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What Hitters are Over and Underperforming Based on HR/BRL Rate

Last month, I developed home run park factors using Statcast’s metric – Barrels. I used four full seasons of Statcast data to determine the most favorable and unfavorable parks in Major League Baseball. Let’s put this information to work and determine which players have been unlucky or are underperforming and players who have been lucky or are overperforming their power metrics based on HR/BRL rate. I’ll look at how players have performed in the past, look at park factors, and compare their numbers to the league-average HR/BRL rate in 2019. Speaking of which, that metric (HR/BRL%) is currently 55.96%. I deduct home runs that do not qualify as a barrel in that calculation. I separate them out and call those home runs “lucky” or non-barreled homers.

First, let’s look at the underperformers. You’ll want to sort the column to the right (HR/BRL%). Remember 55.96% is league-average, so sort the column further to the right to if you want to to see the largest underperformers. The HR (BRL) column are all the home runs that were also barrels and the number from that column plus the Lucky HR column should equal the player’s total HR to date. Hit me up if you have questions or want to know about a player on the list I didn’t cover.

HR/BRL Underperformers (5/31/19)

PlayerBRLHR (BRL)Lucky HRHR TotalHR/BRL%
David Dahl1750529.4%
Andrew Benintendi1451635.7%
Jose Ramirez1140436.4%
Brandon Belt1662837.5%
J.T Realmuto1871838.9%
Anthony Rendon23911039.1%
Christian Walker22911040.9%
Freddie Freeman291301344.8%
Jose Abreu311411545.2%
Mookie Betts1990947.4%
Dansby Swanson211001047.6%
Mike Trout251201248.0%
J.D Martinez221101150.0%
Domingo Santana201001050.0%
Ketel Marte201021250.0%

David Dahl – How in the hell does a Rockies hitter have the lowest HR/BRL rate? When we go over the overperformers, we find Nolan Arenado (85.7%) and Trevor Story (71.4%). Of course, we know based on their home park, those numbers are not out of bounds. I absolutely hate his (Dahl’s) approach and his contact rate is atrocious but Coors field! He’s due some serious positive power regression as long as the Rockies stick with him. Unfortunately, he’s running an elevated BABIP inflating his batting average, so it’s not like you can get him for cheap. I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes on a binge over the summer months and ends up close to 30 home runs.

Andrew Benintendi has picked up his pace in recent weeks. I was high on him this offseason and expected him to take a step forward in terms of power. The good news is he’s just about halfway to his total number of barrels from 2018 but has only produced six homers. Fenway isn’t great for left-handed pull power which is what Benny produces. I still think he’s due some positive regression and a 20-20 season is well within reach.

No surprise here, Jose Ramirez has been unlucky this season. That doesn’t mean he’s been good though. Ramirez thrives by commanding the strike zone, making a ton of contact and doing damage to the pull side. This year, he’s declined in all three facets. As far as his power, he’s not hitting 39 homers, sorry. But, for a home park that’s neutral for power, he should have a couple more home runs. I think he’ll heat up and end up with around 20 home runs to go with 30 steals which isn’t so bad but not a top five player.

Yes, Christian Walker homered last night, but he’s been ice cold. With the addition of Kevin Cron to the MLB roster, Walker will fade in the remaining four months. Yes, he’s been unlucky, no I’m not buying.

J.T. Realmuto plays in a favorable park with a stacked lineup. His power and Statcast metrics look great and clearly, he’s been extremely unlucky in terms of HR/BRL rate. Find an owner who is tired of his mediocre statistics and pluck him up for cheap because, I think he ends up around 25 homers this year with career-best counting stats.

This offseason, I predicted Anthony Rendon would win the MVP this year and even after missing over two weeks to an elbow contusion, he still ranks sixth in the NL in WAR. He’s only managed 10 home runs on 23 barrels (1 lucky HR) to date. Just regressing Rendon to league-average HR/BRL, he would have 14 home runs in just 43 games played. If he can stay healthy and luck falls on his side, he should have no problem reach 30-35 homers with a slash line of .300/.400/600 and a top 3 MVP candidate.

Freddie Freeman is currently underperforming his HR/BRL rate for the third straight season. New Suntrust Park did not fair well (25th in HR Park Factors) since inception in 2017. Freeman hits a ton of line drives at high exit velocities that may be registering as barrels. However, they might not have enough loft or backspin to reach the seats, especially in Suntrust. It’s too bad because he may be having the best season of his career with a career-low 16.7% strikeout rate.

You might be surprised to find out that the 2019 barrels leader is Jose Abreu. Abreu heats up in the Summer months and already has 15 home runs. He’s striking out more also making more contact on pitches in the zone. His HR/FB rate is the highest since his rookie season and at age-32, he’s at the back-end of his power prime. Given the current environment and the improved White Sox lineup, I like Abreu to match or even best his home run total from his rookie season. I can envision a .270-40-120 type of line.

LOL Mike Trout LOL

I have to touch on my guy Ketel Marte. He just hit a ball 115.8 MPH yesterday which is harder than any ball Joey Gallo has hit this year. The metrics back up his power improvements and he’s actually pulling 39% of his fly balls which is key for power. The point is, I don’t expect regression from Marte going forward. I’d put him down for 25-28 home runs with a good batting average and plenty of R+RBI hitting 2nd or 3rd in the Diamondbacks lineup.

HR/BRL Rate Overperformers (5/31/19)

PlayerBRLHR (BRL)Lucky HRHR TotalHR/BRL%
Tommy La Stella1010212100.0%
Jesse Winker88210100.0%
Jose Peraza1145100.0%
Alex Bregman151431793.3%
Hunter Renfroe111011190.9%
Jose Altuve1090990.0%
Derek Deitrich171521788.2%
MItch Haniger161401487.5%
Joc Pederson161421687.5%
Dan Vogelbach151321586.7%
Albert Almora761785.7%
Nolan Arenado141231585.7%
Cody Bellinger241822075.0%
Paul Goldschmidt151101173.3%
Eric Hosmer1181972.7%
Victor Robles753871.4%
Trevor Story141031371.4%
Wilson Contreras141021271.4%
Eugenio Suarez171221470.6%
Eduardo Escobar14951464.3%

Jose Peraza is probably the luckiest hitter in the league in terms of home runs. He has totaled five home runs on just one barrel! I can’t put a whole lot of stock into these metrics because #1, it’s such a small sample and #2, he plays his home games in GAB, the best park in MLB for homers. He also did similar things last year hitting 14 homers on 14 barrels. I’m not interested in Peraza going forward but he could still luck his way into 10 HR and 15-20 steals. 

Wow, another Red, surprising. After hyping Jesse Winker for the better part of a year now, I’m cooling a bit on him. His batted ball metrics have taken a dip over the last three weeks. It could just be a minor injury or an approach change (not in a good way) but I still like Winker going forward. Even with the extreme homer-friendly park in Great American Ballpark, I don’t think he’ll continue his power pace. He’s still on pace for just under 30 homers but I’d expect something closer to 25 with improvements in batting average. He’s still a top 200 player going forward.

