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Starting Pitcher Rankings 31 – 152 (FreezeStats Fantasy Baseball)

Last week I released my top 30 starting pitchers for 2020. I wrote a quick blurb for each starter explaining why they were ranked where I had them. You can see that post here. I dropped Mike Clevinger to 15 overall after the news of his offseason knew surgery came through. He’s probably going to miss the first month of the season, so his ceiling is probably 165 innings. I was very high on him coming into 2020 (early rank was seven overall) but I think he can still provide some value. Last season, he threw only 126 innings and finished as the 18th ranked starting pitcher per the Razzball Player Rater. It’s reasonable to project him for around 150 innings which slots him right around the 15th SP in my opinion. Let’s dive into the rest of my starting pitcher rankings for 2020.



2020 Starting Pitcher Rankings Table 31-50

SP RankPlayerTeam
31Frankie MontasAthletics
32Zac GallenDiamondbacks
33Madison BumgarnerDiamondbacks
34Zack WheelerPhillies
35Max FriedBraves
36Mike SorokaBraves
37David PriceDodgers
38Kenta MaedaTwins
39Kyle HendricksCubs
40Hyun-Jin RyuBlue Jays
41German MarquezRockies
42Matthew BoydTigers
43Eduardo RodriguezRed Sox
44Dinelson LametPadres
45Julio UriasDodgers
46Joe MusgrovePirates
47Robbie RayDiamondbacks
48Andrew HeaneyAngels
49Mike MinorRangers
50Shohei Ohtani (SP only)Angels

Mike Soroka is known for his power sinker. It generated a ton of ground balls and weak contact. That’s great but his strikeout rate was 7.4 per nine innings. That’s not quite what you’re looking for in a top-40 arm. Remember when I was discussing Clevinger in the introduction? Well, he had a 12.1 K/9 and 27 more strikeouts than Soroka in 50 fewer innings. This isn’t about Clevinger but you can see how valuable strikeouts are.  Soroka does utilize a slider and an elite changeup that can be used as a second putaway pitch to improve his K%. With three plus-pitches, he could take the next step and become a top-25 SP. Zac Gallen and Max Fried are my top targets in this range. Of course, they have a ton of helium going into draft season, so I’ll have to pay up for them.

German Marquez is doomed thanks to Coors Field but his skills looked as sharp as ever in 2019. Maybe he was a tad lucky in 2018 but I believe he was unlucky last year. Can he tame Coors Field? That’s a tall task but I believe he should be even better on the road in 2020 than he was last year. If can post a low-3s ERA with a 1.10 WHIP and 10 K/9 on the road, he should provide enough value to warrant this rank. Shohei Ohtani likely won’t pitch in a Major League game until May. If he throws every six games, that’s 20-22 starts. Averaging six innings per start is asking a lot but that would be his ceiling in terms of innings pitched. So, I’m projecting him for 120 innings which caps his value.  I think they will be very good innings but not quite Clevinger-esque. That’s why he slots in at 50.

Here’s what I said about Musgrove this week at FantasyPros: “Musgrove added about 0.5 MPH on his fastball last year, but the big adjustment was his increased usage of his changeup. The changeup became an elite offering for him, as he got hitters to chase the pitch outside the zone over 50% of the time! In addition to getting batters to chase, Musgrove can also throw the pitch for strikes and generate below-average contact on pitches inside the zone. He pairs the elite changeup with his established slider. Between the two-plus pitches for Musgrove, he should be able to bump his strikeout rate to the 23-24% range. Given his 68% first-pitch strike rate, I anticipate another walk rate well-below league average, keeping his WHIP below 1.20. For 2019, I project Musgrove for 11 wins, 3.80 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 160 strikeouts in 163 innings.”
– Max Freeze (Freeze Stats)

2020 Starting Pitcher Rankings Table 51-70

SP RankPlayerTeam
51Griffin CanningAngels
52Jesus LuzardoAthletics
53Lance McCullers Jr.Astros
54Jake OdorizziTwins
55Luke WeaverDiamondbacks
56Masahiro TanakaYankees
57Mitch KellerPirates
58Jose UrquidyAstros
59Dylan BundyAngels
60Mike FoltynewiczBraves
61Michael KopechWhite Sox
62A.J. PukAthletics
63Carlos MartinezCardinals
64Marcus StromanMets
65Jon GrayRockies
66Caleb SmithMarlins
67Dallas KeuchelWhite Sox
68Kyle GibsonRangers
69Chris ArcherPirates
70Anthony DeSclafaniReds



