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Fantasy Baseball Top Starting Pitchers – Last 30 Days

After I went through the top starting pitchers over the last 30 days, I noticed quite a few veterans who were previously not highly touted coming into this year. I’ll try to stay away from the Max Scherzer’s, Justin Verlanders, and Walker Beuhler’s because we know they are great. And they are. Yes, Buehler has turned the corner, the slow start may have been lingering fatigue from several stressful playoff innings in 2018, but he looks every bit like an ace over the last month. A quick note on the Braves signing of Dallas Keuchel. I’m typically not a fan of Keuchel but given his extreme ground ball tenancies and landing in a great spot with the Braves, he could have some SP3/4 value in 12-team mixed leagues the rest of the way. I’ll be interested to see how his control metrics look because he has to keep walks down to be successful. The schedule for the Braves going forward is light and SunTrust Park is moderately friendly for pitchers.

Note: These numbers do not include statistics from last night.



Top Ranked Starting Pitchers - Last 30 Days

NameTeamWSOERAWHIP
Julio TeheranBraves2220.681.05
Hyun-Jin RyuDodgers4230.800.92
Lucas GiolitoWhite Sox5430.970.65
Jake OdorizziTwins4351.301.01
Max ScherzerNationals2471.361.06
Charlie MortonRays5421.460.78
Rich HillDodgers3381.501.07
Mike SorokaBraves4261.510.73
Sandy AlcantaraMarlins2241.691.00
Trevor RichardsMarlins3281.740.94
Pablo LopezMarlins2271.880.87
Adrian SampsonRangers5301.991.07
Dakota HudsonCardinals3201.991.14
Eric LauerPadres3222.030.97
Justin VerlanderAstros3422.230.61
Walker BuehlerDodgers3392.250.91
Mike MinorRangers2402.271.37
Zack GreinkeDiamondbacks2252.350.95
Brad PeacockAstros3332.431.08
Chris SaleRed Sox1642.450.79
Griffin CanningAngels1282.700.83
Lance LynnRangers3412.781.11
Kyle HendricksCubs5402.810.94
Stephen StrasburgNationals4352.910.94
Frankie MontasAthletics4372.931.08
Sonny GrayReds2302.931.23
Clayton KershawDodgers3282.971.11
Wade MileyAstros3353.091.23
Brandon WoodruffBrewers3363.380.91
Dylan BundyOrioles2303.381.13
Gerrit ColeAstros1443.411.00
Matthew BoydTigers1423.411.19
Blake SnellRays1363.411.28
Noah SyndergaardMets2343.601.05
Kenta MaedaDodgers3333.670.74
Robbie RayDiamondbacks3463.861.44

Robbie Ray (SP – ARI)
Ray doesn’t quite belong on this list but he’s piled up the strikeouts and compiled three wins over the last month. What’s interesting to me is that his walk rate over the last 30 days is under 10%. It’s 9.9%, but still, that’s an improvement for Ray. His FIP is a 2.81 and his strikeout rate is a robust 32.8%. One reason for his success recently is getting ahead of hitters. Over the last 30 days, his first-pitch strike rate is 63.8% but only 56.1% thus far in 2019. This is huge for Ray. He’s also throwing his slider more often which is great for his strikeouts. He’s been able to throw his curveball for strikes (Zone% 46.3% this year compared to 37.9% in his career). I’m monitoring Ray because if he can maintain a 64% F-Strike% and bump his zone rate over 40%, he could get back to 2017 results, or better! Maybe I’m biased for throwing Ray out there as the NL Cy Young winner in my Bold Predictions article.

Julio Teheran (SP – ATL)
Teheran is MLB’s ERA leader over the last 30 days. But, how? How about a .181 BABIP, and an 87.1% strand rate? Oh, and he hasn’t given up a home run over the last month! He has seemingly done the impossible. Based on his embarrassingly low 6.2% K-BB%, he’s due for some major regression. But how much and why am I asking so many questions? Well, his 3.52 FIP shows quite a bit of regression but his 5.26 xFIP and 5.47 SIERA show that he’s been one of the worst pitchers over the last month. Regression is going to hit Teheran hard, very hard. If you’ve owned him through this stretch, congratulations, now flip him for almost any player that could help your team.

