Starting Pitchers to Stream: 9/24 – 9/30

I know I said last week was the final streamer article but I lied. For the few H2H leagues that play to the end or tight Roto leagues needing an edge in pitching here are my picks this week. I’m using a color-coding scale to determine how I feel about the pitchers because, at the end of the season, I’m not confident in anyone.  Pitchers could be pulled after one inning, it’s such a crapshoot. Green is as confident as I can be given the last week of the season. Green-Yellow is a decent streaming option. Yellow means caution but stream if you need it, and red means just stay away.

Nathan Eovaldi (BOS – RHP) – 23% owned Home vs BAL, Monday 9/24
Eovaldi has struggled a bit in the second half but just shut down the Yankees in the house that Jeter built.  A date with the ice cold Orioles should help keep things rolling for the right-handed fire-baller. The Orioles have 44 wins and 110 loses this year. I like the chances for Eovaldi to come away with a win here except he’s been turning in a bunch of short outings recently. It’s the final week and risks have to be taken. Eovaldi is throwing 3 pitches with confidence right now and while this could be another short outing, I’m Streaming here. I have a feeling this could be a 6 inning 9 K gem for Eovaldi.

Robbie Erlin (SD – LHP) – 2% owned @ SF, Tuesday 9/25
Yes, the Giants are still terrible offensively ranked in the bottom three in K%, BB%, and wOBA over the last 14 days. Ok great start, but who the hell is Robbie Erlin? Well, he’s 27 (almost 28) with a 20.2% strikeout rate. Not impressed? Me either, except he has an almost non-existent 2.9% walk rate and a very unlucky 62% strand rate. He doesn’t throw hard but mixes a four-seamer, sinker, curve, and change, all of which has produced positive results. Erlin induces swings outside the zone at an above average clip which helps induce weak contact. Don’t expect many strikeouts but a QS with good ratios is in order. STREAM

Touki Toussaint (ATL – RHP) – 5% owned @NYM, Wednesday 9/26
The Mets have been pretty good lately, they even managed to give deGrom four runs of support on Friday night. The Braves clinched the NL East in Saturday, so we could see a Triple-A lineup behind him which doesn’t guarantee run support. There’s a ton of small sample stuff going on with Touki’s numbers but his walk rate is simply too high. It’s too bad because he’s given 28% soft contact and a 50% groundball rate which are both fantastic. The Mets have never seen Touki and with an average walk rate as a team, this one seems to be a toss-up. I usually don’t trust rookie pitchers in a start where a blow up kills your ratios. I’ll be passing on this start because it’s a mid-week start.

Zach Davies (MIL – RHP) – 12% owned Home vs DET, Friday 9.27
The Tigers sport a .279 wOBA over the last 14 days. That’s not very good and the Tigers don’t get to use their DH, so theoretically they should be even worse offensively in this game. Davies is pitching better of late and I like his groundball tendencies. Depending on how the week goes, the Brewers may need this win to have a shot at the division or get the home game in the Wildcard matchup. That means the lineup should be stacked against Tigers starter Jordan Zimmerman. At this point in the season, there’s no such thing as a sure-fire quality start and Davies could get the hook early with Hader and Co. coming out of the bullpen. The limited strikeout upside is going to keep me from streaming Davies is all formats. If you need solid ratios and a possible W, give him a go. I’m giving him the yellow caution.

Joey Lucchesi (SD – LHP) – 24% Owned Home vs ARI, Saturday 9/28
Lucchesi has pitched well in four of his last five outings with 32 strikeouts in that span of 25 innings. The plate discipline numbers back that up with a near-14% swinging strike rate and a 71% contact rate. While I don’t expect Lucchesi to go much more than 5 innings, the DBacks have a .272 wOBA the last 14 days. Oh and are striking out over 27% of the time. Joey L could put together 7-8 Ks in this one. STREAM

Anthony DeSclafani (CIN – RHP) – 11% owned, Home vs PIT, Saturday 9/28
I recommended Tony Disco last week against the Marlins mainly because I’ve seen some more swing and miss in his game thanks to an increased slider usage. He was cruising but had one tough inning and had to work around an error. He did manage 10 strikeouts which is fantastic. He’s gotten double-digit swinging strike rates in 5 of the last 7 games. Giving up the long ball is clearly an issue but the Pirates gave only hit 8 in the last two weeks. If the BABIP and LOB% goes his way, we could see a QS with 7-8 strikeouts but Tony Disco could spin you right round baby right round, so he’s the gross green-yellow color. STREAM

Thanks for checking out my article, follow me on Twitter @FreezeStats. I’ll be writing this offseason as well doing player profile analysis for players I’ll be high and low on for 2019. Stay tuned!


Starting Pitchers to Stream 9/21 – 9/23: This is the End

Erick Fedde (WAS – RHP) 3%, Home vs NYM, Friday 9/21
After checking the last 14 days, the Mets jumped out at me with a .338 wOBA and 22 homers hit. The wOBA in that time-frame ranks 5th and the 22 homers in number one in the league! The other thing that concerns me is the fact that the Mets play better on the road than at home at only 2 games under .500 opposed to 9 games under at home. They’re tied for 3rd in OBP on the road and Fedde goes up against deGrom. All jokes aside about run support about deGrom, he’s likely not giving up more than 2ER in this one. A win is a long-shot for Fedde. Without even discussing Fedde, I’ve basically talked myself out of using him. It’s too bad because I like the BABIP and HR/FB to regress and love his 50% ground ball rate. What I don’t like is the number of left-handed hitters the Mets can throw his way. I’m Staying Away here.

Jose Urena (MIA – RHP) 20%, Home vs CIN, Saturday 9/22
Miami is one of the worst places to hit and Urena has been on a roll recently with a 3.86 ERA in the second half and a 1.47 ERA in September. The main reasons for his improved second half are his ability to limit hard contact (down 8% from the first half) and his 53% ground ball up 10% from the first half. In addition, his strikeout rate in nearly 5% higher at home, go figure. Urena features a nice 97 mph fastball with a wipe-out slider. The Reds have a 28.2% K rate and a 7.1% walk rate in their last 14 games. Plus, they are a slightly below average offense on the road with a very poor 28-46 record as opposed to a top-8 offense at home in Great American Ballpark. I’m Streaming here but Urena did leave his last start for precautionary reasons, so check in before you make this move.