Griffin Canning has a rocking slider with a 21.7% SwStr rate in 2019. His curve and change are decent as well but he served up eight homers off his fastball. I think he’s going to strikeout over 25% of the batters he faces but could run into some issues with home runs and walks. He’s likely going to be a bit of a headache but has the ability to jump a tier. Can Masahiro Tanaka get his feel back on his splitter? That’s going to be the key to his success. If he can, we are looking at a top-35 starter but I am not as confident. I expect more inconsistent outings from Tanaka in 2020. Forget Mitch Keller‘s 7.45 ERA in 48 innings last year, his stuff was ridiculous. Alex Chamberlain’s Pitch Leaderboard had him pegged for about a 30% K rate and a 23% K-BB%. That’s entering the elite territory. He has everything I’m looking for is a breakout. He averages 95-96 mph on his fastball, has an elite putaway pitch, and a curveball that induced a ton of ground balls and weak contact.

Getting out of Baltimore and AL East is the best move for Dylan Bundy. He leaves one of the worst parks for home runs to a more neutral park in LAA. He also will avoid the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays multiple times per year. He brings a very good slider and changeup to the table, so he has a chance at a sub-4.00 ERA with a strikeout per inning. I’ll take a chance on that after pick 225. Kyle Gibsons slider has a 27.1% SwStr%! Oh, and his changeup has a 20.3% SwStr% with a 60% ground ball rate. Those two pitches alone should make him more valuable but he struggles to find the zone. That and both of his fastballs are just trash. He’s going to be a bumpy ride but could find his way to some very elite outings.

2020 Starting Pitcher Rankings Table 71-100

SP RankPlayerTeam
71Sean ManaeaAthletics
72Pablo LopezMarlins
73Brendan McKayRays
74Sandy AlcantaraMarlins
75Steven MatzMets
76Garrett RichardsPadres
77Adrian HouserBrewers
78James PaxtonYankees
79Yonny ChirinosRays
80Miles MikolasCardinals
81Josh JamesAstros
82Aaron CivaleIndians
83Joey LucchesiPadres
84Merrill KellyDiamondbacks
85Kevin GausmanGiants
86Tyler BeedeGiants
87Spencer TurnbullTigers
88Dustin MayDodgers
89MacKenzie GorePadres
90Josh LindblomBrewers
91Jose QuintanaCubs
92Wade MileyCIN
93Dylan CeaseWhite Sox
94Cole HamelsBraves
95Chris BassittAthletics
96Jon LesterCubs
97Ryan YarbroughRays
98Johnny CuetoGiants
99Michael PinedaTwins
100Jeff SamardzijaGiants

Sandy Alcantara is getting a lot of love as a sleeper for 2020, but I just don’t get it. He was much better over the last two months of 2019 when he threw his sinker more often. His sinker is his best pitch but it’s not going to get a ton of strikeouts. His changeup is decent but his slider and fourseamer are bad. He’s kind of like a hard-throwing Marcus Stroman without the elite ground ball rate. Jame Paxton! UGGGHHHHHH! The injury/surgery basically puts him into the DO NOT DRAFT LIST. The timetable for his return has him coming back in May or early-June but I’d bet on late-June. I usually add a few weeks for rehab, he could basically be valuable for only three months of the season. That’s too much risk to take on. Now, Luis Severino is having forearm soreness. The Yankees need to already do some damage control with their rotation and we haven’t hit March yet. He will drop in my rankings but I can’t say how much just yet.


Josh James has electric stuff with questionable command and will be competing for the fifth starter spot in Houston. He was a popular sleeper heading into 2019 and it did not pan out. I need to see a little more out of his third pitch, his changeup, to see if he can make it as a starter. But, his fastball is legit and he flashed it with a 14.1% SwStr rate on it in 2019. Unfortunately, the numbers from the bullpen won’t translate linearly if he becomes a starter but I’m drafting skills not roles after SP75 overall.

You all know I love Tyler Beede. I talked about him on Benched with Bubba and wrote about his curveball in my underutilized pitches piece at Pitcher List. He actually has three pitches that generated a SwStr% over 15% and averages almost 95 mph on his fastball. He has the stuff to vault into the top-50 but he needs to reduce his fastball usage and throw his secondaries more often. I think Dustin May is a great breakout candidate but once again the Dodgers have 7-8 options to start games, so guessing how many innings May will get is a fool’s errand. Because of that, I can’t take the plunge on May in 12-team formats unless some favorable news coming out of Dodgers camp but in a 15-team format, he’s a great late-round flier.

Dylan Cease must work on his fastball command to become successful. He only threw it in the zone 43% of the time in 2019. That’s not good. It was also crushed when batters swung at it in the zone with a 189 wRC+ against it in 2019. That means he was missing his spots. Additionally, walks around going to be an issue, especially early on. His slider is good and the changeup has some potential, so he’s a late-round dart in 15-team formats.

