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Starting Pitcher ROS Rankings – May Update (Fantasy Baseball)

Wow, quite a bit has changed since Opening Day back in late-March. We are just under two months into the season so a starting pitcher rankings update was well overdue. I also included my relief pitcher ranking updates as well. In the blurbs below, I’ll cover the pitchers who have seen significant movement since opening day. If a player has been injured, they, of course, have dropped in the rankings. I won’t cover them as it’s obvious why they have fallen. There are some pitchers who are intriguing and have shown skills changes (both good and bad) discussed below. Note: The ECR +/- is based on FantasyPros Expert Consensus Rankings, not my previous ranks. Click here for my preseason rankings.

 

BIGGEST RISERS

Caleb Smith (SP – MIA) +73 and Pablo Lopez (SP – MIA) +93
Yeah, Smith has been unbelievable this year. I had him ranked just inside the top 100 (99th) at the start the season and now he’s inside the top 20! To my credit, I did rank him as the top Marlins pitcher followed by Richards and Lopez. Smith has earned a 28.5% K-BB% which ranks fourth in all of baseball! All of the ERA estimators have him regressing closer to an ERA near 3.00, but given his skills, that puts him inside the top 20 overall for SPs.  Lopez has jumped over Richards as the Marlins second best option. His 5.06 ERA does not indicate how good he’s been. He has a 1.17 WHIP, an 18% K-BB%, and his ERA estimators have him closer to 3.65. I’ve bumped him up to 56th overall but could be higher if he didn’t pitch for one of the worst teams in the league. The same could be said for Smith (who could be top 15). Smith is long gone but Lopez may still be available in 12-team leagues.

Lucas Giolito (SP – CHW) +95
How fitting. Giolito just threw a complete game shutout against the Astros striking out nine batters. He’s been an absolute beast this year. I thought about bumping him up even more but feel that he’s safe in the upper-30s. Clearly, I was not in on Giolito coming into the season after a disastrous 6.13 ERA in 2018. He’s doing everything right. His K% is up to a whopping 12%, his walk rate is down over two percent, and he’s given up just three homers in 52 innings! That home run rate probably won’t stick but his improvements look somewhat legit. He dropped his sinker usage and is throwing his changeup more. Increasing his FB velocity has helped as well. He’s getting ahead of hitters and has a career-high zone rate. Now for the not so great. I don’t want to completely throw cold water on Giolito but he doesn’t quite have elite swing and miss stuff and when the weather heats up in Chicago, he’s in for some regression. Still, I think he’s more of 24-25% K rate pitcher with a home run per nine innings. I’d put him closer to a 3.50-3.60 ERA with near a strikeout per inning. 

Matt Boyd (SP – DET) +33
Based on FantasyPros Expert Consensus, my rank was on average 28 spots higher than the other experts. I guess you could call this one a victory for me but then why do I only own one share? Sad. I loved what I saw with his slider last season and he was one of my favorite weekly streamers. He really was just one step away from being very good which is why I boosted him in my preseason ranks. Well, he’s taken that next step and looks a lot like Patrick Corbin from last season. Other than very little run support, Boyd looks like a great SP2/3 this year with some upside. The AL Central is full of mediocre and poor offensive clubs (sans Minnesota), so I don’t see much regression in Boyd’s numbers.

Chris Paddack (SP – SD) +44
The rookie sensation has been fantastic in the early going. He’s got the stuff, he’s got command, and he’s got control. It will be interesting to see how the Padres handle him. He’s rumored to get only 140 innings this year but he’s starting every sixth day. At his current pace, he would be shut down with about three weeks remaining in the regular season. That kind of sucks for head-to-head leagues but should be just fine for roto leagues.

Clayton Kershaw (SP – LAD) +16
Kershaw might not be the best pitcher in baseball but he’s doing the best with his declining velocity and skills. He’s throwing his breaking balls nearly 60% of the time but it does appear to be working. His control and command are elite and should be a top 15 starting pitcher if he remains healthy. Let’s just hope his back issues stay away for four more months.