Anthony DeSclafani (CIN – RHP), @MIA, Saturday 9/22
Tough start in Miller Park last night, but this is not the Brewers and it’s not in Miller Park. I just bashed the Reds offense on the road, so am I really going to recommend DeSclafani away from GAB? I understand that a pitcher’s win is always fickle, but get this, the Marlins are the worst offensive team in the league the last 14 days. The Marlins sport a .259 wOBA, a 28.4% K rate, and a 6.2% BB rate. DeSclafani has gotten more comfortable in the second half and it’s helped him get more swings outside the zone. His strikeout rate has been up near a K per 9 in the second half and as I mentioned, the Marlins like to swing and miss. I like the strikeout upside here and I’m calling for 6 to 7 for Tony Disco, I’m Streaming.

Brad Keller (KC – RHP), @DET, Sunday 9/23
The rookie Keller has really put together a nice campaign which is not typical in Major League Baseball. Rookies usually take their lumps. The strikeout numbers are not strong but his ability to induce ground balls and limit hard contact is a skill I can believe in. What really caught my eye is his 16.9 pitch value per FanGraphs on his fastball which includes his sinker that gets a 67% ground ball rate. Keller gets the Tigers who have a 26.4% strikeout rate and a .302 wOBA in the last 14 days. They also have only managed a .302 wOBA at home this year which ranks 24th in MLB. The poor hitting Tigers have hit the third-fewest homers at home this year, 59 in 74 games. I definitely like Keller in this one to provide a quality start with good ratios and a W with the way the Royals offense has been rolling. Keller’s a safe floor pick and may provide a handful of strikeouts. I’m Streaming.

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Pitching Streamers 9/17 – 9/19 – Right Near Da Beach Boyyyyyyyyyd!

This is only Part 1 of my 2 Part streamer article for next week. I’ll cover Thursday 9/20 through Sunday 9/23 in the next part. I’m trying to cover as many options owned in 25% of leagues or less for the Championship or Semi-Finals. If pitchers like Jake Odorizzi or Derek Holland are available, I’d grab them to stream as well, but they are over 25% owned, so I don’t cover them here. Without further ado, let’s dive in!

Joe Musgrove (PIT – RHP), 24% Home vs KC, Monday 9/17
Musgrove is one of many options that’s available near my 25% and just under my threshold. That means you need to grab him now! Wait, let me vet him first. In the last 14 days, the Royals are ranked 6th in wOBA at .331 and are running wild thanks to Merrifield and Mondesi. If you’re wondering, they’ve actually been steady offensively for the last month. The good news is, Musgrove doesn’t give out many free passes. Also, since 8/1 Musgrove has registered about a K per inning but his 13+% swinging strike rate and a 39% O-Swing suggests more strikeouts are coming. I like Musgrove’s upside but the hot-hitting Royals could wreak havoc on Musgrove’s ratios. Take a look at your opponent, if you think you need strikeouts, grab Musgrove. On Monday, it’s too early to take huge risks, this is a moderate pass for me. with upside.

Jordan Zimmerman (DET – RHP), 10% Home vs MIN, Monday 9/17
I’ve been hot and cold with Zimmerman this year. He’s really keeping the walks down but his HR rate is crazy-high at 1.85/9. He’s given up 6 homers in the last three games and his BABIP is under .150 in that span! That’s a recipe for disaster. Since the All-Star break, Zim has served up 16 HR in only 10 starts. You better believe he’s giving up at least two dingers in this one. Even against the Twins who aren’t great offensively, but I don’t want to trust my ratios with Zimmerman in the playoffs. STAY AWAY

Andrew Suarez (SF – LHP), 7% @SD, Monday 9/17
Wow, starting off 0 for 2, that’s not good. The third pitcher I’ll cover for Monday is Andrew Suarez who gets the Padres. The Padres have been better of late thanks to Franmil Reyes and Francisco Mejia, but they have been bad against left-handed pitching with a .302 wOBA. Working in Suarez’s favor is the ground ball tendencies which is at 53%. Suarez is not going to strike many batters out but he does have a good defense behind him to help limit the damage. The Padres have faced Suarez twice earlier this year and failed to do much of anything and he limited them to 2ER or less in both starts. Unfortunately, the Giants likely won’t offer much run support. Suarez does offer a good chance at a QS and good ratios. I think he can manage 4-5 Ks in 6-7 IP, so he is worth a stream in deeper leagues.

Joey Lucchesi (SD – LHP), 24% Home vs SF, Tuesday 9/18
Ok, here we go, my lock of the week. I know I told you to stay away from Joey L. last week and I was mostly right as he struggled a bit vs Seattle. This week, I don’t necessarily care that the Giants have seen Lucchesi before because that was back in April and the Giants are just straight terrible. How bad you ask? The Giants are hitting .204 as a team the last two weeks with a wOBA of .249 and a 31.7% K rate! That’s like facing an entire team of Chris Davis’, Davisi? Actually, Chris Davis has a higher walk rate than the Giant’s 5.7% posted by Giants hitters. OK, enough about how bad the Giants are. Lucchesi has a K/9 over 9.0 and a 3.67 ERA on the season. This should be a 6 inning, 7 K outing for Lucchesi with golden ratios. STREAM

Joe Ross (WAS – RHP), 4% @MIA, Tuesday 9/18
Zero strikeouts, really Joe?!? I know that Ross held the Cubs scoreless in five innings, but how could you not manage one strikeout? Believe it or not, the Cubs have been bad offensively ranking 6th from the bottom in wOBA in the last two weeks and the last month. Do you know who has been worse? The Marlins. In the last two weeks, the Marlins are hitting .211 with a .267 wOBA and a 25% K rate as a team. Good for Ross! One change I noticed in Ross’ repertoire is he’s cut his sinker usage in half compared to last year. That pitch killed him last year. Sure, it’s only one start, but it’s clear to me that he’s moving away from the pitch. Ross has never been an elite swing and miss pitcher but he should provide at least a few Ks in this one. I’m STREAMING Ross here but only for ratios and a W.

