout rate, though he's also walking batters at a career worst 11.7% clip. However, as a team the Rockies are not patient and they usually struggle on the road, especially the first series after a long homestand. Brubaker will only be available on select DFS slates, but he's one of the top streamers for traditional fantasy leagues.
Drew Smyly (3%) is also in play as a spot starter, taking the hill for the Chicago Cubs in the Great American Ballpark. The venue is not ideal, but there are a couple of factors favoring Smyly, though splits against lefthanded pitching are still tenuous, even a quarter of the way through the season. Specifically, the Cincinnati Reds home wOBA facing southpaws is .330, well above average, but they've fanned at a 30% clip, while homering at the 11th lowest pace in these conditions. This is relevant since Smyly's primary issue has been serving up too many long balls.
Tyler Anderson (3%) is also in play for those looking for an early pitching boost to start the week. His defense comes with the same small sample warnings as Smyly, but the lefthander faces a Washington Nationals lineup with the worst home wOBA facing southpaws, though they don't fan much in that scenario. However, Anderson's win potential helps mitigate the paucity of punchouts as the Los Angeles Dodgers should be able to tally some runs facing Joan Adon, one of the lowest ranked starters on the Monday ledger.
The final streaming candidate is Minnesota Twins righty Chris Archer who will take on the Detroit Tigers at home. Other than the pun potential of taking a shot at Archer in Target Field, the opposing lineup has posted the second worst wOBA versus righthanders and will be without Austin Meadows who remains out.
Turning to hitters, there are two lineups to target for fill-in bats. The lefty-swinging brethren of the Arizona Diamondbacks are in a favorable position at home against Zack Greinke. Josh Rojas (25%), David Peralta (14%) and Pavin Smith lead the way. Rojas is especially attractive since Kansas City Royals catcher MJ Melendez isn't nearly adept at stopping steals as Sal Perez who is on the IL. Next, the righthanded unit for the Philadelphia Phillies face vulnerable Atlanta Braves lefty Tucker Davidson. Alec Bohm (38%) is batting second while Johan Camargo (1%) and Roman Quinn (<1%) are also in play.
It's not too late to start another free fantasy baseball league. Leagues drafted this week will start scoring fresh the following Monday.
Starting pitcher rankings for Monday
Best Sub-50% Rostered Hitters for Monday
Mike Moustakas (CIN, 3B -- 14%) vs. Smyly
Ben Gamel (PIT, LF -- 10%) vs. Kuhl
Tyler Naquin (CIN, CF -- 10%) vs. Smyly
Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Monday
Ryan Mountcastle (BAL, 1B -- 70%) at Cole
Trey Mancini (BAL, 1B -- 65%) at Cole
Austin Hays (BAL, LF -- 65%) at Cole
Anthony Santander (BAL, RF -- 64%) at Cole
Travis d'Arnaud (ATL, C -- 69%) vs. Wheeler
Franmil Reyes (CLE, DH -- 66%) at Garcia
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.
THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Today
Prop of the Day
Marco Gonzales Strikeouts: Over/Under 4.5 (+120/-160)
THE BAT sees Gonzales putting up 5.2 strikeouts for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 55.8% of the time. THE BAT believes there is positive value on the OVER with an expected value of $22.81.
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
Gonzales has been given an above-average leash since the start of last season, throwing six more adjusted pitches-per-game than league average.
THE BAT X projects Gonzales to throw 105 pitches in this matchup (most on the slate), considering both his underlying tendencies and the matchup.
T-Mobile Park profiles as the No. 4 ballpark in Major League Baseball for strikeouts, per THE BAT projection system.
The weather report calls for the 3nd-best pitching weather of the slate today.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
THE BAT projects Gonzales in the sixth percentile when it comes to his strikeout skill.
The Oakland Athletics have eight batters in the projected offense that will have the handedness advantage against Gonzales today.