Luis Castillo (SP – CIN) +15
Everywhere you look, people are calling for regression with Castillo and we saw some of that against the Brewers on Wednesday but his quality of contact against has been elite. Per BaseballSavant, his xwOBA is .249 which is just insane. My boo from last offseason is off to a hell of a start and has now essentially been an ace over the last calendar year. Here are his numbers since May 24th, 2018:
182.2 IP 12-9 3.25 ERA 1.08 WHIP 193 Strikeouts

That’s what I call a borderline ace. His changeup has been the best in the bigs this year. He’s close, but not quite there. His zone rate is dangerously low and it’s really bumped his walk rate. If he can dip his BB% to 8-9%, he’s going to be a monster.

FALLERS

Nick Pivetta (SP – PHI) -55
Ouch Nicky P. Was Pivetta a sleeper if everyone loved him coming into the season? Unfortunately, K-BB% isn’t everything. Quality of contact and location of pitches in the zone are extremely important. Pivetta may be recalled soon as he’s pitched well in Triple-A, I’m just no running to the waiver wire to add him save for deep leagues. He’s walking more batters and his BABIP is low in the minors. In over 315 innings in the bigs, his BABIP is .335. He just won’t succeed if those numbers continue.

Kyle Freeland (SP – COL) -65
Outside of injury or demotion, Freeland is the biggest faller from my preseason ranks. Coors Field is a bitch, amirite? Freeland has already given up 12 home runs this year after giving up 17 in all of 2018. We all knew regression was coming but no one expected this much. He’s still struggling with walks and the juiced ball has really hurt his home run rate. But, he’s also turned into a fly ball pitcher with his fly ball rate over 40% (up 6%). He’s not likely this bad but given him limitations with strikeouts, he’s not rosterable in 12 or even 14-team leagues. 

Miles Mikolas (SP – STL) -43
I had him at 24 in my preseason rankings as I believed his stuff could induce more swings and misses and therefore net more strikeouts. That has clearly not been the case. It figures that a pitcher who pitches to contact would get bitten by the juiced ball. Duh. As strikeout rates continue to rise, Mikolas’ K rate is falling. Mikolas doesn’t appeal to me as a fantasy player in this era. I missed on this one.

Ross Stripling (SP – LAD) -35
Well, we knew the risk going into the season with Stripling and other Dodgers starters. There’s a ton of skill and depth in that rotation but also a lot of uncertainty in terms of health. It’s difficult to rank Stripling any higher even though he’s been very successful as a starter. As a bullpen arm, he falls outside the top 100 but as a starter, he’s a top 40 option. In deep leagues, hold him, in shallow leagues, he’s a clear cut.

If you have any questions, hit me up on Twitter @FreezeStats


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Pitching Streamers 9/17 – 9/19 – Right Near Da Beach Boyyyyyyyyyd!

This is only Part 1 of my 2 Part streamer article for next week. I’ll cover Thursday 9/20 through Sunday 9/23 in the next part. I’m trying to cover as many options owned in 25% of leagues or less for the Championship or Semi-Finals. If pitchers like Jake Odorizzi or Derek Holland are available, I’d grab them to stream as well, but they are over 25% owned, so I don’t cover them here. Without further ado, let’s dive in!

Joe Musgrove (PIT – RHP), 24% Home vs KC, Monday 9/17
Musgrove is one of many options that’s available near my 25% and just under my threshold. That means you need to grab him now! Wait, let me vet him first. In the last 14 days, the Royals are ranked 6th in wOBA at .331 and are running wild thanks to Merrifield and Mondesi. If you’re wondering, they’ve actually been steady offensively for the last month. The good news is, Musgrove doesn’t give out many free passes. Also, since 8/1 Musgrove has registered about a K per inning but his 13+% swinging strike rate and a 39% O-Swing suggests more strikeouts are coming. I like Musgrove’s upside but the hot-hitting Royals could wreak havoc on Musgrove’s ratios. Take a look at your opponent, if you think you need strikeouts, grab Musgrove. On Monday, it’s too early to take huge risks, this is a moderate pass for me. with upside.

