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Staring Pitchers to Stream Week 6 (8/24-8/30) – Fantasy Baseball

Ok, weekly FreezeStats starting pitcher streamers are back! After a two week hiatus, let’s dive into my top streamers for each day next week (8/24-8/30). All options below are rostered in 25% or fewer of FantasyPros leagues. Without wasting anymore time, let’s get to it!



Alec Mills (CHC) – 25% rostered @DET: Monday, August 24th

The soft throwing lefty got punished his last time outing but still has allowed some of the weakest contact among starting pitchers this year. He’s allowed hard contact (BBE 95+ mph) just 25% of the time and an average exit velocity of only 82.9 mph! Over the last two weeks, the Tigers rank in the bottom third in K%, BB%, and wRC+. With a 51% ground ball rate and all that weak contact induced from Mills, I don’t expect he’ll get into much trouble against a weak Tigers offense. He likely won’t strike out more 3-4 batters but our options are slim on Monday.

 

Jose Quintana (CHC) – 24% rostered @DET: Tuesday – August 25th

The streaming field isn’t deep on Tuesday either. Guys like Adam Wainwright and Sandy Alcantara are good options but are over 25% rostered. I don’t have extremely high hopes for Quintana in his first start off the IL but the matchup is juicy. He’s no longer the pitcher he was a few years ago but I think he can provide positive value in this one with a good shot at a win. Going six innings this week isn’t likely but I’d expect a line similar to this: 5 IP, 5-6 baserunners, 2 ER, 4-5 K. Good enough given the options.

Danny Duffy (KCR) – 19% rostered @STL: Wednesday – August 26th

Duffy is quietly having a very solid 2020 season. He’s struck out nearly 10.5 batters per nine innings and has a career-best 20.8% K-BB%. There are only 20 qualified starters that currently have a WHIP below 1.00 and Duffy in one of them (0.99). I don’t expect his strikeout rate to continue at this pace but could see him settling in around a K per inning. This matchup could not be better for Duffy. The Cardinals offense is ranked 25th in wRC+ (89) over the last two weeks and they have struggled in limited at-bats against left-handed pitching this season. Duffy is my lock of the week.

Chad Kuhl (PIT) – 6% rostered @STL: Thursday – August 27th

I finally get to bring back my 2018 sleeper post with the awful title “Kuhl Story, Bro.” Kuhl’s been stretched out as a starter and has really impressed through 19 innings this year. His 2.84 ERA and 1.00 WHIP are amazing but likely won’t last thanks to an elevated strand rate and low BABIP. That being said, he has a solid repertoire firing 95 mph on his fastball and hurls an 88 mph slider. I don’t like his sinker (he needs to ditch it) but his slider is awesome. He’s allowed just a 34 wRC+ and earned a SwStr% of 21.1% with the pitch. Unfortunately, he’s not a lefty like Duffy but should be able to handle a weak Cardinals lineup next week.

Triston McKenzie (CLE) – 20% rostered @STL: Friday – August 28th

I also looked at Sixto Sánchez but after his debut, he’s rostered in over 25% of leagues. McKenzie was on fire in his debut allowing just two hits, walking one, and striking out 10! I know, I know, it was the Tigers but i was impressed with his command. That was my biggest concern given the lack of innings over the last couple seasons. While I don’t think we can expect similar performances going forward, it’s encouraging that he induced swings outside the zone nearly 40% of the time with a 16.3% SwStr% and a 40% CSW. I’ve already beat up on the Cardinals offense and without having seen McKenzie, I’ll give another edge to the lanky right-hander next week.


Tyler Mahle (CIN) – 5% rostered vs CHC: Saturday – August 29th

Streaming against the Cubs in a hitters park is risky, no doubt! But, the Cubs have cooled off a bit in August with a 98 wRC+ over the last two weeks. Additionally, as a team they have struck out 28.7% of the time over that stretch, highest in the Majors. Mahle’s strikeout rate this year is 28.6% backed by a 12.2% SwStr%, nearly three percent higher than in 2019. He’s been pounding his fastball up in the zone, so home runs could be an issue, but he’s suppressed them so far with just one homer across 13.1 IP. He’s allowed weak contact with an average EV of under 88 mph. This one could blow up in my face but on the flip side, he could also strikeout nine batters across six innings as well.

Alex Young (ARI) – 3% rostered vs SFG: Sunday – August 30th

OK, so the Giants are not who we thought they were at the beginning of the season. They don’t strike out much, they are hitting for power, and have won more games than we’ve expected. That being said, the Giants are actually worse on the road this year in terms of offensive production. As a team, the Giants have just an 80 wRC+ on the road this year. Alex Young has an interesting line this year. His 4.50 ERA is fine and his 1.17 WHIP is great. But, he’s given up three homers per nine innings, a 35% HR/FB rate! That’s not good but also likely to regress. He hasn’t gone 5 innings yet as a starter but has gone four-plus in both starts. Quality Start leagues should look elsewhere, but I’m betting he makes it through five in this one to qualify for the win. He’s not walking guys, so his line is going to come down to homers. If he gives up one or zero, we are golden, otherwise…




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Starting Pitcher Streamers – Week 2 (7/27 – 8/2): Fantasy Baseball

Welcome back to my weekly streaming article. This year I’m doing things a little differently. I’ll pick one streamer for each day that is 25% owned or under based on FantasyPros combined Yahoo!/ESPN ownership rates. In previous seasons, I more or less handpicked the best streaming options for the week and therefore didn’t necessarily choose an option each day. Here’s how last year went and the Google sheet where I tracked the results.