2020 Starting Pitcher Rankings Table 101-152

SP RankPlayerTeam
101J.A. HappYankees
102Jordan LylesRangers
103Ross StriplingDodgers
104John MeansOrioles
105Jakob JunisRoyals
106Jake ArrietaPhillies
107Alex WoodDodgers
108Tyler MahleReds
109Austin VothNationals
110Dakota HudsonCardinals
111Zach EflinPhillies
112Kyle WrightBraves
113Cal QuantrillPadres
114Luis PatinoPadres
115Domingo GermanYankees
116Forrest WhitleyAstros
117Patrick SandovalAngels
118Nathan EovaldiRed Sox
119Austin PruitAstros
120Justus SheffieldMariners
121Julio TeheranAngels
122Daniel NorrisTigers
123Trevor WilliamsPirates
124Drew SmylyGiants
125Matt ShoemakerBlue Jays
126Homer BaileyTwins
127Freddy PeraltaBrewers
128Nate PearsonBlue Jays
129Corbin BurnesBrewers
130Reynaldo LopezWhite Sox
131Nick PivettaPhillies
132Elieser HernandezMarlins
133Trent ThorntonBlue Jays
134Anibal SanchezNationals
135Tanner RoarkBlue Jays
136Chase AndersonBlue Jays
137Marco GonzalesMariners
138Mike LeakeDiamondbacks
139Mike FiersAthletics
140Sean NewcombBraves
141Brad KellerRoyals
142Martin PerezRed Sox
143Gio GonzalezWhite Sox
144Casey MizeTigers
145Eric LauerBrewers
146Rich HillTwins
147Chad KuhlPirates
148Vince VelasquezPhillies
149Zach DaviesPadres
150Michael FulmerTigers
151Asher WojciechowskiOrioles
152Logan WebbGiants


If Austin Voth earns the fifth rotation spot for the Nationals, I will bump him up at least 15 spots. Here’s what I said about Voth two months ago.

“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.”

In addition to Voth, here are some of my favorite dart throws after SP-100. Ross Stripling, Tyler Mahle, Patrick Sandoval, Austin Pruitt, Drew Smyly, Corbin Burnes, and Chad Kuhl. Kuhl missed all of 2019 with Tommy John Surgery and hasn’t thrown a pitch in a big-league game just yet. I’m skeptical but if he wins a starting spot out of spring training, I think he’ll be valuable once he gets his rhythm down.



Photo credit: Prospects Live

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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 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 Pitcher Rest of Season Rankings Update (June 2019)

It’s nearing the end of June and we are rapidly approaching the mid-point of the 2019 season. I can’t believe had quickly the first half has gone! It doesn’t matter whether you are in first place or in the bottom third of your league, you should still be competing. Two years ago, I was in a head-to-head league where I was in 10th place (out of 12 teams) at the end of June and managed to make a couple of trades and key waiver wire pickups where I vaulted all the way to third place by September. I ended up staying hot and winning the league after three weeks of playoffs. I understand that in Roto formats, this is much more difficult to do, but even if you’re in the middle of the pack, you have a chance. Below are my rest of season rankings for starting pitchers and relief pitchers for standard roto 5×5 leagues. If you have questions regarding specific players in the format in which you play, please feel free to comment. Keep in mind the vs ECR and +/- ECR is based on the expert consensus rankings, not my previous rankings. Click here to see my May update.


 

Risers

Dallas Keuchel (SP – ATL) +44 (93 to 49)
After a long layoff, Keuchel has finally signed with the Atlanta Braves. It’s a sweet spot to land given the soft schedule in the NL East, the quality of the ballclub as a whole, and the pitcher-friendly environment at SunTrust Park. Plus, the infield defense for Atlanta has been pretty good which compliments Keuchel’s extreme ground ball approach. Yes, Dansby Swanson and Ozzie Albies have not been great per FanGraphs Defensive metrics but it’s not a great measure of success in smaller samples and both ranked in the top five at their respective positions in 2018. Keuchel won’t pile up the strikeouts but he should limit walks and home runs. The projection systems have him at an ERA just under 4.00, so he should provide fantasy teams in 12 and 15-team leagues with plenty of value going forward.

Lucas Giolito (SP – CHW) +19 (39 to 20)
Giolito once again is a big mover as he pushes the top 20. Maybe I was a little reluctant to fully buy-in after only one month of success. However, since 4/17, he’s basically been the best pitcher in baseball with eight wins, a microscopic 1.25 ERA, a 0.82 WHIP, and 77 strikeouts in 65 innings (last night excluded). Everything I said last time applies to this update with Giolito with the exception of the elite strikeout rate. Since my late-May update, he’s had a nasty 18.6% swinging strike rate (SwStr%) and has a 33.6% strikeout rate. I still think the home run rate and BABIP will rise which is the reason for my hesitation in putting in the elite class. Regression can hit hard like it did last night against the Cubs. Still, owners have hit the jackpot with the soon to be 25-year-old.

Griffin Canning (SP – LAA) +30 ( 76 to 46)
Despite the hype of many other young pitching prospects, it’s Canning who has come out and been unexpectedly successful. So, his .244 BABIP is likely to rise but all of the other metrics seem to be in line with his surface numbers. Besides, he’s rocking a 21.5% K-BB rate that’s tied for 20th among pitchers with at least 50 innings pitched. Canning is an extreme fly ball pitcher, so home runs will occasionally be a problem but keeping his 94+ MPH fastball up in the zone while keeping his changeup and breaking pitches down has helped boost his strikeout rate. His 16% SwStr rate is absolutely insane. I’m riding Canning but know that an innings cap could be in order especially once the Angels are out of the playoff race.



Lance Lynn (SP – TEX) +- (unranked to 40!)
I never thought I’d be ranking Lance Lynn in the top 40 starting pitchers, but here we are. Lynn’s career-low walk rate in a full season is 8.6% way back in 2012. He’s currently sitting on a walk rate of just 6.1% which he combines with a current career-best 26% strikeout rate. K-BB rate is one of the best in-season measures of future success and Lynn’s 19.8% K-BB% ranks 16th among qualified starters. No, I don’t trust his 4.16 ERA because his .345 BABIP is sure to come down based on his career .305 BABIP. He’s also throwing harder with an average fastball velocity of 94.6 MPH (up 0.6 MPH from 2018 and up 2.0 MPH from 2017)! I think I trust his xFIP of 3.85 more than anything. Let’s call it 3.75-3.85 going forward which is pretty solid given the current landscape of pitching.

Kyle Gibson (SP – MIN) +19 (64 to 45)
While others are salivating over prospects such as Zac Gallen or Dylan Cease, Kyle Gibson is out there slinging it with a career-best K-BB rate of 19.3%. Gibson is already dealing with a home run issue evidenced by his 19.3% HR/FB rate that’s nearly five percent over the league average and he’s still managing a 3.70 ERA and a sparkling 1.17 WHIP. Gibson might be the definition of a boring veteran. But that’s OK. The issue with rookie pitchers, especially for ones on non-contending teams is an innings cap and inconsistencies. I’d rather roll with a veteran like Gibson who is showing the best skills of his career and plays for a contender in a weak division. Besides, his metrics are all trending in the right direction despite a subpar outing last night.

Yu Darvish (SP – CHC) +11 (46 to 35)
OK, so it’s not like we can fully trust Darvish but take a look at his numbers over the last four starts: 2.96 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, a 25.5% strikeout rate, AND just a 7.5% walk rate. That includes a four ER start in Coors Field. I’m focused more on the walk rate that was north of 14% just a couple weeks ago. Darvish is throwing his cutter more and his slider less. He seems to have better control and command of the pitch and its yielded very solid results. In fact, his cutter is a Money Pitch (42.1% O-Swing, 50.4% Zone%, and 20.6% SwStr%) and has a minuscule .198 wOBA against the pitch compared his career .301 wOBA. Compare that to the .360 wOBA against the slider this year. I think Darvish is headed in the right direction, so he gets a bump. Although, he does have top 20 upside, so there’s still a ways to go.


Zac Gallen (SP – MIA) +13 (98 to 85) and  Dylan Cease (SP – CHW) +16 (117 to 101)
After slighting these two in the Kyle Gibson blurb, I’ve gone ahead and moved up both Cease and Gallen. Both will have their limitations as I previously discussed but both are nearing promotions with Gallen getting called up with Pablo Lopez hitting the 10-day IL. Gallen at least has the backdrop of Marlins Park to soften his inconsistent starts, so I prefer him to Cease for the rest of this season. In addition, the projection systems prefer him to Cease. That being said, both are very talented prospects and given the starting pitcher options ranked below, I’ll roll the dice on these top prospects for the upside alone. 

Fallers

German Marquez (SP – COL) -11 (21 to 32)
We knew Coors Field would make for rocky starts but now Marquez has begun to struggle on the road as well. His K-BB rate remains solid at 18.5% but his ERA has ballooned to 4.57. Even in a year with the inflated league-wide ERA, that stings a little from one of your top two or three pitchers. I’m not completely discouraged because the ERA-estimators still show solid skills, but we can’t trust them as much as we would like given the Coors backdrop. There are some positive signs, he hasn’t lost any velocity and he’s throwing his curve and slider more than ever. The issue is with his slider. It’s not performing well after it basically saved his 2018 season. After checking the movement of his slider, he’s lost about an inch of drop and a half inch of horizontal movement. As a result, it’s getting hit hard when he leaves it in the zone.