Jordan Zimmerman (DET – RHP), 10% Home vs MIN, Monday 9/17
I’ve been hot and cold with Zimmerman this year. He’s really keeping the walks down but his HR rate is crazy-high at 1.85/9. He’s given up 6 homers in the last three games and his BABIP is under .150 in that span! That’s a recipe for disaster. Since the All-Star break, Zim has served up 16 HR in only 10 starts. You better believe he’s giving up at least two dingers in this one. Even against the Twins who aren’t great offensively, but I don’t want to trust my ratios with Zimmerman in the playoffs. STAY AWAY

Andrew Suarez (SF – LHP), 7% @SD, Monday 9/17
Wow, starting off 0 for 2, that’s not good. The third pitcher I’ll cover for Monday is Andrew Suarez who gets the Padres. The Padres have been better of late thanks to Franmil Reyes and Francisco Mejia, but they have been bad against left-handed pitching with a .302 wOBA. Working in Suarez’s favor is the ground ball tendencies which is at 53%. Suarez is not going to strike many batters out but he does have a good defense behind him to help limit the damage. The Padres have faced Suarez twice earlier this year and failed to do much of anything and he limited them to 2ER or less in both starts. Unfortunately, the Giants likely won’t offer much run support. Suarez does offer a good chance at a QS and good ratios. I think he can manage 4-5 Ks in 6-7 IP, so he is worth a stream in deeper leagues.

Joey Lucchesi (SD – LHP), 24% Home vs SF, Tuesday 9/18
Ok, here we go, my lock of the week. I know I told you to stay away from Joey L. last week and I was mostly right as he struggled a bit vs Seattle. This week, I don’t necessarily care that the Giants have seen Lucchesi before because that was back in April and the Giants are just straight terrible. How bad you ask? The Giants are hitting .204 as a team the last two weeks with a wOBA of .249 and a 31.7% K rate! That’s like facing an entire team of Chris Davis’, Davisi? Actually, Chris Davis has a higher walk rate than the Giant’s 5.7% posted by Giants hitters. OK, enough about how bad the Giants are. Lucchesi has a K/9 over 9.0 and a 3.67 ERA on the season. This should be a 6 inning, 7 K outing for Lucchesi with golden ratios. STREAM

Joe Ross (WAS – RHP), 4% @MIA, Tuesday 9/18
Zero strikeouts, really Joe?!? I know that Ross held the Cubs scoreless in five innings, but how could you not manage one strikeout? Believe it or not, the Cubs have been bad offensively ranking 6th from the bottom in wOBA in the last two weeks and the last month. Do you know who has been worse? The Marlins. In the last two weeks, the Marlins are hitting .211 with a .267 wOBA and a 25% K rate as a team. Good for Ross! One change I noticed in Ross’ repertoire is he’s cut his sinker usage in half compared to last year. That pitch killed him last year. Sure, it’s only one start, but it’s clear to me that he’s moving away from the pitch. Ross has never been an elite swing and miss pitcher but he should provide at least a few Ks in this one. I’m STREAMING Ross here but only for ratios and a W.

Matt Boyd (DET – LHP), 24% Home vs MIN, Wednesday 9/19
Another option that’s right near 25%, but I think Boyd is worth it. The Twins have only been hitting .241 with a .295 wOBA in the last two weeks. Shifting to Boyd, I’ve discussed his elite level slider that ranks in the top 10 per FanGraphs Pitch Value for all sliders thrown. Boyd has also improved his fastball velocity in the second half from about 89 mph to 92-93 mph in recent starts. Not coincidentally, Boyd’s second-half ERA us 3.06 with a strikeout per inning. His fastball has registered positive results in that time frame opposed to slightly below average results in the first half. There’s no reason to think Boyd can’t provide a QS with at least 6 Ks and solid ratios. STREAM