Matt Boyd (DET – LHP), 24% Home vs MIN, Wednesday 9/19
Another option that’s right near 25%, but I think Boyd is worth it. The Twins have only been hitting .241 with a .295 wOBA in the last two weeks. Shifting to Boyd, I’ve discussed his elite level slider that ranks in the top 10 per FanGraphs Pitch Value for all sliders thrown. Boyd has also improved his fastball velocity in the second half from about 89 mph to 92-93 mph in recent starts. Not coincidentally, Boyd’s second-half ERA us 3.06 with a strikeout per inning. His fastball has registered positive results in that time frame opposed to slightly below average results in the first half. There’s no reason to think Boyd can’t provide a QS with at least 6 Ks and solid ratios. STREAM

Matt Shoemaker (LAA – RHP), 18% @OAK, Thursday 9/20
Surely a start like this against the red-hot Oakland Athletics isn’t a great idea, right? Well, here’s the thing, Oakland is in the bottom 10 offensively when playing at home. On, the road, they are the best offense in baseball. It’s odd, but it’s true, plus Oakland is a great pitcher’s park. Shoemaker is going up against Edwin Jackson and it’s only a matter of time before the other shoe drops ;).  Shoemaker has only three starts off the DL (fourth coming this weekend), and his strikeout rate is low. However, his contact rate is below 75% with a solid swinging strike rate as well. Oakland can certainly swing and miss quite a bit and I think Shoemaker has more upside in this game than it would appear on paper. In a mid-week battle, Shoemaker is a good option who should be available given the matchup. STREAM

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Low-Ownership Hitters to Add – Ramon Laurea-(k)no(ws) Best

All right fam, this is it! In many leagues, next week is Championship week or at last the Semi-finals. It’s now or never!  This will likely be my waiver wire article for hitters this season. I will be posting another starting pitcher streamer article on Sunday, so stay tuned. Also, follow me on Twitter @FreezeStats for helpful tidbits I’ll be throwing out there the final week of the season. Last week, I highlighted some guys and some of which are still widely available like Adalberto Mondesi (available in 70% of leagues), Harrison Bader (82%), Francisco Mejia (85%), Brandon Lowe (94%), and Ryan O’Hearn whom I lead with below.

Analyzing Low-Ownership Hitters – Last 30 Days

Ryan O’Hearn (KC – 1B)
I wrote about O’Hearn last week and his ownership has only jumped 3% from 7% to 10% in the past week. All he’s done in the last 30 days is hit .291 with 8 homers and 18 RBI. The Royals have 7 games next week, @PIT and @DET, not exactly the mecca for starting pitchers.  There’s no reason O’Hearn should be sitting on waivers for teams who are competing. I believe in this run for O’Hearn for a few reasons. As a young player, I love the patience, his 14% walk rate is fantastic and he’s providing plenty of power with a .365 ISO backed up by a 49.3% hard contact rate. It makes his 27% K rate more palatable. He’s a must add in all OBP leagues and should be owned in Standard 12-teamers and deeper.

Billy McKinney (TOR – OF), 7% owned
McKinney hasn’t been as hot lately, but over the last month, he’s been a hit machine batting .333 with 4 homers and 11 RBI.  McKinney likely won’t hit for a ton of power or steal many bases but all he does is hit. He’s sporting a 90% contact rate at balls in the zone (85% league average) and has always posted high line drive rates in the Minors. McKinney should provide a solid BA with great OBP and run into a few home runs. As long as the Blue Jays keep him near the top of the lineup, he’ll provide good run totals as well.

Dansby Swanson (ATL – SS), 18% owned
Swanson is not living up to his prospect hype early in his career but he’s made some positive changes recently. He’s been more aggressive at the plate attacking mistakes early and increasing his hard contact rate. In the last 30 days, Swanson has joined my 40-40-45 club. (That’s a club I’ve made up, still working on the name). That’s a 40% fly ball rate, 40% pull rate, and a 45% hard contact rate. That’s great and he’s produced 6 of his 14 home runs on the year in the last month. He’s also chipped in with 4 steals. Anyone in need of SS or MI help should add him immediately, especially with the Braves 7-game schedule next week. The power is starting to develop and the speed is a nice bonus. Swanson could be a potential sleeper next year with 20 HR 15 SB upside.

Ramon Laureano (OAK – OF), 15% owned
This previously unknown outfielder for the Athletics has a pretty solid .304 average with five homers and four steals over the last 30 days. His 49% hard contact in that span ranks him inside the top 15 in MLB. In the Minors, Laureano’s best skill was his speed, the power was just moderate but has really improved this year. His plate discipline is actually above-average despite a high-strikeout rate. His patience should provide some walks which is likely to lead to a few steals. Laureano is a great power/speed option I could see hitting a few homers and stealing a few bases down the stretch.

Greg Allen (CLE – OF), 6% owned
This is strictly a deep league speed option. Allen has stolen seven bases in the last month, tied for fourth in baseball. Allen is a very good defensive center fielder, but because of his below-average stick, he may only play 4-5 games a week. That’s OK, just add Allen to your bench for depth and throw him in there if you have the need for speed in your weekly match-up. Remember, with expanded rosters, teams are giving more players opportunities which means more days off for all players. I think it’s goidmove to expand your bench on the offensive side.

Adam Frazier (PIT – 2B/OF), 7% owned
Frazier is a high-contact hitter and has begun showing a bit of power with 4 home runs in his last 89 plate appearances with eight HR on the season. Over the last month, Frazier has displayed fantastic ball striking with a 49% hard contact rate, same as our man Laureano above. Personally, I prefer Laureano thanks to the speed but Frazier is eligible at 2B. If you’re looking for MI help, Frazier has a nice batting average floor and is showing some serviceable pop.