It probably doesn’t take an expert to figure out Tommy La Stella has been extremely fortunate in the power department this season. He’s managed to hammer out 12 home runs while only barreling 10 balls. He’s homered on all 10 of his barrels and assuming league-average HR/BRL rate, he should have between five and six home runs. He’s also hit two “lucky” home runs and five of his 12 home runs were hit with an exit velocity under 100 MPH. Everywhere I look, I see regression including his 20.4% HR/FB rate which is seven percent higher than his previous career-high. His average HR distance is 392 feet. His average EV on FB/LD is only 91.6 MPH which ranks 152 out of 204 batters with at least 100 batted balls sandwiched between Steven Duggar and Amed Rosario.

Alex Bregman has homered on over 93% of his barrels and has totaled more home runs than barreled balls. This is a guy who hit 31 home runs on 39 barrels last season and averaged only 384 feet on his home runs. Interestingly enough, Bregman is not taking advantage of the short Crawford boxes in Minute Maid Park. In fact, only one home run was aided by the Crawford Boxes. It was hit on 5/22 and went just 352 feet with an exit velocity of only 93 MPH with an xBA of just 0.068. He doesn’t have monster power but his short and quick swing generates enough power to all fields. I think his home run rate declines on balls to the opposite field, but the rest of his profile looks legit.

I was stuck between Hunter Renfroe and Franmil Reyes in the preseason but after the first two months, I’m much more excited about Framil. Renfroe still has some solid value, especially if he plays every day but it will likely come with a drain on batting average. He’s been lucky in the power department but as I learned last month, Petco Park is a top 10 park for home runs. I also noticed Renfroe is pulling 53% of his fly balls which is the most in the league among hitters with at least 40 fly balls. That’s a great why to inflate your HR/FB rate, so while I expect some regression, it shouldn;t be drastic. I think Renfroe reaches 30 homers for the first time but might have to wait another year or two in order to reach to 40 homer milestone.

Mr. Swag himself, Derek Dietrich has been fortunate to have a home run total of 17 through the first two months. It’s been impressive, there’s no doubt but in a list of 23 overperformers to date, four of them play for the Reds. He’s another guy pulling a high eprcentage of his fly balls. He’s selling out for power increasing his fly ball rate by 16%! He’s also improved his hard contact but is popping up too much as well. He’s going to go through slumps and crater batting averages but the backdrop of GABP should net Dietrich another 15 or so homers.

Joc Pederson is interesting because he hits some absolute moonshots. Three of his home runs this season were hit at 35-degree launch angles or higher, one reached 43 degrees! He also love hitting in LA where 11 of his 16 home runs have come at home. Dodger Stadium scored as the 11th best park for home runs (1.05 PF) but where it’s very favorable is down the lines where it’s 330 feet. Pederson is able to take advantage of the short right field fence and can hug several moonshots. He still can’t hit lefties and will be on the bench against them, so manage Pederson accordingly.

Dan Vogelbach doesn’t hit many wall scrappers. He has hit two lucky home runs but it’s likely due to the low launch angle of the home runs, not the lower exit velocity we see with the likes of Tommy La Stella. To give you an idea of what I mean, 10 of his 15 home runs have been hit at launch angles of 23 degrees or lower. Most of those were absolutely crushed at exit velocities of 104 MPH or higher. Most home runs are hit between 22 and 32 degrees +/- in terms of launch angle. Vogelbach is trying to buck that trend. As the weather heats up, the balls will only travel further, so I’m not expecting regression from Vogelbach, even though he finds himself on this list.

Follow me @FreezeStats. Check out my work at FantasyPros and Pitcher List.


Cover Photo Credit:Mitchell Layton
2019 Getty Image
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Starting Pitchers to Stream Week 9 (5/27-6/2)

 Happy Memorial Day Weekend! With this being a holiday weekend, I’ll spare you a lengthy intro. We had mixed results last week and I hope you checked the wind prior to Tyler Mahle’s start in Wrigley. Or listened to my advice prior to the game. There are plenty of decent options next week. Remember the pitchers listed below have to be owned in 25% or fewer leagues based on FantasyPros consensus ownership rates.

Jeff Samardzija (SP – SF) 12% owned, @MIA Tuesday 5/28
Shark is very much pitching over his head right now and at some point, it’s going to blow up in his face. Are the Marlins, who basically roster a Triple-A team, where regression sets in? I doubt it. Besides, he’s throwing his slider and cutter more often while reducing the usage of his sinker. That sinker was brutal last season. He’s also getting ahead of hitters with a 65% F-Strike rate. Oh, and that team he’s facing, the Marlins, have a .265 wOBA at home this year. I’m not seeing a dominant performance for Jeff but a quality start with good ratios is on the docket. STREAM

Trevor Richards (SP – MIA) 9% owned, Home vs SF Tuesday 5/28
Richards is just 1-5 on the season but he pitched well last week against the Tigers. I suggested Richards as a streamer last week and this matchup is just as juicy and it’s in Miami. I discuss this under the Lopez blurb in detail, but Richards is able to handle weaker opponents. Plus Richards has that killer changeup and the Giants rank 28th in the league in terms of pitch value against the changeup. That’s another point for Richards. We know there likely won’t be a whole lot of run support but as long the walks are kept in check, he should put up solid ratios with at least a k per inning based on his 29.1% CSW rate. I’m streaming here but prefer the option below.

Pablo Lopez (SP – MIA) 7% owned, home vs SF Wednesday 5/29
I know what you’re thinking, Lopez has gotten lit up in two of the three outings. Why is he on here? I get it but the matchup was against the Nationals in Washington. This one is against the Giants and at home. It’s a dream matchup. I’m starting to think Lopez is going to be a bum slayer and will get smoked on the road against better opponents. Lopez has given up four earned runs or more five times this year. Here are the opponents: @ATL, @CIN, @PHI, @NYM, @WAS.The Giants have been a little better of late but are still sporting a poor .281 wOBA over the last two weeks. So, back to Lopez and his home cookin’. Lopez will bring his talents back to South Beach for this one where he has a 1.93 ERA and 10.0 K/9. STREAM

Griffin Canning (SP – LAA) 23% owned, @OAK, Wednesday 5/29
If Canning is still available on your wire, you better act now! He now has 29 strikeouts in his first five starts in the big leagues and sports a ridiculous 16.4% swinging strike rate! That rate combined with his 33.1% CSW rate indicates that his strikeout rate is actually low. The Athletics are likely without Khris Davis and have just a .299 wOBA (24th in MLB) at home this year. The expansive ballpark should help Canning’s one weakness thus far (gophoritis). Canning is my call of the week, so he’s an easy STREAM.