Matt Shoemaker (LAA – RHP), 18% @OAK, Thursday 9/20
Surely a start like this against the red-hot Oakland Athletics isn’t a great idea, right? Well, here’s the thing, Oakland is in the bottom 10 offensively when playing at home. On, the road, they are the best offense in baseball. It’s odd, but it’s true, plus Oakland is a great pitcher’s park. Shoemaker is going up against Edwin Jackson and it’s only a matter of time before the other shoe drops ;).  Shoemaker has only three starts off the DL (fourth coming this weekend), and his strikeout rate is low. However, his contact rate is below 75% with a solid swinging strike rate as well. Oakland can certainly swing and miss quite a bit and I think Shoemaker has more upside in this game than it would appear on paper. In a mid-week battle, Shoemaker is a good option who should be available given the matchup. STREAM

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Starting Pitchers to Stream – Double Dose of the Dutch Oven

Starting Pitcher streamer options owned in 25% or less per FantasyPros Yahoo/ESPN ownership rates from August 20th – August 26th. Michael Kopech gets the call on Tuesday against the Twins this week for the White Sox. I don’t usually pick up a starter for his MLB debut (cough Sean Reid-Foley cough) mostly because of adrenaline, nervousness, etc. However, his upside for strikeouts is so high, he might be worth a shot. I would stay away for the first start but absolutely grab him and hold him if available. GRAB HIM NOW!

Derek Holland (SF) – 24%, Away vs NYM on Monday 8/20 AND Home vs TEX in Saturday 8/25
The Dutch Oven graces the streamer list for the second time in three weeks. The stream against the Mets seems obvious even though they did blow up for 24 runs against the Phillies this past week. However, offensively the Mets rank 29th out of 30 against left-handed pitching and have s 25.5% K rate as a team against those lefties. Holland has come back down to earth a little but he’s still getting strikeouts and has only allowed 4 ER or more once in his last 11 starts. STREAM.
Now for the Rangers. They have been on fire recently but that’s because Arlington is a launching pad all Summer. On the road though, the Rangers have a .300 wOBA and a 26% K rate. Not to mention, there’s no DH in this one. I think you can roll with Holland twice this week. STREAM x 2

Jake Junis (KC) 19% Away vs TB, Wednesday, 8/22
Junis has not had a very good Sophomore campaign. However, his last three starts have been good where he’s only given up four earned runs to go along with 21 strikeouts.  There’s two reasons for that, first he’s throwing his slider nearly 50% of the time and second, his fastball/sinker is not the homer-prone pitch it was earlier this year. Tampa Bay is a middle of the road team offensively but I think Junis can keep them at bay especially with his increased slider usage. I like Junis and his ability to get a K per innings with a quality start in this one. STREAM

Matt Boyd (DET), 24% at Home vs CHW, Thursday, 8/23
Over the last 30 days, the White Sox have a near 28% strikeout rate as a team, that’s the worst in the league by more than 3%. What’s more, they are in the bottom 10 in walk rate as well. Now, looking at Boyd, his slider has fueled his increased strikeout rate as he’s increased his slider usage from 10% to 30% this year. The pitch value on his slider is 14.4 per FanGraphs this year which ranks sixth in MLB for the pitch. Boyd’s fly ball tendencies posses a bit of a risk but his recent low walk rate combined with the White Sox elevated K rate makes this a solid STREAM.

Tyler Glasnow (TB), 24% at Home vs KC, Thursday, 8/23
Ok, I know Glasnow just got blown up in his last start, but it was against Red Sox in Fenway. More importantly, he went a season-high 6.2 innings and faced 25 batters. Including that start, Glasnow has a 3.38 ERA, 0.80 WHIP with 24 K in 18.2 IP as a starter. The Royals are bad, we know this. They have been a little better of late (20th wOBA last 30 days), but are bottom four offensively for the entire season. Outside of Whit Merrifeld, no one worries me at all. There’s no other streaming option that has 9 to 10 strikeout upside. Plus, we know he can go up to 100 pitches, so a quality start is still in play. STREAM

