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Starting Pitchers to Stream – Week 19 (8/5-8/11)

Welcome back to the FreezeStats weekly article where I cover starting pitcher streaming options for the week ahead. I apologize for missing last week, I was out of town and didn’t have a chance to get out a quality product. You know the rules here. The pitchers I cover are available in at least 75% of FantasyPros Yahoo/ESPN Consensus leagues. I’m doing things a little differently this time. I am covering seven pitchers but only suggesting five of them. I discuss why I’m passing on the other two next week despite the favorable matchup. Let’s dig in!

Griffin Canning (SP – LAA), 19% owned, @CIN, Monday 8/5
Normally I try to shy away from pitchers going in Great American Ballpark given the way the balls fly out at alarming rates. For reference, the Reds have home run per fly ball rate (HR/FB%) of 16.5% at home this year which is about 1.5% higher than league-average. But, they have just a 95 wRC+ in Cincy and just lost one of their best hitters in Yasiel Puig. This is a below-average offensive club and Canning carries a 1.20 WHIP, 25.1% strikeout rate, and 7.7% walk rate. All of those metrics are quite a bit better league-average. Canning has been very good at inducing swings and misses in his rookie campaign and coming off a scoreless outing against the Tigers. More importantly, he’s only walked three batters in his three starts. Add in the fact that he won’t have to face a DH and I think he’ll be good for more than a strikeout per inning and a good chance at a win. STREAM


Note: Canning just hit the IL & will miss this start. Let’s find a replacement.

Vince Velasquez (SP – PHI), 9% Owned, @SF, Saturday 8/10
VV has been a bit of a roll lately and is even making assists from left field. While he hasn’t gone six innings in any of his recent starts, he’s struck out seven, nine, and six batters in his last three outings. He’s relying heavily on his fastball which is good and bad. His velocity is up a tick from last year and his 12.7% swinging strike rate on the pitch is among the best in the league. The issue is home runs. With a 24% HR/FB rate, it’s earned a negative pitch value. So this is a very boom or bust play. Since I’m a gambling man (not really) but this start is in Pitcher friendly Oracle Park, so I’ll take my chances. If his control is bad, this could go sideways but he could also throw 5-6 shutout innings with nine strikeouts. Let’s STREAM.


Dylan Cease (SP – CHW), 10% owned, @DET, Tuesday 8/6
Cease faced the Tigers in his Major League debut last month where he gave up three earned runs over five innings with six punchouts. That game was at home in hitter-friendly Guaranteed Rate Field. Next week, he’ll be in Comerica Park which suppresses home runs. In addition, the Tigers lost one of their best hitters in Nick Castellanos. Even with Nicky C, the Tigers have a wOBA of just .276 at home with a strikeout rate of 25.8%. They also walk about 2% below the league-average rate which should offset Cease‘s control. Cease averages over 96 MPH on his fastball and has registered positive Pitch Values per FanGraphs on all three secondary offerings. Cease needs to command his fastball better but I feel like he can dominate the Tigers and grab his second career win. STREAM

Danny Duffy (SP – KC), 11% owned, @DET, Thursday 8/8
I’ve already bashed the Tigers who will probably end up being the number one team I will stream against going forward, so I’ll keep the negative comments to a minimum. Some other interesting statistics regarding the Tigers at home include a .229 batting average and 34 home runs hit in 49 games in Comerica Park. That’s simply not good. Let’s turn out focus to Duffy. He’s had mixed results versus the Tigers this year but has yet to give up a long ball against them and has 10 strikeouts across nine innings. Duffy has backed off his slider recently and his strikeout rate has dipped as a result. I think he needs to bring it back but there’s no guarantee he will be utilizing it. Maybe he’s lost the feel for it, I don’t know. I’m not all that interested to find out if he can get the feel back. Besides, despite how poor the Tigers have been the last couple seasons, Duffy has still struggled against them. I’m passing here and Staying away.

Cal Quantrill (SP – SD), 11% owned, Home vs COL, Friday, 8/9
It will be interesting to see if the Padres start this game with an opener as they did against the Cubs a couple of weeks ago. Quantrill flourished in that start but also has gone at least 5.1 IP in his last four outings. So at a minimum, he should qualify for a win in this one. Over those last three outings, prior to yesterday’s start against the Dodgers, he’s killing it with a 0.53 ERA and a 0.76 WHIP. He’s also throwing his slider more frequently, which has been his most successful pitch. I don’t think he’s going to pile up the strikeouts but the Rockies have been absolutely brutal on the road this year, so I think his ratios will be fine. How bad have the Rockies been away from Coors this year? They are ranked 29th in both wOBA and wRC+ and rank dead last in strikeout rate at 27.6%. It’s almost like facing the Tigers. I’m Streaming here.