Lance Lynn (SP – TEX)
Am I just focusing on boring veterans here? Well, kind of, but, Lynn’s metrics are the opposite of Teheran’s. Lynn has been very good over the last month and his xFIP and SIERA are right in line with his 2.78 ERA. Plus, his FIP is way down at 1.75! A 28.6% K-BB rate will do that for you. Along with a nice boost in his strikeout rate, he’s also suppressed home runs. While the metrics are showing that his elevated strikeout rate should continue, I don’t expect the home run suppression to continue given his home park. That being said, Lynn looks like a nice option going forward. He’s throwing more strikes and increased the usage of his cutter/slider at the expense of his sinker. I have no issues with Lynn performing like an SP 4 the rest of the way.


Charlie Morton (SP – TB)
The 35-year-old has had a hell of a year and a hell of a second half to his career. He’s been fantastic and while his ERA-estimators expect some regression, they fall between 2.65 and 3.33. His velocity is starting to decline but he’s adjusted by throwing his curveball more frequently, introducing a slider, and reducing his fourseam/two-seam fastballs. This pitch mix change has resulted in a career-best strikeout rate of 30.2%. As with most pitchers who increase their usage of breaking balls, he may find himself in more deeper counts which could lead to additional walks. He’s held them at bay thus far. He’s also top 10 in the league among qualified starters in allowing the lowest quality of contact. I don’t fully trust his home run rate that’s almost been cut in half, so there should be some regression. Still, let’s enjoy this and I would expect something close to his xFIP of 3.33 the rest of the way. In this era, that’s a top 20 SP with an elite strikeout rate.

Mike Minor (SP – TEX)
Minor is another Texas Ranger and previously a boring veteran who is succeeding. The ERA and strikeout numbers are good but that WHIP stands out like a sore thumb. I’ll address the WHIP right away. He’s carrying an inflated .365 BABIP over the last 30 days. Obviously, that’s extremely high and won’t last but he’s managed to strand those runners 89% of the time. That explains the elevated WHIP and a low ERA. On the season, he’s carrying a .298 BABIP, so that seems just about right. So, does that mean I trust his current 2.52 ERA on the season? No, not quite. The strikeout gains are real given a 12% swinging strike rate (SwStr%) and 30% called strikes plus swinging strike rate (CSW%). Minor could be a trade candidate if the Rangers don’t compete this year. If he goes to a contender in a better park, he could provide top 30 value the rest of the way. If he stays in Texas, there will be a few long hot nights that are going to make you wish you kept him on your bench.

Brandon Woodruff (SP – MIL)
Woodruff just stood up to the Astros in Houston and escaped with a no-decision. The Astros are missing a bunch of pieces but a WHIP of 1.00 and six strikeouts is pretty impressive. His fastball has been great and he slings it 95+ MPH. Prior to last night’s game, his pitch value is 14.2 on the fourseam and sinker combined (10.7 on the fourseam). In addition, his 12.2% Swinging strike rate and 40.1% strikeout rate off his fastball are among the best in the league. Here is Woodruff’s heatmap on fastballs when ahead in the count.

Some other pitchers who succeed throwing 95+ MPH with elevated fastballs are Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole. Walker Buehler is getting there as well. Having that foundation is strong and can sustain success. I might actually be buyiug high on Woodruff.

Mike Soroka (SP – ATL)
Soroka saw some regression last night giving up 10 hits and five earned runs against the Pirates. Coming in he was carrying some crazy extreme numbers including a 17.6% infield fly ball rate, 58.4% ground ball rate, and a 2.9% HR/FB rate. In an era where the sinker is fading, Soroka throws a power sinker over 40% of the time and hitters have struggled against it. He’s getting ground balls almost 70% of the time on it! That’s Dallas Keuchel territory in terms of overall ground ball rate. Can he succeed pitching to contact though in this era or with hitters adjust? The ceiling isn’t as high with Soroka but I could see him with similar results to Kyle Hendricks as a best case scenario. Worst case, let’s not go there. I think he will be good but let’s not get carried away.


Dylan Bundy (SP – BAL)
Last year’s home run leader (in a bad way) has pitched well recently. His HR/9 over the last 30 days is down a respectable 1.23 compared to his ugly 2.13 HR/9 from last season. How is he doing this? Well, he’s throwing his changeup more frequently (10% more frequently) and while it was a negative pitch by pitch value last season, it’s neutral so far in 2019. It’s actually a solid pitch with a chase rate over 40%, a zone rate over 40%, and a SwStr rate over 16%, which is a Money Pitch per Nick Pollack of Pitcher List. The results were atrocious last year on the change with a 220 wRC+. He’s got it down to 102 wRC+ or essentially league average. He’s also managing to get ground balls nearly 60% of the time compared to 49% last year. So, the changeup is better and the slider is still very good. However, his fastball is awful and regression is coming in terms of BABIP. He won’t keep a .255 BABIP and home runs will always be an issue as long as he calls Camden Yards home. He will be better than last season but I still can’t fully buy in.

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


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Evaluating Starting Pitchers Using CSW (2018-2019)

The Called-Strikes Plus Swinging Strike rate (CSW) metric developed by Nick Pollack and Alex Fast at Pitcher List is one that takes the next step in analyzing pitchers. We all love K-BB% and that’s a great metric that shows a pitcher’s ability to get batters out without putting the ball in play or vice-versa. The metric takes chance out of the equation such as fielder’s defense, weather conditions, etc. and really shows a pitcher’s skill. Swinging strike rate (SwStr%) also does a great job of showing how good a pitcher is at getting swings and misses. The missing piece is called strikes because not all pitches are created equal. A slider, on average, has a higher swinging strike rate by between 8-9% than a fourseam fastball. A pitcher who can effectively throw a slider 40% of the time will likely have a better SwStr% than a pitcher who relies heavily on his fastball and curveball and doesn’t throw a slider. CSW% accounts for these types of pitchers creating an even playing field.

I’ve looked at starting pitchers who have either increased or decreased their CSW% by at least 2% from the previous year. The minimum qualifiers are at least 1,250 pitches thrown in 2018 and at least 300 pitches thrown this season. Here’s the complete list.

player_nameCSW% Delta
Lucas Giolito5.4
Blake Snell5.1
Derek Holland5
Martin Perez4.8
Matthew Boyd4.8
Carlos Rodon4.7
Caleb Smith4.5
Jake Odorizzi4.4
Stephen Strasburg4.1
Mike Minor4
Felix Hernandez3.9
Luis Castillo3.7
Drew Pomeranz3.7
Tyler Glasnow3.4
Luke Weaver3.2
Tyler Mahle3.2
Kyle Gibson3
Jose Quintana2.9
Eduardo Rodriguez2.7
Lance Lynn2.6
Reynaldo Lopez2.5
Cole Hamels2.4
Trevor Richards2.2
Jake Arrieta2.1
Clayton Kershaw1.9
Dereck Rodriguez-2.3
Joey Lucchesi-2.3
Robbie Ray-2.4
Brad Keller-2.5
J.A. Happ-2.5
Jhoulys Chacin-2.6
Mike Fiers-2.6
Wei-Yin Chen-2.6
Trevor Cahill-2.7
Justin Verlander-2.8
Yonny Chirinos-2.8
Tyler Skaggs-2.9
Zack Godley-3.4
Sean Newcomb-3.4
Dan Straily-4.1
CC Sabathia-4.2
Antonio Senzatela-4.6
Mike Foltynewicz-4.6
Jason Vargas-4.7
Clay Buchholz-4.9
Vince Velasquez-5.2
Nick Pivetta-5.6

Here is the link to the Google Sheet. The first tab shows the pitcher’s CSW% rates form both 2018 and 2019. League average CSW% is 28.7%. You can read more here on the metric. I won’t touch on every pitcher on the list, but feel free to comment and ask me what I think about them going forward.

Risers

I snuck Clayton Kershaw in there even though he’s increased his CSW% by only 1.9% and not the 2% threshold, whoops. It’s enough for me to feel confident that the former best pitcher in baseball will at the very least be productive going forward. His fastball velocity is sitting at a career-low 90.5 MPH but he’s only throwing it 40% of the time. Home runs will be an issue and his strikeout rate won’t be elite, but should still be solid. I’d treat him as a top 15-20 SP going forward.

Lucas Giolito looks like he’s taking the next step in his career. His CSW% was a below-average 26.3% in 2018 and has shot up to a very solid 31.7% this year, nearly elite. The changes seem legitimate too! He’s increased his velocity by over 1.0 MPH on his fastball, completely stopped throwing his sinker, and increased the usage of his changeup. His sinker generated swinging strikes under 5% of the time in 2018, meanwhile, his changeup averages a SwStr% of over 17% and is up to 18.6% this year. He still struggles with control and command and his walk rate remains just over 10%, so he’s not all the way there. That being said, he should be owned in all leagues going forward.

So, Blake Snell is better than he was last year? Well, that’s kind of unfair. Snell won’t repeat his ERA from last season because the ERA-estimators pegged him for an additional 1.10-1.40 runs to his actual ERA. Snell has moved into the top five for starting pitchers for me rest-of-season and maybe top 3.