Chase Anderson (SP – MIL) 11% owned, @PIT, Thursday 5/30
I’m actually slightly intrigued with Chase Anderson. His velocity is up about 1.5 MPH and he’s increased the usage of his changeup and cutter. He also hasn’t allowed a home run in his last four starts. His fourseasm fastball has improved significantly as he’s getting swings and misses 12.8% of the time and is throwing it in the zone more often. I think Anderson has a chance to go 5+ innings while netting a handful of strikeouts while limiting walks. The Pirates, despite Josh Bell’s heroics, are essentially league-average offensively over the last two weeks. As long as he can pitch around Bell, Anderson should be fine. STREAM

Lance Lynn (SP – TEX), 14% owned, home vs KC, Saturday 6/1
I know, I know, it’s Lance Lynn. But, he like many other pitchers is fading his sinker. In its place, he’s throwing a cutter which has added another mini-velocity band between his fastball and changeup. Hitters are batting just .194 against his cutter with a .506 OPS. It also gives Lynn another pitch he can throw for strikes. Speaking of which, his walk rate has dropped by nearly three percent since 2018. He’s done that without hurting his strikeout rate. That’s great! Now, the Royals. As a team, they have hit a total of 3 home runs over that last 14 days with a wOBA of just .288. I’d prefer if this game was played in the confines of Kauffman Stadium but I’m OK settling for a home start. I’m streaming here.

Follow me @FreezeStats. Check out my work at FantasyPros and Pitcher List.


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Starting Pitcher ROS Rankings – May Update (Fantasy Baseball)

Wow, quite a bit has changed since Opening Day back in late-March. We are just under two months into the season so a starting pitcher rankings update was well overdue. I also included my relief pitcher ranking updates as well. In the blurbs below, I’ll cover the pitchers who have seen significant movement since opening day. If a player has been injured, they, of course, have dropped in the rankings. I won’t cover them as it’s obvious why they have fallen. There are some pitchers who are intriguing and have shown skills changes (both good and bad) discussed below. Note: The ECR +/- is based on FantasyPros Expert Consensus Rankings, not my previous ranks. Click here for my preseason rankings.

 

BIGGEST RISERS

Caleb Smith (SP – MIA) +73 and Pablo Lopez (SP – MIA) +93
Yeah, Smith has been unbelievable this year. I had him ranked just inside the top 100 (99th) at the start the season and now he’s inside the top 20! To my credit, I did rank him as the top Marlins pitcher followed by Richards and Lopez. Smith has earned a 28.5% K-BB% which ranks fourth in all of baseball! All of the ERA estimators have him regressing closer to an ERA near 3.00, but given his skills, that puts him inside the top 20 overall for SPs.  Lopez has jumped over Richards as the Marlins second best option. His 5.06 ERA does not indicate how good he’s been. He has a 1.17 WHIP, an 18% K-BB%, and his ERA estimators have him closer to 3.65. I’ve bumped him up to 56th overall but could be higher if he didn’t pitch for one of the worst teams in the league. The same could be said for Smith (who could be top 15). Smith is long gone but Lopez may still be available in 12-team leagues.

Lucas Giolito (SP – CHW) +95
How fitting. Giolito just threw a complete game shutout against the Astros striking out nine batters. He’s been an absolute beast this year. I thought about bumping him up even more but feel that he’s safe in the upper-30s. Clearly, I was not in on Giolito coming into the season after a disastrous 6.13 ERA in 2018. He’s doing everything right. His K% is up to a whopping 12%, his walk rate is down over two percent, and he’s given up just three homers in 52 innings! That home run rate probably won’t stick but his improvements look somewhat legit. He dropped his sinker usage and is throwing his changeup more. Increasing his FB velocity has helped as well. He’s getting ahead of hitters and has a career-high zone rate. Now for the not so great. I don’t want to completely throw cold water on Giolito but he doesn’t quite have elite swing and miss stuff and when the weather heats up in Chicago, he’s in for some regression. Still, I think he’s more of 24-25% K rate pitcher with a home run per nine innings. I’d put him closer to a 3.50-3.60 ERA with near a strikeout per inning. 

Matt Boyd (SP – DET) +33
Based on FantasyPros Expert Consensus, my rank was on average 28 spots higher than the other experts. I guess you could call this one a victory for me but then why do I only own one share? Sad. I loved what I saw with his slider last season and he was one of my favorite weekly streamers. He really was just one step away from being very good which is why I boosted him in my preseason ranks. Well, he’s taken that next step and looks a lot like Patrick Corbin from last season. Other than very little run support, Boyd looks like a great SP2/3 this year with some upside. The AL Central is full of mediocre and poor offensive clubs (sans Minnesota), so I don’t see much regression in Boyd’s numbers.

Chris Paddack (SP – SD) +44
The rookie sensation has been fantastic in the early going. He’s got the stuff, he’s got command, and he’s got control. It will be interesting to see how the Padres handle him. He’s rumored to get only 140 innings this year but he’s starting every sixth day. At his current pace, he would be shut down with about three weeks remaining in the regular season. That kind of sucks for head-to-head leagues but should be just fine for roto leagues.

Clayton Kershaw (SP – LAD) +16
Kershaw might not be the best pitcher in baseball but he’s doing the best with his declining velocity and skills. He’s throwing his breaking balls nearly 60% of the time but it does appear to be working. His control and command are elite and should be a top 15 starting pitcher if he remains healthy. Let’s just hope his back issues stay away for four more months.

Luis Castillo (SP – CIN) +15
Everywhere you look, people are calling for regression with Castillo and we saw some of that against the Brewers on Wednesday but his quality of contact against has been elite. Per BaseballSavant, his xwOBA is .249 which is just insane. My boo from last offseason is off to a hell of a start and has now essentially been an ace over the last calendar year. Here are his numbers since May 24th, 2018:
182.2 IP 12-9 3.25 ERA 1.08 WHIP 193 Strikeouts

That’s what I call a borderline ace. His changeup has been the best in the bigs this year. He’s close, but not quite there. His zone rate is dangerously low and it’s really bumped his walk rate. If he can dip his BB% to 8-9%, he’s going to be a monster.

FALLERS

Nick Pivetta (SP – PHI) -55
Ouch Nicky P. Was Pivetta a sleeper if everyone loved him coming into the season? Unfortunately, K-BB% isn’t everything. Quality of contact and location of pitches in the zone are extremely important. Pivetta may be recalled soon as he’s pitched well in Triple-A, I’m just no running to the waiver wire to add him save for deep leagues. He’s walking more batters and his BABIP is low in the minors. In over 315 innings in the bigs, his BABIP is .335. He just won’t succeed if those numbers continue.

Kyle Freeland (SP – COL) -65
Outside of injury or demotion, Freeland is the biggest faller from my preseason ranks. Coors Field is a bitch, amirite? Freeland has already given up 12 home runs this year after giving up 17 in all of 2018. We all knew regression was coming but no one expected this much. He’s still struggling with walks and the juiced ball has really hurt his home run rate. But, he’s also turned into a fly ball pitcher with his fly ball rate over 40% (up 6%). He’s not likely this bad but given him limitations with strikeouts, he’s not rosterable in 12 or even 14-team leagues. 

