post

Fantasy Baseball – 2019 Starting Pitcher Streamer Results

Every week this year (with a couple of exceptions) I wrote an article on Sunday that went over starting pitchers to stream for the week ahead. The parameters were based on ownership rates per FantasyPros consensus ownership rates. FantasyPros combines Yahoo! and ESPN ownership rates. To be eligible, pitchers had to be available in at least 75% of leagues or owned in 25% or fewer in fantasy leagues. The article was geared towards 12-team leagues because many of the options are owned in deeper formats. I chose anywhere from four to eight starter-qualified pitchers each week and kept track of their statistics from those outings.

This is the second year I kept track of every start but it’s difficult to compare the two years because of the juiced ball. So, to do so I’m going to look at the league-wide statistics for all starting pitchers in 2018 and 2019.


SP Statistics Year to Year

SeasonW/GS (%)IP/GSERAWHIPK/9
201831.2%5.364.191.298.25
201929.8%5.184.541.328.58

As you can see, ERA took the biggest hit from 2018 to 2019 thanks in large part to the record-breaking number of home runs this season. In addition, the percentage of starts that resulted in a win for the starter also dwindled this year. There are a couple of obvious reasons for this. First, the opener became more prevalent in 2019. Openers only pitched one-to-two innings and therefore, did not qualify for a win. We also saw a dip in the average number of innings per start, again partially related to the opener but also some managers (*cough* Craig Counsel *cough*) pulled their starters before facing a lineup for the third time. So, yearly context is important here. A telling statistic not shown in the table above is the home run rate by starting pitchers. In 2018, it was 1.21 HR/9 and ballooned to 1.44 HR/9 in 2019. We used to look at a pitcher with a home run rate at 1.5 per nine innings and say he’s dealing with a homer problem, now it’s essentially league-average!

Below are my final statistics from both 2018 and 2019 for all the streamers I included in my articles. Also, here is the complete GoogleSheet with all of my streamers and results complete with the link to each article.

2019 Starting Pitcher Streamers - FreezeStats

IPERAWHIPKWQS
653.993.911.226435251
StartsIP/StartK/StartK/9W/StartQS/Start
1225.365.278.8542.62%41.80%




I apologize for the format of the table, I wanted to include all of the information but tried to make sure it wasn’t 12 columns wide. Given the context of pitching in 2019, I’m content with these results. Ultimately, I put together some poor weeks overall but also finished strong with two fantastic weeks to close 2019. Of course, my ratios took a hit compared to 2018 but when you consider the increases in ratios from 2018 to 2019, the results are more than passable. Overall, I totaled 654 innings pitched across 122 starts. The results of the ERA (3.91) are better than the following starters: Zack Wheeler, Yu Darvish, Michael Pineda, Max Fried, Noah Syndergaard, and Chris Sale among others. The WHIP (1.22) is better than Noah Syndergaard, Mike Minor, Trevor Bauer, Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, Blake Snell, and James Paxton among others. That’s all pretty solid but let’s see what this starter would look like if I broke down these results into a typical, healthy, starter for all of 2019. A healthy starter should compile 32 to 33 starts across a full season, so let’s see what our imaginary streaming SP looks like.

Since my streamers averaged 5.36 innings per start, that puts us around 172 innings pitched+/-. That means that with an 8.85 K/9, our theoretical SP would have 169 strikeouts. Then, with a win percentage of 42.62%, that gives our guy 13.6 wins with 32 starts or 14 wins with 33 starts. Finally, the ratios are easy, our streaming SP would have a 3.91 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. Now, let’s comb through the player pool to see what type of pitcher we have here. Most of the pitchers with 14 wins this year have better ratios and/or strikeout rates, so I’m going to focus on ERA, WHIP, and K/9 for comparison sake.

Here are the names I’ve come up with: Anthony DeSclafani, Chris Bassist, Zack Wheeler, and Michael Pineda. Bassitt and Pineda only threw 140-ish innings, so they aren’t perfect comps. DeSclafani threw 166.2 innings but only managed nine wins, so his overall value will be a little lower than our theoretical SP even though they have a similar strikeout total and ratios. Zack Wheeler might end up being the better comp for value purposes. He only earned 11 wins, had a 3.96 ERA, and 1.26 WHIP. Our SP bested him on all three categories, BUT Wheeler struck out 195 batters which are 26 more than our SP. Per the Razzball Player Rater, the value of 26 strikeouts is about $2. The difference between three wins is also about $2. 


