Starting Pitchers to Stream – Week 9

Back for another edition of streamers with candidates in Yahoo/ESPN leagues owned in 25% and under per FantasyPros.com. Now that we are 1/3 of the way through the season, small ample sizes start to go out the window. Last week I had a tough time choosing streamers as the options were limited so I ended up with three pitchers last week: Trevor Cahill, Ross Stripling, and Daniel Mengden. I don’t usually brag but I was more than impressed with the results from these three pitchers. I hope you stuck with me after a tough week 7, but here were the results:

2 Wins, 0.79 ERA, 0.62 WHIP and 18 Ks in 22.3 IP

No, those are not typos, Stripling and Mengden were ridiculous and Cahill fared well above average. I’ve got more options this week, unfortunately Stripling’s ownership has tripled and he’s over 25% owned in most leagues.

Marco Gonzales (SEA) 7% vs TEX at home Monday 5/28 & Home v TB Sunday 6/3
Two starts from Gonzales this week against below average opponents at home. Gonzales had some incredibly unlucky numbers early in the season but he’s started to turn things around in recent weeks. His BABIP is still at .352 so there’s still some regression there. He probably won’t get you a ton of strikeouts but he limits walks and gets a bunch of ground balls. The Rangers offensively ranks 22nd against lefties and has a 26% K rate as a team. The Rays aren’t as inept against lefties but since it’s a home start, I’m rolling with both starts. STREAM x 2.

Caleb Smith (MIA) 25% Away vs SD, Monday 5/28
Another lefty! Smith has seemingly come out of nowhere to become fantasy relevant. His strikeout rate is great, but his walk rate is terrible. I’ve seen him compared to Robbie Ray, so that can be good and bad. The Padres offense ranks 24th against lefties with a near 26% K rate. The Padres have a ton of young, free swingers so I believe Smith will limit walks and pile up the strikeouts. STREAM

Dan Straily (MIA) 6% Away v SD, Tuesday 5/29
Straily somehow has managed a 3.12 ERA to date with a 17% K rate and a 15.8% BB rate. His FIP is an unsightly 6.22 and he’s carrying a .200 BABIP and a 90% LOB. The match-up is good but Straily isn’t missing enough bats and did I mention his 49% hard contact against? No? Well, that’s terrible. This one is too risky, Straily is a ticking time bomb.  I could see Straily giving up 2-3 HR in this one. STAY AWAY.

Daniel Mengden (OAK) 23% v TB, Thursday 5/31
Do you realize Mengden’s ERA is below 3.00 this season? Yeah, pretty crazy. He’s not completely doing it with smoke and mirrors but a 16.2% K rate doesn’t provide much confidence. However, his 2.3% BB rate is pretty fantastic. Plus he has an 80-grade mustache, so there’s that. In all seriousness, Mengden is NOT a sub-3.00 ERA pitcher, he might not even be a sub-4.00 ERA but he’s using his meh stuff at an elite level, if that makes sense. His first pitch strike percentage is great and his secondary stuff is above average. Limiting home runs and walking nobody doesn’t hurt. He’s going to turn into a pumpkin at some point but I’m willing to bet he handles Tampa Bay next week. I’m on board for at least one more. STREAM

Jordan Lyles (SD) 19% Home vs MIA, Thursday 5/31
The Miami Marlins are hitting .230 as a team with a pathetic .112 ISO and a league worst .284 wOBA! That’s like rolling out an entire team comprised of Alcides Escobars. Yes, Jordan Lyles has a 5.34 career ERA but he was very young with the Astros and also pitched in Colorado. Let’s not hold that against the 27-year-old. This year, he’s got decent strikeout and walk rates but has been very lucky in terms of BABIP. He does give up too many fly balls but has career highs in SwStr, F-Strike%, and Z-Contact. I’m not buying into Lyles as a 12-team viable starts but in 15+ team leagues, I’d own him. For this start against the Marlins, I’d be all over it. STREAM

Trevor Cahill (OAK) 23% vs KC, Friday, June 1
Let’s see how many Oakland and Miami starters we can get on this list! Look, they both have soft AF schedules while the Astros test their skills against the Yankees and Red Sox, the Athletics get to feast on the Rays and Royals. The issue I’m having with Cahill is the Royals don’t strike out. As a team, their collective K rate is under 19%, which is 0.6% less than the next lowest team (the Pirates). The Royals also don’t walk and are in the bottom 10 in wOBA. Cahill is getting ground balls 60% of the time and his change and sinker have been decent. Hitters are chasing and he’s getting swings and misses. I like Cahill to go 6 IP with a handful of Ks and a bunch of ground outs. I’d STREAM

