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Starting Pitcher Streamers – Week 2 (7/27 – 8/2): Fantasy Baseball

Welcome back to my weekly streaming article. This year I’m doing things a little differently. I’ll pick one streamer for each day that is 25% owned or under based on FantasyPros combined Yahoo!/ESPN ownership rates. In previous seasons, I more or less handpicked the best streaming options for the week and therefore didn’t necessarily choose an option each day. Here’s how last year went and the Google sheet where I tracked the results.

IP ERA WHIP K W QS
Season Totals 654 3.91 1.22 643 52 51

2019 wrapup article. Considering the juiced ball environment, that wasn’t too bad. The degree of difficulty is higher this year now that I don’t have the ability to choose more than one option each day. I will also list a backup option to stream but only if the primary option is skipped or does not pitch for some reason. Here, we go!

 

Monday – July 27th

Pablo Lopez (SP – MIA) Home vs BAL, 9% owned
Lopez at home against a terrible Orioles club is my lock of the week. In 2019 at home, Lopez managed 3.39 ERA with a 1.08 WHIP. His strikeout rate wasn’t great last year but he’s added a cutter to go with his nasty changeup. Hopefully, the Marlins can give Lopez some run support, but I fully expect Lopez to net a strikeout per inning with great ratios on Monday. You may want to hold Lopez after this start because I have a feeling his ownership and popularity may begin to rise.

Backup option: Griffin Canning (SP – LAA), @ OAK – 24% owned 


 

Tuesday – July 28th

Kyle Gibson (SP – TEX) Home vs ARI, 6% owned
I went back in forth between Josh Lindblom and Kyle Gibson. Lindblom has an easier matchup against the Pirates but I just haven’t seen him pitch much. Gibson is a bit underrated. He was somewhat unlucky with a .330 BABIP and a 67.5% strand rate last year. However, he struck out a batter per inning and cut down on his walks. Now, he’s in Texas in the new stadium. By all accounts, it should play more like a pitcher’s park compared to the old Globe Life Stadium. Did you know Gibson managed a 36% O-Swing% and a 13% SwStr rate in 2019? Those rank seventh and 16th respectively among pitchers with at least 150 innings last year. Long story, long, stream Gibson. Backup option: Josh Lindblom (SP – MIL) @PIT – 7% owned

 

Wednesday – July 29th

Danny Duffy (SP – KCR) @DET, 8% owned
Last year, the Tigers were the worst offensive club in the Majors based on wRC+. They also struck out 26.4% of the time, worst in the league. They added C.J. Cron and Jonathan Schoop this offseason but still have one of the weakest teams in 2020. Duffy was OK in his first outing giving up two earned runs in 4.1 IP. That was against the Indians and I fully expect him to reach 5-6 inning against the Tigers. He won’t WOW you but he’s a decent pick on Wednesday. Backup Option: Patrick Sandoval (SP – LAA) Home vs SEA, 0% owned

 

Thursday – July 30th

John Means (SP -BAL) Home vs MIA – 12% owned
Means is currently on IL as he was slotted to pitch opening day for the Orioles. Obviously, that didn’t happen. By all accounts, he should be back for the start next Thursday and the matchup is juicy. He’s hoping to follow up an impressive 2019 where he finished with a 3.60 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. He won’t strike a ton of guys out but doesn’t get beat by walking batters. He’s also better at home. In 2019, he had a steller 2.74 ERA in Camden Yards. His fastball isn’t all that great but he wields a good change (of course, I love changeups) and a solid slider. That should be enough to beat the Marlins.
Backup Option: Brady Singer (SP – KCR) Home @DET, 17% owned



 

Friday – July 31st

Vince Velasquez (SP – PHI) @TOR – 9% owned
There aren’t many great options next Friday so I’m rolling the dice with VV. He’s featured a new changeup and it looks like it could be a PutAway pitch. He’s been extremely inconsistent over his career, so this stream is not without risk. The Blue Jays are young and not familiar with Velasquez. I give the edge to VV there. I don’t expect him to go more than five innings but given the fact that the Blue Jays strike out quite a bit, he could pile up the Ks. I’m streaming here but like other options next week better.
Backup option: Spencer Turnbull (SP – DET) home vs CIN, 7% owned

 

Saturday – August 1st

Wade Miley (SP – CIN) @DET – 5% owned
Looks like we are picking on the Tigers and that’s OK. Miley doesn’t have the ceiling of some other options next week but has a great chance to post a quality start with good ratios. You might be surprised to know that Miley has had an ERA under 4.00 each of the last two seasons. He focuses on his cutter and changeup to minimize damage. His ground ball rate has been right near 50% the last three seasons. That should play well in Comerica next week and let’s not forget, the Tigers strike out more than any team, so there’s a small amount of K upside here as well.
Backup option: Reynadlo Lopez (SP – CHW) @KCR – 25% owned

 

Sunday – August 2nd

Austin Voth (SP – WSH) @MIA – 5% owned
I’m curious to see what Voth looks like in his first go around this year but I’ve been a fan of his all offseason. Here’s what I said about him way back in January.


