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Starting Pitchers to Stream Week 22 – 8/26-9/1

Welcome back to the FreezeStats starting pitcher streaming article. You know the rules. All of the options I discuss below are available in at least 75% of Yahoo/ESPN consensus ownership rates per FantasyPros. Our options are plentiful next week, so let’s attack the weak offensive clubs. There’s a nice mix of high ceiling options with high-floor guys mixed in.

Alex Young (SP – ARI), 19% owned @SFG, Monday, 8/26
The 25-year-old has been serviceable but unspectacular with a 4.04 ERA, a 1.14 WHIP, and 6.8 K/9 this year. That strikeout rate is embarrassing in today’s game but there’s a silver lining. His chase rate and swinging-strike rate are both above league-average so he’s due some positive regression there. In addition, his curveball is borderline elite with a 44% K rate and a 20.3% SwStr rate. He draws the Giants in Oracle Park who have a 75 wRC+ and just 48 home runs at home this season. That’s fewer than one home run per game for those of you scoring at home. Young has already faced the Giants twice that resulted in one good and one bad outing. The good one came in San Francisco. I like Young next week against the Giants, but he doesn’t have massive upside. I’ll still STREAM.


Adam Plutko (SP – CLE), 6% owned, @DET, Tuesday, 8/27
Speaking of teams who have struggled offensively at home, I give you the Tigers. They are tied with the Giants for the lowest wRC+ at home and have a 25.5% strikeout rate as a team. They’ve whiffed even more frequently since the trade of Nick Castellanos and, of course, are worse offensively. If you thought Young was boring, Plutko might put you to sleep immediately. He’s striking out fewer than 6.0 per nine innings but sports a scant 3.8% walk rate. He does induce whiff outside the zone at a high clip but doesn’t generate as many whiffs as Young overall. Plutko lacks a putaway pitch. My concern with Plutko is fly balls and home runs. His fly-ball rate is 48% and he’s given up 2.2 homers per nine innings. The Tigers tagged him for three longballs the last time they faced, so given the limited upside, I’m STAYING AWAY here.

Anthony DeSclafani (SP – CIN), 19% owned, @MIA, Wednesday, 8/28
Here we go again, back on the dance floor with Tony Disco. Finally! A guy with a strikeout rate better than one batter per inning. He’s added one mph to his fastball and has the best swinging-strike rate of his career. He’s struggling with home runs this year (who hasn’t) but he gets to face the Marlins in Miami. He’s given up 13 homers in the road but five of them were in two outings at Wrigley. The Marlins are not nearly as good as the Cubs offensively and Marlins Park is much more forgiving for pitchers. The Marlins are in the bottom five in terms of wRC+ and strikeout rate this year. DeSclafani is coming off two straight one-run outings, so I like his chances in this one. I’m STREAMing.


Dinelson Lamet (SP – SDP), 25% owned, @SFG, Thursday, 8/29
I’ll tell you right up front that Dinelson Lamet is my top streaming option next week. He’s right at 25% ownership mark, so in deep leagues, he’s probably gone. In 10 and some 12-team leagues, he should be available and plucked up quickly. Lamet has a robust 12.07 K/9. Yes, you read that right. He has an insane 14.4% SwStr% and a 68.9% contact rate. For reference, that would rank seventh and fourth respectively among qualified starters. There’s absolutely no reason a pitcher with that type of swing and miss skill should be available. His one downfall is his control as his walk rate is a smidge below 10%. But don;t worry, he’s going up against one of the worst offensive teams in the Giants in the most favorable park for pitchers. STREAM STREAM STREAM

Dylan Bundy (SP – BAL), 16% owned, @KCR, Saturday, 8/31
I’ve always had a soft spot for Dylan Bundy because he has a really good slider and solid changeup. His K-BB rate is typically in the mid-to-upper teens, combine that with two plus pitches and I just feel like he should be better. The AL East is a nightmare for pitchers and his home park doesn’t do him any favors. He’s away from Baltimore next week against the Royals who are third from the bottom with an 82 wRC+ as a team. Bundy decreased his obscene home run rate from a year ago and while it’s still above league-average, he’s not giving up as many fly balls. That’s in part due to an increase in his changeup usage that generates grounder over 55% of the time. He just dominated the Royals on 8/20, and I’m back in next week. STREAM