Drew Smyly (SP – PHI), 4% owned, @SF, Friday, 8/9
Did Philidelphia figure something out with Smyly or is his success related to the weak opponents in the Giants and Pirates? Well, let’s check his pitch mix. Here’s something, his cutter usage has jumped from just over 10% to nearly 30% in his two outings with the Phillies. He’s also throwing a few more curveballs and his fastball is way down to 38%.  The problem for Smyly is that his cutter has been crushed this year. What’s happened in his last couple starts, he’s inducing more swings out of the zone on the pitch and getting a ton of ground balls. I don’t actually think the cutter is any better, but he’s faced some poor opponents as I mentioned earlier. Now, the lack of familiarity may have helped in Smyly’s success but this will be the second time the Giants have seen him. I’m not buying into Smyly’s recent success given the poor performance of his cutter. The Giants have been much better since the break with a .322 wOBA good for 15th in Major League Baseball. I’m sitting this one out.

Jakob Junis (SP – KC), 14% owned, @DET, Sunday, 8/11
Unlike his teammate Duffy, Junis has been successful against the Tigers over the last couple seasons. He has a career 2.62 ERA against Detriot which is just about where his ERA is since the start of 2018. The Tigers have managed just a .258 wOBA against him and it’s mostly due to his devastating slider. Junis is essentially a two-pitch pitcher but the slider has basically been thrown 50% of the time. I doubt he gets through the lineup three times but should be just fine in leagues that don’t count quality starts. Expect something like 5+ innings with six strikeouts with two runs or fewer. That’s playable in deeper formats, so let’s STREAM

Chris Bassitt (SP – OAK), 23% owned, @CHW, Sunday, 8/11
I’m a little bit perplexed to find that Bassitt is only owned in 23% of Yahoo/ESPN leagues. His ERA is 3.84 on a year when the average ERA for a starting pitcher is 4.50! That’s insane. That’s nearly 0.25 over last season which means, his adjusted ERA (compared to 2018) is about 3.60. In addition, his WHIP is just 1.17 compared to league-average 1.30. Maybe his strikeout rate is extremely low? Nope, 8.58 K/9 which is a hair above league-average. I’m not really finding an issue here. His BABIP is low but he also induces infield flys (IFFB%) at 15%, so a lower BABIP is partially justified. He draws the White Sox and while it’s not at home (unfortunately), the White Sox are weak offensively and just lost Yoan Moncada. Even within their hitter-friendly environment in Chicago, they have a 90 wRC+ and strikeout over 25% of the time. I’m definitely streaming Bassitt.

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



Photo credit: Laura Wolff/Charlotte Knghts

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Starting Pitchers to Stream for Week 14 (7/1-7/7)

Welcome back to the FreezeStats weekly stating pitcher streaming article! 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 will be picking on the Giants and Marlins next week.

Adbert Alzolay (SP – CHC), 20% owned, @PIT, Monday 7/1
With the injury the Cole Hamels, Alzolay now has a safe spot in the Cubs rotation. He’s got some pretty electric stuff but like many young pitchers has some issues with control. That being said, he does have nine strikeouts in 8.2 innings pitched. That’s over two starts but hasn’t gone five innings in either start. I know it’s a super small sample but his BABIP is currently .000 and his strand rate is 100%. That’s right, any ball that has been put in play has either been an out or a home run against Alzolay. This will change and his high walk rate could come back to bite him next week. The Pirates have been crushing the ball lately with a 123 wRC+ over the last 14 days. I don’t like his chances and I’m STAYING AWAY from Alzolay.

Matt Strahm (SP – SF), 22% Owned, home vs SF Tuesday, 7/2
I really was high on Matt Strahm coming into the season given his success as a reliever last season. He hasn’t quite lived up to my expectations but does carry a 17.4% K-BB rate which a good predictor of in-season success. He’s had two major issues, home runs, and fastball velocity. The good news for Strahm is that his velocity was up about one MPH in his last start and he struck out nine batters. In addition, his strikeout rate is 9.64 K/9 in the month of June. Now, he draws the Giants at home in Petco Park. As a team, the Giants have an 84 wRC+ (100 is average) over the last 30 days and are even worse on the road with a wRC+ of just 78! Home runs should not be an issue and Strahm walks fewer than two batters per nine innings. Easy stream here. 

Danny Duffy (SP – KC), 7% Owned, home vs CLE Wednesday, 7/3
It’s been a while since the Duff man has been fantasy relevant and his 4.43 ERA doesn’t exactly scream pick me up! However, he’s increasing the use of his slider and while the results haven’t been great on his slider, it’s the one pitch that induces swings and misses at an above-average clip. He’s also been bitten by an inflated BABIP with his slider, so it’s been better than FanGraphs Pitch Value indicates. Duffy’s also been better at home with a 4.12 ERA, no surprise there given the expansive confines of Kauffman Stadium. The Indians are much better offensively than they were back in April but are still a well-below-average team on the road with a 92 wRC+. Duffy is a deep league streamer (14 teams and deeper) given his lack of strikeout upside.