Statistics Last – 14 Days

Ji-Man Choi (TB – 1B), 5% owned
Choi is another first baseman owned in far too few leagues, but all he’s done is hit .324 with 4 homers and 12 RBI in the last two weeks. Choi is currently on the strong side of the 1B platoon with ice-cold Jake Bauers flanking the short side. The Rays have a 7-game slate next week against the Rangers and the Blue Jays who both offer weak pitching staffs and should see at least four to five matchups against righties next week. I don’t love Choi’s contact rates, but he’s another guy that hits the ball hard (45%) when he does make contact. Choi is hitting .296 with a .397 wOBA against RHP, so make sure he’s in your lineup against them next week.

Kevin Kiermaier (TB – OF), 26% owned
Has everyone forgotten about the power/speed combo of Kiermaier? He hasn’t shown the speed since he’s been back off the DL but he’s hitting a blistering .452 with 3 homers and 8 RBI in the last two weeks. Forget the season stats for KK, it’s been a lost year but he’s actually healthy coming off an illness this week that has caused him to miss a couple games. But, he’s back, hitting his fourth triple in the last month. He’s being ultra-aggressive, so watch him and make sure he doesn’t start getting out of control with his strikeouts. If that happens, go ahead and drop him. I’ve already mentioned the seven-game slate next week for the Rays, so he’s a great add.

Alex Gordon (KC – OF), 4% owned
This is a blast from the past! Gordon has been nearly useless for about two seasons now. Yet, he’s hit 2 homers and has 4 steals in the last two weeks with 8 steals in the last month! He’s only hit .230 the last month, but he’s been sporting a near 47% hard contact rate this month. Is this for real? I believe that it is, kind of, at least for the rest of this season. He’s actually been a bit unlucky with a .254 BABIP despite the consistent hard contact and a 29% line drive rate. With his strikeout and walk rates looking healthy, there’s no reason he shouldn’t hit .275 the rest of the way. The Royals are obviously letting him run wild and are batting him in the #3 spot behind Merrifield and Mondesi who have been on fire. Gordon is my favorite deep-league add next week.

Robbie Grossman (MIN – OF), 1% owned
This is more of a speculative add for super-deep 15-team and AL-Only leagues. He’s hitting .359 with a 20% walk rate and only a 6% strikeout rate in the last two weeks. He’s also been playing every day, good things are coming. His 36% hard contact in that period isn’t anything special (still just above league average), but it’s an improvement from his 32% hard contact thus far in 2018. If you’re in contention, and the waiver wire looks barren AF, give Grossman a look, he could turn a nice profit down the stretch.


Pitchers to Stream – Minor Option Major Result

It’s playoff time, no more messing around! I’m covering a bunch of pitchers in this week’s article who are owned in under 25% of leagues per FantasyPros Yahoo/ESPN ownerships. Most of them I like, but there’s a couple I’m a little wary of. I’ll stop wasting your time with a pointless intro and get right into the pitchers.

Joey Lucchesi (SD) LHP, 23% @SEA, Tuesday 9/11
Of course, I would prefer this game to be played in San Diego but I’d also prefer to be Justin Verlander but it’s just not in the cards. The last time these two faced off Lucchesi rolled with 9 Ks and 1 ER in 6.2 IP.  That’s fantastic but it also was at home. I’ve mentioned this before but Lucchesi only has two pitches and he struggles to get through the order three times. Here are his numbers the third time through the order: 6.00 ERA with a .338 average against in 15 innings. The Mariners just saw him last week and I think will have more success against him this time around. I can see a short 5 inning outing with a limited shot at a win or a QS. I’m Staying Away here but he does have some strikeout upside. I’d be more interested if this start was later in the week.

Framber Valdez (HOU) LHP, 13% @DET, Tuesday 9/11
The Astros against the Tigers is a huge mismatch, the probability of a win is very high for Valdez. So that’s great! I hate to break this to you, but Valdez is not a 1.37 ERA pitcher. I know, shocking! However, how much damage can really be done with a 70% ground ball rate and a 30% soft contact rate? Not much, fam. He gets the Tigers who are 24th in the league in wOBA at home this year. I don’t see much strikeout upside here, but a win, QS, and decent ratios are in order. STREAM

Steven Matz (NYM) LHP, 23% Home vs MIA, Wednesday 9/12
Matz spun another solid outing on Friday against the Phillies where he struck out 8 batters in 5 IP. That makes a swinging strike rate over 10% in four of his last five games and his 4th straight game with at least a strikeout per inning. We can thank the increased slider usage which I mentioned in the last streamer article for that. Combine that with the Marlins poor performance against left-handed pitching. The Marlins have a .289 wOBA against lefties which ranks 27th in MLB. I’m a big fan of the changes Matz has made, his main weakness is the home run ball but I’m not concerned about that. Why? Because theMarlins have hit a total of 25 homers off lefties this year which ranks last in MLB. Easy STREAM here. My #2 stream of the week.

Jorge Lopez (KC) RHP, 2% Home vs MIN, Thursday 9/13
Who is this guy? Lopez is a former Brewers farmhand who was traded to the Royals in the Moustakas trade. In his last two starts, Lopez has given up only 2 earned runs in 15 innings pitched. He throws four pitches and all have registered positive pitch values per FanGraphs. I don’t think he has elite or high-end strikeout stuff, but he gets the ice cold Twins who have a .296 wOBA the last 14 days. Oh, and did I mention that one of those last two outings was against the Twins? No, well it was. Lopez also goes up against Gonsalves who has been atrocious this year, so he should get run support. Maybe the Twins pick up on something this time around or maybe they will stay cold. I’m rolling the dice. STREAM

Tyler Anderson (COL) LHP, 21% @SF, Friday 9/14
Anderson has really struggled in the second half after showing some signs of a breakout in the first half. Something has gone wrong in the second half but his poor HR/9 and BABIP likely won’t stick. He’s still getting a ton of swings and misses with a swinging strike rate of 13.4% with a 73.2% contact rate since July 30th. Since this start is in AT&T Park, I think the home run rate and BABIP will be in his favor for this game. If I haven’t convinced you, maybe this will. In the last 14 days, the Giants have a .250 wOBA with an unbelievable 31.5% strikeout rate. That’s last place in MLB for both, and it’s not close. The last 30 days haven’t been much better either. I’m thinking Anderson turns his best start of the second half in this one. STREAM

