Fantasy baseball pitcher rankings, lineup advice for Wednesday's MLB games (2024)

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

          1dTristan H. co*ckcroft

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          Fantasy baseball pitcher rankings, lineup advice for Wednesday's MLB games (2)

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          • Tristan H. co*ckcroft

          Jul 3, 2024, 11:14 AM ET

          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 will be 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.

          Has regression arrived for Rodon?

          New York Yankees left-hander Carlos Rodon has fallen into quite a funk of late.

          Through June 10, the date of his 14th start of the season, Rodon was the No. 14 starting pitcher in fantasy points (192), with a tied-for-fifth-best 10 quality starts and tied-for-second-best nine wins. He was in the midst of a streak of seven quality starts.

          In three turns since, Rodon has surrendered a combined 21 runs (20 earned) on 28 hits, five of them home runs, nearly doubling each of his season totals in those categories. Among the concerns raised during that stretch was opponents selling out for his fastball, something Yankees pitching coach Matt Blake recently said was being addressed during Rodon's between-outings preparation. The numbers speak volumes:

          Rodon's four-seam fastball, first 14 starts: .230 BAA, .442 SLG, 9 HR, 49.6 HH%
          Rodon's four-seam fastball, past three starts: .480 BAA, 1.080 SLG, 4 HR, 80.0 HH%

          In Rodon's defense, those three starts represented a somewhat rough stretch of his schedule, as the opposing Boston Red Sox, Atlanta Braves and Toronto Blue Jays all project on paper as top-10 offenses against left-handed pitching, and his June 21 start against those Braves came in extreme heat that probably had an adverse effect on his grip. Nevertheless, his season-to-date performance, even before that stretch, had been lacking and hinted he might struggle against tougher opponents.

          For example, while Rodon's ERA was 2.93 through his first 14 starts, his 4.11 FIP belied the performance, while his 22.8% strikeout rate was well beneath his 33.9% number from his spectacular 2021-22 campaigns combined. Against the five worst offenses for the season (using runs per game), he has a 1.89 ERA in three starts, while against the 25 other teams, his ERA for the season is 5.06. There appear to be greater concerns for Rodon than simply improving the command of his fastball.

          A home matchup against the Reds falls in the middle of that scale, as Yankee Stadium's cozy confines cause concern for a pitcher who has already allowed more home runs (16) this season than in any other year besides 2016 (23), while the Reds have some lumber in their lineup, underscored by scoring in double-digits seven times in 2024 (tied for seventh-most). The projections support a rebound for Rodon, though his skills-based metrics say he's one from whom to carefully pick matchups going forward.

          What you may have missed on Tuesday

          By Todd Zola

          • Minnesota Twins 3B Royce Lewis hurt his groin while hustling out in a double in the third inning of last night's game. He initially stayed in the game but left in the top of the sixth innings with Max Kepler coming in and Willi Castro shifting to the infield. Lewis expressed concern about the injury after the game. More should be known today after a series of tests, including an MRI.

          • The Twins defeated the Detroit Tigers 5-3, with RP Jhoan Duran picking up his 13th save. Duran's strikeout rate is uncharacteristically low at 22.9%. It was 33.2% over his first two seasons. Duran's swinging strike rate has dropped, fueling the loss of punchouts. His four-seam velocity has dropped 1.5 mph, but it's still 11.3 mph. Even so, Duran is 13-for-14 in save chances with four holds, but the lack of gaudy strikeout totals has affected his fantasy utility.

          • On the other side, Tigers 3B Matt Vierling missed his second straight game last night. He was hit by a pitch in the foot on Saturday. Vierling missed Sunday's tilt and Monday's off day was not enough to let him back in the lineup.

          • Before the game, the Tigers announced that SP Jack Flaherty received an injection for a lingering back issue and will not pitch today, with SP Keider Montero being recalled for a spot start. This is the second injection Flaherty has received, the first helping to keep Flaherty from an IL visit. The club hopes it works again, with Flaherty tentatively slated to return early next week. The Tigers also reported that OF Kerry Carpenter felt some discomfort while rehabbing his lumbar spine inflammation and will be shut down for a few days. Carpenter is likely out until after the All-Star break.

          • New York Mets DH J.D. Martinez was a late scratch from last night's lineup due to a sore ankle. He's considered day-to-day. Despite passing concussion protocol, OF Brandon Nimmo began the game on the bench. He fainted and hit his head in his hotel room on Sunday night. However, Nimmo was pressed into action, taking over for OF Harrison Bader in center field to begin the fourth inning. Bader hit the wall hard in the third frame while trying to haul in a deep drive. Nimmo finished 2-for-3 with a run and two RBI, helping the Mets take down the Nationals 7-2 in 10 innings.

          • The Arizona Diamondbacks placed SP Jordan Montgomery on the 15-day IL with right knee inflammation. It's unclear if the injury has been lingering and possibly contributing to the southpaw's struggles as he's sporting a 6.44 ERA and 1.68 WHIP after signing late with the Diamondbacks. Montgomery's spot in the rotation will probably be filled by rookie SP Cristian Mena, a 21-year-old right-hander acquired by the club last offseason. Mena recorded a 4.90 ERA and 1.50 WHIP with Triple-A Reno, but keep in mind this is one of the most hitter-friendly scenarios in the minors. Mena fanned an impressive 89 batters in 82 2.3 innings, but he issued 38 walks while surrendering 15 homers.