BONUS: Dylan Cease (SP – CHW), 5% owned, @DET, Wednesday 7/3
Yup, he’s finally gotten the call for the White Sox. I know it’s his debut and these starts can often go sideways. I’ll take my chances though against the Tigers who are arguably one of the worst teams in the league. As a team, they have a 76 wRC+ and a 26.1% strikeout rate which is tied with the Padres for the highest in the league. Cease has been fantastic at limiting home runs but does have a bit of walk issue. Luckily for Cease, the Tigers walk just 7.3% of the time, which is in the bottom five of the league. Cease gets a cupcake matchup in his debut, now let’s just hope he doesn’t blow it. STREAM

Eric Lauer (SP – SD), 12% Owned, home vs SF, Wednesday, 7/3

EDIT: Cal Quantrill, 5% owned, home vs SF, Wednesday, 7/3
Eric Lauer’s start has been pushed to the 4th against the Dodgers in LA, please don;t start him there. Instead Cal Quantrill has taken his place. Let’s keep picking on the Giants, shall we? I’ve already discussed how bad the Giants are offensively, so we don’t need to go over that again. I know that Lauer isn’t going to wow us with strikeouts but he does have a 4.22 ERA. On the surface, that doesn’t sound great but league-wide ERA for starting pitchers this year is 4.46! Last week, I mentioned Lauer’s struggles in Colorado and how his ERA outside of Coors Field is a steller 2.70. Last time I checked, Petco Park is not Coors Field and the Giants are not the Rockies. Lauer’s best asset is limiting home runs at just 0.95 HR/9. He’s also only given up two earned runs in his last two starts and only two home runs in his last six starts.  Quantril has been working out of the bullpen recently but after last night’s blow-up from Logan Allen, Quantrill could be back to stay. Quantrill has been averaging 95 MPH on his fastball and generates ground balls 50% of the time. His fourseam is his only plus pitch via FanGraphs pitcher value but he’s getting swings outside the zone 34.7% of the time with a 12% SwStr rate. He may struggle with walks but should be just fine limiting home runs against the league’s third worst offense. He should provide solid ratios and good strikeout totals. I’m a little concerned he only last five innings but a W is still in play. STREAM

Anibal Sanchez (SP – WAS), 25% Owned, home vs MIA, Thursday, 7/4
You need to go get Sanchez right now. His ownership is on the rise and he draws the Marlins at home next week. I didn’t realize how good Sanchez has been. He’s seemed like a disappointment but currently has a very usable 3.82 ERA. He’s been fantastic at limiting hard contact (29.4%) and a solid 20% soft contact rate. He looks a lot like he did last year with his cutter usage and inducing swings outside the zone at an above-average clip. Since 5/29, he has a 2.29 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP. Sure, the Marlins are improving but also have a 25.4% strikeout rate over the last 14 days which is 26th in the league. Don’t over think this one, it’s an easy STREAM.

Tyler Mahle (SP – CIN), 7% owned, home vs CLE, Sunday 7/7
Mahle at home does carry some risk, especially with the Indians playing better over the last month. However, Mahle has averaged over a strikeout per inning and I want those strikeouts. He’s also been surprisingly better at home this year with just a 2.96 ERA and 31 strikeouts across 27.1 innings. Despite the homer-friendly environment, Mahle must feel more comfortable in the GAB. The Indians obviously will be without the DH, so Mahle should be able to last at least five to six innings. While home runs are an issue for Mahle, he’s inducing more ground balls this year and has a walk rate under six percent which is almost three percent below league-average. It’s very possible he gives up a homer or two but given the low walk rate and good strikeout rate, it shouldn’t hurt him too much. I like Mahle in his last start before the break.  STREAM

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


Photo Source: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

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Starting Pitchers to Stream Week 11 (6/10-6/16)

We followed a great week in week 9 with a poor week in terms of streaming. It’s been up and down over the last few weeks after an incredibly hot start. I’m looking to begin a streaming run starting next week. You know the streaming rules. Only pitchers that are available in 25% or fewer of leagues per FantasyPros Consensus ownership rates are eligible to stream. That include Yahoo, ESPN, and CBS leagues. We have a bunch of pitchers to cover, so let’s get started.

Anibal Sanchez (SP – WAS) 10% owned, @CHW, Monday 6/10
Something has happened with Sanchez recently and I like it! It’s his cutter. He’s thrown it over 30% of the time over the last two starts and managed 14 strikeouts in just 11.1 innings pitched. He’s also only allowed one earned run in those two starts. I’m not fully back in on trusting Sanchez but the White Sox aren’t the most intimidating team in the league. They are a league-average team at home and are susceptible to the strikeout (over 26% in the last 14 days). I’m not expecting Sanchez to go more than six innings but could provide good strikeout numbers and solid ratios as long as he sticks with the cutter. STREAM.