Jaime Barria (LAA) RHP 17% Home vs SEA, Saturday 9/15
Barria is a guy with a great slider and not much else. He’s been successful this year, there’s no doubt but he’s limited home runs and benefited with some BABIP and strand rate luck. What’s interesting is that Barria has already faced the Mariners three times. In all three starts, he’s given up 2 earned runs each time but has only struck out 5 batters in 16.1 IP. He also was very fortunate with his strand rates in those games. Some people might say he’s set for another two earned run outing to follow the trend. I say he’s due for a blow-up. Clearly, Barria isn’t fooling the Mariners hitters to get swings and misses. I just don’t see enough upside in this start. I’m STAY AWAY

Mike Minor (TEX) LHP, 23% @SD, Sunday 9/16
Minor should have two starts this week with the second coming Sunday against the Padres in San Diego. The Padres have a 24.3% strikeout rate against left-handed pitchers and are ranked 22nd offensively against southpaws. If you’re wondering, Minor has been great in the second half with five wins and a 2.88 ERA. He’s increased his usage of his changeup to 25% up from 15%. That’s great because it’s his best pitch. Not only is he getting more swings and misses, but he’s gotten over 26% soft contact since the break. I’m hoping Minor gets this second start because it’s my lock of the week. STREAM

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September Moves for the Stretch Run

No, this isn’t a weekly rundown, but I feel that this type of article is more valuable to fantasy owners at this point in the season. Let’s jump right in to some hitters that I think can help you win your league.  I also cover some hitters who’s ownership’s are too high and can be let go. I will have an article out on Sunday highlighting starting pitchers to stream for the upcoming week. Don’t worry, pitchers won’t be left out.

Hitters Under 40% Owned to Add

Trey Mancini (BAL – 1B/OF), 39% owned
Mancini is literally the same player he was last year just without the BABIP luck. The difference in BABIP from 2017 to 2018 is a drop of 70 points. However, since the All-Star break, Mancini is hitting .292 with nine home runs with a more respectable .320 BABIP. He’s also bumped his hard contact up to nearly 40% without changing his approach. Unfortunately, Mancini does not provide speed and hits too many balls on the ground for significant upside. He’s a solid batting average/power replacement for someone like Yonder Alonso whom I’ll discuss later.

Colin Moran (PIT – 3B), 3% owned
OK, so the launch angle increase I predicted from Moran didn’t exactly happen, or did it? It’s actually somewhere in between, sorry to be so anticlimactic. Moran’s ground ball rate has dipped to 45% and his line drive rate is up. He’s also a guy who makes a lot of contact with an 88.5% zone-contact rate. Previously, Moran was on the strong-side of the 3B platoon with my brother from another mother David Freese, but Freese has been shipped to LA. Moran should get just about every start at the hot corner moving forward with a prime lineup spot. Unfortunately, Moran isn’t hitting for power, but has hit .329 since August 1st and should help in batting average, runs, and RBI the rest of the way. Moran is strictly a deep 15-team and deeper league add.

Adalberto Mondesi (KC – 2B/SS), 18% owned
Finally, someone who is actually exciting!  Mondesi is somehow owned in under 25% of leagues and is capable of power and elite level speed. Mondesi is a guy I’ll be all over in drafts next year because of the upside he possesses. For the final month of the season, taking a chance on a guy who could win you the stolen base category without hurting you in the power department is gold. I realize he hasn’t been overly productive recently, but with six home runs and 18 steals in less than 200 at-bats, what more do you need to see? I liken him to a Jonathan Villar-type player whose ownership finally got his well-deserved Mass Appeal, so here’s the next best thing! There’s going to be a ton of helium going into 2019, so keeper league owners should be all over him now because, in dynasty, he’s long gone.

Ryan O’Hearn (KC – 1B), 7% owned
Another Royal, come on now! I’m going with O’Hearn over Brian’s brother Hunter Dozier (they are not brothers) for these reasons: the walk rate and the plate discipline. Both O’Hearn and Dozier have very good power with strikeout issues but O’Hearn does not expand the zone as much as Dozier. I can actually envision a strikeout rate drop to below 25% for RO. Combine that with an 11% walk rate and an incredible 50% hard contact rate and you have…. Rhys Hoskins from 2017! Sure, Hoskins has come down to earth and I don’t expect O’Hearn to go full 2017-Hoskins, but we are talking about only three weeks of baseball. If he stays hot, he could help boost average, home runs, and RBI before the season is over.

Harrison Bader (STL – OF), 19% owned and Brandon Nimmo (NYM – OF), 25% owned
I will forever link these two players who have similar skill sets. Both and high energy athletes who are all-out maximum effort. Bader certainly has more speed and but I think Nimmo can provide more power and OBP. Nimmo has missed a little time in August, but since the beginning of the month (August), Nimmo has been on fire. He’s slashing .351/.432/.636 with 3 homers, a steal, and 14 extra-base hits in only 88 PA! Bader hasn’t been as hot but has the higher SB upside. He’s compiled 10 homers and 13 steals in only 349 plate appearances. Depending on your team needs, grab at least one of these guys.

Francisco Mejia (SD – C), 15% owned
His ownership is sure to jump up after a two-homer performance last night. In Yahoo! Leagues, he does not have catcher eligibility yet, but in ESPN league, he does. Fear not! Only four more starts at catcher will earn him the big “C” next to his name in Yahoo leagues which should happen by early next week. If you’re rostering Tucker Barnhart or Robinson Chirinos, go ahead and make the switch. Mejia projects to be a high contact, high average hitter with moderate power. These days, moderate power means around 20 homers over the course of a full season. I do not see how he doesn’t perform as a top 12 catcher ROS.

Brandon Lowe (TB – 2B/OF), 5% owned
There are three Lowe’s in the Rays system and Brandon isn’t the one I’m most excited about, that would be Nate. However, he’s the only one up with the big club. B. Lowe has been hot hitting .414 with three homers and two steals in the last two weeks. Lowe graded out moderately across the board with slightly above-average power and speed. He’s patient which is great for OBP leagues but may elevate his strikeout rate a bit. I like him in deep leagues to help out with runs and provide some power and speed. OBP leagues, he’s a must add down the stretch.