Luis Castillo is an ace. Not much more to say here. He already was a very good strikeout pitcher last year but has taken his skills to the next level. Unfortunately, I was a year early on Castillo but still fortunate to own him in two places this year.

Luke Weaver is back to where he was in the second half of 2017. He’s throwing his cutter more this year (14.5%) at the expense of his fastball but it isn’t much of an improvement though. It’s his changeup and curveball that have been taken to the next level. The BABIP against his changeup is sub-.200, so that’s bound to come up. I still like Weaver and believe in the improvements, but I do expect some regression in Weaver’s numbers going forward.

Matt Boyd and Caleb Smith are two guys who have both shown some skills before but never could sustain success. Boyd’s issues were more with his fastball and Smith couldn’t stay healthy last year. Both are here to stay, so get used to both of them being inside the top-25 starting pitchers going forward.

Stephen Strasburg no longer throws 97+ MPH but he’s still got a nasty changeup. He’s also throwing more sinkers which has increased his groundball rate. Normally, I would not be a fan of this type of pitch change but it hasn’t hurt his strikeout rate one bit. In fact, his SwStr% is at a career-high 15.6% with a CSW at 34.6% to back it up! If he stays healthy, he’s a top 5-7 option but injuries always seem to find him, so beware.

Ugh, it really sucks that we lost Tyler Glasnow and Carlos Rodon to injuries. Glasnow will likely return this year but we can’t rule out Tommy John Surgery and Rodon has elected to go under the knife. RIP until late-2020 and likely 2021. Both showed great improvements in CSW%, and are still very young, so keep the faith.

Tyler Mahle and Mike Minor both went from having below-average CSW rates to over 30% this year. I absolutely hate their home parks and as the heat rises so could their home run rates. The difference is that Mahle already carries an elevated HR/FB% at over 18% but Minor is sitting at just 10%. Minor also is a fly ball pitcher where Mahle is getting ground balls over 44% of the time. I don’t want to necessarily compare the two but I guess I am. Minor’s HR rate will likely increase and because of his home park, owners will likely need to sit him against tough opponents in Arlington. I feel the same about Mahle though in GAB. If I had to pick one, I’d lean Mahle for the strikeout upside. Either way, both should be owned but will require some maintenance.

Fallers

At the bottom of the list, we have a couple of Phillies. Nick Pivetta and Vince Velasquez. Obviously the popular sleeper, Nick Pivetta is back in Triple-A and VV hit the IL. I don’t want to touch either of them at any point this year, so just stay away.

I’m worried about Mike Foltyneiwicz. I’m willing to give him a little more time because he’s spent some time on the IL, but he was due for some strikeout regression after posting a 30.1% CSW rate last season. Now, he’s just over 25%, which is teetering on poor. There’s a lot of loud contact and fly balls coming off bats against Folty, but you have to hold in 12-team and deeper leagues as you likely spent a top 100-125 pick on him.

Don’t worry about Justin Verlander. He went from a 34% CSW rate to 31.2%. He probably won’t continue to be the number one SP all season but I’d still bet he finishes inside the top five or six. I think Robbie Ray is just fine as well. You know who his is at this point. He will still pile up the strikeouts, give you a decent ERA with an elevated WHIP. Ray is frustrating but has value.

Other than Verlander, Ray, and Tyler Skaggs, I essentially want no part of this group of pitchers except maybe Yonny Chirinos is deeper formats. He’s shown the ability to go as deep as seven innings in a couple of starts and should provide opportunities for wins when an opener is used in front of him. He’s due for some regression with his .205 BABIP but he doesn’t hurt himself with walks either. He needs to get his slider working in order to raise his CSW rate because his splitter is nasty. Skaggs is still intriguing to me. His velocity is down a hair but he’s ditched the sinker in favor of his curve and change. He’s just not getting ahead of hitters as much as he typically does. His first pitch strike rate is down 5% this year. If he rights that ship, his strikeout rate should improve and his ratios with start to drop.

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


Photo credit: Chicago Tribune

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Pitchers to Stream – Minor Option Major Result

It’s playoff time, no more messing around! I’m covering a bunch of pitchers in this week’s article who are owned in under 25% of leagues per FantasyPros Yahoo/ESPN ownerships. Most of them I like, but there’s a couple I’m a little wary of. I’ll stop wasting your time with a pointless intro and get right into the pitchers.