          • Baltimore Orioles 1B Ryan Mountcastle missed his second straight game with an illness. His absence allowed the club to use OF Heston Kjerstad at DH, though the rookie was hitless in four trips to the dish, fanning three times. When everyone is healthy, the Orioles have a logjam at 1B, OF and DH. Mountcastle is questionable for tonight's matchup with the Seattle Mariners, but SP Dean Kremer is slated to come off the IL to make his first start since May 20. Kremer has been out with a triceps issue. The Orioles took the first game of the series between first-place clubs, blanking the Mariners 2-0 last night.

          Everything else you need to know for Wednesday

          • After missing half the season recovering from an elbow injury suffered in March, Cleveland Guardians right-hander Gavin Williams is set to make his 2024 debut in what is a dream matchup against the light-hitting Chicago White Sox. Williams' minor league rehabilitation stint was lengthy -- he was activated Sunday after his rehab window expired -- but he finished on a high note, with back-to-back solid outings for Double-A Akron (June 21) and Triple-A Columbus (June 27). His raw metrics in the latter, per Statcast, were comparable to those from his 2023 rookie season, highlighted by his 95.9-mph average four-seam fastball velocity and 40% whiff rate against his curveball, with the one shift being greater reliance upon a cutter than the slider that was responsible for 24 of his 81 K's in 2023 (the change perhaps being a mere pitch-classification matter). Williams also threw 82 pitches in his most recent outing, a signal that he could be close to a full workload for this matchup against by far the majors' worst offense. It's a matchup well worth streaming (Williams is available in more than 80% of ESPN leagues), as well as for future scouting.

          • Davis Daniel dazzled in his first career big-league start for the Los Angeles Angels, shutting out the Detroit Tigers over eight innings on Saturday. Most notably, he exhibited a brilliant changeup, responsible for four of his eight strikeouts. That bodes well for his next outing, another plus matchup on the road against the Oakland Athletics, a team that has by far the majors' worst whiff rate against that particular pitch (38% of their swings against them). Daniel remains a worthy streamer and is available in more than 90% of ESPN leagues.

          • The Milwaukee Brewers get the benefit of hitting-friendly matchups at Colorado's Coors Field to begin this week, and their Wednesday matchup against Colorado Rockies right-hander Dakota Hudson might well be their most favorable in the series. The Brewers possess one of the game's widest platoon splits favoring success against right-handed pitching, while Hudson has afforded .295/.394/.477 rates to lefty hitters. Brice Turang, a .293/.352/.431 hitter against righties who typically leads off against that side, is well worth plugging into your fantasy lineups, while Garrett Mitchell, a lifetime .277/.353/.437 hitter against righties who returned to action on Monday, could sneak in a start and be a worthwhile plug-in.

          Betting tip of the day: Philadelphia Phillies at Chicago Cubs brings us quite the pitchers' duel, between Zack Wheeler and Shota Imanaga. Though the Phillies' offense isn't even close to full strength right now, it's Wheeler's matchup that stands out, considering the opposing Cubs have the majors' fourth-worst runs per game average (3.68) and sixth-worst strikeout rate (25.1%) since the beginning of June. Phillies -130 on the Money Line, and Wheeler OVER 7 ½ strikeouts (+115) are solid plays for Wednesday.

          It's never too late to start a free fantasy baseball league. Leagues drafted this week will start scoring fresh the following Monday. Sign up for the second half!

          Starting pitcher rankings for Wednesday

          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 Wednesday

          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.

          • Rhys Hoskins (MIL, 1B -- 30%) at Dakota Hudson

          • Charlie Blackmon (COL, RF -- 8%) vs. Colin Rea

          • Ezequiel Tovar (COL, SS -- 32%) vs. Colin Rea

          • Oneil Cruz (PIT, SS -- 47%) vs. Miles Mikolas

          • Garrett Mitchell (MIL, CF -- 1%) at Dakota Hudson

          • Elias Diaz (COL, C -- 11%) vs. Colin Rea

          • Nolan Jones (COL, LF -- 41%) vs. Colin Rea

          • Joey Ortiz (MIL, 2B -- 17%) at Dakota Hudson

          • Brendan Rodgers (COL, 2B -- 4%) vs. Colin Rea

          • Byron Buxton (MIN, DH -- 25%) vs. Keider Montero

          Worst over-50% rostered hitters for Wednesday

          • Jordan Westburg (BAL, 2B -- 88%) at Logan Gilbert

          • Christopher Morel (CHC, CF -- 61%) vs. Zack Wheeler

          • Dansby Swanson (CHC, SS -- 56%) vs. Zack Wheeler

          • Elly De La Cruz (CIN, SS -- 99%) at Carlos Rodon

          • Cedric Mullins (BAL, CF -- 60%) at Logan Gilbert

          • Cal Raleigh (SEA, C -- 72%) vs. Dean Kremer

          • Ha-Seong Kim (SD, 2B -- 94%) at Jon Gray

          • Spencer Steer (CIN, 1B -- 95%) at Carlos Rodon

          • Ian Happ (CHC, LF -- 71%) vs. Zack Wheeler

          • Seiya Suzuki (CHC, RF -- 73%) vs. Zack Wheeler

          THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Wednesday

          • Milwaukee Brewers at Dakota Hudson

          • Colorado Rockies vs. Colin Rea

          • Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Cristian Mena

          Fantasy baseball pitcher rankings, lineup advice for Wednesday's MLB games (2024)
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