Eric Lauer (SP – SDP), 8% owned, @SFG, Saturday, 8/31
The last three options all have the ability to pile up strikeouts, Lauer on the other hand, not so much. However, he’s been solid at limiting home runs this year at 1.14 HR/9 which, believe it or not, is better than league-average. He throws a ton of strikes, so he’s not likely to be hurt by free passes. Pitching in Oracle Park for this start is ideal for Lauer’s skill set. I discussed how poor the Giants are in Young’s blurb, especially at home. I tweeted this earlier in the week showing how the Giants lack an offensive star. If Kevin Pillar, Evan Longoria, and Mike Yastrzemski are the batters Lauer has to worry about, I’ll take my chances. Buster Posey is a shell of himself and is 16% below-league average offensively. Lauer has a good chance at a quality start and win. I’m Streaming here.


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


Starting Pitchers to Stream for Week 13 (6/24-6/30)

I’m a little late with this streaming post today, so I’ll spare you the introduction. The good news is, I have a plethora of streaming options for next week, seven to be exact! Remember, all of these options are available in at least 75% of FantasyPros Consensus leagues. Here we go!

C.C. Sabathia (SP – NYY)  13% owned, home vs TOR, Monday 6/24
The Blue Jays are typically a nice option to stream against. As a team, they have a strikeout rate of nearly 26% over the last two weeks. They also have to travel to New York (albeit from Boston) so typically teams are a little sluggish following a traveling day. Meanwhile, the Yankees are currently at home for their current series against the Astros, so no traveling. Both Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton have returned, so run support should be plentiful. Sabathia has also been great at home this season with a 2.18 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP. Also, as a left-handed pitcher, he negates the short porch in right field by limiting LHB to a .152 BA and a .211 wOBA. The Blue Jays will likely stack righties against CC but I’ll take my chances. I expect two to three earned runs, five to six strikeouts and a great chance at a QS/W. STREAM but stay away from his 6/30 start in Boston.

Adam Plutko (SP – CLE), 5% owned Home vs KC, Monday 6/24
This is a matchup play for sure but Plutko has limited walks to just under one per nine innings this season. The Royals are without one of their most dangerous hitters in Adalberto Mondesi who hit the IL this past week. Hunter Dozier has returned, but overall, the Royals lineup lacks elite power bats. Over the last 14 days, the Royals have just a 79 wRC+ well below league-average of 100. In addition to limiting walks, Putko has managed to give up six earned runs over his last three starts (2 in each start) and has boosted his strikeout rate in his last two outings. He’s been fantastic at getting ahead of hitters which he’s done 69% of the time and that’s allowed him to induce swings outside the zone over 35% of the time. Plutko’s issues are with home runs, and it’s been ugly at just under three home runs per nine innings. However, four of them came against the Rays in one start. A quick peek at BaseballSavant shows me he’s been unlucky. His xwOBA is just .318 compared to his .340 wOBA and his eight barrels against should have yielded five to six home runs rather than the nine HR he’s given up. I think Plutko is able to limit damage to just one home run in this outing which should provide positive results. STREAM

Chris Bassitt (SP – OAK), 23% owned, @STL, Tuesday 6/25
The 30-year-old veteran right-hander has managed a very respectable 3.64 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP on the season. There’s nothing special I can see in regards to his pitch mix but he’s improved his average fourseam velocity by 1.2 MPH from last year. By increasing his velocity, he’s been able to effectively pitch up in the zone with a 40% strikeout rate and a 22.2% infield fly ball rate on his fourseamer. It has really complimented his cutter that he throws low and out of the zone. The Cardinals are not the offensive juggernaut I thought they would be after acquiring Paul Goldschmidt. They have managed just a 92 wRC+ (100 is league-average) this season. Normally I don’t love OAK pitchers away from home but Busch Stadium actually scored lower on the HR/BRL home run park factors. Bassitt’s also carrying an 8.81 K/9 so facing the pitcher’s spot a couple of times could yield at least a strikeout per inning. I’m streaming here.

