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

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 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.

What you need to know for Thursday’s MLB Games

By Mike Sheets

  • Tylor Megill (58% rostered in ESPN leagues) returned to the Mets rotation last week after missing time with tightness in his biceps. Although he lasted only 3 1/3 innings with two earned runs allowed, he averaged 96.4 mph on his four-seamer (up a tick from his 95.7 mph season average) and topped out at 99.2 mph, giving us confidence that the arm issues are behind him. Prior to Megill’s blowup outing that led to his IL stint, he posted a 2.43 ERA over six starts with 36 Ks in 33 1/3 frames. There’s a good chance we see his rostered percentage shoot back up in the coming weeks. That could start on Thursday against the Milwaukee Brewers, who have a bottom-three offense (76 wRC+) so far in June.

  • Aside from a small hiccup or two, George Kirby (25%) has been awfully impressive in his first seven big league starts, posting a solid 3.65 ERA with a terrific 0.9 BB/9 rate and nearly a strikeout per inning. Just once in those seven outings did he fail to go at least five innings. While Kirby has not yet proven that he’s worth throwing out there no matter the opponent, he’s a definite start in favorable matchups, and that’s what he’s got on Thursday against the Los Angeles Angels. Since the calendar has flipped to June, the Angels are fanning at an MLB-worst 29.5% clip with the third-worst wOBA (.279) in the American League. Kirby is an easy streaming option on a shortened Thursday slate.

  • After striking out a career-best 12 batters against the Chicago Cubs in late May, Aaron Ashby (24%) has stumbled in his next two turns, surrendering 10 runs in 10 2/3 innings. That’s obviously frustrating, but Ashby still possesses a strong arsenal with huge strikeout potential while generating an elite number of grounders. It’s OK to take a wait-and-see approach against the New York Mets, who have been tough on lefties this season, but don’t give up on Ashby completely. This could be an arm we’re talking a lot about in the second half.

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Eric Karabell explains why Aaron Ashby remains a tantalizing fantasy option with strikeout potential against a strong lineup.

  • Beau Brieske is coming off the best start of his career, an outing against the Toronto Blue Jays in which he spun 5 2/3 shutout frames. That said, he’s still an arm to consider stacking Texas Rangers bats against on Thursday. The right-hander doesn’t miss bats (5.8 K/9), he has trouble keeping the ball in the park (2.3 HR/9), and his 6.41 xERA and 6.06 FIP suggest his 4.34 ERA has been luck-driven. Marcus Semien (.321/.368/.623), Adolis Garcia (.306/.370/.551), Nathaniel Lowe (.313/.327/.635) and Ezequiel Duran (.333/.351/.556 ) have all been raking in June and are appealing pieces as part of a Thursday stack.



Starting pitcher rankings for Thursday

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