Reynaldo Lopez (CHW). 16% Away vs DET, Friday 8/24
I just pulled the trigger on Lopez for his two-start week annnnnnnnnnd it did not go well. He gave up four ER in seven innings against the Tigers on Monday and is currently getting beat up in the 2nd inning against the aforementioned Royals. Ugh, Lopez, you really let me down! If Lopez can’t get it done against those opponents, I can’t trust him here. I promise, I won’t be recommending Lopez the rest of the year. He’s a potential deep sleeper for next season, but I need to see more consistency. STAY AWAY

Starting Pitchers to Stream – Tommy Tutone Milone NOT feat. Santana



Reynaldo Lopez (CHW) 13% on the Road vs DET, Monday 8/13 and at Home vs KC, Sunday, 8/19
Rey-Lo has been a very high risk-reward Pitcher this year and I’ve stayed away for the better part of the last two months. However, Lopez’s last two starts have been solid, one against the Royals and the other an impressive one run outing against the Yankees. He’s been getting more swings and misses and most importantly, not walking many batters. It’s too early to tell if Rey-Lo has turned the corner yet but he gets the Royals again and the Tigers. In the last month, the Tigers have been the worst offense in the league with a .246 wOBA and .197 batting average! Wow, that’s awful. The Royals have been better but are still bottom five in the league in that last 30 days. Match-ups don’t get much better than this for a two start streamer, so I’m taking the plunge. STREAM

Jaime Barria (LAA) 10% on the road vs SD, Tuesday 8/14
Another young pitcher facing another terrible offense. Who gets the upper hand? Well the Padres have a .296 wOBA at home this season and are likely without Wil Myers until the weekend series. That’s good, but what about Barria? Barria hasn’t gotten a ton of strikeouts this year but his 11% swinging strike rate tells me that his strikeout numbers should be better. He’s coming off a great start against the Tigers and has given up more than 3 ER just once in his last 8 starts. Then there’s his slider. Opponents are hitting .173 off the slider with a sub-65% contact rate. His change up has been decent but the fastball is terrible. I don’t trust him beyond this start, but I’ll roll the dice on his great slider. STREAM

Ervin Santana (MIN) 22%, Home vs DET, Thursday 8/16
Finally, a crusty old veteran. Santana missed more than half the season and has not been good upon his return. How bad you ask? How about a 6.53 ERA with a 1.40 WHIP with only 14 strikeouts in 20.1 IP. The good: 20% soft contact… that’s it. The bad: his velocity is down 4 mph from last year, he’s allowed a crazy 98% zone contact, and has a sub-5% SwStr rate. Yikes. Until the velocity returns, I can’t recommend Santana. He’s far too hittable right now and I don’t think he’s completely right. STAY AWAY



Matt Boyd (DET) 18%, on the Road vs MIN, Friday 8/17
Matt is my Boy-d. How is he not over 25% owned? My guess is that over 40% of leagues are dead. I’ve discussed Boyd’s improved slider, it’s pitch value is up near Patrick Corbin’s this year and he’s kept the walks in check. I’m not really concerned about the Dozier-less, Escobar-less Twins. I think the only way he has trouble here is the home run ball. Over the last 30 days the Twins have only hit 18 home runs, tied for the second least in MLB. They also have a 94 wRC+ in that span. I like Boyd to get a QS with at least 5 strikeouts and solid ratios. STREAM

Joey Lucchesi (SD) 18%, Home vs ARI, Friday 8/17
The Diamondbacks have been middle of the road offensively this past month but much of it has been buoyed by a .323 BABIP. They have only managed 23 home runs in that time frame and it doesn’t hurt that this game is being played in Petco.  However, Lucchesi has been worse at home with an ERA well over 4.00 with and ERA in the mid-2s on the road. It’s a small sample, so I won’t completely trust it. Lucchesi is still getting strikeouts but not a ton of swings and misses and has an ERA over 5.00 in the second half. I think the league has figured him out a bit which was to be expected with his two-pitch arsenal. I think the D-Backs make this a short outing for Loey L. Stay Away