Since I mentioned the Razzball Player Rater, Zack Wheeler was ranked as the 39th starting pitcher in 2019 with a dollar value of $7.1. For reference sake, Anthony DeSclafani (who had a fine year mind you) earned $5.3 and ranked as the 48th SP. So, instead of paying up for Wheeler, a popular hype pick coming into 2019, you could have streamed all of my recommended pitchers and gotten the value of 3.5-Zack Wheeler’s without spending the draft cash on him. I would bet that Wheeler probably went for around $16-$18 in standard 12-team auction drafts.

This was a fun exercise but obviously, you will never be able to stream all of my recommended starters because of your league and team context. The point of the supersize is it goes to show that you can add value to your team if you stream and stream properly. To close out, I want to highlight some of my most-streamed pitchers from 2019. Pablo Lopez (7 times), Dinelson Lamet (6 times), Griffin Canning (6 times), Tyler Mahle (6 times), Merrill Kelly (5 times), Trevor Richards (5 times), and a bunch of guys three or four times. I somehow was able to stream Mike Soroka twice in week five because his ownership was still below 25%. I also was able to stream Lance Lynn in week 9! He had a hell of a season, I am very surprised to find him there owned in 25% or fewer of leagues.

I hope you enjoyed this weekly article series and if it helped you out, even once, then I’ll take it! Thanks for reading!

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


Photo Credit: Jasen Vinlove / USA Today



post

Fantasy Baseball: Starting Pitchers to Stream Week 25 (9/16 – 9/22)

Welcome back to the FreezeStats weekly streaming article. Each week I cover anywhere from five to six starters who are available in at least 75% of Yahoo/ESPN leagues per FantasyPros. With playoffs and fantasy Championships on the line next week, it’s now or never. No more wasting time, let’s get to the top streaming options to help win you your league!

Mitch Keller (SP – PIT) RHP, 8% owned, home vs SEA, Tuesday 9/17
Keller is a pitcher that has been extremely unlucky in his short time in the big leagues. His 8.29 ERA and 1.87 WHIP are fueled by an inflated .477 BABIP and a low 53.5% strand rate. Here’s the weirdest stat of all, hitters somehow have managed a .569 BABIP against Keller’s fastball. Umm, that won’t last. Check this out though, he has an impressive 3.61 FIP and a 21.6% K-BB rate! Both would rank in the top 20 for qualified starting pitchers. His fastball averaged 95.5 mph and his slider has a crazy-high 27.3% swinging-strike rate (SwStr%). Both his slider and curve net strikeout rates north of 30%. He draws the Mariners at home who have struck out 28.5% of the time over the last two weeks, the league’s second highest rate over that span. They’ll be without the DH, so I’d expect their offense to struggle even more than their 88 wRC+ indicates. I’m STREAMING Keller next week.


Homer Bailey (SP – OAK) RHP, 22% owned, home vs KC, Wednesday 9/18
We are all familiar with Homer Bailey. He was a first-round pick way back in 2004 by the Cincinnati Reds. After a few successful seasons in the early-2010s, he’s been essentially useless in terms of fantasy. But, this year, his strikeout rate is up over 20% for the first time since 2016. That’s largely due to an increase in his splitter usage. Typically, the unpredictability of a splitter will wreak havoc on walk rates but he’s still sitting at a solid eight percent which is just below league average. He also hasn’t given up more than three earned runs in any of his last six starts that includes two outings against the Yankees and one versus the Astros. He’ll be facing off against the Royals at home, so the degree of difficulty is relatively low. On the road, the Royals have a 83 wRC+ which is the fifth-lowest among all teams away from their home park. Bailey is always a risk to blow up in your face but given his recent success, I’m inclined to ride out this stretch, because we are, after all in mid-September. STREAM

Sandy Alcantara (SP – MIA) RHP, 25% owned, @ARI, Wednesday 9/18
Alcantara should be owned in more than 50% of leagues, but fortunately, he’s right at the maximum threshold for next week. His season-long numbers are not all that impressive but he’s been nearly lights out since the start of August. Over that stretch, he’s managed a 2.59 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, and a 22% strikeout rate. Finally, he’s actually striking batters out! He’s increased his fastball/sinker velocity over the last month, not by much but 0.5-1.0 mph is quite a bit when you consider he was already averaging over 95 mph. In addition, he’s throwing his sinker more often which not only generates more groundballs but also more whiffs which is rare for a sinker. His secondaries aren’t great but his changeup is useful, so he’s still throwing a plus-pitch nearly 75% of the time. That should be enough to handle the Diamondbacks who have slipped after making a playoff push. They have a 77 wRC+ over the last two weeks and their hopes of sneaking into the wild card are just about gone. I’m STREAMING here.

