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

Browse our fantasy baseball starting pitcher rankings, daily hitter updates and dropdowns to help you make smart fantasy baseball lineup decisions and for MLB betting tips. MLB game odds are provided by Caesars Sportsbook, and fantasy tips are geared toward ESPN’s 10-team standard-scoring leagues.

Note: This file has been updated with any overnight release changes or weather-related game postponements, along with the addition of the latest MLB game odds as of the stated post time.

What you need to know for Thursday’s MLB games

By Mike Leaves

  • Thursday’s 13-game roster is headed by Hunter Greene (28% on the roster in ESPN leagues), who dominated against a tough St. Louis Cardinals lineup in his first start off the injured list on Saturday, shooting six shutout innings with a career-high 11. strikeouts, zero walks and only four hits allowed. He showed no lingering effects of his right shoulder strain, as he averaged 100.7 mph on all fours of his, which generated 13 spins and misses. When his control fades, Greene can get into trouble, but he’s one of the most dominant young pitchers in the game when it all works out. Against a Milwaukee Brewers club that is fanning 26.2% of the time in September, Greene is one of the most intriguing broadcast options on the board.

  • Ho-hum, just another week where George Kirby (64%) is criminally underrated. We’ve already highlighted the young right-hander several times in this space, so here’s a quick recap: As of July 1, Kirby has a 2.09 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 10.3 K/9 in his last 12 starts. During that stretch, he has given up more than two earned runs just once (3 ER), and hasn’t given up more than one walk in a start. all season. Among pitchers with at least 110 innings pitched, Kirby’s 8.2 strikeout-to-walk ratio is the best in baseball. If he’s available in your league, pick him up and start against the inept Oakland A’s offense on Thursday.

  • Mitch Keller’s (7%) material doesn’t compare to Greene’s or Kirby’s, but he’s still established himself as a quality streamer, posting a 3.17 ERA since the All-Star break. And he’s not just taking advantage of favorable matchups, as he has made four straight quality starts, two against the New York Mets and one against the Cardinals. On Thursday, Keller earns a favorable draw against the Chicago Cubs, who have been in the bottom five (82 wRC+, .285 wOBA) for the past 30 days.

  • Many top prospects make it to the major leagues and struggle early on, but that hasn’t been the case for Gunnar Henderson (30%). Since his promotion in late August, the 21-year-old has hit a .324/.378/.574 slash line with three home runs and a steal in 22 games. That impressive stat line is backed up by a 49% hard hitting rate and a 10.2% barrel rate, which would put him in the top 10 in baseball if he had enough plate appearances to qualify. Thursday’s matchup against Justin Verlander obviously isn’t a great spot for the rookie, but Henderson is still a great pick for the final two weeks of the season (and even more so if his league has a goalie component).

  • Thursday’s matchup at Coors Field features the San Francisco Giants visiting the Colorado Rockies. Colorado starter Jose Urena has really struggled with the air, sporting a 6.57 ERA at Coors this season. He has been particularly brutal in the second half, being tagged with a 7.17 ERA in 11 starts. Most of the Giants’ bats are widely available on ESPN’s leagues, but Joc Pederson (58%), Mike Yastrzemski (51%) and David Villar (1%), who has 33 home runs between Triple-A and the majors this year, there are the best names to consider.

Ranking of starting pitchers for Thursday

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