Over 50% owned: hitters to drop

Eric Hosmer (1B – SD), 75% owned
Depending on what type of scoring your league has, Hosmer likely falls outside the top 300 overall. Most 10 to 12-team leagues roster less than 300 players. Do yourselves a favor and let him go. Hopefully, you’ve been able to find a viable replacement and are still in contention for the championship. I won’t bore you with all the poor numbers on Hosmer, but I will list off the areas where he’s under-performing compared to previous years: walk rate is down, strikeout rate is up, ground ball rate is up, soft contact is up, infield fly rate is up, chase and Swstr rates are up, and contact rate is down. Yup, that’s a lot. Stop owning him for name value, I’d even take teammates Mejia or Franmil Reyes over him right now.

Yonder Alonso (CLE – 1B), 50% owned
Coming into the season I thought Yonder Alonso had some solid value with an ADP well after pick 200. I projected Alonso to provide solid power numbers with a solid batting average as a floor while hitting 5th or 6th in one of the better lineups in the league. While the power has been relatively consistent, his batting average has fallen off the map which currently sits at .241 and is .214 since the All-Star break. It has nothing to do with a change in launch angle, his 22% line drive and 42% fly ball rates in that time frame mirrors his profile over the last 2 years. The issue for Alonso is his lack of hard contact, just 27.3% since August 1st and his chase rate, 35% in the month of August. Alonso will continue to be a batting average drain while providing poor power upside given his recent poor batted ball profile and plate discipline.

In redraft leagues, it’s safe to drop Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Eloy Jimenez as the team’s brass have decided to hold both down for the remainder of the season. No, they are not owned in over 50% of leagues, but in the playoffs, you need all the roster spots you can get. It’s unfortunate, but maybe they will both come at a bit of a discount next year. Clearly, both are ready to be up with the big club and no longer need refinement. Depending on service time, both could be held down for a couple weeks to a month to start the season similar to Acuna this year and Kris Bryant a few years ago. This would further decrease their ADP and I think they can both provide between 5th and 7th round value next year. It’ll be interesting to see their ADP’s coming into 2019 and I still see them as Star-Boys.

Odubel Herrera (PHI – OF), 70% owned
Over on the Sports Degens, I told you to sell Herrera back in early July before the All-Star break. At the time, he was on fire and ranked inside the top 75 overall. Since then, he’s hit .237 with seven home runs and 1 steal in 186 plate appearances. The power numbers are OK, but the lack of stolen bases and batting average has really hurt his value. Herrera’s hard contact is only 25% since July 5th and his plate discipline is a mess. The weak contact combined with an aggressive approach is the reason I was staying away from Herrera in the second half. There’s no reason for him to be owned in so many leagues. Drop him for one of the outfielders I highlighted above.

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Starting Pitchers to Stream: Giolito-bit of Matz-uration

Last week went really well and if you were able to grab the streamers I laid out last week, you may have just won your week. I received some comments about posting my previous week’s results, and I was doing that but I’ve just fallen behind. I’ll try to get them posted from here on out. I’ll also post all my streamer’s results for the entire season to see where we stand at the end of this month. Anyways, here was last week’s picks.

Name Date Opponent IP H BB ER K W
Joey Lucchesi 8/29 SEA 6.67 6 2 1 9 1
Matt Boyd 8/28 @KC 6 7 3 5 4 0
John Gant 8/30 PIT 5.67 3 3 0 6 1
Austin Gomber 8/31 CIN 7 10 0 2 3 1
Andrew Suarez 8/31 NYM 7 2 0 0 5 1
Steven Matz 9/1 @SF 7 3 1 1 11 0
TOTALS 39.34 31 9 9 38 4

If it weren’t for Boyd, it may have been the perfect week. Even still, we posted a 2.06 ERA with a 1.02 WHIP with 4 wins (out of 6 starts) and nearly a strikeout per inning. Gonna be tough to top that but there are a shit-ton of streaming options this seek under 25% owned and I don’t even discuss Lucchesi and Gomber who just missed the cut.

Adam Plutko (CLE) 3% owned, home vs KC, Monday, 9/3
Plutko isn’t a great pitcher but he does get to face the Royals at home. The Royals are terrible, right? Well, actually they are 10th in terms of wOBA in the last 30 days at .315 and they 5th in the league in combined HR + SB in that span. Plutko is an extreme flyball pitcher at 56% and has limited strikeout upside. A win is certainly possible with the elite offense of the Indians but Plutko has limited upside with strikeouts and ratios. I’m passing, STAY AWAY

Lucas Giolito (CHW) 22% owned, home vs DET, Tuesday, 9/4
Don’t laugh you guys!. Giolito has got it going on recently. His fastball velocity is up and his location is better. His changeup is probably his best pitch, so he’s subscribing to the fastballs up, offspeed down approach and finally having success. He gets the Tigers at home who are 28th in MLB in wOBA as .291 in the last 30 days. In that time, the Tigers are hitting .237 as a team with a 22.1% K rate and a below-average 7% walk rate. I’m a Giolito-bit excited about this one. Go ahead and STREAM

Dan Straily (MIA) 5% Home vs PHI, Wednesday 9/5
I thought long and hard about Glasnow but he’s got the Blue Jays in Toronto who rank in the top 5 offensively this past month. If you need strikeout upside and can sacrifice ratios, you can try Glasnow. Straily, on the other hand, doesn’t have the same upside as Glasnow but he gets the Phillies who are really struggling offensively with a 23% K rate and a .302 wOBA in August. Straily is known to give up the gopher ball but he hasn’t given one up in his last two starts and only 2 HR given up in his last five starts total. Straily, not surprising is also better at home and has been able to get more strikeouts in Miami. I expect Straily to continue on this mini-roll at least for one more start. STREAM