Mike Leake (SP – ARI) RHP, 21% owned, home vs MIA, Wednesday 9/18

Leake is not the sexiest option but he’s a guy that can go deep into games. He’s averaging 6.14 innings per start in a season where very few starters can even make it to the sixth inning. He has three quality starts in his last four outings and draws a weak Marlins offense at home. Over the last two weeks, the Marlins have an 82 wRC+ which ranks 22nd in MLB. They have been even worse on the road. In fact, they are last in the league with a 68 wRC+ away from Marlins Park. That’s 32% below league-average. Leake’s not going to pile up strikeouts but he is utilizing his cutter and slider more often recently. He has two straight starts with double-digit swinging strike rates. Yes, he is going up against Sandy Alcantara who I just highlighted, so a win might not be as easy as it seems. I do think he can provide solid ratios and a quality start. If you’re looking for a win and strikeouts, he’s probably not your guy. In QS leagues, I’m STREAMING



Merril Kelly (SP – ARI) RHP, 22% owned, @SDP, Friday 9/20
I preached about Kelly’s increased fastball velocity last week and he draws an easier opponent next week in the Padres. The Padres have hit just 11 home runs over the last two weeks and typically struggle to score runs at home. Only the Tigers and Giants have fewer runs scored at home this season. They also struggle to make contact with a strikeout rate north of 24%. Kelly dominated the Padres a couple of weeks ago striking out nine batters across seven shutout innings. After averaging 91.6 mph on his fastball this season, he’s up to 93.2 mph over his last four starts. His strikeout rate has gone from pedestrian 18.9% prior to August 28th and is way up at 24.5% since. That’s huge because he still possesses a solid curveball which is his best secondary offering that generates a K-BB rate of 32%. I’m riding the hot hand and hoping he maintains his increased velocity because he’s more of an SP4 than a streamer when he’s throwing 93.5+. STREAM

Dylan Cease (SP – CHW) RHP, 10% owned, @DET, Friday 9/20
Any way you slice it, the Tigers offense (and entire team, really)is awful. At home, they rank dead-last offensively with a 75 wRC+ and have the third-highest K:BB ratio over the last two weeks. That’s not good. Cease is wild though. He’s a rookie with great stuff but hasn’t been able to command all his pitches, especially his fastball. However, he hasn’t given up much hard contact, just 29.7% per FanGraphs. The Tigers are the perfect team for Cease to square up against. A patient team could really give him fits but the Tigers are young, inexperienced, and aggressive. Cease, while struggling to find the zone has induced swings outside the zone over 35% of the time in two of his last three starts. He’s also generated swinging strike rate over 11% in his last five outings. There’s risk that he could hurt your ratios but he’s struck out nine or more batters twice in his brief stint in the Majors thus far. The upside is six innings with 10 strikeouts and decent ratios. Will you roll the dice? I will, especially if I need a boost in strikeouts. STREAM


Ivan Nova (SP – CHW) RHP, 17% owned, @DET, Saturday 9/21
If Cease and Keller are the upside plays next week, Nova is a floor option similar to Leake. The difference between the two is the probability of a win. Nova has a much better chance for a win as he is scheduled to go up against Edwin Jackson. You know, the guy with a 9.76 ERA on the season. I’ve already harped on how bad the Tigers are offensively, it’s like they are fielding a Triple-A team. The last time Nova faced the Tigers was August 7th. He went eight shutout innings giving up just five hits. Since the All-Star break, Nova has eight outings where he’s given up three runs or less and in seven of those he gave up two earned runs of less. He won’t stike out more than 4-5 batters but should help with your ratios at the end of the week. In his last two starts, his veloicty has been up over 93 mph, something he’s only done a handful of times this year. I like the chances for Nova to reach six or seven innings giving up two or fewer runs in this one. STREAM

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


Photo: Rob Schumacher/The Republic

post

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

post

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


Photo Credit: Jasen Vinlove / USA Today

post

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.

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


Photo courtesy of David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

post

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

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


Photo Courtesy of Prospects Live