Dylan Bundy (SP – BAL), 19% owned, home vs SD, Wednesday 6/26
On the surface, Bundy looks similar to last season’s disaster and his 17% K-BB rate this year (17.3% in 2018) proves this point. However, Bundy’s BABIP against is down .033 at .283 which is closer to his career .294 mark. He’s also decreased hard contact against which is down almost seven percent. While his home run rate is only down a slight margin, Bundy’s luck has normalized a little bit. His changeup which I thought had some very bad luck last year is now a plus pitch by FanGraphs pitch value. Paired with his slider and Bundy has a nice one-two punch. Over the last month, Bundy has a 3.86 ERA with a 10.44 K/9. The Padres have been better of late but still carry a high strikeout rate as a team. This is the ultimate high-risk/high-reward play. I’m feeling lucky with Bundy pitching better and the Padres traveling across the country. STREAM

Anibal Sanchez (SP – WAS), 24% owned, @DET, Friday 6/28
Streaming against the Tigers has been a consistent theme for me this year. For Ss and Gs, let’s look at the Tigers numbers at home this season: 35 games, 22 HR, 25% strikeout rate, 6.5% walk rate, 70 wRC+. The 70 wRC+ for the Tigers is tied with the Giants as the worst home rate in the league. Home runs go to die in centerfield at Comerica, so Sanchez should be safe. In regards to Sanchez, one number intrigues me, 27% cutters. That’s how often he’s throwing the pitch this year but it’s up to over 30% in his last four starts where he’s sporting a 1.54 ERA. As a result, his usage of his fastball (his worst pitch) continues to diminish. Sanchez is a nice play for decent ratios and a win. I’m Streaming.

Eric Lauer (SP – SD), 13% owned, Home vs STL, Friday 6/28
Lauer’s not the most exciting option but he’s been effective outside of his two blow ups at Coors Field. Subtracting these two starts from his season ERA, we get 3.11 for an ERA outside of Coors Field. Next week’s game is not at Coors Field. If you don’t love that math, Lauer has a very rock-solid 2.70 ERA at Petco. Lauer has also increased the usage of his curveball which is his best pitch. I’ve already discussed the Cardinals and their below-average offensive performance to date, so Lauer seems like a nice option. I’d love to pair Lauer’s safe floor with Bundy’s high but volatile ceiling next week. Stream.

Dakota Hudson (SP – STL), 25% owned @SD, Saturday 6/29
Hudson has looked great over his last seven starts and now owns a 3.36 ERA on the season. He won’t pile up strikeouts but has somehow managed to induce ground balls nearly 62% of the time when everyone is trying to elevate. He pairs a 94 MPH power sinker with a cutter which is where he can generate whiffs. Manny Machado and the Padres are heating up but Hudson hasn’t given up more than three earned runs since April 15th! He’s totaled eight straight quality starts. He might tie you to the WHIPping Post but should limit runs and has great shot at a win. Of course, he’s a must stream in QS leagues. Either way, I’m streaming.

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


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Starting Pitchers to Stream for Week 12 (6/17-6/23)

Welcome back to the weekly starting pitcher streaming article. It’s a special Father’s Day edition! Well, there’s nothing really all that special about it other than I’m posting it on Father’s Day. So, Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there. Hopefully, this article gives you a leg up on the competition next week. Let’s get to it!

Note: All pitchers are available in at least 75% of FantasyPros Consensus ownership leagues.

Mike Fiers (SP – OAK) 22% owned, home vs BAL, Monday 6/17
Mike doesn’t exactly throw fire but he’s been streamable at home this season. He’s carrying a 3.60 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and a .262 wOBA in Oakland Coliseum this year. Yes, he’s been extremely fortunate with a sub-.200 BABIP but he’s only given up six homers at home compared to nine of the road in about the same number of innings. The Orioles, while respectable offensively at home are tied for 26th with a .293 wOBA on the road. They are also prone to strikeouts with a 0.26 BB/K rate. You’re not getting Fiers for the strikeouts but if the Orioles are going to give him a few extra, I’ll take it! I’m streaming for ratios and a win/quality start.


