Top Starting Pitchers – Last 30 Days

Below is a table of the top starting pitchers in terms of fantasy for the last 30 days. I’ll highlight a few of them below to see if we can expect success or regression moving forward. (The columns can be sorted).

Zack WheelerMets4261.950.90
Max ScherzerNationals4392.120.91
Carlos CarrascoIndians4431.931.10
Jameson TaillonPirates4262.381.21
Zack GreinkeDiamondbacks3351.260.70
Tanner RoarkNationals3252.000.93
Vince VelasquezPhillies3241.841.02
Jake ArrietaPhillies3222.011.05
Patrick CorbinDiamondbacks3433.441.12
Rich HillDodgers3352.231.18
Trevor BauerIndians3501.881.23
Jon GrayRockies2251.520.71
Dereck RodriguezGiants2271.230.72
Carlos RodonWhite Sox2251.260.84
Sean NewcombBraves2212.050.91
David PriceRed Sox2232.001.00
Justin VerlanderAstros2502.351.01
Masahiro TanakaYankees2361.781.02
Zack GodleyDiamondbacks2362.901.03
Jack FlahertyCardinals2362.731.06
Clayton KershawDodgers2292.511.11
Lance Lynn- - -2292.601.16
Jacob deGromMets1411.700.89
Trevor RichardsMarlins1321.530.92
Gerrit ColeAstros1333.041.10
Charlie MortonAstros1262.701.24
Derek HollandGiants0302.130.83

Let’s talk Tanaka. This is what he looks like when he’s not serving up dingers, only 0.89 HR/9 in the last 30 days. Tanaka is rocking a 24.2% K-BB% and a .288 BABIP. For his career Tanaka has a .276 BABIP, so I don’t see much regression at all unless the home run issues come back. I’m fully on board here, his ground ball rate is up and he has three pitches working for him the last month.

I’m also loving Patrick Corbin! Despite another great start from PC, he’s been unlucky with a .351 BABIP and a low 65.9% strand rate. He’s at an elite K-BB% just ahead of Tanaka at 24.5% and leads the league in the last month with a 1.38 FIP! I don’t care that he only throws 90 mph, his slider is devastating. In the last 30 days, Corbin has a 55% ground ball rate, a 39.5% O-swing, and a 16.1% SwStr rate! I’m buying him as a top 10 SP.

A few others I think can maintain a high level of performance this year include Carlos Carrasco (29.5% K-BB% last 30 & 16.8% SwStr), Justin Verlander (38% K-BB%! .337 BABIP to regress), Gerrit Cole (.328 BABIP, 70.4% Strand rate), and Jacob deGrom (29% soft contact, 38.3% O-Swing). Yes, I know they are all aces, but this is what makes them aces. If you want to acquire them, act now and be ready to pay for them.

Sean Newcomb highlights (lowlights) the list of pitchers I think will regress. His K-BB% is 11% in the last 30 days. He’s managed to get by with just a .167 BABIP and an over 90% strand rate. Combine that with a sub 8% swinging strike rate and a low chase rate means he’s in for some major regression. With all the contact he’s giving up, plus the BABIP and strand rate which will normalize will leave you tied to the WHIPping-Post.

Carlos Rodon is about to come crashing down. He’s keeping the ball in yeard with a 0.31 HR/9, but that simply won’t last. His 13.0% K-BB% tells me that his WHIP is coming way up. Combine that with a .181 BABIP and an 85.4% strand rate. Similar to Newcomb, there are a few blowups coming with Rodon in the home stretch.

Some other regression candidates include Jon Gray (16.7% K-BB%, .162 BABIP), Jack Flaherty (11.3% BB rate, .235 BABIP, 90.6% strand rate), Dereck Rodriguez (.181 BABIP, 88% strand rate, 7.4% SwStr rate),  and Trevor Richards (.232 BABIP, 91.3% strand rate).

Weekly Rundown – You Can’t Spell Goldschmidt without Old Shit

Hot Hitters
Nomar Mazara is only 23 years old and already has more than 1300 plate appearances in the Majors. He’s got power in his bat but has always struggles against lefties and hits far too many ground balls. Mazara is hot right now mashing .350 with 3 homers in the last seven days. After hitting 20 HR in his first two MLB seasons he’s got 10 before mid-May. I’m kind of buying in to Mazara as he’s hitting the ball harder than ever and barreling up over 10% of his batted balls up from 6%. His launch angle is trash if you want big power and he’s probably the slowest 23-year-old in the league but I think he could be a .300 hitter with 25 homer power.