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Starting Pitchers to Stream 5/21 – 5/27

Another dominate start from Pivetta going 7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 11K. I believe I’ve streamed him three times, but safe to say he won’t drop below the 25% threshold for the rest of the season. He’s needs to be much closer to 100% owned. Some good, some bad last week but we still Anderson going today against the Giants today so hopefully we can grab a third win this week. So far here are the numbers this past week: 2 W, 4.13 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 31 K in 28 ⅓ IP. Kind of meh, but the strikeouts are nice. Here’s the season stats thus far on the streamers I’ve selected:

8 W, 3.26 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 170 K in 179 ⅔ IP; now those are solid, stick with the plan. Ok, let’s get to the streamers for 5/21 through 5/27.

Trevor Cahill (OAK) 15% Home vs SEA Tuesday 5/22
Cahill returned from the DL last week after missing only one start and performed better than expected against the Boston Betts. He gets a Cano-less Mariners and Cruz has been banged up as well. The lineup is actually still solid with Seager, Healy and Segura hitting well but I like what Cahill is doing by throwing more change-ups and throwing less sinkers. His change-up is his best pitch, it’s allowing only a 0.091 batting average with a 45% whiff rate. He’s getting even more ground balls than last year and as long as he doesn’t elevate his sinker, he should go 6-7 innings with a strikeout per inning and good ratios. STREAM

Vincent Velasquez (PHI) 19% Home vs ATL Tuesday 5/22
So VV allowed a couple of home runs in his last outing but he also struck out 12! His best pitch is his fastball but he can get whiffs on just about all of his pitches. The dilemma with Velasquez is if the fastball is off, it’s really off. He’s already given up 6 home runs off the pitch but an average exit velocity against of only 88 mph. He’s already seen the Braves twice and hasn’t fared well at home. I get that he could rip off 10 Ks and a win, but I don’t think he’s worth the risk against the many very good Braves hitters. STAY AWAY

Luiz Gohara (ATL) 7% Away vs PHI Wednesday 5/23
With Soroka going on the DL, the Braves are giving Gohara a spot start. I liked Gohara coming into the year but the ankle injury prevented a rotation spot to start the season. Gohara has been used out of the pen and will face a Phillies offense on the road this week. His slider is great and he throws his fastball at 94-95 mph. He was stretched out to start in the minors but hasn’t started a game in over 2 weeks. His slider usage out of the pen has been 50% and I don’t see that happening in this start. I see limited upside in this one with a 5 inning maximum. I’m playing it safe for this start and STAYING AWAY. Note: I do like Gohara long term, keep an eye on him, if he gets more regular starts, I’d scoop him up.

Ross Stripling (LAD) 6% Home vs SD Friday 5/25
Well Rich Hill is out again (surprise)! He left after throwing only two pitches in Friday’s start, so it’s clear that Stripling will remain in the rotation, especially after dominating the Nationals with 1 ER and 9 Ks in 6 IP. How has he been so successful? Well his slider is very good and his change and curve have also registered as plus pitches. He throws those three pitches 63% of the time. He’s only had 3 ball barreled against him this year and an avg exit velocity against of 84 mph! He’s also possesses good control and a solid ground ball rate. Throw in a home start against a poor Padres team and boom, easy street. Stripling is my stream of the week STREEEEEEAM!

Daniel Mengden (OAK) 8% Home vs ARI Saturday May 26
Mengden has been a solid if unspectacular streamer thus far and has only given up 4 ER in his last three starts. It’s not like he’s doing it against cupcakes either, he’s faced Boston, Houston, and the Orioles. He doesn’t get a ton of strikeouts and his fastball isn’t good. He does do a great job with his off-speed and breaking pitches keeping hitters off balance. I’d like to see the fastball usage go below 50% but we are talking about a pitcher owned in less than 10% of leagues. I like the home start against the Diamondbacks without their best hitter in Pollock (yeah I said it). If he keeps the ball in the yard he could go 7 or more innings with decent ratios. STREAM.

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Week 3 Streaming Options 4/16 – 4/22

Chad Kuhl messed up a near perfect streaming week for me, but I’m still happy about the results. The numbers last week look like this: 1 Win, 2.22 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 17 K, 24 1/3 innings.

