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Starting Pitchers to Stream Week 22 – 8/26-9/1

Welcome back to the FreezeStats starting pitcher streaming article. You know the rules. All of the options I discuss below are available in at least 75% of Yahoo/ESPN consensus ownership rates per FantasyPros. Our options are plentiful next week, so let’s attack the weak offensive clubs. There’s a nice mix of high ceiling options with high-floor guys mixed in.

Alex Young (SP – ARI), 19% owned @SFG, Monday, 8/26
The 25-year-old has been serviceable but unspectacular with a 4.04 ERA, a 1.14 WHIP, and 6.8 K/9 this year. That strikeout rate is embarrassing in today’s game but there’s a silver lining. His chase rate and swinging-strike rate are both above league-average so he’s due some positive regression there. In addition, his curveball is borderline elite with a 44% K rate and a 20.3% SwStr rate. He draws the Giants in Oracle Park who have a 75 wRC+ and just 48 home runs at home this season. That’s fewer than one home run per game for those of you scoring at home. Young has already faced the Giants twice that resulted in one good and one bad outing. The good one came in San Francisco. I like Young next week against the Giants, but he doesn’t have massive upside. I’ll still STREAM.


Adam Plutko (SP – CLE), 6% owned, @DET, Tuesday, 8/27
Speaking of teams who have struggled offensively at home, I give you the Tigers. They are tied with the Giants for the lowest wRC+ at home and have a 25.5% strikeout rate as a team. They’ve whiffed even more frequently since the trade of Nick Castellanos and, of course, are worse offensively. If you thought Young was boring, Plutko might put you to sleep immediately. He’s striking out fewer than 6.0 per nine innings but sports a scant 3.8% walk rate. He does induce whiff outside the zone at a high clip but doesn’t generate as many whiffs as Young overall. Plutko lacks a putaway pitch. My concern with Plutko is fly balls and home runs. His fly-ball rate is 48% and he’s given up 2.2 homers per nine innings. The Tigers tagged him for three longballs the last time they faced, so given the limited upside, I’m STAYING AWAY here.

Anthony DeSclafani (SP – CIN), 19% owned, @MIA, Wednesday, 8/28
Here we go again, back on the dance floor with Tony Disco. Finally! A guy with a strikeout rate better than one batter per inning. He’s added one mph to his fastball and has the best swinging-strike rate of his career. He’s struggling with home runs this year (who hasn’t) but he gets to face the Marlins in Miami. He’s given up 13 homers in the road but five of them were in two outings at Wrigley. The Marlins are not nearly as good as the Cubs offensively and Marlins Park is much more forgiving for pitchers. The Marlins are in the bottom five in terms of wRC+ and strikeout rate this year. DeSclafani is coming off two straight one-run outings, so I like his chances in this one. I’m STREAMing.


Dinelson Lamet (SP – SDP), 25% owned, @SFG, Thursday, 8/29
I’ll tell you right up front that Dinelson Lamet is my top streaming option next week. He’s right at 25% ownership mark, so in deep leagues, he’s probably gone. In 10 and some 12-team leagues, he should be available and plucked up quickly. Lamet has a robust 12.07 K/9. Yes, you read that right. He has an insane 14.4% SwStr% and a 68.9% contact rate. For reference, that would rank seventh and fourth respectively among qualified starters. There’s absolutely no reason a pitcher with that type of swing and miss skill should be available. His one downfall is his control as his walk rate is a smidge below 10%. But don;t worry, he’s going up against one of the worst offensive teams in the Giants in the most favorable park for pitchers. STREAM STREAM STREAM

Dylan Bundy (SP – BAL), 16% owned, @KCR, Saturday, 8/31
I’ve always had a soft spot for Dylan Bundy because he has a really good slider and solid changeup. His K-BB rate is typically in the mid-to-upper teens, combine that with two plus pitches and I just feel like he should be better. The AL East is a nightmare for pitchers and his home park doesn’t do him any favors. He’s away from Baltimore next week against the Royals who are third from the bottom with an 82 wRC+ as a team. Bundy decreased his obscene home run rate from a year ago and while it’s still above league-average, he’s not giving up as many fly balls. That’s in part due to an increase in his changeup usage that generates grounder over 55% of the time. He just dominated the Royals on 8/20, and I’m back in next week. STREAM