Tommy Milone (WAS) 3%, at Home vs MIA, Saturday 8/18
Milone got pummeled last week giving up 7 runs against the Braves. At this point, Milone is not scheduled a guaranteed start, so keep an eye on this one early in the week to see how the Nationals set up the rotation. Milone got stung by the long ball in that last start but he’s been able to punch out 19 batters in 18 innings and has yet to allow a walk! It’s not that he’s been in the zone too much either, he’s getting ahead of hitters with a 71% first pitch strike rate, combine that with a 13.2% SwStr rate and it looks like we may have something here. The Marlins are bad, there’s no doubt, and they just traded away their best power hitter in Justin Bour. This seems like an easy win for Milone with a decent strikeout total. I’m rolling with this one if he goes. STREAM



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Starting Pitchers to Stream – YEAH BOOOOOOYD!



After a week off due to the All-Star break, I’m back to continue with streaming options for the upcoming week, 7/23 – 7/29. I’m planning on putting together a waiver wire article next week in this site and also one over at TheSportsDegens.

Also, check out my most recent deep dive article up later today on FantasySportsHelp.com. There’s some great stuff on this site, give it a click.

Felix Pena (LAA) Home vs CHW, Tuesday, July 24th
The 28-year-old rookie has looked sharp for the Angels who have once again been decimated with injuries to their pitch by staff. Pena is an interesting option, he started throwing a sinker which has generated a lot of ground balls and that’s something previously he was unable to do. The problem is, it’s not a good pitch and has a high HR/FB rate against it. His slider on the other hand, is almost unhittable. He’s getting swings outside the zone over 40% and swing and misses about 25% of the time. That’s helped him get a 28% K-rate on the season. If he throws the slider around 40%, it means he’s getting ahead of hitters and against the White Sox, he might get 8-10 strikeouts. If he’s not throwing it much, it’s probably a bad sign. I’m rolling the dice here. STREAM

Ryan Borucki (TOR) – 4%, Home vs MIN, Tuesday July 24th
Oh hey look, another rookie pitcher! Borucki has not yet been confirmed to start Tuesday, so keep an eye out. Borucki doesn’t have overpowering stuff, his fastball sits around 92-93 mph and he throws it over 60% of the time. I’m actually more concerned that this start would be at home and I think the Twins can take advantage of hitting in a better park. The Twins are right in the middle of the pack in terms of wOBA over the past month and are 10th overall in K%-BB%.  I’m not sure I love the heavy fastball approach, something I believe the Twins will exploit. I’m Staying Away here.

Matt Boyd (DET) – 7%, Away vs KC Wednesday, July 25th
Boyd finally turned a great start on Friday night against the Red Sox of all teams. I think he can carry that confidence into Kauffman Stadium against Royals who have the worst strikeout rate in the league since June 15th. They have also hit only 18 home runs in that span. Boyd has been better than his numbers indicate and his slider has been fantastic. The increased usage of his slider has induced more whiffs and upped his K rate. Boyd should handle the Royals for 6 or 7 good innings with a K per inning. STREAM


Nick Kingham (PIT) – 14%, Home vs NYM, Thursday, July 26th
Kingham is a guy I’d grab right now and not just stream, but hold. Kingham’s elevated ERA is due to a high home run rate which should drop quite a bit. His walks are low and his K rate is solid. He gets Mets at home which should be a pretty easy quality start with 6+ Ks and a good shot at a win. The Mets are in the bottom six in wOBA the past month and are striking out over 23% of the time team. STREAM

Nick Tropeano (LAA) – 2%, Home vs CHW, Thursday, July 26th
The White Sox are bad, we all know this. Apparently, their approach as a team is to swing at everything because they are striking out at a 25% clip and walking less than 6% of the time in the past month. Tropeano looked OK in his first start off the DL but he’s been prone to some short outings due to his poor control. He’s also been giving up a ton of contact in the air and as a result has allowed 9 HR in only 59 IP. I’m a little bit worried that Trop (yeah I called his Trop) goes less than 5 IP which makes his start almost useless, especially if he gives up a home run or two. The risk is just too high with Trop until I see a little bit more. I’m Staying Away.