Justin Upton is on one of his binges as he’s mashed 5 bombs in the past week and now has 10 HR on the season. This is Upton, you know there are going to be highs and lows. Enjoy this one because a three week slump is around the corner. In the end, he’s a .260 hitter with 30 homers and 100 RBI with 8-10 steals. If you can sell high and get a top 30 bat, do it, otherwise just sit and chill with a little J-Up.

Odubel Herrera is hitting a blistering .500 with 3 bombs, 10 RBI and a steal in the last 7 days! He also leads the league in batting average at .360. Herrera is good hitter you guys! He’s a career .293 hitter in just under 2,000 PA and is only 26 years old. He’s not this good based on his elevated BABIP but he’s regularly had .350+ BABIPs in his career. He’s also cut his K rate, so high contact plus low Ks equals a really good batting average. Throw in 15 HR & 15 SB, he’s a moderate buy/Hold for me.

Odubel’s teammate Carlos Santana has 3 dingers and a boat load of RBI (13 to be exact) in his last seven games. I discussed Santana a few weeks ago as a buy low candidate and I’m still buying. He’s taking the launch angle thing to the extreme but squaring up the ball with regularity. I think he gets hot and hits 30+ homers this year while driving in over 100 RBI but an increase in fly balls and popups brings a low batting average. He may hit only .240 this year but he’s under .200 right now, so could hit .255 the rest of the way. Go ahead make a SMOOTH trade offer for Carlos Santana.

I’m glad I wrote about how Kris Bryant was struggling last week. Since then, he’s gone 9/24 with 4 HR and 7 RBI. Bryant doesn’t hit for much power in April but heats up in May. In 79 career April games, he’s hit 10 home runs; in 90 career May games, he’s hit a whopping 26 homers! KB has somehow cut his strikeout rate again and looks to be a legit .300 hitter with 30 homer power. He’s cut his flyball rate which could limit his HR upside but he’s pulling the ball again. He’s 0-1 on the bases and the Cubs run less than anyone in the National League, so anymore than 5 steals would surprise me from KB.

Delino DeShields, AKA the Dentist is getting on base at a .500 clip this past week and is walking more than he’s striking out. He’s got a homer and 3 steals in the past 7 days and is starting to look like the breakout player I hoped he’d be. He’s making more contact and while it’s not quality contact, the spring speed, which ranks 2nd in all of baseball, along with his ground ball approach should yield great results. He should stay atop the Rangers lineup with his improved OBP. I’d be buying, he could still reach 10 homers and 30 steals this year.

Freezing Hitters
What is going on with Bryce Harper? With only 2 hits in his last 25 ABs without a run, RBI, or steal. He had a similar stretch last May when the Cubs decided to walk him in about 90% of his ABs during a series in May. The success to stopping Harper, walk him for an entire series and watch him struggle, got it. Obviously, I’m kidding y’all! Harper has been extremely unlucky recently. If an owner is frustrated by the recent poor performance try to BUY him for $0.90 on the dollar.

Christian Villanueva came out like gangbusters blasting 3 homers in a single game early in April. To his credit he carried his hot streak across three weeks and still has a impressive nine homers on the season. However, he’s gone 0 for his last 21 with just one walk, and one run. Villanueva appears to have issues hitting righties as he’s hitting .162 with one homer in 84 plate appearances. Yes, he’s been murdering lefties but here’s the problem, only about ⅓ of the pitchers in MLB are left handed. He’s even been lucky per xStats, his swinging strike rate and approach are both terrible. You should have listened when I told you to sell this MFer about three weeks ago. He’s a drop in shallow formats.

Didi Gregorius is finally coming back down to earth. No one expected him to keep up his April pace (at least I hope), but he doesn’t have a hit in his last 22 plate appearances. Regression is a bitch! You know what’s going to happen right? Watch Didi become the player we all thought he’d be, check out my Didi bust post way back in the offseason, going something like .260 with 14 homers the rest of the way. The problem is, he started off like Babe Mantle and will finish the season above expectations. Actually, he has made adjustments by improving hard contact, launch angle, and pull%. So he should be just fine as a borderline top 100 player the rest of the way. I’m holding.