“At age-27, he’s not a highly rated prospect but showed impressive skills in 2019 with a 17.8% K-BB% and a 3.30 ERA in 43.2 innings. His fastball wasn’t bad, but it’s his secondaries that get me going. All three of his secondaries, CU, CT, CH generated swinging strike rates north of 16.5%. The curve is the best of the bunch with a 38.9% strikeout rate. We are dealing with limited samples but hell, it’s after pick 250 and there is a top-150 ceiling here.”

He draws the Marlins in Miami and while they moved the fences in (a little), I’m not convinced it’ll change the results all that much. I’m rolling with Both and holding him in deep formats.

So many options next Sunday but many things can change in one week (especially in 2020), so here are the top 2 backup options. Tyler Mahle @DET – 2% owned, Yonny Chirinos @BAL



Photo Credit: Jasen Vinlove / USA Today

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Starting Pitchers to Stream Week 23 (9/2 – 9/8)

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 horizon, I’ve stepped it up a notch. I’m covering seven streaming options for you next week. The options are plentiful but also carry some very nice upside. Let’s get to it!

Mike Montgomery (SP – KC) 14% Owned home vs DET, Tuesday 9/3
The Tigers have been running out a Triple-A club over the last couple of weeks. As a team, they are striking out over 30% of the time with just a scant 4.2% walk rate! That’s insane. They are making every pitcher look like Jacob deGrom. Mongomery’s ratios on the season are not pretty but he’s been bounced in and out of the Cubs rotation and has since been moved to the Royals. He’s been a little more comfortable in the AL Central and he’s increased the usage of his cutter. That’s good because his cutter may be his best pitch with an 89 wRC+ with above-average chase and swinging strike rates. He’s also been very good in Kauffman Stadium giving up just six earned runs in four starts there since coming over to the AL. Oh, and he demolished the Tigers last time out punching out 14 batters. Montgomery is not currently lined up for two starts next week if the Royals go forward with a six-man rotation but if he does, he would also draw the Marlins in Miami. I’d love that two-step and would start him for both if that’s how the Royals play it. STREAM.


Mitch Keller (SP – PIT), 7% Owned home vs MIA, Tuesday 9/3
Yes, Keller was blown up for eight earned runs in Philly earlier this week. No, I’m not all that concerned that it will carry into next week’s start. Forget about his inflated ERA, Keller’s FIP is a solid 3.92. He’s dealing with an extremely unlucky .479 BABIP and a 53.6% strand rate. Both are not sustainable. His 19% K-BB rate and 12% swinging strike rate mirror an SP3, not a streamer. Keller averages almost 96 mph on his fastball and his slider has been crazy in terms of whiffs. It has a 28.3% SwStr% and a 43% chase rate. He draws the Marlins next week, a far inferior offensive club to the Phillies and will be at home in PNC Park. They have a 26.6% strikeout rate and an 88 wRC+ over the last two weeks. As a team, the Marlins are rank last in the league in terms of production against right-handed pitchers with a 75 wRC+. You bet I’m STREAMING Keller next week.

Trevor Williams (SP – PIT), 14% Owned home vs MIA, Wednesday 9/4
Am I picking on the Marlins? You bet I am. I know they have been better of late but as I mentioned above, they strike out a ton and don’t draw many free passes. Williams has had a rough season but appears to be back on track. He’s only given up three earned runs in his last two outings and they were all allowed in Coors. This year of the home run has not been kind to Williams but he is showing some ability to generate more whiffs. His chase rate and SwStr% are up this year while contact against has gone down. I think Williams can limit damage and net a quality start with a high probability of a win. He may even find his way to manage a strikeout per inning given the swing happy Marlins who have a 28.3% K rate over the last two weeks. I’m STREAMing.