Miles Mikolas (SP – STL) -43
I had him at 24 in my preseason rankings as I believed his stuff could induce more swings and misses and therefore net more strikeouts. That has clearly not been the case. It figures that a pitcher who pitches to contact would get bitten by the juiced ball. Duh. As strikeout rates continue to rise, Mikolas’ K rate is falling. Mikolas doesn’t appeal to me as a fantasy player in this era. I missed on this one.

Ross Stripling (SP – LAD) -35
Well, we knew the risk going into the season with Stripling and other Dodgers starters. There’s a ton of skill and depth in that rotation but also a lot of uncertainty in terms of health. It’s difficult to rank Stripling any higher even though he’s been very successful as a starter. As a bullpen arm, he falls outside the top 100 but as a starter, he’s a top 40 option. In deep leagues, hold him, in shallow leagues, he’s a clear cut.

If you have any questions, hit me up on Twitter @FreezeStats


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Starting Pitchers to Stream – Week 8 (5/20-5/26)

Every week I cover the best starting pitcher streaming options for the week ahead. I include a blurb as to why I believe each pitcher will be successful in their matchup. The options are pretty slim next week. For the most part, I’m leaning towards more skilled pitchers next week rather than leaning on weak opponents. I discuss six pitchers but only recommend five of them.

All pitchers are owned in under 25% of FantasyPros consensus. Here is the google sheet with all the streaming options and results to date. We are sitting pretty so far through a month and a half.

Gio Gonzalez (SP – MIL) 22% owned, Home vs CIN, Tuesday 5/21
The veteran lefty is back in the National League and has pitched well of late. He’s sporting a 1.69 ERA and a 3.01 FIP. His HR/9 is under 0.5 which won’t last but he’s always been good at suppressing home runs. He’s also throwing his changeup nearly 30% of the time which is a career-high. As a result, he’s getting more swings outside the zone and has a solid 10.8% swinging strike (SwStr%). The Reds are OK against left-handed pitchers ranked 18th in wOBA. I think Gio can neutralize the Reds with his changeup and keep them off balance with a fastball that’s performed well in terms of swings and misses to date. STREAM

Adam Wainwright (SP – STL) 11% Owned, home vs KC, Wednesday, 5/21
Should we trust the 37-year-old Wainwright one last time? The answer is no. The Royals are decent against breaking balls and that’s Waino’s calling card. His massive curveball is not the pitch it used to be. He’s getting swinging strikes on it just 9.2% of the time (14.2% career), 17.9% K rate (38.2% career), and an 86 wRC+ (38-career). That’s not good fam. Without the curve, he just won’t be effective. You can move along because I’m staying away.

Merrill Kelly (SP – ARI), 8% owned, @SD, Wednesday 5/22
The Padres have just a .291 wOBA against righties with a 28% strikeout rate. Kelly has already faced the Padres twice this year with mixed results. Here’s what he’s done against them: 11 IP, seven earned runs, and eight strikeouts. Meh, not great. The good news is the Padres are struggling to make contact of late creeping near a 30% strikeout rate and a walk rate under 6.5%. Look, Kelly isn’t a great pitcher but he’s coming off a seven-inning scoreless outing against the Giants. Maybe he can build off his success against a Padres team that has struggled to score runs of late with just 12 runs in their last five games. I’m STREAMING in deep leagues.

Trevor Richards (SP – MIA), 10% owned, @DET, Thursday 5/23
Richards is a guy who showed up in my research covering starters who have increased their called strikes plus swinging strike rate (CSW%) this year. He’s up over 30% which is nearly 3% above league average. Now, Richards has not been very good this year because he’s been hurt by the free pass and the long ball. The good news for Richards is the Tigers have just a .276 wOBA versus right-handed pitchers and only .279 wOBA at home. Comerica Park is a difficult place to hit home runs as they have hit just 14 long balls at home all season in nearly 800 PA. They also walk under 7% of the time. I expect Richards to deploy his elite changeup around 40% of the time netting five to six strikeouts and limit the overall damage. STREAM in deeper formats.

Griffin Canning (SP – LAA), 16% Owned, Home vs TEX, Friday 5/24
Rookie pitchers are difficult because you never know what you’re going to get and the Rangers are a top 10 offense over the last two weeks. Two starts ago, Canning gave up three homers to the Orioles, then followed it up with a seven-inning scoreless start versus the Royals. Most importantly for Canning, he didn’t walk anyone and got ahead of hitters with a 68% first-pitch strike rate. He’s been better at finding the zone recently, but still has a little work to do. Avoiding lefty Joey Gallo is going to be difficult but Canning has an elite 35% CSW rate. Canning could either get blown up for three homers or dominate with eight strikeouts. That’s the risk of streaming though, and it’s more favorable for Canning in his home park rather than it Globe Life in Arlington. I’ll take the upside with Canning and STREAM.

Tyler Mahle (SP – CIN), 10% owned, @CHC, Saturday, 5/25
Mahle against the red-hot Cubs doesn’t look good on the surface. The Cubs have a .337 wOBA over the last two weeks and have been OK at home this year. This is more about Mahle than it is about the Cubs. He’s carrying a 3.51 ERA (3.55 SIERA) with a 20.7% K-BB rate. His swinging strike rate is below-average but has an impressive 31.4 CSW rate means he’s among the big boys. He’s also been getting ahead of hitters more frequently with a 67.3% first-pitch strike rate up five percent from 2018. Limiting walks and getting called strikes have been the keys to success for Mahle. If his BABIP comes down a bit (.323 currently), he might end up being a must-own in 12-team leagues. I’m STREAMING him this week but watching the wind direction at Wrigley closely. If it’s blowing out, I reserve the right to change my mind.

Follow me @FreezeStats. Check out my work at FantasyPros and Pitcher List.


Photo courtesy of David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

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Evaluating Starting Pitchers Using CSW (2018-2019)

The Called-Strikes Plus Swinging Strike rate (CSW) metric developed by Nick Pollack and Alex Fast at Pitcher List is one that takes the next step in analyzing pitchers. We all love K-BB% and that’s a great metric that shows a pitcher’s ability to get batters out without putting the ball in play or vice-versa. The metric takes chance out of the equation such as fielder’s defense, weather conditions, etc. and really shows a pitcher’s skill. Swinging strike rate (SwStr%) also does a great job of showing how good a pitcher is at getting swings and misses. The missing piece is called strikes because not all pitches are created equal. A slider, on average, has a higher swinging strike rate by between 8-9% than a fourseam fastball. A pitcher who can effectively throw a slider 40% of the time will likely have a better SwStr% than a pitcher who relies heavily on his fastball and curveball and doesn’t throw a slider. CSW% accounts for these types of pitchers creating an even playing field.