Steven Matz (NYM), 14% owned at Home vs PHI, Friday 9/7
Matz’ ownership should skyrocket after last night’s gem against the Giants where, as you can see above, dominated them with 11 Ks and only 1 ER. The Giants are terrible, but the Phillies aren’t that much better ranked 23rd in wOBA in the last 30 days with a 23% K rate that falls in the bottom six in MLB. What has changed with Matz? In his last 3 starts, he’s thrown his slider about 10% more and his change 5% more. Those are his two pitches and he’s getting a ton more swings and misses because of it. I think he keeps it going against the Phils. STREAM

Wei-Yin Chen (MIA) 6% owned Away vs PIT, Friday, 9/7
You guys, how is Chen only 6% owned? This confirms that over 50% of leagues are dead. Can we talk about how good he’s been in the last month? Here it is, 3 wins, 1.44 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 30 strikeouts in 31.1 IP. Yup. Of course, I’d prefer this game at home but PNC isn’t much of a hitter’s upgrade over Marlins Park. Oh, and the Pirates are bad. They are 26th in wOBA in the last month and only the Giants and Rays have hit fewer home runs in that span. The walks are up for Chen on the season but it’s down to a more Chen-like 6.8% walk rate in his last 8 starts. I’m all in STREAM

Matt Harvey (CIN) 17% owned @DET, Saturday 9/8
Matt Harvey has had a pretty eventful year and he gets the Tigers outside of Great American Ballpark. Then again, it’s Matt Harvey. However, since 7/28 Harvey has posted a  22.1% K rate and a 5.2% BB rate which is solid even if his ERA and WHIP don’t show it. An elevated BABIP has skewed the ratios a bit. In that timeframe, he’s also inducing 24% soft contact. I discussed how bad the Tigers have been in my Giolito blurb so I won’t do it again. There’s some risk here because Harvey typically goes only 5 or 6 innings but I’m rolling with Harvey in 14-team and deeper leagues. STREAM

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Weekly Rundown – The Germans Are Coming!

Hot Hitters
Gleyber Torres is making his push for rookie of the year (Ohtani is glaring in his direction) hitting .481 with 3 homers, 7 RBI, and 2 steals in the last 7 days. For a 21-year-old rookie, his numbers on the season are fantastic with a .282 average, 21 homers and 5 steals. The power is surprising, but it’s backed up by a near 40% hard contact rate, a 42% fly ball rate, and a 40% pull rate. Triple 40s for the dinger! The strikeout rate is high and his contact rate sits below 70%, so that’s not great, but again he’s only 21! I like Gleyber, but his plate discipline and tendency to swing and miss make him a candidate for a Sophomore slump.

Christian Yelich is going HAM with 5 homers and 12 RBI and a steal this past week including hitting for the cycle and going 6 for 6. After the move to Milwaukee, I moved Yelich inside my top 50 overall. I knew 25 homers was in reach, combine that with a .300 average and 15-18 steals, and BOOM, top 50. This kid is near the top five in hard-hit rate and he’s looking more like a 30-20 player and is still just 26. Next year, there’s no reason to doubt him as a 2nd round talent. This might be his ceiling year, but his floor is still very high. Even if he hits .280 with 22 homers and 15 steals next year, he won’t hurt you as a 2nd round pcik.

Tyler “Post-Post-Post Hype Sleeper” White has been on fire blasting 3 home runs and driving in 10 this week. Is White this year’s Hoskins who was last year’s Gary Sanchez? A 19.6% strikeout rate and an 11.9% walk rate sure looks like Hoskins. However, a near-25% soft contact rate and 15% infield fly rate, don’t bode well for White moving forward. Hs hard-hit rate is league average, but he’s making a lot of contact. So no, I don’t think he’s this year’s Hoskins but could hit 5-6 more homers given the playing time. If he slumps, the Astros have depth to bench him which loses all his value. Ride him, but don’t be afraid to drop him after a couple O-fers. 

Jonathan Villar is still under-owned in fantasy leagues and he’s hitting over .300 with a homer and 4 steals this week. Since being traded to the Orioles, he’s been a top 50 player. The Orioles normally don’t run much as a team but they certainly are letting Villar run wild as he’s 7 for 8 since coming over last month. His power is moderate, but moving from Miller Park to Camden Yards isn’t a downgrade, so look for another few homers to go along with 5 to 6 steals the rest of the way from Villar. Yes, that makes him a top 50-75 option going forward.

Can we talk about Luke Voit for a minute? He’s the new Yankee’s first baseman (bye-bye Greg Bird, fly away) and he has 4 home runs and 9 RBI while hitting .458 this week. Is Voit someone you should grab? Eh, I’m not loving it. He’s got a sub-70% contact rate and an unsustainable 30% line drive rate. He does have above average power but will probably hit around .240-.250. If he gets regular playing time, he could have some value down the stretch, otherwise, he can be left on waivers.

Freezing Cold Hitters
What a 180 for Khris Davis. After looking like Babe Ruth the last two weeks, Davis is hitting .074 with no home runs and 1 RBI this week. Should we be concerned? Absolutely not. Davis has been about as hot as anyone since the All-Star break, with a 25% K rate, it was only a matter of time before he hit a slump (not literally). Davis will be just fine as he competes with JDM, Jo-Ram, and Joey Gallo for the home run title. He’s not .275 hitter, so don’t be disappointed if he finishes at .247 again, still with 45 homers and 120 RBI, yes please!

My favorite punching bag Eric Hosmer is hitting .222 with no homers or steals this past week. Wait, you still own him? Why tho? He has 13 home runs and 6 steals with a .253 average. Players ranked ahead of Hosmer this year include Todd Frazier, Scott Schebler, and Jesse Winker who has been on the DL for a month and only has 281 at-bats. It’s simple, Hosmer has a career-worst strikeout rate, a career-high ground ball rate (which is bad), and his second highest soft contact rate. Owners, please do yourselves a favor and drop his ass.

Nolan Arenado is 3 for his last with no homers, 1 run and 2 RBI this week. Let me just check the schedule and yup, the Rockies have been on the road. No surprise there. Arenado is a very good player on the road but he’s a top 5 talent (if not higher) at home. The good news for Arenado owners is that 17 of the Rockies last 28 games are at home. This is a mere speed bump for Nolan, but just wait, his next three series are all in the hitter’s haven of Coors Field. Relax friends.