Jakob Junis (SP – KC), 17% Owned home vs DET, Wednesday 9/4
Have you noticed the theme of this streaming article? Yup, I am certainly targeting the worst offensive clubs. I’ve already gone over how bad the Tigers have been recently, so let’s see how Junis stacks up. His slider is the key to his success and he’s throwing it 44% of the time, an increase of almost five percent from last year. The results have been good with a 13.1 Pitch Value and a 61 wRC+ against his slider. He’s been able to throw it for strikes occasionally with a 43% zone rate. Unfortunately, his fastball and sinker are not good at all. He’s like a really, really poor-man’s Patrick Corbin. Normally, I wouldn’t love streaming him but given the lack of talent on the Tigers roster, I’m feeling some significant strikeout upside here. He’s handled the Tigers well this season with a 3.32 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP. He has a great chance at striking out more than a batter per inning and a QS. Getting through the sixth innings has not been a problem as he’s gone at least six innings in nine of his last 10 starts. STREAM.


Pablo Lopez (SP – MIA), 8% Owned home vs KC, Friday 9/6
The Nationals just pasted Lopez for six earned runs in just three innings but the Nationals are scorching hot right now. Besides, it was only Pablo’s second start after a lengthy IL stint. He’ll be back in Miami against the DH-less Royals next week. Over the last two weeks, the Royals are ranked 28th with a 68 wRC+ as a team (100 is league-average). Now, over Lopez. You may not be all that familiar with him but I’ve been a big fan all season. He has a plus changeup, a plus fastball and mixes in a curveball. I love his change, it’s nasty with a 47.6% chase rate and a 60% ground ball rate. Hitters struggle to do any damage against it if they are swinging at it outside of the zone and either whiff or put it on the ground. The Royals are getting Adalberto Mondesi back, so that’s a concern but the lineup isn’t deep, especially without a DH. I’ll stream here.

Dinelson Lamet (SP – SD), 25% Owned home vs COL, Friday 9/6
Why is Dinelson Lamet is available in 75% of leagues? You guys, he has a 31.7% strikeout rate. He’s striking out almost 1/3rd of the batters he faces. That’s good fam. Despite facing the Red Sox and the Phillies in Philadelphia, he’s compiled 40 strikeouts across 28.1 innings in his last five starts with a respectable 3.54 ERA. That’s largely thanks to one of the best sliders in the game with a 50% strikeout rate against it this year. He draws the road Rockies and as we know, the Rockies are a completely different team away from Coors. They are 29th in MLB with a 72 wRC+ away from Coors Field and have a 26.6% strikeout rate as a team. Lamet is lined up to have a field day against them and I could see double-digit strikeouts for him next week. At a minimum, he should provide 6-7 strikeouts with nice ratios and a chance at a win. STREAM.

Dustin May (SP – LAD), 21% Owned home vs SF, Sunday 9/8
The Rookie has been fairly impressive in the second half for the Dodgers. Ross Stripling is scheduled to return, so it’s not a guarantee that May will make this start. That being said, the Dodgers are running away with the division, so some of their studs (Ryu, Buehler, and Kershaw) could see extended rest or even have one of their starts skipped opening up opportunities for the likes of May and others. The Giants are not the pushover they were through the first half of the season but are still in the bottom 10 in terms of wRC+ over the last two weeks. They have been aggressive as a team in the second half, so walks shouldn’t be an issue for May. He’s limited walks in his small sample, so hopefully, he can push six innings for the first time in his big-league career. He hasn’t flashed big strikeout upside but he throws hard (95-96 mph) and has a very good cutter. I like him more in standard leagues and I wouldn’t bank on a quality start but given the Dodgers’ offensive upside, he has a great chance to snag a win. I’ll STREAM in deeper leagues but since he’s scheduled for Sunday, only use him if you need a win.


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


Photo Credit: Jasen Vinlove / USA Today

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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

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Starting Pitchers to Stream Week 11 (6/10-6/16)

We followed a great week in week 9 with a poor week in terms of streaming. It’s been up and down over the last few weeks after an incredibly hot start. I’m looking to begin a streaming run starting next week. You know the streaming rules. Only pitchers that are available in 25% or fewer of leagues per FantasyPros Consensus ownership rates are eligible to stream. That include Yahoo, ESPN, and CBS leagues. We have a bunch of pitchers to cover, so let’s get started.

Anibal Sanchez (SP – WAS) 10% owned, @CHW, Monday 6/10
Something has happened with Sanchez recently and I like it! It’s his cutter. He’s thrown it over 30% of the time over the last two starts and managed 14 strikeouts in just 11.1 innings pitched. He’s also only allowed one earned run in those two starts. I’m not fully back in on trusting Sanchez but the White Sox aren’t the most intimidating team in the league. They are a league-average team at home and are susceptible to the strikeout (over 26% in the last 14 days). I’m not expecting Sanchez to go more than six innings but could provide good strikeout numbers and solid ratios as long as he sticks with the cutter. STREAM.