Based on the heatmap, he’s either burying it off the plate or leaving it center cut. Fortunately, the results against his slider in terms of O-Swing, O-Contact, and SwStr are still great. It’s about location. He’s not far off which is why I didn’t drop him further. If an owner is giving up on him, I’d go buy him on the cheap.

Joe Musgrove (SP – PIT) -18 (36 to 54)
Musgrove was one of my favorite mid-tier starting pitcher targets this year. I landed him on a couple of teams and was feeling good after the month of April. Since then, Musgrove has been a different guy. His strikeouts are down, walks are up, and while he’s getting unlucky with his low strand rate, his home run rate looks like it’s due to elevate a bit. I believe in Musgrove’s talent but between his velocity dip and Ray Searage’s pitch-to-contact philosophy, I feel the need to drop him in the rankings. It’s too bad because his slider is getting better results than it ever has in the past. In addition, his curveball has seen an increase and it’s also yielded great results. The problem is his fastball and he’s throwing it over 60% each of the last two outings. I’d like to see it under 50% and see something like 25% sliders, 15% curveballs, and 12% changeups.

Jimmy Nelson (SP – MIL) -33 (60 to 93)
Coming off a devastating shoulder injury and surgery, Nelson has clear rust to shake off. It’s been nearly two years since he last pitched prior to his first start earlier this month. This is not someone I’m taking a risk on given the length of his layoff. I think we will see flashes of brilliance from Nelson but those starts will not outweigh the rough outings where he can’t find his control. In addition, the feel for some of his pitches may go in and out as well. This is not a roller coaster I want to get on. I will very likely be back in on Nelson in 2020 as long as he can stay healthy. 

Yusei Kikuchi (SP – SEA) -35 (44 to 79)
After showing some flashes in April, Kikuchi has proved to be unusable in 12 team leagues. He now has an ERA above 5.00 and a strikeout rate below 7.0 per nine innings. He has been absolutely crushed by the long ball giving up 17 home runs in just 80.1 innings pitched. He’s already given up 10 homers off his fastball and a .406 wOBA against the pitch. It’s evident that he needs to reduce his fastball usage that is just north of 50% usage to date. His slider and curve have been decent and the slider can get plenty of whiffs. That’s the reason I haven’t completely buried him because I think he has a chance to be a somewhat successful junkballer. If that happens, his strikeout rate should improve and he could be useful. I’ll be monitoring his pitch mix going forward.

Kevin Gausman (SP – ATL) -62 (45 to 107)
I know Gausman landed on the IL, but that’s not why he has dropped in the rankings. It’s because of his 6.21 ERA and 1.51 WHIP. Now, his K-BB rate isn’t all that bad at 14.1% and I think his .339 BABIP and 57.6% strand rate are due for some positive regression, but he’s become a two-pitch pitcher. He throws is his fastball and splitter over 95% of the time. The increased use of his splitter is the reason for his bump in strikeout rate but also has hurt his walk rate. Given the fact that hitters can just sit on the fastball, he’s been crushed the second time through the order with an 8.14 ERA! I’ll be monitoring his pitch mix upon his return but if he continues throwing two pitches, I’m not even giving him a look despite his second-half success in the past.

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Photo Courtesy of  JAE C. HONG AP


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Starting Pitchers to Stream – Week 8 (5/20-5/26)

Every week I cover the best starting pitcher streaming options for the week ahead. I include a blurb as to why I believe each pitcher will be successful in their matchup. The options are pretty slim next week. For the most part, I’m leaning towards more skilled pitchers next week rather than leaning on weak opponents. I discuss six pitchers but only recommend five of them.

All pitchers are owned in under 25% of FantasyPros consensus. Here is the google sheet with all the streaming options and results to date. We are sitting pretty so far through a month and a half.

Gio Gonzalez (SP – MIL) 22% owned, Home vs CIN, Tuesday 5/21
The veteran lefty is back in the National League and has pitched well of late. He’s sporting a 1.69 ERA and a 3.01 FIP. His HR/9 is under 0.5 which won’t last but he’s always been good at suppressing home runs. He’s also throwing his changeup nearly 30% of the time which is a career-high. As a result, he’s getting more swings outside the zone and has a solid 10.8% swinging strike (SwStr%). The Reds are OK against left-handed pitchers ranked 18th in wOBA. I think Gio can neutralize the Reds with his changeup and keep them off balance with a fastball that’s performed well in terms of swings and misses to date. STREAM

Adam Wainwright (SP – STL) 11% Owned, home vs KC, Wednesday, 5/21
Should we trust the 37-year-old Wainwright one last time? The answer is no. The Royals are decent against breaking balls and that’s Waino’s calling card. His massive curveball is not the pitch it used to be. He’s getting swinging strikes on it just 9.2% of the time (14.2% career), 17.9% K rate (38.2% career), and an 86 wRC+ (38-career). That’s not good fam. Without the curve, he just won’t be effective. You can move along because I’m staying away.