The Oakland Matts (Chapman and Olson) have combined to go 4 for their last 44 with 1 homer which came off the bat of Matt Chapman last night. What’s going on? Both have been a little bit unlucky because they both hit the ball hard and hit it in the air a lot. I expect Olson’s power numbers to go up based on his batted ball data where I think Chapman’s numbers are about right. The problem is, Olson’s plate discipline is trash and Chapman’s is great! It’s odd that they have similar strikeout and walk rates. I’d be buying Chapman right now and holding Olson. The power will come in bunches with Olson, but it will come at a .220 average and 30+% K rate.

Paul Goldschmidt is having his worse start to a season ever.  What’s going on, did he just get old fast? The power is down (humidor), the speed in down, and the strikeouts are up. There’s a lot to look at with Pauly, I’m going to do a deep dive, but right now he’s looking like Joey Gallo without the power, not good. Hold tight for now, but this could be a major sell or a hidden injury. Stay tuned.

Hot Pitchers
Aaron Nola just keeps getting better. I’ve already anointed him ACE status. He’s given up 1 ER in his last 14.1 innings striking out 19 batters! But I thought he didn’t have a good K rate? How about a 4th straight season with an increase in SwStr rate up to 11.9%. The 8 K/9 is a mirage. He managed a 9.8 K/9 in 2017 with a lower SwStr rate in 2017. I’m buying him as a top 12 SP ROS and believe he ups his K rate to around 9.5 K/9 and should be a sub 3.00 ERA with a WHIP around 1.05.

Sean Newcomb has been a man possessed with 2 wins, 14 Ks, 0 ER in 13 IP in his last 2 starts. His stuff is really good, it really is, he can get swings and misses on his slider, change and sometimes his fastball. However, looking at his heatmaps, he’s all over the place with his command. He’s out of the zone far too much and pep this, his fastball velocity is down a tick while the change up velocity is up 1.6 mph. That means that the difference between the two pitches is less than 6 mph which tells me that the changeup won’t be as effective as an off-speed pitch. That being said, I’m riding this out until he loses control again. Right now, he’s effectively wild.

Gio Gonzalez is doing it again. I’m just going to have to ignore what the peripherals tell me with Gio and just trust he’s a pretty decent pitcher. The walks are up and the zone% is down, so don’t expect a pretty WHIP but the whiffs and Ks are up as well. He’s given up 2 ER and struck out 21 in his last 18 innings. Gio may be doing this with smoke and mirrors but he’s a nice guy to have at the back end of you rotation.

Freezing Pitchers
How could I not write about Dylan Bundy after his last outing. Literally anyone in the world could have done what Bundy did last time out as he failed to record an out, gave up four bombs and seven ER! What to do with Bundy because he looked so good the first five starts of the season. His last three have been disasters. In deep leagues you have to hold him but keep him on the bench. He’s not own-able in 10 or 12 team mixed leagues. I’m hoping it’s an injury because the velo is down and he was looking like a top 20 SP the first month of the season. But right now I’d rather be owning Ted Bud Bundy.

Brandon McCarthy is actually healthy but can’t seem to get many outs. That’s too bad, maybe he is hurt? He used to put up solid numbers when healthy and now he’s not giving you anything. Without being able to count on 100 IP from McCarthy, he’s a hard drop.

Yu Darvish, what the hell bro? The Cubs just DLed him because he has the flu. Yeah, ok we are all sick of your pitching Yu but you don’t see us on the DL! Whoops sorry for the rant, the only positive thing I can say is that his strikeouts remain high but so is everything else, in a bad way. Walks are up, HR are up, fly balls are, hard contact is up. Of course I’m stashing him for now, but he’s no longer a top 30 SP going forward. I need to see what he looks like when he clears his head or whatever.

Jeff Samardzija has not looked good since coming off the DL. What’s worse is that his previous ability to limit walks has apparently stayed on the DL. Guess what, maybe his command was all an act and his command/control is actually trash. Just ask Eno Sarris of The Athletic and that dude is smart! Here’s the main problem, his sinker is way up. By way up I mean it’s way up in the zone and he’s decided to nearly double its usage. Therefore fly balls have skyrocketed and many of them go over the fence. STOP THROWING YOUR SINKER JEFF! I’m dropping him in shallow leagues because he’s going to continue to hurt your ratios without helping your strikeout numbers.