I’ve looked at starting pitchers who have either increased or decreased their CSW% by at least 2% from the previous year. The minimum qualifiers are at least 1,250 pitches thrown in 2018 and at least 300 pitches thrown this season. Here’s the complete list.

player_nameCSW% Delta
Lucas Giolito5.4
Blake Snell5.1
Derek Holland5
Martin Perez4.8
Matthew Boyd4.8
Carlos Rodon4.7
Caleb Smith4.5
Jake Odorizzi4.4
Stephen Strasburg4.1
Mike Minor4
Felix Hernandez3.9
Luis Castillo3.7
Drew Pomeranz3.7
Tyler Glasnow3.4
Luke Weaver3.2
Tyler Mahle3.2
Kyle Gibson3
Jose Quintana2.9
Eduardo Rodriguez2.7
Lance Lynn2.6
Reynaldo Lopez2.5
Cole Hamels2.4
Trevor Richards2.2
Jake Arrieta2.1
Clayton Kershaw1.9
Dereck Rodriguez-2.3
Joey Lucchesi-2.3
Robbie Ray-2.4
Brad Keller-2.5
J.A. Happ-2.5
Jhoulys Chacin-2.6
Mike Fiers-2.6
Wei-Yin Chen-2.6
Trevor Cahill-2.7
Justin Verlander-2.8
Yonny Chirinos-2.8
Tyler Skaggs-2.9
Zack Godley-3.4
Sean Newcomb-3.4
Dan Straily-4.1
CC Sabathia-4.2
Antonio Senzatela-4.6
Mike Foltynewicz-4.6
Jason Vargas-4.7
Clay Buchholz-4.9
Vince Velasquez-5.2
Nick Pivetta-5.6

Here is the link to the Google Sheet. The first tab shows the pitcher’s CSW% rates form both 2018 and 2019. League average CSW% is 28.7%. You can read more here on the metric. I won’t touch on every pitcher on the list, but feel free to comment and ask me what I think about them going forward.

Risers

I snuck Clayton Kershaw in there even though he’s increased his CSW% by only 1.9% and not the 2% threshold, whoops. It’s enough for me to feel confident that the former best pitcher in baseball will at the very least be productive going forward. His fastball velocity is sitting at a career-low 90.5 MPH but he’s only throwing it 40% of the time. Home runs will be an issue and his strikeout rate won’t be elite, but should still be solid. I’d treat him as a top 15-20 SP going forward.

Lucas Giolito looks like he’s taking the next step in his career. His CSW% was a below-average 26.3% in 2018 and has shot up to a very solid 31.7% this year, nearly elite. The changes seem legitimate too! He’s increased his velocity by over 1.0 MPH on his fastball, completely stopped throwing his sinker, and increased the usage of his changeup. His sinker generated swinging strikes under 5% of the time in 2018, meanwhile, his changeup averages a SwStr% of over 17% and is up to 18.6% this year. He still struggles with control and command and his walk rate remains just over 10%, so he’s not all the way there. That being said, he should be owned in all leagues going forward.

So, Blake Snell is better than he was last year? Well, that’s kind of unfair. Snell won’t repeat his ERA from last season because the ERA-estimators pegged him for an additional 1.10-1.40 runs to his actual ERA. Snell has moved into the top five for starting pitchers for me rest-of-season and maybe top 3.

Luis Castillo is an ace. Not much more to say here. He already was a very good strikeout pitcher last year but has taken his skills to the next level. Unfortunately, I was a year early on Castillo but still fortunate to own him in two places this year.

Luke Weaver is back to where he was in the second half of 2017. He’s throwing his cutter more this year (14.5%) at the expense of his fastball but it isn’t much of an improvement though. It’s his changeup and curveball that have been taken to the next level. The BABIP against his changeup is sub-.200, so that’s bound to come up. I still like Weaver and believe in the improvements, but I do expect some regression in Weaver’s numbers going forward.

Matt Boyd and Caleb Smith are two guys who have both shown some skills before but never could sustain success. Boyd’s issues were more with his fastball and Smith couldn’t stay healthy last year. Both are here to stay, so get used to both of them being inside the top-25 starting pitchers going forward.

Stephen Strasburg no longer throws 97+ MPH but he’s still got a nasty changeup. He’s also throwing more sinkers which has increased his groundball rate. Normally, I would not be a fan of this type of pitch change but it hasn’t hurt his strikeout rate one bit. In fact, his SwStr% is at a career-high 15.6% with a CSW at 34.6% to back it up! If he stays healthy, he’s a top 5-7 option but injuries always seem to find him, so beware.

Ugh, it really sucks that we lost Tyler Glasnow and Carlos Rodon to injuries. Glasnow will likely return this year but we can’t rule out Tommy John Surgery and Rodon has elected to go under the knife. RIP until late-2020 and likely 2021. Both showed great improvements in CSW%, and are still very young, so keep the faith.

Tyler Mahle and Mike Minor both went from having below-average CSW rates to over 30% this year. I absolutely hate their home parks and as the heat rises so could their home run rates. The difference is that Mahle already carries an elevated HR/FB% at over 18% but Minor is sitting at just 10%. Minor also is a fly ball pitcher where Mahle is getting ground balls over 44% of the time. I don’t want to necessarily compare the two but I guess I am. Minor’s HR rate will likely increase and because of his home park, owners will likely need to sit him against tough opponents in Arlington. I feel the same about Mahle though in GAB. If I had to pick one, I’d lean Mahle for the strikeout upside. Either way, both should be owned but will require some maintenance.

Fallers

At the bottom of the list, we have a couple of Phillies. Nick Pivetta and Vince Velasquez. Obviously the popular sleeper, Nick Pivetta is back in Triple-A and VV hit the IL. I don’t want to touch either of them at any point this year, so just stay away.

I’m worried about Mike Foltyneiwicz. I’m willing to give him a little more time because he’s spent some time on the IL, but he was due for some strikeout regression after posting a 30.1% CSW rate last season. Now, he’s just over 25%, which is teetering on poor. There’s a lot of loud contact and fly balls coming off bats against Folty, but you have to hold in 12-team and deeper leagues as you likely spent a top 100-125 pick on him.

Don’t worry about Justin Verlander. He went from a 34% CSW rate to 31.2%. He probably won’t continue to be the number one SP all season but I’d still bet he finishes inside the top five or six. I think Robbie Ray is just fine as well. You know who his is at this point. He will still pile up the strikeouts, give you a decent ERA with an elevated WHIP. Ray is frustrating but has value.

Other than Verlander, Ray, and Tyler Skaggs, I essentially want no part of this group of pitchers except maybe Yonny Chirinos is deeper formats. He’s shown the ability to go as deep as seven innings in a couple of starts and should provide opportunities for wins when an opener is used in front of him. He’s due for some regression with his .205 BABIP but he doesn’t hurt himself with walks either. He needs to get his slider working in order to raise his CSW rate because his splitter is nasty. Skaggs is still intriguing to me. His velocity is down a hair but he’s ditched the sinker in favor of his curve and change. He’s just not getting ahead of hitters as much as he typically does. His first pitch strike rate is down 5% this year. If he rights that ship, his strikeout rate should improve and his ratios with start to drop.

