Nick Pivetta [608x342]
Nick Pivetta [608x342] (Credit: Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

Trout caught looking by Kimbrel with bases loaded for final out as Orioles beat slumping Angels 4-2

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 has been 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.

A cavalcade of aces

Wednesday's slate includes several starting pitchers who excelled during their first starts of 2024, as four of the top 10 fantasy point scorers at the position are set to work -- and that doesn't include such prominent names as Spencer Strider, Zack Wheeler and Cristian Javier, who are also scheduled to take their second turns.

Three of the top starting pitchers scheduled for Wednesday will work in what are projected as mismatches: Strider and his Atlanta Braves play a road game against the Chicago White Sox, whom they blew out 9-0 in an eight-inning, rain-shortened game on Monday. Corbin Burnes, who tossed a masterful six innings in his Baltimore Orioles debut on Opening Day, next faces the Kansas City Royals at home. Nick Pivetta, whose stellar September extended into his first start of 2024, a 21-point effort in Seattle, now faces the Oakland Athletics in their pitching-friendly home.

All three opposing offenses are projected to rank among the league's 10 worst for the season, and the rebuilding Athletics and White Sox appear likely to finish among the bottom three (along with, most likely, the Washington Nationals). Additionally, Strider will face White Sox rookie Nick Nastrini, while Pivetta draws Ross Stripling as his opponent. Only Burnes faces a potentially challenging opposing starting pitcher, in preseason fantasy darling Cole Ragans, though even there, Burnes and the Orioles have a big advantage in the money line (-150).

The upshot? Fantasy managers can expect their Wednesday aces to help either pad their early matchup leads or take a big chunk out of any deficit at this early-week stage. This isn't a day to get cute with your matchups. It's a day to lean into your top starters. After all, there was a reason they're pitching today, and it's because their teams aligned them as either one-two starters, aligning their turns for Wednesday.