Joey Lucchesi (SD) LHP, 23% @SEA, Tuesday 9/11
Of course, I would prefer this game to be played in San Diego but I’d also prefer to be Justin Verlander but it’s just not in the cards. The last time these two faced off Lucchesi rolled with 9 Ks and 1 ER in 6.2 IP.  That’s fantastic but it also was at home. I’ve mentioned this before but Lucchesi only has two pitches and he struggles to get through the order three times. Here are his numbers the third time through the order: 6.00 ERA with a .338 average against in 15 innings. The Mariners just saw him last week and I think will have more success against him this time around. I can see a short 5 inning outing with a limited shot at a win or a QS. I’m Staying Away here but he does have some strikeout upside. I’d be more interested if this start was later in the week.

Framber Valdez (HOU) LHP, 13% @DET, Tuesday 9/11
The Astros against the Tigers is a huge mismatch, the probability of a win is very high for Valdez. So that’s great! I hate to break this to you, but Valdez is not a 1.37 ERA pitcher. I know, shocking! However, how much damage can really be done with a 70% ground ball rate and a 30% soft contact rate? Not much, fam. He gets the Tigers who are 24th in the league in wOBA at home this year. I don’t see much strikeout upside here, but a win, QS, and decent ratios are in order. STREAM

Steven Matz (NYM) LHP, 23% Home vs MIA, Wednesday 9/12
Matz spun another solid outing on Friday against the Phillies where he struck out 8 batters in 5 IP. That makes a swinging strike rate over 10% in four of his last five games and his 4th straight game with at least a strikeout per inning. We can thank the increased slider usage which I mentioned in the last streamer article for that. Combine that with the Marlins poor performance against left-handed pitching. The Marlins have a .289 wOBA against lefties which ranks 27th in MLB. I’m a big fan of the changes Matz has made, his main weakness is the home run ball but I’m not concerned about that. Why? Because theMarlins have hit a total of 25 homers off lefties this year which ranks last in MLB. Easy STREAM here. My #2 stream of the week.

Jorge Lopez (KC) RHP, 2% Home vs MIN, Thursday 9/13
Who is this guy? Lopez is a former Brewers farmhand who was traded to the Royals in the Moustakas trade. In his last two starts, Lopez has given up only 2 earned runs in 15 innings pitched. He throws four pitches and all have registered positive pitch values per FanGraphs. I don’t think he has elite or high-end strikeout stuff, but he gets the ice cold Twins who have a .296 wOBA the last 14 days. Oh, and did I mention that one of those last two outings was against the Twins? No, well it was. Lopez also goes up against Gonsalves who has been atrocious this year, so he should get run support. Maybe the Twins pick up on something this time around or maybe they will stay cold. I’m rolling the dice. STREAM

Tyler Anderson (COL) LHP, 21% @SF, Friday 9/14
Anderson has really struggled in the second half after showing some signs of a breakout in the first half. Something has gone wrong in the second half but his poor HR/9 and BABIP likely won’t stick. He’s still getting a ton of swings and misses with a swinging strike rate of 13.4% with a 73.2% contact rate since July 30th. Since this start is in AT&T Park, I think the home run rate and BABIP will be in his favor for this game. If I haven’t convinced you, maybe this will. In the last 14 days, the Giants have a .250 wOBA with an unbelievable 31.5% strikeout rate. That’s last place in MLB for both, and it’s not close. The last 30 days haven’t been much better either. I’m thinking Anderson turns his best start of the second half in this one. STREAM

Jaime Barria (LAA) RHP 17% Home vs SEA, Saturday 9/15
Barria is a guy with a great slider and not much else. He’s been successful this year, there’s no doubt but he’s limited home runs and benefited with some BABIP and strand rate luck. What’s interesting is that Barria has already faced the Mariners three times. In all three starts, he’s given up 2 earned runs each time but has only struck out 5 batters in 16.1 IP. He also was very fortunate with his strand rates in those games. Some people might say he’s set for another two earned run outing to follow the trend. I say he’s due for a blow-up. Clearly, Barria isn’t fooling the Mariners hitters to get swings and misses. I just don’t see enough upside in this start. I’m STAY AWAY

Mike Minor (TEX) LHP, 23% @SD, Sunday 9/16
Minor should have two starts this week with the second coming Sunday against the Padres in San Diego. The Padres have a 24.3% strikeout rate against left-handed pitchers and are ranked 22nd offensively against southpaws. If you’re wondering, Minor has been great in the second half with five wins and a 2.88 ERA. He’s increased his usage of his changeup to 25% up from 15%. That’s great because it’s his best pitch. Not only is he getting more swings and misses, but he’s gotten over 26% soft contact since the break. I’m hoping Minor gets this second start because it’s my lock of the week. STREAM

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Starting Pitchers to Stream -Minor Fiers won’t have you running from the CaHills


Welcome back to another week of SP streaming options that are 25% owned and under per FantasyPros.com combined ownership. With rosters about to expand, things are going to start getting interesting with quicker hooks and deeper bullpens. Let’s take a look at the pitching options for the upcoming week.