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Photo credit: Chicago Tribune

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Starting Pitchers to Stream – Week 7 (5/13-5/19)

Let’s get this out of the way. PaBLOW Lopez really killed us last week. That will happen every once and a while and we have to pick ourselves up and trust the process. I’m not giving up on Lopez for just one awful start but I’m fading him next week at least. Luckily, we had seven other starters last week who, by in large, performed well. Despite the 10 runs beat down on Lopez, here are the streaming numbers to date through the first six weeks of the season:

IP ERA WHIP K W QS
Season Totals 165.65 3.42 1.07 171 16 17

Not bad right? Those are much better than league-average and look like a #2 starter on most fantasy teams. Forget about the Lopez start, trust the process, and let’s keep rolling. Here’s what we have next week. Note: All pitchers are owned in 25% of leagues per FantasyPros Consensus Ownership

Wade Miley (SP – HOU) 18% owned, @DET, Tuesday 5/14
Miley is a boring pick here but he’s been successful of late and gets Detroit in Comerica Park. Not only are the Tigers struggling offensively but it’s backed by a .258 wOBA and a 28% strikeout rate in the last 14 days. Comerica Park is the third worst stadium for home runs in the Majors. The Tigers don’t hit many homers but their park doesn’t help them out as they have hit just six in the last two weeks. Miley isn’t going to give you many strikeouts but keeps the ball down and has one of the best defenses behind him. I expect plenty of run support and hopefully six clean innings from Miley who will let his defense do the work for him. STREAM

Trent Thornton (SP – TOR) 4% owned, @SF, Tuesday 5/14
Anytime I have the opportunity to stream a pitcher in San Francisco, I do it. My home run park factors article linked above has Oracle Park 2.5 standard deviations below the average ballpark in terms of home runs. As of Saturday, the Giants have hit just nine home runs at home this season with just a .268 OBP as a team. I’m not the biggest fan of Thornton but his main issue has been home runs. As I just discussed, home runs will be hard to come by, especially from left-handed bats who the Giants should stack against the righty. As with any young pitcher, control and walks can pop up but ballons when a pitcher loses control combined with the long balls. I’m hesitant here but would stream Thornton in 14-team and deeper leagues for the upside.

Derek Holland (SP – SF), 5% owned, Tyler Beede, 1% owned TOR, Tuesday, 5/14
Wait, but I’m streaming Thornton who is going up against the Giants and Holland! Yup, so here’s the thing, we all know that Oracle Park is a pitcher’s dream, no need to go over that again. Note: Holland has been moved to the bullpen and Tyler Beede will be recalled from Triple-A to start in his place. What I really like is that the Blue Jays fourth from the bottom against left-handed pitchers with a .275 wOBA against this year. They have also struck out against lefties over 25% of the time and Holland is rocking a 27% K rate with the metrics to back it up. In addition, the Giants are ranked eighth in team defense thanks to the addition of Kevin Pillar in centerfield. I like Holland to pile up strikeouts can keep the ratios in check. The Blue Jays have almost as bad against right-handed pitchers compared to lefties and have a higher strikeout rate versus RHP. Beede throws 95 MPH with a plus changeup he but he has struggled with control. In the minors, he regularly was near 4 BB/9 and in his brief Major League career has walked 13 batters in 12 innings. Maybe there’s a chance he pulls it together but I believe his upside in this one is no more than five innings with six strikeouts and sub-par ratios. I wouldn’t count on it though. I’m passing on this start for Beede.

Merrill Kelly (SP – ARI), 9% owned, SF, Friday, 5/17
Kelly hasn’t been great overall since coming back to the states but I expect his walk rate to come way down. Eno Sarris recently wrote a piece at The Athletic discussing pitchers with good command+ but have elevated walk rates. Kelly was near the top of the list and as we saw last night against the Braves, he didn’t walk a single batter in seven innings. He gets a cushier matchup next week against the Giants at home. He’s also pitched much better in Chase Field (thank you humidor) with a 3.20 ERA/1.10 WHIP than on the road this year. We’ve covered how poor the Giants offense has been this season, so no need to rehash. Kelly won’t have a ton of strikeout upside but has the ability to go deep into games, so gets a boost in QS leagues. STREAM

Griffin Canning (SP – LAA), 22% owned, KC, Saturday 5/18
I’m not sure why Canning isn’t owned in over 25% of leagues, but hey, our gain right? Canning has impressed in his first two starts in the big leagues striking out 13 with a 1.03 WHIP through 9.2 IP. Hitters can’t seem to make much contact evidenced by the 20% swinging strike rate and 54.6% contact rate. It’s an extremely small sample but those numbers would lead the league. His fastball has been good, his slider is unhittable, and the curve is a plus pitch. The only thing that worries me is his sub-30% zone rate. Patient teams could make him pay but Kansas City is walking 8.5% of the time the last 14 days (9% is league average). The Royals are league-average offensively so they aren’t a pushover. I suspect Canning could go six innings with this being his fourth start in the bigs. I like his upside here, STREAM

Wilmer Font (SP – NYM), 0% owned, @MIA, Sunday 5/19
Font has been filling in for the injured Jason Vargas and now that Steven Matz hit the IL, Font may grab two starts next week. I don’t recommend him in his Monday start in Washington, but this matchup seems just right. Cover one eye when looking at his 5.50 ERA but his 4.01 FIP and 3.59 SIERA show that better days may be ahead. His metrics are backed by a 13% swinging strike rate largely due to the increase in the usage of his breaking balls. He’s throwing his slider and curve 43% of the time and both can get whiffs. The Marlins have managed just a .264 wOBA this season (.258 last 14 days) which is 16 points below the next worst team in the Majors. This will be Font’s third start, so he should have a chance to reach six innings in this one and grab a QS and win. STREAM

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Photo Courtesy of Prospects Live

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Week 6 Rundown: Buy/Sell/Hold – Fantasy Baseball

This article will be covering the last 14 days. What kind of weekly rundown covers the last two weeks? This one I guess. I ultimately wanted to get this out last week but the Home Run Park Factors article took a little bit longer than anticipated. Maybe I should have called this a bi-monthly Rundown? Anyways, here we are, one week into May and Jose Ramirez is still hitting below .200 while Cody Bellinger is hitting over .200 points higher. Let’s dive into who’s hot and who’s not. I’ll give advice on whether or not the players are buys, sells, or holds.