Eric Lauer (SP – SDP), 8% owned, @SFG, Saturday, 8/31
The last three options all have the ability to pile up strikeouts, Lauer on the other hand, not so much. However, he’s been solid at limiting home runs this year at 1.14 HR/9 which, believe it or not, is better than league-average. He throws a ton of strikes, so he’s not likely to be hurt by free passes. Pitching in Oracle Park for this start is ideal for Lauer’s skill set. I discussed how poor the Giants are in Young’s blurb, especially at home. I tweeted this earlier in the week showing how the Giants lack an offensive star. If Kevin Pillar, Evan Longoria, and Mike Yastrzemski are the batters Lauer has to worry about, I’ll take my chances. Buster Posey is a shell of himself and is 16% below-league average offensively. Lauer has a good chance at a quality start and win. I’m Streaming here.


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Starting Pitchers to Stream Week 16 – 7/15-7/21

Welcome back to the FreezeStats weekly stating pitcher streaming article! I hope you enjoyed the All-Star break but now is not the time to relax, even if you have a strong lead in your league. We skipped week 15 because it was abbreviated with just the weekend series. You know the drill. I choose starting pitchers that are available in at least 75% of FantasyPros consensus leagues to help you win your matchup each week. The talent seems to be falling off a bit which means the fantasy community is really on their game. I’ve been able to uncover a nice blend of high ceiling and high floor streamers and of course will be picking on the Giants, Marlins, and Tigers next week.

Adam Plutko (SP – CLE), 3% owned home vs DET, Monday, 7/15
I’m not the biggest Plutko fan but he’s walking just under one batter per nine innings (0.99 BB/9). He’s not striking many batters out and has given up far to many dingers. I would never think about streaming Putko unless he was going up against one of the weakest offensives in the Majors. Will you look a this. The Tigers are tied for the lowest wRC+ in the league with the Marlins and only the Marlins have hit fewer home runs than Detroit. The Tigers are also prone to strikeouts which they do at a 26% clip. Given Plutko’s fly ball tendencies and low walk rate, there won’t be many runners on base. Fly ball pitchers typically suppress BABIP, so as long as he keeps the ball in the yard, I feel comfortable streaming. If Zach Plesac gets the call for Tuesday’s start against the Tigers, I’d also stream him and actually prefer him to Plutko. However, he’s still in the Minors and as of this writing, the Indians haven’t named a starter for Tuesday. Either way, STREAM

Dylan Cease (SP – CHW), 24% owned @KC, Tuesday, 7/16
Cease was impressive after the first inning of his debut before the break striking out six Tigers in five innings. His command of his fourseam wasn’t great so there’s no doubt risk in streaming him. He draws the Royals in Kauffman Stadium next week. Kauffman suppresses home runs more than any other park other than Oracle Park in San Francisco. In addition, theRoyals have just an 86 wRC+ as a team at home (100 is league-average) with a walk rate of just 7.5%. That’s the 25th lowest walk rate among all teams in the league. The aggressive nature of the Royals combined with the cavernous confines of Kauffman Stadium makes Cease a high-risk, high-reward streaming option. I’m streaming him looking for strikeouts and the high probability of a win.

Jason Vargas (SP – NYM), 10% owned, @SF, Thursday, 7/18
Jason Vargas had a rough start coming off the All-Star break in Miami of all places. That does not provide a whole lot of confidence going into his start next week. But wait! The Giants (74 wRC+) are even worse offensively than the Marlins (79 wRC+) and the last time he faced the Giants, he pitched a complete game shutout with eight strikeouts. Like many pitchers this year, Vargas has struggled with the long ball giving up six homers in his last five outings. Pitching in Oracle Park should limit the probability of the long ball. In addition, Vargas has utilized his changeup over 35% of the time this year. The changeup suppresses wOBA more than any other pitch, so I think Vargas has a good shot at a W/QS and plus ratios. STREAM

Dinleson Lamet (SP – SD), 14% owned, @MIA, Thursday, 7/18
Lamet is a risky option despite the favorable matchup in Miami. Following such a prolonged absence, control is the last thing that comes back for a pitcher. Lamet could go six shutout innings with nine strikeouts or give up five earned runs in two innings. The good news is Lamet still possess elite swing and miss stuff evidenced by the 14 punch outs in 10 innings pitched. I don’t trust his 6+ ERA as he’s only allowed 12 base runners in those 10 innings. He’s also averaging over 95 MPH on his fastball. Unfortunately, he’s only a two-pitch pitcher which isn’t great long term but for this start against a weak Miami offense, I’m going Streaming.