Trevor Cahill (OAK), 21% at Home vs TOR, Tuesday, July 31st
Cahill is healthy at pitching at home against the rebuilding Blue Jays. He’s got an above average K rare and his normally high walk rate sits at league average. Cahill is throwing his change up more than last year and it’s a pretty incredible pitch. It gets swings outside the zone 50% of the time and has a swinging strike rate of 25%! Between that pitch and the sinker, he’s getting over 60% ground balls. I like Cahill to keep the power dependent Blue Jays in check at home while piling up some strikeouts. STREAM

James Shields (CWS), 8% at Home vs KC, Tuesday, July 31st
Oh boy, here we go! I’ve avoided Big-Lame James like the plague the last few years. While Shields isn’t pitching well, he’s throwing his change up more and fastball less, which is good. His K rate is low but his swinging strike rate is identical to last year and he no longer has a major gopher ball issue. In fact, since July 1st, his K/9 is 9.3! He gets to face the Royals at home who just traded their best hitter, Mike Moustakas to the Brewers. In the last 30 days, the Royals have a 25% K rate and a 6% walk rate which ranks 27th and 30th, respectively. This could blow up in my face but if there’s ever a chance to stream Shields, it’s this start. STREAM with caution.

Nick Tropeano (LAA), 3% on the Road vs TB, Wednesday, August 1st
Tropeano has some real gophoritis going on with a 1.93 HR/9 this year. In his last start, on Thursday against the White Sox, he had one of the most amazing stat-lines – 6.1 IP 5 H, 5 ER, 5 HR, 2 BB, 7 K. Yup, his BABIP was .000 and he gave up 5 solo homers but still managed to strikeout 7. That was his second start off the DL, so what should we expect this time? Who knows, because he’s getting a lot of swings and misses but has some issues with control and hard contact. I think the risk is just too high with Trop this week but if you’re desperate, I could see a high K outing with decent ratios, you just have to squint really hard to see it. I’m staying away


Mike Fiers (DET), 20% on the Road vs OAK, Friday, August 3rd
Mike has been on Fiers lately, am-I-right? Since  June 9th, he’s sporting a 2.70 ERA with a 1.13 WHIP and while the Ks are low, his BB% is only 5.6% in that time frame. Fiers is kind of a junkballer and he’s doubled the use of his cutter this year which has proven to be his best pitch per FanGraphs pitch value. Other than that, he’s basically the same pitcher he’s always been, so not all that exciting. Here’s what is exciting though, the Athletics have a wOBA of .295 at home this season as a team which ranks 28th in all of baseball. Yes, their park is brutal, for a team that hits so many home runs, they rank 24th in home runs while at home as opposed to FIRST, yes first, when on the road. They have hit 96 HR on the road and 46 at home. There’s enough of a spark here for me to give Fiers a shot, I’m STREAMing

Mike Minor (TEX), 9% Home vs BAL, Saturday, August 4th
Minor is coming off an impressive start against the Astros today. Well, technically the game isn’t over but he’s managed just 2 hits and 1 run with 7 strikeouts in just under 5 IP. So, regardless of the result, he’s done well. And let’s face it, the Machado-less Orioles are not good and are especially bad away from Camden Yards. As a team, they rank 29th in both wOBA and strikeouts. That’s a recipe for success for Mr. Minor. Unfortunately, Minor’s velocity is down as a starter this year, so his margin for error is slim. However, since the middle of June, Minor has a 3.46 ERA and his HR/FB is at a somewhat respectable 11.8%. The strikeout improvement against Houston shows me that he could easily get a K per inning against the Oriole and I like his chances at a win. STREAM.

Yonny Chirinos (TB), 1% at Home vs CHW, Friday or Saturday, August 3rd or 4th
Yes, Yonny is back! Chirinos had a decent run early in the season and is back in the rotation after Nathan Eovaldi and Matt Andreise have been traded. There’s also talk that Chris Archer could also be on the move. With Snell on the DL, what are they going to do, a bullpen game every day? Anyways, Chirinos pitched well against the Yankees earlier this week and struggled against the Orioles today, go figure. I think Chirinos has good stuff and and his sinker induces a lot ground balls. The last time Chirinos faced the White Sox, he went 5.1 scoreless with 5 Ks and 5 base runners. That start was in Guaranteed Rate and this one is at home where I think he can go 6 IP with a K per inning. STREAM.