Merrill Kelly (SP – ARI), 8% owned, @SD, Wednesday 5/22
The Padres have just a .291 wOBA against righties with a 28% strikeout rate. Kelly has already faced the Padres twice this year with mixed results. Here’s what he’s done against them: 11 IP, seven earned runs, and eight strikeouts. Meh, not great. The good news is the Padres are struggling to make contact of late creeping near a 30% strikeout rate and a walk rate under 6.5%. Look, Kelly isn’t a great pitcher but he’s coming off a seven-inning scoreless outing against the Giants. Maybe he can build off his success against a Padres team that has struggled to score runs of late with just 12 runs in their last five games. I’m STREAMING in deep leagues.

Trevor Richards (SP – MIA), 10% owned, @DET, Thursday 5/23
Richards is a guy who showed up in my research covering starters who have increased their called strikes plus swinging strike rate (CSW%) this year. He’s up over 30% which is nearly 3% above league average. Now, Richards has not been very good this year because he’s been hurt by the free pass and the long ball. The good news for Richards is the Tigers have just a .276 wOBA versus right-handed pitchers and only .279 wOBA at home. Comerica Park is a difficult place to hit home runs as they have hit just 14 long balls at home all season in nearly 800 PA. They also walk under 7% of the time. I expect Richards to deploy his elite changeup around 40% of the time netting five to six strikeouts and limit the overall damage. STREAM in deeper formats.

Griffin Canning (SP – LAA), 16% Owned, Home vs TEX, Friday 5/24
Rookie pitchers are difficult because you never know what you’re going to get and the Rangers are a top 10 offense over the last two weeks. Two starts ago, Canning gave up three homers to the Orioles, then followed it up with a seven-inning scoreless start versus the Royals. Most importantly for Canning, he didn’t walk anyone and got ahead of hitters with a 68% first-pitch strike rate. He’s been better at finding the zone recently, but still has a little work to do. Avoiding lefty Joey Gallo is going to be difficult but Canning has an elite 35% CSW rate. Canning could either get blown up for three homers or dominate with eight strikeouts. That’s the risk of streaming though, and it’s more favorable for Canning in his home park rather than it Globe Life in Arlington. I’ll take the upside with Canning and STREAM.

Tyler Mahle (SP – CIN), 10% owned, @CHC, Saturday, 5/25
Mahle against the red-hot Cubs doesn’t look good on the surface. The Cubs have a .337 wOBA over the last two weeks and have been OK at home this year. This is more about Mahle than it is about the Cubs. He’s carrying a 3.51 ERA (3.55 SIERA) with a 20.7% K-BB rate. His swinging strike rate is below-average but has an impressive 31.4 CSW rate means he’s among the big boys. He’s also been getting ahead of hitters more frequently with a 67.3% first-pitch strike rate up five percent from 2018. Limiting walks and getting called strikes have been the keys to success for Mahle. If his BABIP comes down a bit (.323 currently), he might end up being a must-own in 12-team leagues. I’m STREAMING him this week but watching the wind direction at Wrigley closely. If it’s blowing out, I reserve the right to change my mind.

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Photo courtesy of David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

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Starting Pitchers to Stream – Week 7 (5/13-5/19)

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:

IP ERA WHIP K W QS
Season Totals 165.65 3.42 1.07 171 16 17

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

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Starting Pitchers to Stream – Week 6 (5/6-5/12)

Every week I cover starting pitcher streaming options who are owned in 25% or fewer of leagues based on FantasyPros Consensus ownerships rates. Let’s take a look at the options for week 6 (5/6-5/12).

Martin Perez (SP – MIN) 6% owned, @TOR, Monday, 5/6  and Saturday, 5/11 Home vs DET
I stayed away from Perez last week because he faced off against the Astros. He proceeded to twirl eight brilliant shutout innings with seven strikeouts. I’m definitely on board with both starts next week. Perez has only given one earned run over his last two outings. It’s amazing what throwing 95+ MPH will do for a starter like Perez. I prefer the start at home against the Tigers and you’ll see, I’m picking on them next week. As a team, the Tigers have only hit 21 home runs all season and strike out about 27% of the time. I like Perez to pile up a K per inning and a quality start with a good chance for a win. Believe it or not, the Blue Jays haven’t been much better offensively. Despite the call-up of Vlad Jr., the Blue Jays have been in a rut losing their last four games. The Blue Jays also strikeout at a well-above-average clip, so while this road start is a little risky, I’m still rolling with Perez twice next week. STREAM

