close
close

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

Check out 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 focuses on 10-team ESPN leagues with standard scoring.

Remark: 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 designated time of publication.

Rocky mountain high

Sunday’s slate includes 16 games, with a doubleheader at Coors Field between the Colorado Rockies and Seattle Mariners. The rule of thumb is to reserve all starters at Coors Field. Admittedly, in head-to-head competitions, necessity is the deciding factor, especially on Sundays. If you have a comfortable lead, you’re in George Kirby. If you are behind and are not going to win without a few more points, then you start Emerson Hancock.

What if the decision is not based on need? You’re playing in a weekly league and it’s the middle of the season. One of your best pitchers only has one start and it’s a road date with the Rockies. Will you start it?

Let’s analyze some numbers. Over the years, Coors Field has increased runs by 40%. A pitcher with a neutral environment 4.00 ERA would have a 5.60 rating if he pitched every game at Coors Field.

Putting this in fantasy perspective, a 3.30 ERA would put a fantasy team at or near the top of the bracket in the mixed league rotisserie standings. Of course it depends on the number of teams, but an ERA in that range is solid regardless of format. If all those innings were recorded at Coors Field, the ERA rises to 4.62, which puts a team at the bottom of the category.

This only includes earned runs. Coors Field also allows for hits and walks, so a fantasy team’s WHIP is also affected.

Of course, we are only considering one pitcher and the example above assumes all your pitchers work only at Coors Field.

There has been some talk this season that the Rockies offense is so bad that using a pitcher in Colorado isn’t that damaging. Keep in mind that wRC+ is park neutral while wOBA is actual, unadjusted production, both of which are good indicators of scoring potential. The Rockies wRC+ is 81, the fourth lowest in MLB. Their wOBA is .312, the 16th highest. At home, their wRC+ is 94, the 11th lowest, but their wOBA is .354, the first best. Colorado averages 5.00 runs per game at home, 10th best.

On paper, the Rockies have one of the weakest lineups in the league through the first three weeks of the season, but when they are at home they are a top-10 seed. That’s the extent to which Coors Field affects production.

My approach remains the same when scoring the rotisserie weekly. Unless it’s late in the season and I’m chasing wins and/or strikeouts, I’ll be with all my one-start pitchers, but I’ll bring in my better two-start arms during one of the appearances at Coors Field.

This is intended to be a daily column, so let’s get you ready for Sunday, the final scoring day in head-to-head competitions.

• The action kicks off at 1:35 PM ET with four games, followed by another pair a few minutes later. The 7:00 PM ET ESPN Sunday night game sees the Texas Rangers visit the Atlanta Braves. The nightcap of the Mariners-Rockies twin bill, however, is the final game on the docket with first pitch at 8:10 PM ET.

• One of the tricks in head-to-head competitions is to put players from late game, or in this case games, on reserve as needed to make up points. Of the pair, although neither is particularly attractive, the Rangers starter Michael Lorenzen (4.8% shot in ESPN competitions) or Braves starter Darius vines (.9%) are both better options than Rockies starter Peter Lambert of the aforementioned Hancock for the Mariners. Vines is ranked higher, so let’s call it the “break glass in case of emergency” selection.

• On the other hand, all four starters in the doubleheader are right-handed, giving both clubs’ left-handed contingent a chance to play two games. The Mariners have the most attractive prospects JP Crawford (56.0% on list) And Jorge Polanco (8.7%) first. The Rockies will have to deal with George Kirby in the opener, but with veterans Charlie Blackmon (10.6%) And Ryan McMahon (58.9%) enjoy the platoon edge.

• Unfortunately, it’s a terrible card for streaming, with the highest ranked option Nick Nastrini (0.6% on the list). Nastrini pitched well enough for the Chicago White Sox in his MLB debut to earn another start. He is the fifth-highest ranked pitcher on the docket, a rank determined by a high minor league strikeout rate. Nastrini will pitch the finale of a road series against the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies have a high-powered lineup, as evidenced by beating Garrett Crochet on Friday night, but there is also increased strikeout potential. Nastrini is a ratio risk in rotisserie formats, but he is in play for those who want strikeouts or in points formats.

Martin Perez (16.9%) follows Nastrini in terms of streamers, with the Pittsburgh Pirates entertaining the Boston Red Sox. Splits against lefties are always vague because it takes longer for the sample size to become significant. So don’t rely on Perez just because he faces a lineup that blows out at a 29.6% rate against lefties. The source of the confidence should be Boston’s depleted offense, with Rafael Devers and Tyler O’Neill sidelined and the majority of the better Red Sox players being left-handed, such as Jarren Duran, Triston Casas and Masataka Yoshida.


It’s not too late to start a free fantasy baseball league. The competitions set up this week will start scoring again the following Monday. Come and join us!


Starting ranking for Sunday