Starting Pitchers to Stream 7/9 – 7/15

With this late submission, we look at some streaming options this week.

Jonathan Loaisiga (NYY) 15% Away vs BAL, Monday, July 9th
Johnny Lasagna! Sure it’s a road start but it’s not like Yankee Stadium is a great place to pitch. JL has had limited innings in the Majors, but I like what I’ve seen so far, his K rate is great and his ground ball rate is 60%. He averages nearly 96 mph on his fastball and gets swings outside the zone over 36% of the time. Then there’s Baltimore. They are tanking and other than Machado, who are you worried about? They strike out a bunch and are near the bottom of the league in offensive production. Johnny’s got a great shot at a win and 6 to 8 strikeouts in this one. STREAM

Zack Wheeler (NYM) 19% owned, Home vs PHI, Monday July 9th
With Loaisiga scratched, I’m rolling with my backup options Zack Wheeler. He has the first game of the doubleheader against the Phils today. Wheeler has a 97 mph fastball that generates a ton of weak contact, on the season, he’s given up 25.5% soft contact. He’s also getting a lot more swings and misses on the pitch because of the increased velocity. He’s been solid over his last four games going at least 6 IP in all four and a 2.73 ERA. The Phillies are decent offensively but can be neutralized on the road as they are middle of the pack when away from Citizens Bank. They also swing a miss a bunch, so Wheeler should be a good bet to pile up 6 or 7 Ks. STREAM.

Matt Andriese Ryan Yarbrough (TB) 1%, Home vs DET, Tuesday, July 10th
The things you need to know about Andriese are that he doesn’t get a ton of Ks, won’t kill you with walks, is getting ground balls at a 51% clip, and hasn’t gone more than 3.2 IP in any start this season. This is a bullpen game, but Detroit has been bad this past month with a .285 wOBA and strikeout and walk rates that are worse than league average. This could be either be Yarbrough or Stanek’s game to win in the middle innings if that’s how the decision goes. This is only a very deep league option, especially if you have limited starts for pitchers. Try one or both, but most likely Yarbrough unless they deploy him on Monday. Again, AL-Only or 16+ mixed with games started limits should look at this option. DEEP STREAM

Mike Montgomery (CHC) 22%, Away vs SF, Wednesday, July 11th
Montgomery has been good since joining the rotation in late May. However, his last three starts have not been very good giving up 12 runs (10 earned) and allowing 26 base runners in only 16 IP. The Giants are a very disciplined team striking out only 20% of the time and waking nearly 8.5% in the last 30 days. AT&T Park is a great pitcher‘s park but I can’t see much strikeout upside from Montgomery in this one. I also don’t see him going much more than 5 innings limiting his upside. I see a few earned runs and a bad WHIP in this start from MM. STAY AWAY



Reynaldo Lopez (CHW) 21%, Home vs KC, Friday, July 13th
I actually don’t trust Rey-Lo at this point in the season. I think he’s got very good skills and stuff but needs to be more consistent. He throws 96 mph and has an above average slider, but doesn’t get the swings and misses. However, he’s a guy that could throw seven shutout innings with eight strikeouts. The Royals have literally been the worst team in the league by a long-shot in the past month. As a team, they have hit .200/.255/.308 with a .248 wOBA in the last 30 days! Their K%-BB% is 17.5%, good for 5th worst in the league and are averaging 0.5 homers per game in that stretch. I think this is a moderate STREAM due to the struggles of KC but I can’t give full confidence.

Nick Kingham (9%), Home vs MIL, Friday July 13th
Kingham has been jerked around a bit but will make his third straight start in the Majors for the first time this year. He’s coming off a very good start against the Phillies and has a to face a potent Brewers lineup at home. Here’s the thing, the Brewers haven‘t been great offensively this past month, but they were missing some key players (Yelich, Cain, Braun, Thames), for portions of June and July. All but Braun is back, but the Brewers strike out over 26% of the time. I think Kingham is legit and will throw a solid game against the Brewers now that the Pirates are showing more confidence in him. STREAM