Week 5 Starting Pitcher Streaming Options 4/30 – 5/6

As we continue to search for starting pitchers to stream, the player pool starts to get thin. We are entering week 5 of the MLB season so there’s a decent sample from pitchers and the cream always rises to the top. Keep in mind these are all pitchers who are owned in 25% or less of Yahoo & ESPN leagues per FantasyPros. Last week Tyler Anderson left after 1.1 IP in his start, so we ended up with limited streams. My streaming picks last week went

0 W 3.44 ERA 1.20 WHIP 15 K in 18 1/3 IP; more solid ratios, limited wins

Kyle Gibson (MIN) 9% at home vs TOR on 5/1
Kyle Gibson is good you guys. That’s something I never thought I’d say. Gibson sports a cool 10.0 K/9 which is supported by a very good 13% SwStr rate. While the walks are high, they haven’t hurt him because he’s given up only one home run all season. All of Gibson’s secondary pitches (slider, change, curve) have yielded plus pitch values on FanGraphs. He also gets to pitch at home against the Donaldson-less Blue Jays who sport a 25.5% K rate as a team. It’s Gib-SON. STREAM

Andrew Triggs (OAK) 6%  on the road vs SEA on 5/1
Triggs has performed well thus far, he’s soft tosser (90 mph FB) with a sinker, curve/slider, and a change. He induces a high amount of grounders and will face a fully healthy Mariners club. It’s an underrated lineup filled with veterans and some solid left handed hitters (Cano, Seager, and Gordon). Triggs typically doesn’t miss many bats but his 9.0 K/9 says otherwise. However, looking deeper, the 8.4% swinging strike rate and 93.9% zone contact rate tell me that he’s due for regression. I don’t usually rely on batter v pitcher numbers, but in 10 plate appearances, Cruz and Cano have a combined  for 6 hits and 3 HRs against Triggs and Seattle as a team has hit .426 against the righty. STAY AWAY

Sean Newcomb (ATL) 22% away vs NYM Tuesday 5/1
Newcomb has upside in terms of strikeouts for a streamer but also has blowup potential due to his elevated walk rate. The Mets have a 27.4% strikeout rate as a team! He’s also been a bit unlucky with his .343 BABIP and a sub 70% LOB rate. He’s been inducing more ground balls this year limiting the potential for home runs. STREAM, but only if you need strikeouts.

Yonny Chirinos (TB) 6% Home/Away vs Blue Jays on 5/4
Can I forgive Yonny for another rough start this week? Maybe, let’s see. He’s getting lucky with a .250 BABIP and and 80% left on base rate. I love a guy who doesn’t give free passes but a 43% hard contact rate against with a sub 8.0% HR/FB rate does not compute. Toronto isn’t all that scary, especially at the Trop, but Chirinos will be limited to 80-85 pitches so a win and high strikeout totals will be difficult. The chances of a 3-4 inning blow up are higher than a gem, I’m passing. STAY AWAY

Marco Gonzalez (SEA) 6% Home vs LAA on 5/5
Can Marco contain the LA Trouts? The former highly touted prospect is off to a poor start based on his surface numbers: 5.56 ERA and 1.46 WHIP. However, an insanely high .422 BABIP with a 64% LOB rate tells me there’s some positive regression coming. His 10.7 K/9 is great but combined with a 2.48 BB/9 is excellent. (FYI excellent is better than great IMO). It’s a tough task but the Angels will strikeout and Gonzalez doesn’t give up a lot of fly balls. That, combined with limiting walks should yield positive results. I’m good with streaming Marco. STREAM.

Trevor Cahill (OAK) 9% Home v BAL on 5/5
It’s 2017 all over again. Cahill is mowing down batters with a K rate that sits at 10.5 K/9 through two starts. The long reliever/short starter is sure to burn out by mid-July, but he’s fresh now and I like the way he’s getting the job done. The Machad-Os are struggling. Yes, they get Schoop back, but he may be cold as he’s been out for three weeks. Cahill isn’t concerned because he’s got his ground and pound approach going to the tune of 60% ground ball rate. You see that 15% SwStr rate? Yes, yes I do. STREAM

Marco Estrada (TOR) 20% of the road vs TB on 5/6
I’m not starting Estrada against the Twins on Tuesday, it’s a bad match-up, the Twins are sneaky good. If he gets a second start this week, it’ll come on Sunday against the Rays. Estrada has always suppressed BABIP evidenced by a career .264 BABIP. He does this by being an extreme fly ball pitcher inducing a ton of popups and weak contact. There’s also a home run risk with Estrada, but the Rays don’t concern me, the lineup is it good. STREAM

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