Daniel Ponce de Leon (SP – STL), 14% Owned, home vs PIT, Wednesday, 7/17
My favorite explorer is rocking a 1.99 ERA and a 0.82 WHIP in just over 31 innings. OK, so a .175 BABIP and a 93.5% strand rate is not sustainable but Ponce is effectively pitching up in the zone inducing whiffs and popups at a high clip. His fourseam has a swinging strike rate of 13.2% which is nearly five percent above the League average for fourseamers. It’s helped him get strikeouts over 35% of the time with his heater. The Pirates have been better than advertised but have been carried by Josh Bell and Starling Marte. I think Ponce can neutralize them and I’m rolling the dice. STREAM

Anthony DeSclafani (SP – CIN), 16% Owned, home vs STL, Sunday, 7/21
Would I prefer this start if it was in St Louis? Well, of course, but Tony Disco is known for his hot stretches. His 24.1% strikeout rate would be the highest of his career along with his K-BB%. Some of those improvements are due to a career-best fastball velocity of 95.0 mph. Other than a six-run shellacking in Milwaukee in June, Disco has given up just five earned runs in his previous five outings. It cannot be overstated how bad the Cardinals offense has been. Over the last 30 days, they have a 79 wRC+ which would be the lowest in the Majors over that time if not for the Tigers. I think DeSclafani can go at least six innings and strike out six to seven batters. The Reds should provide enough run support to give him a good chance at a win. STREAM

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


Photo Credit: Laura Wolff/Charlotte Knghts

Starting Pitchers to Stream for Week 13 (6/24-6/30)

I’m a little late with this streaming post today, so I’ll spare you the introduction. The good news is, I have a plethora of streaming options for next week, seven to be exact! Remember, all of these options are available in at least 75% of FantasyPros Consensus leagues. Here we go!

C.C. Sabathia (SP – NYY)  13% owned, home vs TOR, Monday 6/24
The Blue Jays are typically a nice option to stream against. As a team, they have a strikeout rate of nearly 26% over the last two weeks. They also have to travel to New York (albeit from Boston) so typically teams are a little sluggish following a traveling day. Meanwhile, the Yankees are currently at home for their current series against the Astros, so no traveling. Both Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton have returned, so run support should be plentiful. Sabathia has also been great at home this season with a 2.18 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP. Also, as a left-handed pitcher, he negates the short porch in right field by limiting LHB to a .152 BA and a .211 wOBA. The Blue Jays will likely stack righties against CC but I’ll take my chances. I expect two to three earned runs, five to six strikeouts and a great chance at a QS/W. STREAM but stay away from his 6/30 start in Boston.

Adam Plutko (SP – CLE), 5% owned Home vs KC, Monday 6/24
This is a matchup play for sure but Plutko has limited walks to just under one per nine innings this season. The Royals are without one of their most dangerous hitters in Adalberto Mondesi who hit the IL this past week. Hunter Dozier has returned, but overall, the Royals lineup lacks elite power bats. Over the last 14 days, the Royals have just a 79 wRC+ well below league-average of 100. In addition to limiting walks, Putko has managed to give up six earned runs over his last three starts (2 in each start) and has boosted his strikeout rate in his last two outings. He’s been fantastic at getting ahead of hitters which he’s done 69% of the time and that’s allowed him to induce swings outside the zone over 35% of the time. Plutko’s issues are with home runs, and it’s been ugly at just under three home runs per nine innings. However, four of them came against the Rays in one start. A quick peek at BaseballSavant shows me he’s been unlucky. His xwOBA is just .318 compared to his .340 wOBA and his eight barrels against should have yielded five to six home runs rather than the nine HR he’s given up. I think Plutko is able to limit damage to just one home run in this outing which should provide positive results. STREAM