Tyler Mahle (SP – CIN) 5% owned, @OAK, Tuesday, 5/7
Mahle is becoming a favorite streamer of mine. Sure, he’s got a 4.09 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP but it comes with a cool 9.0 K/9 and sub-2.0 BB/9. He is susceptible to the long ball but is also carrying an unlucky .344 BABIP. While his home park is the most favorable for homers, Oakland’s ballpark is ranked 22nd in terms of home run park factors using Barrels. Add in the fact that the Athletics are ranked 24th in wOBA at home and we’ve got a winning matchup here. I don’t think his arsenal is built to last longterm, but he’s coming off his best start of the season in New York, so I’m back in. STREAM

Griffin Canning (SP – LA) 23% owned, @DET Tuesday 5/7
Here we go, picking on the Tigers again. Canning flashed impressive stuff in his debut even if the numbers didn’t back it up. He touches 95 MPH on his fastball with a plus slider and was able to strike out six Blue Jays in just over four innings. He managed to get called strikes plus swinging strikes on 34% of his pitches, a very solid rate. I think the Angels let him go a little deeper but reaching 6+ innings might be a stretch. So, he’s a little less valuable in QS leagues. The Tigers are not good as I already mentioned but they are even worse at home with just an 87 wRC+ (100 is average) and have hit just seven, yes 7 home runs at home all year, LOL. STREAM

Jeff Samardijza (SP – SF) 17% owned, Home vs CIN Friday, 5/10
Daddy Shark do do dododo. He’s back! He’s pitching today (Sunday) against the Reds but it’s in Great American Smallpark. Remember the home run park factors link above, here it is again. I don’t care what happens in the Sunday start, it’s like going from pitching on the moon to pitching in Antarctica. The Reds are the worst team offensively on the road this year hitting just .252. Scratch that, that’s their OBP, they are batting .197 with a .252 wOBA on the road. Yup, that’s bad. As far as Shark, he’s not great but he’s traded his heavy sinker usage for a cutter. That’s good because the career batting average against his sinker is over .300. Meanwhile, the cutter has allowed just two hits on 110 thrown this year. Another STREAM here.

Jake Odorizzi (SP – MIN) 17% owned, Home vs DET Friday 5/10
Jake is probably my second favorite option next week (Perez is my favorite). And, here we are again picking on the Tigers. I won’t go into them at all. Odorizzi’s just been straight nasty recently. He hasn’t given up a run in his last two starts while striking out 15. In all honesty, he’s had just one poor start out of his first seven outings. He’s been very good rocking a 2.78 ERA. His 12.6% swinging strike rate (SwStr%) backs up his near-10K/9. I’d run to the wire and grab him now before he gets scooped up. STREAM

Pablo Lopez (SP – MIA) 6% Owned, @ NYM Friday 5/10
P-Lo is my boy. Do you trust his current 4.78 ERA or his 2.99 FIP? I tend to lean towards his FIP. Maybe not that good but Lopez is more of a mid-3s ERA pitcher. He’s maintained his increased velocity and it’s improved the results against the fastball. An increase of 4% on his K rate and 2.6% on his swinging strike rate on the fastball has made his secondaries more valuable. Especially the changeup that has generated a disgusting 27.2% SwStr%. The Mets are a tough team and this matchup is not in pitcher-friendly Miami. But wait, they’ve managed just a .284 wOBA in the past 14 days with a near-26% strikeout rate. I think Lopez can manage more than a K per inning with good ratios. I’ll recommend a STREAM but only in 14-team & deeper leagues.

Anthony DeSclafani (SP – CIN), 19% Owned @ SF Saturday 5/11
Talk about picking on weak opponents this week! Tony Disco gets to pitch in the confines of Oracle Park where fly balls go to die. He’s been an extreme fly ball pitcher this year which has hurt him at home but should be just fine away from the GAB. The Giants have hit just .207 with eight home runs at home this year. You read that right, Christian Yelich has more HR at home than the Giants! Meanwhile, DeSclafani is striking out more than 10 batters per nine innings and should easily be able to net a quality start in this one. STREAM.

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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

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Starting Pitchers to Stream Week 5 (4/29-5/5) – Fantasy Baseball

It was a great week of streaming last week and while Odorizzi hasn’t gone yet as of this writing, we are looking at a near perfect week. This is rare and not likely to happen all that often, so I figured I’d mention it. So far on the season, here are the results compared to the MLB average for starting pitchers: 4.36 ERA, 1.29 WHIP with a 8.64 K/9 (MLB AVG)

IP ERA WHIP K W QS
Season Totals 90.99 3.26 1.06 90 10 10

That’s a lot better than a number of aces thus far on the season. Here’s the link to the streaming google sheet if you want to keep track. Let’s keep it rolling. Next week there are a bunch of options early in the week, so grab them now!