Dakota Hudson (SP – STL) 10% owned @MIA, Tuesday 6/11
Hudson has gone at least six innings in each of his last five outings. He also has been a lot better over the last month with a 2.64 ERA and has only given up two earned runs in his last two starts. Unfortunately, Hudson doesn’t have much strikeout upside (under 7 K/9) but should have a great shot at pitching into the seventh inning. The Marlins have been better over the last two weeks but still, lack power. At home this year, the Marlins have the second lowest wOBA at .269. Only the Giants are worse. Given the favorable park and matchup, Hudson is a great quality start/ratios play next week. STREAM.

Cal Quantrill (SP – SD) 1% owned @SF, Tuesday 6/11
I’m actually really excited about this start for Quantrill. I think we are finally going to see a great start and drop his season numbers. He gets a dream matchup against the league’s worst offense in the best park for pitchers. The Giants have managed a pathetic .260 wOBA at home this season and have hit just 18 home runs at Oracle Park in over 950 plate appearances! Quantrill has successfully been able to induce swings and misses evidenced by a 13.7% swinging strike rate (SwStr%) which is 2.5% higher than the league average. He also gets swings outside the zone at a high clip thanks to a very good changeup and slider. His only major issue is his control. He doesn’t throw enough strikes. The good news is the Giants have a below-league-average walk rate as a team at eight percent. I like Quantrill next week in SF, I’m Streaming.

Tyler Mahle (SP – CIN) 11% Owned home vs TEX, Friday 6/14
The Rangers are without their most valuable hitter this year in Joey Gallo. The rest of the Rangers lineup has been below-league-average with a 94 wRC+ and have hit just five home runs over the last week. Great America Ballpark is a launching pad, so I have to be careful here. Mahle has been great against right-handed batters with a .279 wOBA and 1.09 WHIP. He does struggle against lefties, so an injured Gallo is an even biggest boost for Mahle. The Rangers still have several lefty bats but some of their better hitters to date (Andrus, Pence, and Forsythe) are right-handed. Without the DH, the Rangers are likely to lose either Choo or Guzman who are both left-handed. I’m talking myself into Mahle but I trust his 19.9% K-BB and 32%CSW rates. I’m STREAMING in 12-team and deeper leagues.

Pablo Lopez (SP – MIA) 12% owned Home vs PIT, Saturday 6/15 and Trevor Richards (SP – MIA) 12% Owned vs PIT 6/14 Friday
Two Marlins pitchers! What a bonus! Lopez loves his home games but he had his first successful road start this week in Milwaukee of all places. He shut out the Brewers in six innings getting seven strikeouts. Well, he’s back at home where he carries his 1.84 ERA with him against the Pirates. The Pirates have been pretty solid offensively but have just a 16.8% strikeout minus walk rate (K-BB%) on the road (league-average 14.2%). This is less about the matchup and more about the quality of Lopez. He was bombed for 10 runs against the Mets over a month ago that really inflated his numbers. I know you can’t just take those stats away but let’s do it for fun! He would have a 3.26 ERA with a 1.01 WHIP without that start against the Mets. That’s how good he’s been over his remaining 11 starts. I’m not only STREAMing him, but I own him in a couple of places. To touch on Richards, his surface numbers are better than his metrics but he is getting above-average swings and misses and has only given up three earned runs in his last four starts. His changeup has been dominant with just a .228 wOBA against. I’m streaming but trust Lopez just a little more if I had to choose between the two.
Note: The Pirates best hitter, Josh Bell finally hasn’t homered since 5/29 where he’s hitting just .242 with a .302 wOBA.

Chase Anderson (SP – MIL) 16% owned @SF, Sunday 6/16
Let’s go back to the Bay area, shall we? First the good with Anderson, he’s throwing 93.7 MPH (up from 92.9 MPH last year), getting swings outside the zone at a 35.5% clip and has resulted in a very solid 12% swinging strike rate (SwStr%). Now the bad, a 1.72 HR/9 and an 82.9% strand rate that is sure to regress. Anderson was bitten by the longball at home against the Marlins of all teams this past week but also was plagued with a .400 BABIP. He was on fire though with a 20.9% SwStr rate and was inducing swings outside the zone nearly 50% of the time! Talk about unlucky. Next week, he gets the Giants who are starved for power as I discussed previously and Oracle Park is a pitcher’s dream. In addition, prior to this week’s start against the Marlins, Anderson had given up just one home run in his last six starts. I don’t expect Anderson to go deep in this one, but he’s a great bet to strikeout more than a batter per inning and limiting the damage against the league’s worst offense. STREAM

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



Photo Source: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports