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Starting Pitchers to Stream for Week 17 (7/22-7/28)

Welcome back to the FreezeStats weekly streamers article! You know the drill, I look at next week’s landscape and discuss the starting pitchers available in at least 75% of Yahoo/ESPN consensus leagues. I’ll tell you why the starting pitchers I discuss below have the best chance to provide positive values for your fantasy team. Let’s not forget where STREAM comves from, Starters Rule Everything Around Me


Chase Anderson (SP – MIL), 11% owned, home vs CIN, Monday, 7/22
Suggesting a streamer who gives up fly balls at a 43% clip in Miller Park seems like a risky proposition. However, Anderson has been pretty solid this year and I like the changes to his pitch mix. He’s throwing his cutter more often and has added some velocity to his fastball. Would you believe me if I told you he has three plus-pitchers via FanGraphs Pitch Values? His fastball, cutter, and changeup have been good which has generated a career-best swinging strike rate (SwStr%) of 11.6%. He’s only allowed more than three earned runs just twice over his 14 starts this season. He draws the Reds who have some thump in their lineup but have also struck out 23.1% of the time on the road this year. In addition, their 79 wRC+ away from GABP is tied for sixth lowest in MLB. Anderson is a fine deeper league stream.

Merill Kelly (SP – ARI), 25% owned, home vs BAL, Tuesday, 7/23
Kelly has quietly put together a solid first season back in States with a 3.77 ERA. All of his pitches have registered positive results per Pitch Values and while he doesn’t have any standout pitch, his repertoire is four pitches deep. He’s not likely to pile up strikeouts but averages about six innings per start which means he should qualify for a win and/or quality start. He draws the Orioles in Chase Field, so no DH for an already poor Baltimore lineup. The Orioles have managed just a 77 wRC+ away from Camden Yards with a 25.2% strikeout rate which is well above league average. I’m rolling with Kelly next week who also will carry his 2.83 home ERA into this start against the Orioles. STREAM

Zac Gallen (SP – MIA), 20% owned @CHW, Wednesday, 7/24
We’ve already seen some exciting flashes but also some struggles from the young rookie. However, he does have 26 strikeouts in just 22.1 innings pitched. Control seems to be the issue with Gallen as he’s already walked 14 batters which isn’t great. But, he clearly has great stuff given the high percentage of soft contact (22%) combined with the solid strikeout rate. I think his walks will come down as well based on his 60% first-pitch strike rate and 41% zone rate. Those are just a touch below league average but don’t warrant 5.64 walks per nine innings. He’ll get to face the White Sox who have been a below-average offense over the last month with a 25.6% strikeout rate. I’ll take my chances with the talented rookie next week and STREAM.


Reynaldo Lopez (SP – CHW), 9% owned home vs MIA, Wednesday, 7/24
After an extended multi-month break, Lopez and I may be back in speaking terms. Do yourself a favor and don’t look at his season-long numbers. Streaming is about what have you done for me lately. Lopez is coming off back-to-back quality starts with 15 strikeouts across 13 innings. More importantly, his fastball averaged 97 MPH in these two starts which is up two MPH on his season average. It’s helped boost his CSW% over 32% in those starts. Next week he gets the Marlins at home. I’d prefer this game be played in Miami for obvious park factor reasons but the Marlins are still a well below-average offensive club. They have struck out nearly 26% of the time as a team the last 30 days. If Rey-Lo has his stuff, he could reach 8 or 9 Ks. I’m streaming for upside here.

Griffin Canning (SP – LAA), 22% owned, home vs BAL, Friday 7/26
Griffindor Canning draws a weak Orioles lineup next week at home. I’m not sure how Canning is owned in fewer than 25% of leagues, but he is. I already discussed Baltimore’s poor 77 wRC+ and 25+% strikeout rate away from home earlier, so let’s talk Canning. He’s gone through a rough stretch but we have to keep in mind that the Angels are still grieving after losing Tyler Skaggs. It’s possible, that could be affecting his performance. Anyways, he got lit up against the Astros and the Rangers in Texas. Otherwise, he’s been very good. His slider is nasty with a 23.4% SwStr rate and a 56% groundball rate. He also has a good curve when he has the feel for it. Coming off a really nice start in Seattle, I’m betting on Canning to pitch well against a weaker opponent next week. STREAM

Felix Pena (SP – LAA), 7% Owned home vs BAL, Sunday, 7/28.
Last weekend Pena combined for a no-hitter against the Mariners where he went seven scoreless innings to close out the game. That’s the second time in five outings where Pena went at least six innings. That’s significant because he usually is used as a long man following the opener. Going deeper will give Pena a shot at a quality start. I don’t fully trust Pena’s 4.92 ERA, I tend to think his 1.19 WHIP and 17.3% K-BB rate is closer to his true talent. As discussed in Mr. Canning’s blurb, the Orioles are bad, especially away from home. I think Pena can pile up the strikeouts. Let’s take a look at his slider which he throws 39% of the time. He’s got a 40.7% K rate, 42.3% O-Swing, and a 23.1% SwStr rate, which has led to a .226 wOBA. I understand he was just taken for a ride against the Astros but the Orioles are not the Astros. I’ll be streaming Pena in 14-team and deep 12-teamers. 


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


Photo Courtesy of Prospects Live

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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

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Starting Pitchers to Stream Week 10 (6/3-6/9)

I can’t believe we are into our third month of the 2019 season and more than one-third of the way through the season. Low-owned talented streaming options have most likely been scooped up in your leagues but the good news is, more pitchers are coming with the Super-Two deadline passing (soon) and as injuries begin to mount. We got back on track last week, so let’s take a look at the season numbers to date.

IP ERA WHIP K W QS
Season Totals 241.66 3.35 1.11 238 23 22

Here’s the link to the running Google Sheet. Those are really solid ratios and right around a strikeout per inning. We have 45 starters streamed to date, so nearly 50% of them have been either a win or a quality start (or both). Not bad at all! Let’s get to next week’s streaming options for week 10 (6/3-6/9) owned in 25% of FantasyPros Consensus leagues.

Jered Eickhoff (SP – PHI), 21% owned, @SD, Tuesday 6/4
Monday is a very short slate with only four games, so our options are limited. Eickhoff is down to 21% owned after fantasy players were running to the waiver wire to acquire his services after his first two dominant starts. He gets San Diego in Petco and he has not been good recently thanks to the long ball. The Padres can hit plenty homers but they have just a .300 wOBA with a 27% strikeout rate against right-handed pitchers this year. Eickhoff’s only negative pitch per FanGraphs Pitch value is his fastball and he’s throwing it under 40% of the time. As long as he sticks with his slider and curve 60% of the time, I think he will handle the Padres. I’m Streaming here.

Chase Anderson (SP – MIL) 10% owned, Home vs MIA, Wednesday 6/5
Are we back in on Chase Anderson after a solid start in Pittsburgh? Well, he’s only walked one batter in his last two starts and faced a season-high 23 batters last time out. His velocity is back up over 93.5 MPH like it was back in 2017, the last time he had success. He’s also utilizing his changeup more and is rocking a career-best 11% swinging strike rate (SwStr%) and a 29.6% CSW%. He gets the Marlins at home who have a .273 wOBA over the last month but have been a little better over the last two weeks (.309 wOBA). They still don’t have much power, so I like Anderson as a streamer for the second straight week.

Tyler Mahle (SP – CIN) 12% owned, @STL, Thursday 6/6
I know what you’re thinking, how does Mahle have a 26.2% K% with a sub-10% SwStr rate? Well, he’s thrown a ton of strikes and freezes hitters. His CSW rate is an elite 32.2%! For comparison sake, Justin Verlander has a 32.7% CSW rate. He struck out eight batters in his last start against a tough Nationals team. He gets the Cardinals in Busch Stadium which is great for Mahle compared to his home park. The Cardinals have just a .296 wOBA the last two weeks are just aren’t clicking offensively. He’s curbed the walks bigtime this year with a 66.4% F-Strike rate and I think his home run issue will be suppressed in St Louis. Mahle is a STREAM for me.

