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

  • Fantasy baseball pitcher rankings, lineup advice for Sunday's MLB games (1)

    Todd Zola, FantasyMay 11, 2024, 06:11 PM ET


    • Writing on fantasy baseball game theory and player analysis since 1997
    • Winner of the 2013 Fantasy Sports Writer's Association Best Baseball Article

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.

To Start or Not to Start

Finding favorable pitching matchups is already a tough task. Doing so with hurlers making their first or second start after a long layoff is even more challenging. There are four such instances on the Sunday slate. For the sake of this discussion, let's put aside the fact that it's the last day of head-to-head scoring where lineup decisions are as much about needs as analysis.

Braxton Garrett (44.1% rostered in ESPN leagues) is slated for his 2024 debut at home against the Philadelphia Phillies. The Miami Marlins lefty has been sidelined since the spring with a shoulder issue, then during rehab he experienced a dead arm. Over the past two seasons, Garrett has compiled a 3.63 ERA and 1.18 WHIP with 246 strikeouts in 247⅔ frames. He has stretched out to 75 pitches, so Garrett shouldn't have any restrictions. The only concern is facing a potent Phillies lineup, though it helps the NL East affair is in pitcher-friendly loanDepot Park. Starting or sitting isn't straightforward, with a case for either. In these 50/50 calls, erring on the side of caution is recommended.

Walker Buehler (77.7% rostered) will take the hill for the second time this season. His debut last Monday night at home against the Marlins was a mixed bag. He surrendered three runs on six hits in four innings. However, Buehler fanned four while issuing no free passes. He tossed 77 pitches with a 95.9 mph average fastball velocity, which is on par with the last couple of seasons prior to his second Tommy John procedure. Buehler and the Los Angeles Dodgers wrap up a series in Petco Park against the San Diego Padres. This is another tough call, and waiting for another start before deploying Buehler is defensible, but my lean is clicking him in the active lineup.

Bryan Bello (30.1% rostered) is one of the reasons the Boston Red Sox's pitching is one of the early-season surprises. The right-hander last took the hill on April 19 as he has been shelved with a sore lat. Bello is slated to return on Sunday in Fenway Park against the Washington Nationals. Bello made one rehab appearance, yielding three runs on four hits in 2⅔ innings, albeit with five strikeouts. Even so, Bello will likely be on a pitch count, and the Nationals sport a below-average strikeout rate, so the sage approach is waiting one more start before trusting Bello.

The last one is easy. Alek Manoah (3.4% rostered) doesn't belong anywhere near a fantasy roster. He struggled in his season debut earlier in the week, and on Sunday he'll face a Minnesota Twins lineup that has recently laid waste to a few of the best starters in the American League.

Everything else you need to know for Sunday

• Sunday action commences at 1:35 p.m. ET with three games, followed soon thereafter with another four contests. The fantasy week finishes with an NL East affair featuring the Atlanta Braves visiting the New York Mets in the ESPN Sunday night showcase. The Braves' Bryce Elder (5.6% rostered) is the docket's top-ranked streaming candidate. The righty enjoys a big park upgrade, facing a below-average lineup. That said, don't expect Elder to pile up a bunch of strikeouts.

Luis Gil (23.2% rostered) is listed just below Edler. The New York Yankees are in St. Petersburg for the finale of a key AL East series with the Tampa Bay Rays. Gil has posted two straight quality starts, limiting the potent Astros and Orioles to just one run in 12⅓ stanzas. For the season, Gil has an impressive 45 strikeouts in 37 frames, though he has issued 24 free passes. The Rays' offense continues to underperform expectations while striking out at an above-average clip. Furthering Gil's cause is the Rays are one of the league's least patient clubs.

Kyle Harrison (43.5% rostered) also checks in as a streamer with the San Francisco Giants hosting the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds have averaged the fewest runs per game so far in May. Meanwhile, Harrison has posted three consecutive quality starts, the last two being in Fenway Park and Coors Field, the two best parks for scoring runs in MLB. Harrison will toe the rubber in pitcher-friendly Oracle Park.

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 Sunday

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 Sunday

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.

  • Nathaniel Lowe (TEX, 1B -- 20%) at Dakota Hudson

  • Lars Nootbaar (STL, CF -- 21%) at Bryse Wilson

  • Eloy Jimenez (CHW, DH -- 25%) vs. Logan Allen

  • Max Kepler (MIN, RF -- 7%) at Alek Manoah

  • Tommy Pham (CHW, LF -- 1%) vs. Allen

  • Rhys Hoskins (MIL, 1B -- 37%) vs. John King

  • Jorge Polanco (SEA, 2B -- 8%) vs. Alex Wood

  • Josh Smith (TEX, SS -- 10%) at Hudson

  • Leody Taveras (TEX, CF -- 3%) at Hudson

  • Andrew Vaughn (CHW, 1B -- 6%) vs. Allen

Worst over-50% rostered hitters for Sunday

  • Colton Cowser (BAL, RF -- 65%) vs. Zac Gallen

  • Michael Busch (CHC, 3B -- 65%) at Aroldis Chapman

  • Jordan Westburg (BAL, 2B -- 79%) vs. Gallen

  • Gabriel Moreno (ARI, C -- 73%) at Dean Kremer

  • Luis Campusano (SD, C -- 52%) vs. Walker Buehler

  • Ha-Seong Kim (SD, 2B -- 94%) vs. Buehler

  • Jeff McNeil (NYM, 2B -- 62%) vs. Bryce Elder

  • Cedric Mullins (BAL, CF -- 84%) vs. Gallen

  • Ian Happ (CHC, LF -- 77%) at Chapman

  • Anthony Volpe (NYY, SS -- 81%) at Garrett Cleavinger

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


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