Let’s get this out of the way. PaBLOW Lopez really killed us last week. That will happen every once and a while and we have to pick ourselves up and trust the process. I’m not giving up on Lopez for just one awful start but I’m fading him next week at least. Luckily, we had seven other starters last week who, by in large, performed well. Despite the 10 runs beat down on Lopez, here are the streaming numbers to date through the first six weeks of the season:
Not bad right? Those are much better than league-average and look like a #2 starter on most fantasy teams. Forget about the Lopez start, trust the process, and let’s keep rolling. Here’s what we have next week. Note: All pitchers are owned in 25% of leagues per FantasyPros Consensus Ownership
Wade Miley (SP – HOU) 18% owned, @DET, Tuesday 5/14
Miley is a boring pick here but he’s been successful of late and gets Detroit in Comerica Park. Not only are the Tigers struggling offensively but it’s backed by a .258 wOBA and a 28% strikeout rate in the last 14 days. Comerica Park is the third worst stadium for home runs in the Majors. The Tigers don’t hit many homers but their park doesn’t help them out as they have hit just six in the last two weeks. Miley isn’t going to give you many strikeouts but keeps the ball down and has one of the best defenses behind him. I expect plenty of run support and hopefully six clean innings from Miley who will let his defense do the work for him. STREAM
Trent Thornton (SP – TOR) 4% owned, @SF, Tuesday 5/14
Anytime I have the opportunity to stream a pitcher in San Francisco, I do it. My home run park factors article linked above has Oracle Park 2.5 standard deviations below the average ballpark in terms of home runs. As of Saturday, the Giants have hit just nine home runs at home this season with just a .268 OBP as a team. I’m not the biggest fan of Thornton but his main issue has been home runs. As I just discussed, home runs will be hard to come by, especially from left-handed bats who the Giants should stack against the righty. As with any young pitcher, control and walks can pop up but ballons when a pitcher loses control combined with the long balls. I’m hesitant here but would stream Thornton in 14-team and deeper leagues for the upside.
Derek Holland (SP – SF), 5% owned, Tyler Beede, 1% owned TOR, Tuesday, 5/14
Wait, but I’m streaming Thornton who is going up against the Giants and Holland! Yup, so here’s the thing, we all know that Oracle Park is a pitcher’s dream, no need to go over that again. Note: Holland has been moved to the bullpen and Tyler Beede will be recalled from Triple-A to start in his place. What I really like is that the Blue Jays fourth from the bottom against left-handed pitchers with a .275 wOBA against this year.
They have also struck out against lefties over 25% of the time and Holland is rocking a 27% K rate with the metrics to back it up. In addition, the Giants are ranked eighth in team defense thanks to the addition of Kevin Pillar in centerfield. I like Holland to pile up strikeouts can keep the ratios in check. The Blue Jays have almost as bad against right-handed pitchers compared to lefties and have a higher strikeout rate versus RHP. Beede throws 95 MPH with a plus changeup he but he has struggled with control. In the minors, he regularly was near 4 BB/9 and in his brief Major League career has walked 13 batters in 12 innings. Maybe there’s a chance he pulls it together but I believe his upside in this one is no more than five innings with six strikeouts and sub-par ratios. I wouldn’t count on it though. I’m passing on this start for Beede.
Merrill Kelly (SP – ARI), 9% owned, SF, Friday, 5/17
Kelly hasn’t been great overall since coming back to the states but I expect his walk rate to come way down. Eno Sarris recently wrote a piece at The Athletic discussing pitchers with good command+ but have elevated walk rates. Kelly was near the top of the list and as we saw last night against the Braves, he didn’t walk a single batter in seven innings. He gets a cushier matchup next week against the Giants at home. He’s also pitched much better in Chase Field (thank you humidor) with a 3.20 ERA/1.10 WHIP than on the road this year. We’ve covered how poor the Giants offense has been this season, so no need to rehash. Kelly won’t have a ton of strikeout upside but has the ability to go deep into games, so gets a boost in QS leagues. STREAM
Griffin Canning (SP – LAA), 22% owned, KC, Saturday 5/18
I’m not sure why Canning isn’t owned in over 25% of leagues, but hey, our gain right? Canning has impressed in his first two starts in the big leagues striking out 13 with a 1.03 WHIP through 9.2 IP. Hitters can’t seem to make much contact evidenced by the 20% swinging strike rate and 54.6% contact rate. It’s an extremely small sample but those numbers would lead the league. His fastball has been good, his slider is unhittable, and the curve is a plus pitch. The only thing that worries me is his sub-30% zone rate. Patient teams could make him pay but Kansas City is walking 8.5% of the time the last 14 days (9% is league average). The Royals are league-average offensively so they aren’t a pushover. I suspect Canning could go six innings with this being his fourth start in the bigs. I like his upside here, STREAM
Wilmer Font (SP – NYM), 0% owned, @MIA, Sunday 5/19
Font has been filling in for the injured Jason Vargas and now that Steven Matz hit the IL, Font may grab two starts next week. I don’t recommend him in his Monday start in Washington, but this matchup seems just right. Cover one eye when looking at his 5.50 ERA but his 4.01 FIP and 3.59 SIERA show that better days may be ahead. His metrics are backed by a 13% swinging strike rate largely due to the increase in the usage of his breaking balls. He’s throwing his slider and curve 43% of the time and both can get whiffs. The Marlins have managed just a .264 wOBA this season (.258 last 14 days) which is 16 points below the next worst team in the Majors. This will be Font’s third start, so he should have a chance to reach six innings in this one and grab a QS and win. STREAM
Photo Courtesy of Prospects Live