Mike Minor (13%), Away vs BAL, Sunday July 15th
Minor’ has been solid of late and the Orioles are one of the worst offensive teams in the league. Minor’s velocity however, is decreasing and that’s worrisome. He doesn’t get hurt with the walks, so it’s really just the home run ball that kills Minor. Personally, I think the innings jump is going to put a toll on Minor sometime soon, like a couple weeks after the All-Star break. I’m not 100% confident, but I’d say roll with Minor for another couple weeks if the match-ups are good, then cut bait. STREAM

Starting Pitcher Streaming Options Week 6

Welcome back to this week’s addition of streamers for week 6 of the fantasy baseball season. I hope you were able to stream Trevor Cahill this week, he completely dominated and bolstered the numbers for this week. We still have Marco Estrada going today, so let’s hope for a win. Here’s how we did last week.

1 Win, 2.25 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 33 Ks in 24 IP. It’s too bad we didn’t get more wins, but those ratios and strikeouts will help in all leagues.

Here’s how the streaming options have performed for the entire season to date from this site.

4 Wins, 2.87 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 112 Ks in 125 2/3 IP

That’s all the streamers 25% owned or less in Yahoo/ESPN consensus ownership via FantasyPros. Those wins have been elusive, but at least we are getting great ratios! If you enjoy these, give me a follow on Twitter @FreezeStats.
Moving to week 6, there’s literally nothing I like on Monday 5/7. I could see Jarlin Garca performing well against the Cubs with the Cubs scuffling right now, but he’s owned in over 25% of leagues.

Jeremy Hellickson (WAS) 2% Away v SD Tuesday 5/8
Hellickson is not a good pitcher. However, his team, the Nationals is a very good team and his homer happy ways get to pitch in cavernous Petco Park. While he’s not striking out batters, he’s locating his pitches well and getting a lot weak contact. He’s limiting walks and limiting home runs by inducing more ground balls that he typically does. I’m looking for a solid 6 IP with maybe 4 Ks and a couple ER as he walks away with a win. That’s good enough for me to STREAM.

Mike Minor (TEX) 9% Home v Det Tuesday 5/8
I’d actually prefer this one on the road but beggars can’t be choosers. His SwStr rate tells me that his strikeouts should be better and he’s really not walking many hitters. He’s finally stretched out as he’s gone 6 IP each of the last two starts. I think he’s got upside against a weak Detroit lineup especially if Miggy can’t go. There’s some risk of a blowup but I’m rolling with it thinking of a 7 K upside and decent ratios. STREAM

Vincent Velasquez (PHI) 10% Home vs SF Thursday 5/10
VV finally turned in a solid start yesterday got my 5 IP with 1 ER and earned the win. Sure it came with 4 walks but that’s why he’s on the wire. But check this out, his K% is 25% and his BB.% is only 7%. xStats absolutely loves him and pegs him for a mid-3 ERA pitcher thus far. There’s always walk and HR risks with Velazquez but I’m using him here, his velocity is up and he looks healthy. STREAM

Caleb Smith (MIA) 17% Home vs ATL Thursday 5/10
On one hand he’s striking out 33% of the batters he faces, on the other hand he’s walking 12% of them, on the third hand who the hell is this guy? Don’t get me wrong I’m impressed by how well he’s done thus far in the season but he allows a lot of fly balls and a lot hard contact. At some point when you mix hard fly balls (get those checked out) with walks you got problems. Atlanta’s got a few patient hitters and the young core scares me; even veteran Nick Markakis is mashing right now. I’m guessing this one goes sideways. STAY AWAY

Marco Gonzalez (SEA) 9% Away vs DET Friday 5/11
So, Marco was ok last night as he went 6 IP 4 ER 7 K. That was against the Angels, and it was one rough inning (the 6th), now he get to go to Comerica to face the Detroit Tigers. Do we really need to analyze this one? A ground ball pitcher who gets decent Ks and walks no one against one of the worse offensive clubs? Yeah, ok let’s roll. STREAM

Kyle Gibson (SEA) 18% Away vs LAA Saturday 5/12
More Kyle Gibson! Did you know he is 6’6″? Wow he’s tall. Ok, let’s get to it. Gibson’s strikeouts are up, his home runs against are down but his walks are up. Basically, he’s not giving up as much contact as in the past. While I like what’s doing this year, I don’t think I want any part of him on the road against the Angels. If this was at home , I’d consider it. There could be a couple of long balls in this one on the Angels side (maybe one from Trout) and with the high walk rate, they could turn into 4 or 5 runs. I envision a 5 IP 4 ER 2.00 WHIP and 4 Ks. STAY AWAY

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