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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 – Week 8

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

Week 4 SP Streaming Options 4/23 – 4/29

Ended up with some solid streams last week with a final line of:

2 Wins 2.92 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 28 K in 31 1/3 innings

Let’s keep it going this week.

Trevor Cahill (OAK) 1% 4/23 on the road v TEX
I would have preferred that this one was is Oakland but Rangers are a big swing and miss team and haven’t hit their stride yet offensively.  Cahill looked good in his first start and his fastball velocity was over 93 mph along with an increased curveball usage (which is his best pitch). Maybe he can capture some early season success similar to last year. STREAM

Matt Boyd (DET) 6% 4/25 road  v PIT
The fact that this is on the road doesn’t bother me. PNC Park is a fine pitchers park and Boyd should face the pitcher at least twice instead of the DH. However, Boyd is a lefty and many of the Pirates best hitters are right handed or switch hitters. Boyd sports a 5.1 K/9, a 98% left on base percentage, and a .132 BABIP. I’m betting on shit going sideways in this one. STAY AWAY

Chad Kuhl (PIT) 3% 4/24 at home v DET
My love/hate relationship continues with Kuhl. He throws 96 mph with a very good slider. Except he’s throwing that slider less. Hmmm, that’s odd. He’s been hurt by a .371 BABIP but he also isn’t getting many whiffs or hitters to chase. I can’t recommend Kuhl against the Tigers. They aren’t scary but have some professional hitters that I believe will get to Kuhl knocking him out early in this one. STAY AWAY

Ivan Nova (PIT) 25% 4/26 home v DET
Seems like I’m picking on the Tigers this week. They have been heating up recently, so it might not be the cake walk most think. However, Nova has been solid over his last several starts going at least 6 innings with 3 runs or less in his last three while striking out an uncharacteristic 18 batters in just over 19 innings. His ground ball tendencies should hold up against the mostly weak hitting Tigers. The fact that the best hitters on the Tigers are right handed lies in Nova’s favor. STREAM

Tyler Anderson (COL) 3% 4/27 road v Mia
I’m not a fan of Tyler Anderson but a road start against the Marlins changes that. Anderson pitched well at home against the Cubs on Saturday, maybe he can carry it into this start. He’s inducing a lot of swings and misses which appears to be more smoke and mirrors. This one is risky especially if his control is bad. With warmer weather, I think his control will be better, I’m rolling with one. STREAM

Zack Wheeler (NYM) 22% 4/28 road v SD
The Mets have moved Harvey to the bullpen meaning Wheeler has a shot at staying in the rotation for the time being. Wheeler’s velocity looks good in his first 2 starts. He’s dropped the sinker and his slider is still a good pitch. I like his chances against a young inexperienced Padres team. STREAM