Blazing Hot

Michael Chavis (2B/3B – BOS)
Chavis is batting a smoking hot .320 with six homers, two steals and a combined 26 R+RBI over the last two weeks. His power is no doubt legit but I’ve got questions about Chavis going forward. Will he continue getting playing time when Dustin Pedroia returns? What does his batting average look like once his .344 BABIP comes down? Putting Pedroia aside for a second, Chavis is carrying a 47% fly ball rate and doesn’t have great speed. Fenway does inflate BABIP, but I’d still expect at least a 40 point drop in BABIP. His 73.3% contact rate and high swing and miss rate tells me a 25-30% strikeout rate is likely. Best case for Chavis is something like .260 with 25-30 homers. That’s nice, but dammit, I forgot about Pedroia. He’s never healthy but working back on a rehab assignment. Chavis could lose anywhere from 10 to 50 games to the oft-injured second baseman. Chavis is a moderate sell/hold at this point in redrafts.

Anthony Rizzo (1B – CHC)
After a slow start, Rizzo is hitting .327 with six bombs and an incredible 16 RBI over the last 14 days. Rizzo is a machine. His contact rates have been near an elite level for the last several years. His power appeared to be declining in 2018 but the juiced or modified ball should help Rizzo once again reach the 30 home Run plateau. However, we should temper expectations because he’s currently running a career-high 20% HR/FB rate despite a career-low pull rate. That being said, his .228 BABIP will come up and when it does, Rizzo should settle in around .280-.285 with an outside shot at his first .300 season. 

Adalberto Mondesi (2B/SS – KC)
One of the most polarizing players in the fantasy community over the offseason is smokin’ hot. He’s hitting over .320 with three bombs and three steals over the past two weeks while driving in 17 runs. During that stretch, he’s striking out just 20% of the time which is an improvement on his 26.8% rate to date. He’s proving that his second half last year was not a fluke. What’s most impressive to me is his six triples and 20 extra base hits through 36 games. That’s a pace of 90 total XBH over the course of the entire season. A quick check at his Statcast metrics shows that regression is coming, but mostly in terms of batting average. His xAVG of .246 is .034 points below his actual batting average. However, his barrel rate is a strong 14.2%, so he should actually have a few more homers. If I’m an owner, I’m holding. He’s going to swing a ton, strikeout a lot, hit homers and steal a ton of bases this year, that’s a fact.

Chris Paddack (SP – SD)
20.2 innings pitched, two earned runs, 25 strikeouts, and only 12 base runners. I’ll take what are Chris Paddack’s stats from his last three outings for $1,000 Alex. It’s almost as if Paddack is facing minor league hitters. He’s sporting a cool 1.55 ERA with an unthinkable 0.69 WHIP on the season. He’s great, I like him a lot but he should be sold in redrafts. In keeper and dynasty, obviously, he’s a hold and congrats! Here’s where regression is coming, a .176 BABIP and 5.3% HR/FB. In this era!?!  Look, his changeup is great, and his fastball is pretty good. His third pitch is a curveball that isn’t any good and only throws it 10% of the time. I foresee issues against teams he faces two and three times and the third time through the order. Besides, he likely won’t throw more than 140 innings. You’ve got ace production from him though this point, now flip him for a top 30 bat.

Martin Perez (SP – MIN)
Credit Dan Hayes for reporting on Perez’s increased velocity this spring. All he’s done in his last 21 innings is strike out 20 batters while giving up just one run compiling three wins. He can’t really keep this up, can he? Well, his BABIP and strand rates are neutral, so that’s a good sign. His walk rate is a touch high at 9.4%, so there’s a little concern there. He’s only allowed two home runs after giving up a whopping 16 in only 85 innings last year when he pitched for the Rangers. Sure, he won’t sustain a home run rate under 0.5 per nine innings but he’s not the same pitcher he was in 2018. The main reason for his success is his new cutter. He’s slinging it 35% of the time which has helped him raise his SwStr rate four percent from last year. He’s also getting a solid called strikes plus swinging strikes (CSW) rate of 29%. Perez should be owned in all leagues, so go ahead and add him. Some bumps will come along the road given his walk rate and some home run regression but he doesn’t have enough value to sell yet at this point.

Freezing Cold

Corey Seager (SS-LAD)
Coming off of the Tommy John Surgery, it’s no surprise that Seager is off to a slow start. Over the last two weeks, he’s hitting just .178 with no home runs and four RBI. I’m not all that optimistic that Seager is going to provide value given his ADP around 85-90 this year. The Dodgers feel content batting him second and he’s still taking walks, so runs should be plentiful. Seager’s strikeout rate is up and the lower contact rates reflect that. I think he will get his timing back, so strikeouts shouldn’t be a long term issue. Where I’m concerned is his batted ball profile. He’s increased his fly ball rate but not the quality of his fly balls. He’s increased his popup rate and hitting 58% of his fly balls to the opposite field. That’s where fly balls go to die. Batters want to pull their fly balls to hit home runs, something Seager is doing on under 10% of his fly balls. I’m selling Seager to an owner who still believes in a .300 hitter with 25-30 homer pop.

Wil Myers (1B/OF – SD)
Myers has managed to hit just .119 with one home run and three RBI over the last two weeks. His problem is more with strikeouts than anything. Myers has never been a guy to make a ton of contact, but he’s sitting at a career-worst 35.9% strikeout rate. Both his contact and swinging strike rates are at career-worsts. He’s not even expanding the zone either as he’s right around league average. Overall, the quality of his batted balls are fine but I can’t find any reason to buy Myers at this point. He does have six homers and two steals so it’s possible owners could float some offers out there.

Jackie Bradley Jr. (OF – BOS)
Bradley is hitting just .171 with no homers, one steal, and three RBI in the last two weeks. I led all of you astray with my JBJ love this offseason. He’s been flat out terrible this year hitting a miserable .147 on the season without a home run. It’s not just one thing either. His strikeout rate is through the roof, his hard hit rate is down over 10%, and he’s hitting more ground balls at the expense of line drives. While I don’t see him being this bad all year as his .224 BABIP is 70 points below his career BABIP, but he’s at risk of losing playing time. He is streaky, so if he continues to get playing time, grab him if he gets hot. You’ve ditched him in all shallow leagues and he’s even a drop in 15-team mixed at this point. Sorry, Fam.

Carter Kieboom (2B/SS – WAS)
Note: Kieboom was sent back to Triple-A yesterday, so this write-up while moot may still provide value going forward.
Kieboom is hitting just .128 with those two early home runs, four runs and only two RBI the last two weeks. A 37.2% strikeout rate is largely to blame, but so is a .143 BABIP. Kieboom does hit the ball hard but the expected metrics are not good for him. Against fastball this year, he’s 0 for 20 with eight strikeouts. How is that even possible? It’s too bad his contact rates are so poor because he has a solid idea of the strike zone. Look, Kieboom is just 21 years old, so he’s far from a finished product, I just don’t believe he’s ready for the show. Once Turner comes back, I wouldn’t be surprised if Kieboom was sent back down. Between Dozier and Kendrick manning second base, there will be no place for Kieboom.

Cole Tucker (SS – PIT)
Tucker is hitting just .184 with zero home runs, zero steals, zero RBI, and three runs the last 14 days. The difference between Kieboom and Tucker is playing time. The Pirates have no one else to play shortstop, so they should let Tucker ride this stretch out. Tucker isn’t used to seeing strikeout rates over 30% as he was regularly in the high-teens, low-20s in the minors. I think he could provide some value later in the year given his elite speed and adjustments. However, at this point, he can be dropped.