Dakota Hudson (SP – STL) 10% owned @MIA, Tuesday 6/11
Hudson has gone at least six innings in each of his last five outings. He also has been a lot better over the last month with a 2.64 ERA and has only given up two earned runs in his last two starts. Unfortunately, Hudson doesn’t have much strikeout upside (under 7 K/9) but should have a great shot at pitching into the seventh inning. The Marlins have been better over the last two weeks but still, lack power. At home this year, the Marlins have the second lowest wOBA at .269. Only the Giants are worse. Given the favorable park and matchup, Hudson is a great quality start/ratios play next week. STREAM.

Cal Quantrill (SP – SD) 1% owned @SF, Tuesday 6/11
I’m actually really excited about this start for Quantrill. I think we are finally going to see a great start and drop his season numbers. He gets a dream matchup against the league’s worst offense in the best park for pitchers. The Giants have managed a pathetic .260 wOBA at home this season and have hit just 18 home runs at Oracle Park in over 950 plate appearances! Quantrill has successfully been able to induce swings and misses evidenced by a 13.7% swinging strike rate (SwStr%) which is 2.5% higher than the league average. He also gets swings outside the zone at a high clip thanks to a very good changeup and slider. His only major issue is his control. He doesn’t throw enough strikes. The good news is the Giants have a below-league-average walk rate as a team at eight percent. I like Quantrill next week in SF, I’m Streaming.

Tyler Mahle (SP – CIN) 11% Owned home vs TEX, Friday 6/14
The Rangers are without their most valuable hitter this year in Joey Gallo. The rest of the Rangers lineup has been below-league-average with a 94 wRC+ and have hit just five home runs over the last week. Great America Ballpark is a launching pad, so I have to be careful here. Mahle has been great against right-handed batters with a .279 wOBA and 1.09 WHIP. He does struggle against lefties, so an injured Gallo is an even biggest boost for Mahle. The Rangers still have several lefty bats but some of their better hitters to date (Andrus, Pence, and Forsythe) are right-handed. Without the DH, the Rangers are likely to lose either Choo or Guzman who are both left-handed. I’m talking myself into Mahle but I trust his 19.9% K-BB and 32%CSW rates. I’m STREAMING in 12-team and deeper leagues.

Pablo Lopez (SP – MIA) 12% owned Home vs PIT, Saturday 6/15 and Trevor Richards (SP – MIA) 12% Owned vs PIT 6/14 Friday
Two Marlins pitchers! What a bonus! Lopez loves his home games but he had his first successful road start this week in Milwaukee of all places. He shut out the Brewers in six innings getting seven strikeouts. Well, he’s back at home where he carries his 1.84 ERA with him against the Pirates. The Pirates have been pretty solid offensively but have just a 16.8% strikeout minus walk rate (K-BB%) on the road (league-average 14.2%). This is less about the matchup and more about the quality of Lopez. He was bombed for 10 runs against the Mets over a month ago that really inflated his numbers. I know you can’t just take those stats away but let’s do it for fun! He would have a 3.26 ERA with a 1.01 WHIP without that start against the Mets. That’s how good he’s been over his remaining 11 starts. I’m not only STREAMing him, but I own him in a couple of places. To touch on Richards, his surface numbers are better than his metrics but he is getting above-average swings and misses and has only given up three earned runs in his last four starts. His changeup has been dominant with just a .228 wOBA against. I’m streaming but trust Lopez just a little more if I had to choose between the two.
Note: The Pirates best hitter, Josh Bell finally hasn’t homered since 5/29 where he’s hitting just .242 with a .302 wOBA.

Chase Anderson (SP – MIL) 16% owned @SF, Sunday 6/16
Let’s go back to the Bay area, shall we? First the good with Anderson, he’s throwing 93.7 MPH (up from 92.9 MPH last year), getting swings outside the zone at a 35.5% clip and has resulted in a very solid 12% swinging strike rate (SwStr%). Now the bad, a 1.72 HR/9 and an 82.9% strand rate that is sure to regress. Anderson was bitten by the longball at home against the Marlins of all teams this past week but also was plagued with a .400 BABIP. He was on fire though with a 20.9% SwStr rate and was inducing swings outside the zone nearly 50% of the time! Talk about unlucky. Next week, he gets the Giants who are starved for power as I discussed previously and Oracle Park is a pitcher’s dream. In addition, prior to this week’s start against the Marlins, Anderson had given up just one home run in his last six starts. I don’t expect Anderson to go deep in this one, but he’s a great bet to strikeout more than a batter per inning and limiting the damage against the league’s worst offense. STREAM

