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

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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 Todd Zola

  • Thursday, September 1 marks the day that MLB rosters expand, going from 26 players to 28. This isn’t the free-for-all from years past where teams could call up everyone from the 40-man roster, but an extra two roster spots for each team will still create enough room for some organizations to promote young players or prospects that could provide some fantasy value down the stretch. In leagues that allow daily pickups, keep an eye on the names being promoted. In addition to Gunnar Henderson, who is being called up by the Orioles on Wednesday, a couple of other big-name prospects who could get the call soon include the Red Sox’s Triston Casas and the Rangers’ Josh Jung.

  • After missing nearly a month of action with a lower back injury, Clayton Kershaw is set to return to the mound for the Dodgers on Thursday, pushing Dustin May to Friday. The veteran lefty threw 70 pitches in a simulated game over the weekend, so he should be ready to push 85 pitches or so versus the Mets. Prior to landing on the IL, Kershaw posted a 2.64 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 9.3 K/9 over 15 outings. Feel free to slide him back into your starting lineup.



Clayton Kershaw is scheduled to return from the injured list Thursday against the Mets and should pitch well as the Dodgers prepare him for the postseason.

  • While it’s tough to get past his 5.63 ERA and 1.54 WHIP across 16 starts, Kyle Bradish (1%) has seemingly turned a corner since coming off the injured list in late July. In six starts since his activation, the 25-year-old sports a 3.21 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and nearly a K per inning. What’s most impressive during that six-start stretch is that he faced the Astros, Red Sox, and Blue Jays twice, so he wasn’t simply taking advantage of weaker competition. In fact, Bradish’s most recent start against Houston was the best of his career, as he fired eight shutout frames while relying on his slider a career-high 51% of the time. Against a Cleveland Guardians offense that’s been below average (95 wRC+) since the All-Star break, Bradish is in the streaming discussion for Thursday’s shortened slate.

  • If you’re in search of power, you might want to consider Michael Toglia (0%), who was called up by Colorado on Tuesday. The Rockies organization does not have a good reputation regarding the handling of its prospects, so we’ll have to see how much playing time he gets. However, the switch-hitting Toglia possesses big-time power from both sides of the plate, and he offsets his swing-and-miss tendencies with a high walk rate, which gives him an added boost in OBP and points leagues. As the Rockies’ first baseman of the future, Toglia has a good chance to carve out regular playing time over the season’s final month, making him worth a speculative pickup.

  • Oakland pitching prospect Ken Waldichuk (0%) will make his big-league debut on Thursday against the Nationals. Acquired from the Yankees in the Frankie Montas trade, Waldichuk has produced a 2.84 ERA, 1.16 WHP and 13.0 K/9 in 21 starts between Double- and Triple-A this season. After struggling with his control (4.3 BB/9) at the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate, it’s worth noting that the young lefty posted an impressive 1.5 BB/9 in four starts at Triple-A Las Vegas following the trade. All pitching prospects carry some level of risk, so it might be best to take a wait-and-see approach for fantasy. That said, the Nationals offense has been non-threatening in August (88 wRC+, .298 wOBA), so Waldichuk is in good position to get his big-league career started off on the right foot.

Starting pitcher rankings for Thursday

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