A.J Pollock is hitting just .077 with no him runs, no steals and only one run in the last 7 days. Unfortunately, Pollock is not the same player he was in the first month and a half where he looked like a potential MVP candidate. His strikeout rate is up 5% and his walk rate has dwindled to a below average 6.7%. He’s still stinging the ball with av47% hard contact rate but the results just aren’t there. Humidor anyone? I don’t know, it’s possible but because of his stellar batted ball profile, I’m holding out hope down the stretch.

Hot Pitchers
You know I’m kicking it off with the German’s are coming Marquez! But, but, but, he doesn’t have any wins in his last two starts. Here’s the reason wins suck. Marquez has given up 5 hits, 2 earned runs, and 2 walks with 22 strikeouts in his last 2 starts (15 IP). That’s a 1.20 ERA, 0.47 WHIP, and a 13.2 K/9. No wins though. It might seem like Marquez only has one plus pitch (his slider), but that’s wrong. His curveball has basically been graded out as average (0.5) per FanGraphs pitch value but that’s because he’s given up 5 homers and a .316 BABIP against it in only 546 thrown. Get this, batters are hitting .169 on the pitch with a 51.4% K rate. The luck has turned around and Marquez has two elite pitches, making him a potential fantasy stud.

Jason Vargas has 14 strikeouts in his last two starts with only 1 earned run and 9 baserunners. That’s great, remember Vargas’ great 1st half last year? Do I think he has some magic left for the month of September?  NO! Vargas is throwing 87 mph on his fastball and his changeup is only 6 mph slower. That’s not enough to be effective. His SwStr% actually looks good but it’s a small sample and I don’t trust it. Vargas is going to have a 3-4 HR outing soon and you’re going to wish you never picked him up.

Lucas Giolito has really looked good in the month of August. In his last two starts, Giolito has given up just 2 earned runs, 9 baserunners, and struck out 14 in 13.1 IP. I actually do believe in what Giolito is doing. His fastball velocity has gone from 91 mph to start the season to around 94 mph. He’s also throwing the fastball up in the zone more since the beginning of July. Take a look – on the left is through July 3rd and on the right is since July 3rd.







In addition, his ground ball and soft contact rates are up, While I don’t think he’s all of a sudden a must own, I’d think about grabbing him in deeper leagues and am intrigued for next year.

Robbie Ray has had rough season following his 2017 breakout but had 16 strikeouts and a 1.74 ERA in his last two starts. Then there’s the issue with his 1.45 WHIP and lasting only 10.1 innings in those two starts. OK, so he doesn’t totally belong here because of the poor WHIP but at least he’s keeping the runs down and the strikeouts up. However, his walk rate is up 2% this year to an ugly 12.7% with an elevated home run rate. The elevated walk rate is supported by a sub-40% zone rate (4% lower than 2017), and his elevated HR rate is supported by a 3% increase in hard contact. I cannot recommend Robbie Ray, it’s like combining Tanaka’s HR rate with Newcomb’s walk rate. NOPE!

Jameson Taillon has a 2.08 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, and 15 strikeouts with 2 wins in his last 2 games. There’s no doubt that Taillon has been better since the introduction of his curveball but his K rate remains just OK. The 15 strikeouts between 2 starts are nice but as a whole, we are looking at an 8-8.5 K/9 pitcher with really solid ratios. Remember what I said about Robbie Ray? How could you not, you read it 8 seconds ago. Taillon is the opposite, he doesn’t give out free passes and suppresses home runs. I like Taillon coming into the year because his .352 BABIP was sure to regress and sure as shit, it sits at .298 this year. Taillon is the perfect number 3 for your rotation, a mid-3s ERA with a 1.20 WHIP and good enough Ks to not hurt you.

Freezing Cold Pitchers
Jake Arrieta has had an interesting season, to say the least. In his last two starts, his ERA is 8.00 and he’s issued 6 walks along with 8 hits, 4 of which are home runs. It’s funny, his 3.54 ERA on the season just about matches his ERA last year with the Cubs and the ERA estimators say he’s more of a low-4s ERA guy. His K-rate is downright Devlish at 6.66/9 (not good) and his zone contact is over 90% with a swinging strike rate below 7.5%. I know he’s been fine as a number 4 starter on your fantasy team, but I just don’t trust him down the stretch.

Joe Musgrove can’t seem to get on track with the Pirates. His 8.10 ERA and 1.70 WHIP in his last 2 starts are starting to worry me. His strikeout rate is on the rise, but Musgrove can’t seem to get into a Mus-Groove. Looking at Musgrove’s peripherals, he’s doing a good job of inducing soft contact and getting batters to chase pitches outside the zone. Musgrove typically has a high floor because of his lack of walks and his first-pitch strike rate. With the swings and misses outside the zone, I wish he wouldn’t throw so many strikes. It sounds crazy but I think he can be more effective that way. I’d still own him 12-team leagues and deeper.

Michael Fulmer looked great in his first start off the DL but only went 4.2 IP. In his second start against the weak Royals, he’s really got punished giving up 7 ER in only 3.2 IP. UGH, I had high hopes for Fulmer coming into the year but I can’t recommend him at all going forward. A start like that against the Royals tells me that I can’t trust him against any opposition. On a positive note, his strikeouts are up a little bit but so are his walks. His velocity has been great, he just needs to develop a better secondary pitch. I’m still going to be interested in Fulmer next year because he’s only 25 and should be dirt cheap. I won’t reach for him, but he could make a jump forward next year.

It appears the trade for Nathan Eovaldi has not worked out well for the Red Sox. Eovaldi has given up 9 earned runs with a 1.83 WHIP and 5 Ks in his last 2 starts (6 IP). He’s been bad for an entire month now. So, Mr. 99 MPH fastball has still not learned how to get strikeouts. Eovaldi still sports a sub-20% K rate with an 81.3% contact rate which is a couple percent worse than league average. His 51% zone rate is one of the highest in the league and hitters are teeing off. He won’t get hurt by walks but clearly, the long ball has stung him. There’s just not enough upside with Eovaldi this year. Maybe next year E.

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