Mike Soroka (SP – ATL), 25% owned home vs SD, Monday 4/29 and @MIA Sunday 5/5 (Two-Start Week!)
Soroka should be owned in more than 25% of leagues. My guess is the Braves have such great pitching prospect depth and they’ve shuffled in several different arms to start the season. So fantasy owners are just streaming them as they come and go. So far, Soroka has only had two starts but he’s getting more than a strikeout per inning and a 55% ground ball rate. That’s a winning combo in the current home run environment. San Diego is an improved team thanks to Machado and Tatis Jr. but they can whiff quite a bit. Believe it or not, Suntrust Park actually is less friendly to home Runs than Petco, so that’s another point in Soroka’s favor. Also, I want to mention and give credit to Nick Pollack and Alex Fast and some of the PitcherList staff for creating and discussing the new pitching metric Called Strikes Plus Whiffs (CSW). Soroka is rocking a 32.4% CSW, which is fantastic. I will be referring to this article and metric going forward. Do I even need to mention the Miami start? Grab him immediately for both starts, because he won’t be on the wire for long. Easy double stream here for probably the last time with Soroka.

Vince Velasquez (SP – PHI), 21% owned home vs DET, Tuesday 4/30
This one is risky. I would prefer if this start was in Detroit because Comerica is one of the worst offensive parks for home runs. Citizens Bank in Philly, on the other hand, can be a launching pad. The good news is their 25.9% strikeout rate as a team is sixth worst in the league. VV has some negative regression coming but he’s walking fewer batters this year which has helped him limit the damage. His fastball velocity is up nearly one MPH, so I while there is some risk in this start, I’d be willing to roll with him given the strikeout upside and the probability of a win. Stream

Jakob Junis (SP – KC), 13% Owned home vs TB, Tuesday 4/30
Don’t get me wrong, the Rays can hit but they also strike out a bunch. Kauffman Stadium is not a great place to hit which is a point in Junis’ favor. He’s also added a little velocity to his fastball and throwing his slider over 43% of the time. Junis has also been better at home this season and his slider I mentioned is nasty. He’s getting strikeouts over 42% of the time on that pitch. Junis is rocking a 31.8% CSW which is a very good rate. I like the way Junis has been pitching early this season and think he can handle the Rays at home with a good chance at a QS and solid K numbers. Stream.

Griffin Canning (SP – LAA), 1% owned home vs TOR, Tuesday 4/30
Who is this Griffindor Canning? He is not from the Harry Potter series, he’s a prospect with the Angels and a highly touted one. He brings a mid-90 plus fastball, a plus slider and mixes in a change and curve. I was a lot more confident in Canning’s outing against the Blue Jays prior to the Vald Jr call up, but I think I’m still in. He has solid strikeout upside although I’m not as bullish in quality starts leagues because, with any young starter, a pitch limit will likely be in place. I would expect five-plus innings with around a K per inning and decent ratios. I’d stream him in moderate to deep leagues.

Tyler Mahle (SP – CIN), 7% owned @NYM, Thursday 5/2
I was disappointed at Mahle’s outing on Saturday against the Cardinals where he gave up five earned runs in five innings. That’s not good but all of the damage came off the bat of one of the hottest hitters in Marcell Ozuna. Mahle’s BABIP sits over .350 and all other metrics look legit, so I’d expect that BABIP to come down and Mahle can be a high-3s ERA type pitcher with just under a strikeout per inning. The Mets are right around league-average in terms of wOBA and it looks like red-hot rookie Pete Alonso is starting to cool off. (Right on cue, Alonso goes yard right after I wrote this.) I feel that Mahle can bounceback. He’s not my favorite stream this week, but he’s a decent option in deep leagues. 

Pablo Lopez (SP – MIA), 6% Owned Home vs ATL, Sunday 5/5
What is happening here? Why is Lopez still available in 94% of FantasyPros leagues? I told you stream him last week and hopefully, you did. Lopez currently has a 21.4% K-BB% (16th in MLB) with a solid 11.9% swinging strike rate to back it up. He’s been slightly unlucky in terms of BABIP (.329) and strand rate (64.1%). He’s only allowed two earned runs in his last two starts with 12 strikeouts. Atlanta is tough, there’s no doubt but Lopez is rocking a 27.9% K-BB rate and a 1.46 FIP in his starts in Miami. He won’t get any run support but should give you good ratios, strikeouts, and a chance at a QS. Stream

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