Clay Buchholz (ARI) – 17%, Away vs SD, Sunday, July 29th
This will be Buchholz’s second start off the disabled list, the first of which will come against the Cubs. In no way am I starting him there but he should be widely available for his second start on Sunday against the Padres. In the last 30 days, the Padres have had a wOBA of only .294. The Padres strikeout nearly 25% of the time and are also bottom five in terms of run production at home. Buchholz has been fortunate with a low BABIP and I don’t expect him to keep a sub-3.00 ERA this season. That being said, Buchholz throws five pitches, each thrown over 15% of the time and should keep the Padres off balance three times through the order. I see a decent start from Buchholz with a cheap win. STREAM



Make sure you check me out on Twitter @FreezeStats.

Week 4 SP Streaming Options 4/23 – 4/29

Ended up with some solid streams last week with a final line of:

2 Wins 2.92 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 28 K in 31 1/3 innings

Let’s keep it going this week.

Trevor Cahill (OAK) 1% 4/23 on the road v TEX
I would have preferred that this one was is Oakland but Rangers are a big swing and miss team and haven’t hit their stride yet offensively.  Cahill looked good in his first start and his fastball velocity was over 93 mph along with an increased curveball usage (which is his best pitch). Maybe he can capture some early season success similar to last year. STREAM

Matt Boyd (DET) 6% 4/25 road  v PIT
The fact that this is on the road doesn’t bother me. PNC Park is a fine pitchers park and Boyd should face the pitcher at least twice instead of the DH. However, Boyd is a lefty and many of the Pirates best hitters are right handed or switch hitters. Boyd sports a 5.1 K/9, a 98% left on base percentage, and a .132 BABIP. I’m betting on shit going sideways in this one. STAY AWAY

Chad Kuhl (PIT) 3% 4/24 at home v DET
My love/hate relationship continues with Kuhl. He throws 96 mph with a very good slider. Except he’s throwing that slider less. Hmmm, that’s odd. He’s been hurt by a .371 BABIP but he also isn’t getting many whiffs or hitters to chase. I can’t recommend Kuhl against the Tigers. They aren’t scary but have some professional hitters that I believe will get to Kuhl knocking him out early in this one. STAY AWAY

Ivan Nova (PIT) 25% 4/26 home v DET
Seems like I’m picking on the Tigers this week. They have been heating up recently, so it might not be the cake walk most think. However, Nova has been solid over his last several starts going at least 6 innings with 3 runs or less in his last three while striking out an uncharacteristic 18 batters in just over 19 innings. His ground ball tendencies should hold up against the mostly weak hitting Tigers. The fact that the best hitters on the Tigers are right handed lies in Nova’s favor. STREAM

Tyler Anderson (COL) 3% 4/27 road v Mia
I’m not a fan of Tyler Anderson but a road start against the Marlins changes that. Anderson pitched well at home against the Cubs on Saturday, maybe he can carry it into this start. He’s inducing a lot of swings and misses which appears to be more smoke and mirrors. This one is risky especially if his control is bad. With warmer weather, I think his control will be better, I’m rolling with one. STREAM

Zack Wheeler (NYM) 22% 4/28 road v SD
The Mets have moved Harvey to the bullpen meaning Wheeler has a shot at staying in the rotation for the time being. Wheeler’s velocity looks good in his first 2 starts. He’s dropped the sinker and his slider is still a good pitch. I like his chances against a young inexperienced Padres team. STREAM

Week 3 Streaming Options 4/16 – 4/22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Week 1 Pitchers to Stream (4/2 – 4/8)

Every week I’ll post somewhere between three and five streaming options that are available in at least 75% of leagues using FantasyPros Yahoo/ESPN consensus ownership. I will keep track of the statistics for all my streaming picks to see how well I fared. It’s also fun, so there’s that. I’m calling 4/2 through 4/8 Week 1 since it’s the first full week of games.

