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 line next week, I’ve stepped it up a notch. I’m covering seven pitchers, six of them I recommend as streaming options for you next week. There’s also a bonus option for those in shallow leagues at the bottom. The options are plentiful but also carry some very nice upside. Let’s get to it!
Trevor Williams (SP – PIT) 21% owned @SFG, Monday 9/9
Williams has not taken kindly to the new “happy fun ball” this year with a 5.16 ERA and a home run rate that has doubled since last year. He’s managed games much better with three straight quality starts, a 2.37 ERA, and an even 1.00 WHIP in those three outings. He’s been limiting walks and hard contact which is the key to his success. He’s allowed just a 24.8% hard contact rate and just one home run in his last three starts. He’s not likely to compile a ton of strikeouts but given his efficiency, he could throw seven innings netting him 5-6 strikeouts. He’s on the road in Oracle Park which is a fantastic pitcher’s park. The Giants as a team have a 77 wRC+ (100 is league-average) and have hit just 54 home runs at home this season. That’s fewer than one per game. Williams isn’t the sexiest option, but he’s a great option in quality starts leagues and should help with WHIP. STREAM
Reynaldo Lopez (SP – CHW) 18% owned home vs KCR, Wednesday 9/11
Reynaldo Lopez just threw a one-hit gem against the Indians this past week with 11 strikeouts! He’s also one of the most volatile pitchers in the league right now. He often follows up his extremely great outings with one or two poor ones. I won’t analyze a whole lot with this matchup. It’s obviously favorable against a weak Royals club and at home. The weather in the month of September isn’t all that hot, so the balls shouldn’t be flying out like they were in July and August. Too many of Lopez’s gems are followed by clunkers so obviously, the risk is huge here. I’m only streaming Lopez if you need strikeouts and you’re behind in pitching categories. He’s one of the few streamers who can put together a week-winning start but can also blow your ratios. In deep leagues, take that chance but just know the risk.
Gio Gonzalez (SP – MIL) 10% owned @MIA, Thursday 9/12
The Marlins have a 27.9% strikeout rate and a 74 wRC+ over the last two weeks. If you’re wondering, those rank 30th and 29th respectively over that timeframe. Yup, the Marlins are terrible offensively. Gonzalez has been decent this year with a 4.14 ERA, which given the current environment, isn’t too bad. He’s actually sporting the best chase rate and SwStr% of his career in 2019! But, he’s struggling with throwing strikes and getting ahead of hitters. Here’s the deal. The Brewers aren’t trusting him to go more than five innings which he’s done just once in the last nine starts. He’s also walked four batters each of the last four outings. I’m worried that he can’t find the zone anymore, or he’s scared to attack hitters. Since the All-Star break, his first-pitch strike rate is only 44.4% (61% is league AVG) and his zone rate is an astonishingly low 26.5% (league AVG 41.9%). I don’t think he’ll get hit all that hard against the Marlins but I think the walks will bury him. He likely will only go 4-5 innings and tie owners to the WHIP-ping Post. I’m Staying Away from Gio next week.
Sandy Alcantara (SP – MIA) 14% Owned @SFG, Friday 9/13
Let’s not forget that Alcantara just turned 24 years old (yesterday in fact) and his fastball has been graded out as a 65 out of 80 per FanGraphs. He pumps 95-96 mph on his fastball and his 10.6% swinging-strike rate (SwStr%) indicates he should have a strikeout rate closer to 21-22% rather than 17.7%. Things are changing though. Over his last three starts, he has a 3.60 ERA and a 27.9% strikeout rate! That’s exciting. How’s he doing it? Well, he’s throwing his sinker, yes, his sinker, more often instead of his fourseasm fastball. His sinker generates swinging strikes 11.5% of the time compared to just 6.6% on his fourseam. He combines his sinker with two decent secondaries in his slider and changeup turning him into a pretty solid starter with three good pitches. This is more of an endorsement for next season but as I said, he’s been much better lately and draws the Giants. As a team, the Giants have just a 73 wRC+ over the last two weeks which is 29th in MLB. I’m STREAMING Alcantara next week.
Asher Wojciechowski (SP – BAL) 4% owned @DET, Saturday 9/14
If you’ve been reading my previous articles, you know I love to stream against the Tigers. Only the Marlins have been worse offensively this season and no team has a higher strikeout rate than the Tigers 26.5%. To be fair, they have been a little better over the last two weeks but are still firmly in the bottom third of the league. They have a scant 3.1% walk rate over the last 14 days! That’s crazy-low. Now, over the Woj. His numbers are terrible on the season, no doubt but he’s been stung with 10 homers in just 33 innings at home this year (6 on the road in 32 IP). Camden Yards is a tough place to pitch, but Comerica Park in Detroit has an extremely deep centerfield and deep power alleys. Woj also has a very solid 12% SwStr rate backed by a 34% chase rate which is four percent better than league average. Checking his game log, his opponents have been brutal. He’s faced the Red Sox, Nationals and Rays twice and Houston and the Yankees once each. That’s 10 of his 12 starts fam. The Tigers are going to be a cakewalk for Woj. I’m predicting 6-7 IP 2 ER 6 Ks and a good shot at a win. STREAM
Logan Webb (SP – SF) 9% owned, home vs MIA, Sunday 9/15
Webb is actually slated for two starts next week and both are at home. I debated using him for both starts but realized that the Pirates are number one in MLB with a 138 wRC+ over the last 14 days. Over that span they have the lowest strikeout rate at just 16.9%. Yes, they had a series in Coors Field during that timeframe, but given the limited strikeout upside combined with hot hitters such as Josh Bell, Kevin Newman, Starling Marte, and Adam Fraizer, I’m passing. However, his start at home against the Marlins has stream written all over it. I covered the ineptitude of Miami’s offense in Gio’s blurb, so let’s dive into Webb. He has an inflated 6.50 ERA in 18 innings thanks to a .404 BABIP and 62.5% strand rate. He’s a groundball pitcher in a friendly park. Home runs should not be an issue. In my opinion, he has two good pitches in his curveball and changeup. Both can generate whiffs and get ground balls. His fastball/sinker is bad. If he can limit its usage to below 50%, he should be just fine. I’m taking my chances here and streaming.
If you’re looking for one more option, I’d lean towards Dinelson Lamet who is right at 25% owned but may be long gone in your leagues. I’ve been touting him for a month now and his matchup is tough. He gets the Cubs but is at home, so there’s a bonus and Jack Baez is out for the rest of the regular season. If you’re looking for strikeouts, he’s your guy. He could pile them up in bunches.
Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI