Well last week wasn’t great but Hellickson dominated and we did get that huge strikeout performance from Vincent Velasquez against the suddenly strikeout-prone Giants. What’s interesting is that the Giants, previously known for putting the ball in play (only 19.6% K rate as a team in 2017), are now striking out 25% of the time as a team. They’re also in the bottom third of the league in wOBA. It’s becoming apparent that we need to move the Giants into the “stream against” category, especially with their home park being as pitcher friendly as any in the league. Some other teams in the bottom third in both K rate and wOBA: Padres, Orioles, Rockies (surprise), and Rangers. I’d throw the Marlins in there as well as they are last in the league in wOBA and middle of the pack in K rate. I don’t expect the Rockies to stay there, and obviously you’re not streaming in Coors.
Tyler Anderson (COL) 8% away vs SD 5/14 and away vs 5/20 SF
Anderson gets two starts next week both on the road against the Padres who are 2nd to last in wOBA, and against the Giants who are 23rd in wOBA. Anytime a pitcher is throwing outside of Coors he gets a bump. Anderson is no exception and he’s increased his K rate and swinging strike rates. Both teams he faces this week are in the bottom five (or top five depending how you look at it) in strikeout rate, meaning they strikeout a lot. I’m not a fan of Anderson’s new sinker but his change up and cutter have been pretty good. I’m starting him with confidence in both starts. STREAM
Sal Romano (CIN) 1% Away vs SF 5/14
Romano has been getting it done with smoke and mirrors thus far in 2018. His K rate and walk rate are much too close for my liking. In an era when everyone strikes out, Romano can’t even muster a K/9 of over 6.0. His fastball has not be effective like it was in the minors and while the Giants don’t scare me at all, I think the veteran hitters like Posey, McCutchen, and Longoria get to Romano in this one. I see a short 4 inning start with crooked numbers in a bad way. STAY AWAY
Nick Pivetta (PHI) 25% Away vs BAL on 5/15
I’m not sure how Pivetta is only 25% owned in Yahoo and ESPN leagues. He’s had a couple of rough starts where he’s been BABIP’ed to death but his HR/9 remains stellar at 0.92/9. He still sports a 9.7 K/9 and a 2.3 BB/9, those are fantasy #2 type numbers. Now, I’m not calling him a #2 but he should be owned in all leagues. I don’t love this one on the road where he has to face a DH but the Orioles are not good you guys. The only teams with lower wOBA are the Marlins and Padres. They also are in the bottom five in walk rate. As long as Pivetta can avoid Machado, he should go 6-7 IP with 6-7 Ks and solid ratios. STREAM
Chad Kuhl (PIT) 13% at Home vs SD 5/17
I had hopes for Kuhl to have a solid season and so far it’s more of the same. He’s very inconsistent start to start. I’m not worried about the Padres as a club, it’s more about can we trust Kuhl? The walks are down, the strikeouts are up a hair, his velocity is 96+ mph, but he’s been killed by the long ball. His curve and his slider are his two best pitches but he only throws them 29% of the time. It’s hard to feel confident in this one, but he is pitching at home where he’s been better and again, against a weak opponent. I’m going with this one if I’m desperate hoping for 5+ Ks, 3 ER and a win. STREAM but with caution.
Kyle Gibson (MIN) 25% at Home vs MIL 5/18
Right on the cusp of being owned in too many formats, but Gibson gets the Brewers at home in this one. Milwaukee gets to add a DH but with Thames out, they area little thin offensively. Surprisingly, the Brewers are in the bottom six in terms of team wOBA. I mentioned this last week, Gibson is good and needs to be owned, it’s just going to take a while for the fantasy community to come around on the 30-year-old. Every single one of his pitches have seen increased swing and miss percentages with the exception of his four-seamer. But he’s essentially eliminated that pitch as its usage is under 10%. He’s got to get his walks under control but a high ground ball rate and limiting barreled contact should keep this start within 3 ER or less with 6 to 7 strikeouts. STREAM
Andrew Heaney (LAA) 5% at Home vs TB on 5/19 or 5/20
Heaney has always had trouble staying healthy and I’m not touching him for his first start on Monday against the Astros but if he comes out of that one in tact, I like him in the start against the Rays. His surface numbers aren’t great but he’s rolling with a high BABIP of .347 and a low LOB rate of 64%. His strikeout rate is over 25% and his walk rate is 7%. He’s also inducing a lot of weak contact at over 10% which is over his 8% barreled contact. For the first time in his career he’s getting more weak contact than barreled balls. The Rays offense is better than anticipated but they don’t hit for a lot of power. I think Heaney rolls against the Rays next weekend. STREAM