Again, the strikeouts were low. Obviously, most high strikeout pitchers are owned in over 25% of leagues, but I still need to do a better job of streaming some high K plays. Pivetta, Junis, and Chirinos were fantastic! Pivetta will be streamed again this week as he slides under the 25% ceiling. Junis is too high, so he’s disqualified. Minnesota got about 2 feet of snow this past weekend so no games were played in that series throwing off my Rey Lo pick last week. Reynaldo is now at 37% owned, so I can no longer stream him. (maximum 25% owned in ESPN/Yahoo leagues).

Hyun-Jin Ryu (LAD), 11% 4/16 away v SD
This is less of an endorsement of Ryu and more about the banged up Padres. I’m not a believer in his 9+ K/9, but I do like his 50% ground ball rate so far in 2018. Wil Myers and Manual Margot are on the DL. I’m not worried about Hosmer too much. Franchy Cordero is an interesting name but, I think Ryu can go 6 innings with 2 ER or less and piles up 5 to 6 strikeouts. STREAM

Nick Pivetta (PHI), 21% 4/17 Away v ATL
I’m not sure how Pivetta is still under 25% owned but he is, SO GRAB HIM NOW!. Atlanta is on fire offensively and they just beat up on Cubs pitching. Oh, and some guy named Ronald Acuna should be called up any day, maybe tomorrow. I’m taking my chances because Pivetta has been great to start the year. Pivetta continues to average just about 95 mph on his fastball and can get plenty of whiffs on his curve and slider. He’s also limited hard contact to just under 21%. The Braves are the 5th hardest team to strikeout and in the top 10 in BB rate. I don’t expect a dominant performance but a quality start with 5 to 6 Ks is in order. STREAM.

Daniel Mengden (OAK): 2% 4/17 Home v CWS
The White Sox are striking out 26.4% of the time, as a team! That’s not good and the White Sox are not good. While Mengden is not know for his strikeouts, he has a chance at a handful against the White Sox free swingers. Mengden doesn’t allow many free passes and his LOB% is an impossibly low 35.7%. His O-Swing is at 31.2% which is above league average, so some weak contact may be in order as well. The home park should limit the long ball this week as well. Plus he’s got an 80-grade mustache! STREAM

Sean Newcomb (ATL): 20% 4/19 Home v Mets
Newcomb is a high risk/high reward option. He just handled the Cubs with 5.1 IP, 7 Ks, and 2 ER. However, he tied to the WHIPing Post with 6 hits and 4 walks. That’s Newcomb though, his K rate is over 12.0/9 but his walk rate is 4.6/9. The Mets are hot right now but I need strikeouts as I mentioned in the intro. Newcomb has been unlucky in terms of BABIP and I like his ground ball rate which sits at 50%. His infield defense is very good with Swanson, Albies, and Freeman all well above average and Flaherty has held his own at 3B. The Mets strikeout and walk at above average clips. This is either a 6 inning 9 K QS or a 3 inning 5 K 5 ER blowup. I’m gonna take the risk. STREAM

Tyson Ross (SD): 4% 4/18 Home v LAD
No, he’s not out of the league and has posted 2 wins in 3 starts this season with a 3.50 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. He’s pitched well and I do like his 54% ground ball rate but I think he’s due for some serious regression. He hasn’t induced a popup yet and is allowing an above average line drive with a below average BABIP. The heavy left-handed lineup of the Dodgers wakes up this week against Ross. Maybe this is what Bellinger and Seager need to get going. I’d STAY AWAY from Ross in this one.

Mike Minor (TEX): 10% 4/20 Home v SEA
The former starter and reliever is back in a starting role. His overall numbers are ok, but I find it odd that his ground ball rate currently sits at 19% with a fly ball rate over 60%! That explains his low BABIP but how he’s only allowed a 7.7% HR/FB rate with over 35% hard contact, I can’t figure. He’s also sporting a below average O-Swing and a 50% first pitch strike percentage. With the likes of Nelson Cruz back this week and hot hitting Robinson Cano and Mitch Haniger, I’m sensing a blow up here. STAY AWAY!

Matt Boyd (DET): 3% 4/20 Home v KC
YEAH BOYYYYYYD! Ok, not many strikeouts from Boyd, I understand that. That’s why I took Newcomb though! Boyd has a ton of luck on his side in terms of BABIP, HR/FB, and LOB%. I don’t trust him this season but against the Kansas City Royals in a great ball park, I’ll take my chances. Boyd doesn’t give out many free passes and his SwStr rate is over 10%, so maybe he can grab us a few Ks. Let’s give Boyd one more chance. STREAM