What you may have missed on Tuesday

By Todd Zola

On a day where it appeared several games were in jeopardy, we escaped with only one postponement with the New York Mets and Detroit Tigers getting rescheduled for Thursday. Today's game has now also been pushed to Thursday, with a double-header in the offing. The lingering rain on the east coast has pushed the start of the Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds contest ahead three hours to 4:05 PM ET. Rain is expected to taper off in Philadelphia in the early afternoon. The Phillies captured the first game of the series on Tuesday night with Bryce Harper connecting on his first three homers of the season. Lost in Harper's heroics was a solid effort from Phillies starter Spencer Turnbull. Turnbull's once-promising career has been curtailed with injuries. Fanning seven with no walks over five frames lands Turnbull as a streaming candidate, or possible pickup in weekly leagues. Next up for Turnbull is a two-start week, beginning on the road against the St. Louis Cardinals, then a home date with the Pittsburgh Pirates. There is more clarity concerning Josh Jung as Texas Rangers general manager Chris Young reported that Jung will be out for six weeks following surgery on his fractured wrist. Josh Smith was in the lineup at third base last night. Smith is expected to share the hot corner with Ezequiel Duran and Justin Foscue. Foscue was called up to take Jung's spot on the roster. Remember when Joey Bart was ticketed to be Buster Posey's replacement for the San Francisco Giants? The Giants just traded Bart to the Pirates where he'll back up Henry Davis. Jason Delay was slated to be the reserve backstop, but he's been placed on the IL for undisclosed reasons. With four games behind the plate, Davis is almost halfway to the 10 needed to gain catcher eligibility. At this pace, Davis will add the catcher designation next week when the Pirates visit the Phillies for a four-game set starting on Thursday. Michael Kopech garnered his first career save on Tuesday, recording five outs in the Chicago White Sox' 3-2 win over the Atlanta Braves, but it came with some anxious moments. Starting pitcher Garrett Crochet staked the White Sox to a 2-1 lead with seven innings of one-run ball, fanning eight with just one free pass. John Brebbia started the eighth, but after getting the leadoff hitter, he walked the next two and passed the baton to Kopech. Kopech got out of the jam with a double play, then came out for the ninth to preserve a two-run lead after the White Sox added an insurance tally in the bottom of the eighth. The extra run came in handy as Kopech surrendered Marcell Ozuna's second home run of the game. With two outs, Kopech walked Michael Harris II then Ronald Acuna Jr. singled, but the right-hander induced Travis d'Arnaud into a pop out, securing Crochet's first win. Even with the drama, Kopech likely earned more chances to seal the deal going forward. Everything else you need to know for Wednesday Cal Quantrill's arrival in Colorado was one of the offseason's bigger head-scratcher moves, as the right-hander, from 2021 to '23, had the majors' fifth-worst strikeout rate (16.8%) and a near-league-average 25% fly ball rate, a seemingly terrible mix for the thin air at Coors Field. His 2024 debut was lackluster to say the least (5 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 2 HR), and that should skew things significantly towards the hosting Chicago Cubs hitters. Ian Happ has been one of the Cubs' best hitters against cutters and sinkers, two of Quantrill's preferred offerings, throughout his career, as have both Nico Hoerner and Seiya Suzuki. Cincinnati Reds right-hander Frankie Montas, available in roughly three-quarters of ESPN leagues, was one of Opening Day's standouts, tossing six shutout innings while exhibiting a small uptick in fastball velocity with an effective splitter. That it came against the Nationals, however, might have fantasy managers dismissive of his repeat prospects, especially in what should be a considerably tougher matchup against the Philadelphia Phillies. That said, the Phillies totaled 15 runs in their first four games, haven't gotten much from either Bryce Harper or Kyle Schwarber (including their spring performances) until Harper's three-homer outburst Tuesday night, and were one of the league's least-effective offenses against splitters in 2023 (23rd in Statcast's Run Value). Stick with Montas, so long as he continues to look closer to the 2021 than 2022-23 models. Los Angeles Angels hitters look like strong plays against Miami Marlins left-hander A.J. Puk, who struggled mightily in his first major league start (2 IP, 4 ER, 6 BB). That the Marlins' bullpen hasn't impressed through the season's early days doesn't help their pitching cause. Bear in mind that the Angels are a right-handed-heavy lineup -- the Forecaster projects them as roughly 18 points of wOBA better against lefties than righties as a team -- so this is a good opportunity to get players like Anthony Rendon, Taylor Ward, Brandon Drury and Zach Neto into your lineups. Tread carefully with San Francisco Giants rookie Kyle Harrison, whose road assignment against the Los Angeles Dodgers represents one of the toughest matchups he could draw. Curiously, Harrison has extreme reverse-platoon splits thus far in the majors (.448 wOBA against lefties, .287 against righties), but the opposite was true throughout his minor league career. He's coming off a solid first turn, but he displayed some of the characteristic wildness -- 13.6% walk rate -- during spring training that he had during his rough patches in the minors. Bench Harrison for this one. Betting tip of the day: That said, with Harrison now aligning with Tyler Glasnow on Wednesday night, UNDER 8.5 runs (-105) looks good. The Dodgers are the first team to resort to a bullpen game this season -- though one could make the case that the Tampa Bay Rays' Sunday game in which Tyler Alexander threw five innings as a bulk reliever qualified -- and such sudden shifts in the rotation schedule do have a way of creating early betting opportunities. The Dodgers traditionally don't let their starters work on fewer than five days' rest, so situations like this where a pitcher of Glasnow's caliber is pushed back can create some value.

It's not too late to start a free fantasy baseball league. Leagues drafted this week will start scoring fresh the following Monday. Come and join the fun!

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. 

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. 

Max Kepler (MIN, RF -- 14%) at Joe Ross Byron Buxton (MIN, DH -- 23%) at Ross Rhys Hoskins (MIL, 1B -- 43%) vs. Chris Paddack Jack Suwinski (PIT, CF -- 8%) at Trevor Williams Rowdy Tellez (PIT, 1B -- 1%) at Williams Josh Bell (MIA, 1B -- 43%) vs. Patrick Sandoval Alex Kirilloff (MIN, 1B -- 3%) at Ross Sal Frelick (MIL, RF -- 10%) vs. Paddack Anthony Rendon (LAA, 3B -- 1%) at A.J. Puk Taylor Ward (LAA, LF -- 17%) at Puk  Worst over-50% rostered hitters for Wednesday Elly De La Cruz (CIN, SS -- 95%) at Zack Wheeler Spencer Steer (CIN, 1B -- 89%) at Wheeler Luis Robert Jr. (CHW, CF -- 95%) vs. Spencer Strider Salvador Perez (KC, C -- 72%) at Corbin Burnes Jonah Heim (TEX, C -- 52%) at Aaron Civale Nolan Jones (COL, LF -- 85%) at Luke Little Evan Carter (TEX, LF -- 89%) at Civale Anthony Volpe (NYY, SS -- 53%) at Merrill Kelly Cal Raleigh (SEA, C -- 82%) vs. Logan Allen Cedric Mullins (BAL, CF -- 81%) vs. Cole Ragans THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Wednesday  Atlanta Braves at Garrett Crochet Minnesota Twins at Ross Pittsburgh Pirates at Williams