Jakob Junis (SP – KC), 9% owned, Home vs CHW, Sunday 6/9
Junis has gone at least six innings and struck out at least six batters in his last three outings. His last two were quality starts and against the Rangers and Yankees. Not exactly easy opponents. It’s no surprise he pumped his elite slider over 50% of the time in both those starts. His slider has yielded just a .234 wOBA this season, so his recipe makes sense. He draws the White Sox at home next Sunday who are in the bottom five in terms of wOBA (.294) and strikeout rate (27.1%) over the last two weeks. The fact that this one is at home should keep his home run issue at bay. Let’s go STREAMING!

Devin Smeltzer (SP – MIN), 8% owned, @DET, Sunday 6/9
Smeltzer’s Major League debut was impressive, to say the least. He went six scoreless innings while striking out seven batters and walking no one. His CSW rate was 36.2% which is among the best in the league. He throws a fourseam, changeup, and curve but doesn’t throw hard. He’s going to get swings and misses from the change and curve but I don’t expect a strikeout rate over 9.0 K/9. That being said, the Tigers have been one of the worst teams in the league and have a .289 wOBA over the last 14 days. Comerica Park is one of the better pitcher’s parks for home runs and the Tigers don’t have much power, to begin with. The Twins should provide plenty of run support, so I expect Smeltzer to earn a W with very solid ratios and four-five strikeouts. STREAM

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


Photo Courtesy of David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Str8 No Chase(r) Anderson Sleeper Post



Listen, I understand that Chase Anderson has been a boring starting pitcher that just turned 30 and I’m sure we’ve all streamed him in the past.  You’re probably aware that he had a career year in 2017 but greatly out performed his peripherals: 2.74/3.58/4.33 (ERA/FIP/xFIP).  Looks like Mad Max has some digging to do (Not Scherzer, he’s already got a job).  Wouldn’t that be bad-ass if I got Scherz to do my research tho?  

Let’s start with this plot via fangraphs: plotting HR/FB, SwStr%, Hard%, and K/BB since 2014. I realize it’s difficult to see, you can click the link to get a better view.

 

 

 

 

 

So you can see the three subtle improvements including a career high 10.2 % SwStr rate, hard hit % decrease and as a result; a lower HR/FB %.  The three minor improvements along with a decrease in BB% resulted in a huge improvement in K/BB by nearly 1.0 from 2.3 (bleh) to 3.2 (oh hi there)!  That’s the big spike in light blue on the plot.  How did this happen?  Did 29 year old boring Chase turn into a #2 starter overnight? Well, almost.  


First he improved his fastball velocity by about 1.5 MPH to 93.7 (AVG).  Of course 93.7 mph isn’t exactly blowing hitters away, but that’s a career best for Anderson.  Second, he wasn’t good in 2016 at getting first pitch strikes at only 57.7%.  In 2017 is went up to 61.2%, so at least he’s getting ahead of hitters more often.  Getting ahead allowed him use his secondary stuff which in the past has not been great.  His O-Swing % was over 30% for the first time in three years and he graded out with three plus pitches! So his secondary stuff is good now?  Kind of.

What happened is that Old Boring Chase (OBC) learned how to pitch.  The Brewers have a pretty solid pitching coach in Derek Johnson who also helped Jimmy Nelson turn things around prior to his injury. What Johnson helped Anderson do is locate his fastball (which is good especially with increased velocity) and set him up to utilize his average secondary stuff effectively.  Also, that 1.5 mph velocity bump helps Anderson attack up in the zone for swings and misses as opposed to throwing 91-92 MPH and missing on his locations allowing hard contact.

So what are we looking at in 2018?  I’m not going to go crazy because his LOB % was high in 2017 and his HR/FB mentioned earlier was low which is difficult to do when since he plays half his games a Miller Park. OK, we are looking at some regression there.  But the early mocks have his ADP regressing (morphing) back into OBC (Old Boring Chase) mentioned above.  For 2018, I’ll go with:  13 Wins, 170 IP, 163 Ks, 3.72 ERA, 1.26 WHIP.  Early mock drafts have his around 212 overall but I suspect that to rise a bit as we move closer to the 2018 season. There’s value here and you can grab him as your 4th or 5th starter.