Kyle Freeland (SP – COL)
Freeland has a bloated 9.75 ERA with a 1.58 WHIP and five homers given up over his last two starts since coming off the disabled list. That WHIP has come on just a low .238 BABIP in that stretch. Freeland’s pitch mix is nearly identical to last year. So is his velocity and so are his strikeout and walk rates. The only difference is his home run rate has gone from one of the best in the league to 13th-highest at 1.82 per nine innings. 2018 was a dream season for Freeland and his owners but the reality is starting to set in. The fact that he is unable to generate whiffs at a high rate and carries a high walk rate just doesn’t provide much value. I think Freeland curbs the home run rate down to the 1.3 per nine range but he will not sustain the .238 BABIP. Go ahead and sell in deep league but he should not be owned in shallow mixed leagues.

Kevin Gausman (SP – ATL)
Kevin Gausman is riding a four-game run with a 7.71 ERA, a 1.84 WHIP, and nine walks. Gausman was looking like an ace through his first few starts but has really fallen apart recently. It’s interesting to note that Gausman has essentially eliminated his slider and has become a two-pitch pitcher with a fastball and a splitter. The splitter has seen most of the increase from the slider. That’s the main reason his swinging strike rate has increased by nearly two percent. A peek at Statcast shows Gausman has allowed some very weak contact and low exit velocities. I was not optimistic coming into this but Gausman may just be a buy. I’m a little concerned about his lack of a third pitch, so I hope he does add one going forward. If he does, he could provide very nice value going forward.

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Starting Pitchers to Stream – Week 6 (5/6-5/12)

Every week I cover starting pitcher streaming options who are owned in 25% or fewer of leagues based on FantasyPros Consensus ownerships rates. Let’s take a look at the options for week 6 (5/6-5/12).

Martin Perez (SP – MIN) 6% owned, @TOR, Monday, 5/6  and Saturday, 5/11 Home vs DET
I stayed away from Perez last week because he faced off against the Astros. He proceeded to twirl eight brilliant shutout innings with seven strikeouts. I’m definitely on board with both starts next week. Perez has only given one earned run over his last two outings. It’s amazing what throwing 95+ MPH will do for a starter like Perez. I prefer the start at home against the Tigers and you’ll see, I’m picking on them next week. As a team, the Tigers have only hit 21 home runs all season and strike out about 27% of the time. I like Perez to pile up a K per inning and a quality start with a good chance for a win. Believe it or not, the Blue Jays haven’t been much better offensively. Despite the call-up of Vlad Jr., the Blue Jays have been in a rut losing their last four games. The Blue Jays also strikeout at a well-above-average clip, so while this road start is a little risky, I’m still rolling with Perez twice next week. STREAM

Tyler Mahle (SP – CIN) 5% owned, @OAK, Tuesday, 5/7
Mahle is becoming a favorite streamer of mine. Sure, he’s got a 4.09 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP but it comes with a cool 9.0 K/9 and sub-2.0 BB/9. He is susceptible to the long ball but is also carrying an unlucky .344 BABIP. While his home park is the most favorable for homers, Oakland’s ballpark is ranked 22nd in terms of home run park factors using Barrels. Add in the fact that the Athletics are ranked 24th in wOBA at home and we’ve got a winning matchup here. I don’t think his arsenal is built to last longterm, but he’s coming off his best start of the season in New York, so I’m back in. STREAM

Griffin Canning (SP – LA) 23% owned, @DET Tuesday 5/7
Here we go, picking on the Tigers again. Canning flashed impressive stuff in his debut even if the numbers didn’t back it up. He touches 95 MPH on his fastball with a plus slider and was able to strike out six Blue Jays in just over four innings. He managed to get called strikes plus swinging strikes on 34% of his pitches, a very solid rate. I think the Angels let him go a little deeper but reaching 6+ innings might be a stretch. So, he’s a little less valuable in QS leagues. The Tigers are not good as I already mentioned but they are even worse at home with just an 87 wRC+ (100 is average) and have hit just seven, yes 7 home runs at home all year, LOL. STREAM

Jeff Samardijza (SP – SF) 17% owned, Home vs CIN Friday, 5/10
Daddy Shark do do dododo. He’s back! He’s pitching today (Sunday) against the Reds but it’s in Great American Smallpark. Remember the home run park factors link above, here it is again. I don’t care what happens in the Sunday start, it’s like going from pitching on the moon to pitching in Antarctica. The Reds are the worst team offensively on the road this year hitting just .252. Scratch that, that’s their OBP, they are batting .197 with a .252 wOBA on the road. Yup, that’s bad. As far as Shark, he’s not great but he’s traded his heavy sinker usage for a cutter. That’s good because the career batting average against his sinker is over .300. Meanwhile, the cutter has allowed just two hits on 110 thrown this year. Another STREAM here.

Jake Odorizzi (SP – MIN) 17% owned, Home vs DET Friday 5/10
Jake is probably my second favorite option next week (Perez is my favorite). And, here we are again picking on the Tigers. I won’t go into them at all. Odorizzi’s just been straight nasty recently. He hasn’t given up a run in his last two starts while striking out 15. In all honesty, he’s had just one poor start out of his first seven outings. He’s been very good rocking a 2.78 ERA. His 12.6% swinging strike rate (SwStr%) backs up his near-10K/9. I’d run to the wire and grab him now before he gets scooped up. STREAM

Pablo Lopez (SP – MIA) 6% Owned, @ NYM Friday 5/10
P-Lo is my boy. Do you trust his current 4.78 ERA or his 2.99 FIP? I tend to lean towards his FIP. Maybe not that good but Lopez is more of a mid-3s ERA pitcher. He’s maintained his increased velocity and it’s improved the results against the fastball. An increase of 4% on his K rate and 2.6% on his swinging strike rate on the fastball has made his secondaries more valuable. Especially the changeup that has generated a disgusting 27.2% SwStr%. The Mets are a tough team and this matchup is not in pitcher-friendly Miami. But wait, they’ve managed just a .284 wOBA in the past 14 days with a near-26% strikeout rate. I think Lopez can manage more than a K per inning with good ratios. I’ll recommend a STREAM but only in 14-team & deeper leagues.

Anthony DeSclafani (SP – CIN), 19% Owned @ SF Saturday 5/11
Talk about picking on weak opponents this week! Tony Disco gets to pitch in the confines of Oracle Park where fly balls go to die. He’s been an extreme fly ball pitcher this year which has hurt him at home but should be just fine away from the GAB. The Giants have hit just .207 with eight home runs at home this year. You read that right, Christian Yelich has more HR at home than the Giants! Meanwhile, DeSclafani is striking out more than 10 batters per nine innings and should easily be able to net a quality start in this one. STREAM.

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