IP ERA WHIP K W QS
Season Totals 654 3.91 1.22 643 52 51

2019 wrapup article. Considering the juiced ball environment, that wasn’t too bad. The degree of difficulty is higher this year now that I don’t have the ability to choose more than one option each day. I will also list a backup option to stream but only if the primary option is skipped or does not pitch for some reason. Here, we go!

 

Monday – July 27th

Pablo Lopez (SP – MIA) Home vs BAL, 9% owned
Lopez at home against a terrible Orioles club is my lock of the week. In 2019 at home, Lopez managed 3.39 ERA with a 1.08 WHIP. His strikeout rate wasn’t great last year but he’s added a cutter to go with his nasty changeup. Hopefully, the Marlins can give Lopez some run support, but I fully expect Lopez to net a strikeout per inning with great ratios on Monday. You may want to hold Lopez after this start because I have a feeling his ownership and popularity may begin to rise.

Backup option: Griffin Canning (SP – LAA), @ OAK – 24% owned 


 

Tuesday – July 28th

Kyle Gibson (SP – TEX) Home vs ARI, 6% owned
I went back in forth between Josh Lindblom and Kyle Gibson. Lindblom has an easier matchup against the Pirates but I just haven’t seen him pitch much. Gibson is a bit underrated. He was somewhat unlucky with a .330 BABIP and a 67.5% strand rate last year. However, he struck out a batter per inning and cut down on his walks. Now, he’s in Texas in the new stadium. By all accounts, it should play more like a pitcher’s park compared to the old Globe Life Stadium. Did you know Gibson managed a 36% O-Swing% and a 13% SwStr rate in 2019? Those rank seventh and 16th respectively among pitchers with at least 150 innings last year. Long story, long, stream Gibson. Backup option: Josh Lindblom (SP – MIL) @PIT – 7% owned

 

Wednesday – July 29th

Danny Duffy (SP – KCR) @DET, 8% owned
Last year, the Tigers were the worst offensive club in the Majors based on wRC+. They also struck out 26.4% of the time, worst in the league. They added C.J. Cron and Jonathan Schoop this offseason but still have one of the weakest teams in 2020. Duffy was OK in his first outing giving up two earned runs in 4.1 IP. That was against the Indians and I fully expect him to reach 5-6 inning against the Tigers. He won’t WOW you but he’s a decent pick on Wednesday. Backup Option: Patrick Sandoval (SP – LAA) Home vs SEA, 0% owned

 

Thursday – July 30th

John Means (SP -BAL) Home vs MIA – 12% owned
Means is currently on IL as he was slotted to pitch opening day for the Orioles. Obviously, that didn’t happen. By all accounts, he should be back for the start next Thursday and the matchup is juicy. He’s hoping to follow up an impressive 2019 where he finished with a 3.60 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. He won’t strike a ton of guys out but doesn’t get beat by walking batters. He’s also better at home. In 2019, he had a steller 2.74 ERA in Camden Yards. His fastball isn’t all that great but he wields a good change (of course, I love changeups) and a solid slider. That should be enough to beat the Marlins.
Backup Option: Brady Singer (SP – KCR) Home @DET, 17% owned



 

Friday – July 31st

Vince Velasquez (SP – PHI) @TOR – 9% owned
There aren’t many great options next Friday so I’m rolling the dice with VV. He’s featured a new changeup and it looks like it could be a PutAway pitch. He’s been extremely inconsistent over his career, so this stream is not without risk. The Blue Jays are young and not familiar with Velasquez. I give the edge to VV there. I don’t expect him to go more than five innings but given the fact that the Blue Jays strike out quite a bit, he could pile up the Ks. I’m streaming here but like other options next week better.
Backup option: Spencer Turnbull (SP – DET) home vs CIN, 7% owned

 

Saturday – August 1st

Wade Miley (SP – CIN) @DET – 5% owned
Looks like we are picking on the Tigers and that’s OK. Miley doesn’t have the ceiling of some other options next week but has a great chance to post a quality start with good ratios. You might be surprised to know that Miley has had an ERA under 4.00 each of the last two seasons. He focuses on his cutter and changeup to minimize damage. His ground ball rate has been right near 50% the last three seasons. That should play well in Comerica next week and let’s not forget, the Tigers strike out more than any team, so there’s a small amount of K upside here as well.
Backup option: Reynadlo Lopez (SP – CHW) @KCR – 25% owned

 

Sunday – August 2nd

Austin Voth (SP – WSH) @MIA – 5% owned
I’m curious to see what Voth looks like in his first go around this year but I’ve been a fan of his all offseason. Here’s what I said about him way back in January.


“At age-27, he’s not a highly rated prospect but showed impressive skills in 2019 with a 17.8% K-BB% and a 3.30 ERA in 43.2 innings. His fastball wasn’t bad, but it’s his secondaries that get me going. All three of his secondaries, CU, CT, CH generated swinging strike rates north of 16.5%. The curve is the best of the bunch with a 38.9% strikeout rate. We are dealing with limited samples but hell, it’s after pick 250 and there is a top-150 ceiling here.”

He draws the Marlins in Miami and while they moved the fences in (a little), I’m not convinced it’ll change the results all that much. I’m rolling with Both and holding him in deep formats.

So many options next Sunday but many things can change in one week (especially in 2020), so here are the top 2 backup options. Tyler Mahle @DET – 2% owned, Yonny Chirinos @BAL



Photo Credit: Jasen Vinlove / USA Today

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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