4/3: Matt Boyd (DET) Home against the Kansas City Royals (2% owned)
Boyd did have a great 2017 but there was a lot of luck that did not go his way including a .330 BABIP and a 68.7% LOB. He has improved on his SwStr rates and induces a lot of popups and soft contact. Pitching at home, a decent pitcher’s park against one of the worst lineups, I’ll take a chance. I want to see what new pitching coach Chris Bosio can do with some of the Tiger’s pitchers (Norris being another intriguing name). Boyd is left handed and the most dangerous hitters the Royals poses are left handed, so if Boyd can neutralize them, he should have a shot at a quality start and a win. STREAM

4/3: Marco Gonzalez (SEA) Away against the S.F. Giants (4% owned)
High risk, pick here. Coming off Tommy John surgery, so I doubt he goes deep in this one. The Giants don’t strikeout much and are very patient, so they will see a lot of pitches. The park is good, but this one may blow up in your face. It’s a low risk, low reward on this one. The best you can hope for is five to six innings, 2-3 ER, and 4-5 strikeouts. STAY AWAY

4/3: Seth Lugo (NYM) Home against the Philadelphia Phillies (1% owned)
At first, Lugo was my favorite of the group owned under 5%. However, the Phillies roll out a ton of lefties and switch hitters. The good news is, he doesn’t have huge L/R splits and he’s at home where he dominates with a 2.54 career ERA at Citi Field.  Citi Field is known as a great pitcher’s park and Lugo has talent. Unfortunately he’s either been injured or hasn’t been given a chance, maybe this is his shot. STREAM

4/3: Jack Flaherty (STL) Away against the Milwaukee Brewers (12% Owned)
Flaherty may have the best stuff of the group under 255 owned but also is faced with an incredibly tough matchup. I believe he has the highest strikeout upside but could get bombed for 5 ER in 2 innings. Right now, the new Brewers are mashing led by Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich, both hitting over .500 to start the season. They have great depth and can throw out a lineup mostly comprised of lefties which could give Flaherty headaches. This one might be too scary to stream. STAY AWAY

4/4: Ivan Nova (PIT) at Home against the Twins (13% owned)
Wow, Nova walked three batters in his first start! He walked three or more batters only three times in 31 starts in 2017. I don’t expect that to happen again, but also don’t expect a lot of Ks either. The Twins do have a few dangerous left handed batters with Logan Morrison, Eddie Rosario, Joe Mauer, and Max Kepler. That’s not exactly a murders row and if Nova keeps the walks down to a minimum a solo homer or two shouldn’t kill him. Expect a quality start with 3-4 strikeouts and a chance for a win. STREAM

4/5 Jordan Zimmermann (DET) Away against the Chicago White Sox  (5% owned)
Zimmerman went six innings and gave up four earned runs in his first start, but it wasn’t all bad. He struck out eight and only walked one batter without allowing a home run. He mostly induced weak contact on his balls in play and now gets to face one of the worst teams offensively at home. I still don’t trust him long term, and the White Sox have been swinging hot bats early. I expect them to cool down a bit and there’s a lot of strikeout potential with the Sox lineup. Roll Zimm out for one more. STREAM.

4/7 Reynaldo Lopez (CWS) Home against the Detroit Tigers (8% owned)
Lopez was slinging it in Spring Training with velocity reading around 97 and 98 mph. His results weren’t great but he’s got a great fastball and a decent change up. The Tigers aren’t exactly scaring anyone this year and while I’d hold off on keeping Lopez, he’s a nice stream this week. At some point, Lopez should tap into his strikeout potential, but for now he just needs to throw strikes and continue to induce weak contact. This one is risky, but if you need a pitcher late in the week this is your guy. STREAM.