Chris Bassitt (SP – OAK), 23% owned, @STL, Tuesday 6/25
The 30-year-old veteran right-hander has managed a very respectable 3.64 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP on the season. There’s nothing special I can see in regards to his pitch mix but he’s improved his average fourseam velocity by 1.2 MPH from last year. By increasing his velocity, he’s been able to effectively pitch up in the zone with a 40% strikeout rate and a 22.2% infield fly ball rate on his fourseamer. It has really complimented his cutter that he throws low and out of the zone. The Cardinals are not the offensive juggernaut I thought they would be after acquiring Paul Goldschmidt. They have managed just a 92 wRC+ (100 is league-average) this season. Normally I don’t love OAK pitchers away from home but Busch Stadium actually scored lower on the HR/BRL home run park factors. Bassitt’s also carrying an 8.81 K/9 so facing the pitcher’s spot a couple of times could yield at least a strikeout per inning. I’m streaming here.

Dylan Bundy (SP – BAL), 19% owned, home vs SD, Wednesday 6/26
On the surface, Bundy looks similar to last season’s disaster and his 17% K-BB rate this year (17.3% in 2018) proves this point. However, Bundy’s BABIP against is down .033 at .283 which is closer to his career .294 mark. He’s also decreased hard contact against which is down almost seven percent. While his home run rate is only down a slight margin, Bundy’s luck has normalized a little bit. His changeup which I thought had some very bad luck last year is now a plus pitch by FanGraphs pitch value. Paired with his slider and Bundy has a nice one-two punch. Over the last month, Bundy has a 3.86 ERA with a 10.44 K/9. The Padres have been better of late but still carry a high strikeout rate as a team. This is the ultimate high-risk/high-reward play. I’m feeling lucky with Bundy pitching better and the Padres traveling across the country. STREAM

Anibal Sanchez (SP – WAS), 24% owned, @DET, Friday 6/28
Streaming against the Tigers has been a consistent theme for me this year. For Ss and Gs, let’s look at the Tigers numbers at home this season: 35 games, 22 HR, 25% strikeout rate, 6.5% walk rate, 70 wRC+. The 70 wRC+ for the Tigers is tied with the Giants as the worst home rate in the league. Home runs go to die in centerfield at Comerica, so Sanchez should be safe. In regards to Sanchez, one number intrigues me, 27% cutters. That’s how often he’s throwing the pitch this year but it’s up to over 30% in his last four starts where he’s sporting a 1.54 ERA. As a result, his usage of his fastball (his worst pitch) continues to diminish. Sanchez is a nice play for decent ratios and a win. I’m Streaming.

Eric Lauer (SP – SD), 13% owned, Home vs STL, Friday 6/28
Lauer’s not the most exciting option but he’s been effective outside of his two blow ups at Coors Field. Subtracting these two starts from his season ERA, we get 3.11 for an ERA outside of Coors Field. Next week’s game is not at Coors Field. If you don’t love that math, Lauer has a very rock-solid 2.70 ERA at Petco. Lauer has also increased the usage of his curveball which is his best pitch. I’ve already discussed the Cardinals and their below-average offensive performance to date, so Lauer seems like a nice option. I’d love to pair Lauer’s safe floor with Bundy’s high but volatile ceiling next week. Stream.

Dakota Hudson (SP – STL), 25% owned @SD, Saturday 6/29
Hudson has looked great over his last seven starts and now owns a 3.36 ERA on the season. He won’t pile up strikeouts but has somehow managed to induce ground balls nearly 62% of the time when everyone is trying to elevate. He pairs a 94 MPH power sinker with a cutter which is where he can generate whiffs. Manny Machado and the Padres are heating up but Hudson hasn’t given up more than three earned runs since April 15th! He’s totaled eight straight quality starts. He might tie you to the WHIPping Post but should limit runs and has great shot at a win. Of course, he’s a must stream in QS leagues. Either way, I’m streaming.

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


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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