Merrill Kelly (SP – ARI) 19% Owned, Home vs COL, Tuesday 6/18
I haven’t had luck streaming Kelly this season. Every time I use him, he blows up. When I don’t use him, he does well. I want to flip the switch this time. First off, the matchup is great. The Rockies are one of the worst teams on the road with a .283 wOBA and a 27.3% strikeout rate away from Coors Field. Both are 29th in MLB. The ball moves differently in altitude and it’s difficult for the Rockies hitters to adjust, especially after the last two series were in Coors. Kelly’s also been on fire going at least seven innings in each of the last three outings giving up only two earned runs across those starts. He’s seen an uptick in strikeouts thanks to throwing the curve and cutter more often. It might not be a coincidence that his velocity is up about one MPH over his last four starts. Kelly is my STREAM OF THE WEEK

Pablo Lopez (SP – MIA) 25% Owned, @STL, Thursday 6/20
Lopez struggled through the first three innings in his last start against the Pirates where I streamed him. Then, he threw four shutout innings and earned his fourth win and a QS. He’s not an elite strikeout pitcher but limits walks and hard contact. Among pitchers with at least 200 batters faced, he ranks 30th in expected wOBA (xwOBA). I mentioned this before, but he has three pitches that generate strikeouts at least 24% of the time. So while I don’t think he’ll dominate with 10 Ks, he won’t hurt you there either. Sure, this is a road start, so that’s not great but the Cardinals are ranked 28th in wRC+ (76 where 100 is league average) over the last to weeks. Also, Busch Stadium suppresses home runs evidenced by its home run park factors and the Cardinals have only hit 39% of their home runs this season at home (35 at home, 55 on the road). I’m STREAMING here.

Eric Lauer (SP – SD) 17% owned, @PIT, Friday 6/21
Lauer just stood up the Nationals and fared pretty well. He lasted seven innings giving three earned runs (4 runs total), striking out five. He draws the Pirates in PNC Park which isn’t too bad. I know the Pirates have been hot lately but it’s partially a mirage given their elevated .344 team BABIP. At home, the Pirates are slightly below-league-average offensively with a 97 wRC+. I’m not going to try and sell you that Lauer is a great pitcher because he’s not. Lauer has limited damage by keeping his walk and home run rate low. He’s improved his first-pitch strike rate and zone% which allows him to go deeper into games. He gets a boost in QS leagues and I’m expecting at least six innings with solid ratios. He’s a STREAM in 14-team leagues and deeper.

Jalen Beeks (SP – TB) 6% owned, @OAK, Friday 6/21 or Saturday 6/22
Beeks has been coming into games in the second or third inning following an opener. So, quality start leagues may need to look elsewhere. He typically goes four-plus innings and puts himself in a nice position to earn a win. In fact, he’s got five wins already in just 53 innings pitched and should pitch today (Sunday) which lines him up for next Friday or Saturday. The Athletics are scary powerful but I prefer to stream against them where they are in Oakland. Here are the splits:

Home/Away HR Hit wRC+
Home (O.Co) 47 94
Away 59 106

Beeks just faced the Athletics at home and held them to zero earned runs (1 unearned) and three base runners. In fact, he’s only given up two earned runs in his last three appearances. If you’re looking for a win and low ratios, go ahead and STREAM. Make sure you grab him in advance of Friday’s game in case they decide to use him then instead of Saturday.


Michael Pineda (SP – MIN), 10% Owned, @KC Sunday 6/23
Is it time to jump back in on Pineda? I think the time is right. The Royals have not been great offensively this year and have been even worse over the last 14 days with an anemic 61 wRC+! Over that time, their strikeout rate has ballooned to 28.8% as a team and have walked just five percent of the time. That’s brutal. The team lacks power and while getting Hunter Dozier back will help, it’s still a dream matchup in the deep confines of Kauffman Stadium. Pineda’s control seems just fine as he’s walking under two batters per nine innings but as usual, he’s struggling with the long ball. That’s OK because that’s the Royals weakness. Here’s the real reason for Pineda’s recent success. His fastball velocity, after averaging 92 MPH early in the season is up over 94 MPH over his last three starts. In each one of those games, it’s generated a positive pitch value. Great control and increased velocity have me at least somewhat intrigued. STREAM!

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


Photo Credit: Jasen Vinlove / USA Today