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



Photo Source: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Starting Pitchers to Stream Week 4 (4/22-4/28)

What a week of baseball! Christian Yelich can’t stop hitting bombs and every stud pitcher is getting blown up expect my beloved Trevor Bauer and last year’s heartthrob Luis Castillo. Link. deGrom and Snell went down with injuries this week, Scherzer, Cole, Sale, Nola, get blown up; it’s crazy! This is why streaming pitchers like Jordan Lyles and Caleb Smith are so important. In some instances, they are outperforming the aces. Let’s look at some solid options for Week 4.

Luke Weaver (SP – ARI) 17% owned @PIT Tuesday 4/23
I’m not really sure why Luke Weaver is owned in only 17% of leagues. I have a feeling his ownership jumps over 25% by the end of next week. He totaled 17 strikeouts in his last two outings and was touching 97 MPH in his last start. His K-BB% is 21.6% which is tied for 20th among qualified starters. This matchup is nice as the Pirates who just lost Starling Marte in a scary collision on Friday night. He has since been placed on the IL, the lineup is essentially a Triple-A lineup with Josh Bell as the team’s best hitter. As a team, the Pirates are ranked 23rd in the league in wOBA (.290) and have hit just 13 homers on the young season, good (bad) for second-lowest total in the bigs. Easy Stream here.

Pablo Lopez (SP – MIA), 4% owned @CLE, Tuesday 4/23
Lopez is a well-kept secret but the word is about to get out. His 5.85 ERA is a mirage thanks to a .386 BABIP and a 61.1% strand rate. His 23% K-BB% is actually better than our boy Weaver above and his velocity is up over one MPH this year. He gets Cleveland who receives a much-needed boost with the return on Lindor but doesn’t move the needle enough for me given the current 27% strikeout rate the Indians have as a team. My only concern is how deep he will go. He’s only averaging five innings per start, so a quality start might be tough to get. I still think he’s in for more than a strikeout per inning and solid ratios. Stream

Jordan Lyles (SP – PIT), 25% owned Home vs ARI, Wednesday 4/24
Lyles is right on the cusp of going over my 25% ownership cap. Why? Well, he’s rocking a 0.83 ERA with a 0.88 WHIP in 17 innings. Look, he’s not this good, not even close but a PNC is great pitchers park. However, the Diamondbacks have been better than advertised offensively and Lyles is due for some regression. The DBacks have already hit 32 homers and have a .339 wOBA as a team. Lyles struggles against lefties and the DBacks have some solid lefty bats (Peralta, Marte, Escobar) along with hot-hitting righty Christian Walker to handle Lyles. I’m going to pass on this start for Lyles, besides, he hurt his hand in his last outing, so I think this is where regression sets in. Stay Away.

Martin Perez (SP – MIN), 1% owned at home vs BAL, Friday 4/26
A home start against the Orioles at home is a nearly ideal situation for Perez. He’s essentially a new pitcher because he no longer is a soft-tosser averaging near 95 MPH which has skyrocketed his swinging strike rate and K%. In his start on Saturday, he wasn’t great but got the win thanks to an offensive explosion. The Orioles are deploying Chris Davis almost every day, which should tell you how poor their lineup is. Perez should be good for at least five to six strikeouts in this one (maybe 3 from C Davis) and a good chance at a win. Stream

Jered Eickhoff (SP – PHI), 2% Owned at home vs MIA, Friday 4/26
Eickhoff has been called up with the move to send Pivetta down to the Minors and he gets the Marlins at home next week. Look, Eickoff missed most of 2018 with injuries and hasn’t been good since 2016 but he seems to have a better pitch mix. His fastball is not good and he’s throwing it a lot less than in 2017. Getting the Marlins at home should help keep his ratios in check. The Phillies offense should put up plenty of run support against Jose Urena. I’d look to stream Eickhoff in 14-team leagues and deeper. Stream lightly here

Jake Odorizzi (SP – MIN), 10% owned Home vs BAL, Sunday 4/28

I already bashed the Orioles in the Perez blurb but can what else can we say about them? We know they strike out a lot. Would you believe me if I told you Odorizzi has a 14.3% swinging strike rate and has allowed just a 66.4% contact rate? That’s over 10% lower than the league average! We have to keep in mind that Odorizzi is a junkballer and can struggle to find the plate. There’s risk here but I like that this start is at home. Stream

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


(Photo: Rob Schumacher/The Republic)