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:
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!
Photo Credit: Jasen Vinlove / USA Today