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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 21 (8/19-8/25)

The stretch run is upon us and those who are still in contention need to do whatever it takes to win. I know I’ve been a little spotty with my streaming posts recently, but I want to finish the year strong. I hope this article helps you win your week/league. You know the drill. I choose the best starting pitchers to stream that are available in at least 75% of Yahoo/ESPN Consensus leagues. I discuss seven options next week but only recommend six of them, let’s get to it!

Michael Pineda (SP – MIN), 25% owned home vs CWS, Tuesday 8/20 
Fresh off the IL, Pineda was respectable going five innings giving up three runs (two earned), with six strikeouts, and one walk in that one. That’s prototypical Pineda, giving up some loud contact but limiting free passes. His velocity was just under 93 mph which is actually an improvement from where it was prior to his IL stint. That start was in Texas against the Rangers and he draws the White Sox at home next week. That’s encouraging. He’s handled the White Sox this season giving up just three earned runs over two starts (13 IP). The White Sox strike out a ton (26% on the year) and have hit just 64 home runs away from Guaranteed Rate Field this year. That’s 28th in MLB. The Twins will give plenty of run support and Pineda has a great chance at a win and a QS. STREAM (#2 option)



Adrian Houser (MIL – SP), 6% owned @STL, Wednesday 8/21 
Doogie’s cousin draws the Cardinals in St. Louis next week coming off two great performances against the Rangers and Nationals. He went a season-high seven innings in his most recent start against the Nationals. His fastball has been graded out as a 60 out of 80 and it sits 94-95 mph. It’s been a great pitch for him with a K% of 31.7% and a swinging strike rate (SwStr%) of an impressive 12.1% to back it up. Typically, fourseasm fastballs generate a SwStr% between 7-8%, so yeah, Houser can blow it by hitters. Unfortunately, his secondaries are not good at all. The good news is the Cardinals are ranked 26th in terms of home runs hit at home this year and are a below-average offensive club. I could see Houser struggling the third time through the order but am willing to roll the dice since the Cardinals haven’t seen him since his debut in April. Stream (#4 option)

Aaron Sanchez (HOU – SP), 25% owned, home vs DET, Wednesday 8/21
OK, so maybe we need to lower our expectations on Sanchez since his no-hit debut with the Astros but he’s getting the Tigers at home next week. Houston will provide a ton of run support, so we just need Sanchez to make through the fifth to qualify for a win. The Athletics lit Sanchez up this week but the Astros have made a change to Sanchez’s pitch mix. He’s throwing his curveball more often at the expense of his sinker. That makes sense because his sinker is his worst pitch and his curveball has generated strikeouts at a near-40% clip. That’s great. Now for his opponent, the Tigers. Over the last 30 days, only the White Sox have struck out more frequently and the Tigers are 20% below-league-average offensively as a team over the last month. There’s always a risk because Sanchez is known for his free passes, but this is a pretty sweet set up for Sanchez. I’m STREAMing. (#1 option)

Vince Velasquez (SP – PHI), 14% owned, @MIA, Friday, 8/23
First, the bad. Velasquez has given up two home runs per nine innings pitched (HR/9) and combines it with a nine percent walk rate. That’s a bad combination, no doubt. The good news is his strikeout rate remains strong over 25% and he’s inducing swings outside the zone at a career-high 31.1%. He’s basically become a two-pitch pitcher throwing his fastball and slider over 90% of the time. I don’t love that combination of his ability to go three times through the order, so a quality start is likely out of the question. In fact, he’s started 16 games and has only one quality start this year. He does have a solid 3.21 ERA over his last five starts though. His metrics on his fastball are actually similar to those of Houser who we discussed earlier. VV draws the Marlins in favorable Marlins Park, so he’s a moderate-risk, moderate reward option. Guess what, the Marlins are the worst team over the last 30 days in terms of wRC+ at just 77. STREAM. (#3 option, but lower in QS leagues)



Anthony DeSclafani (SP – CIN), 18% owned, @PIT, Friday, 8/23
Tony Disco is taking us on a hell of a roller coaster ride this year. It’s been tough to pinpoint the successful starts and avoid his blow-ups but he’s sporting the best strikeout rate of his career along with the best velocity of his career. There’s a correlation there. However, the Pirates seem to have his number tagging him for nine earned runs in two games against him. The Pirates also make a ton of contact and have the second-lowest strikeout rate (18.9%) over the last month. Combining DeSclafani’s elevated home run rate with the Pirates high contact approach spells potential disaster. I’m passing on this start, STAY AWAY

Jason Vargas (SP – PHI), 18% Owned @MIA, Sunday 8/25 
I’ve already discussed how bad the Marlins have been at this year in VV’s blurb but let’s dig a little deeper. They also have the second-lowest walk rate (5.6%) and the third-highest strikeout rate (25.5%) over that stretch. Vargas has found success with a suppressed BABIP thanks to a near-20% infield fly ball rate (IFFB%). That and his 78 mph changeup. The Marlins are familiar with Vargas for his time with the Mets. He hasn’t fared well against them but he receives a defensive upgrade with the Phillies. Don’t expect a ton of strikeouts but he’s a good play for a win and decent ratios. I’d STREAM him if you want to keep your ratios in check and need a W at the end of the week. (#6 option)

BONUS STREAM

Dinelson Lamet (SP – SD), 24% Owned, home vs BOS, Friday 8/23 
It sounds like a terrible matchup as the Red Sox are one of the best offensive teams in the league. Even still, they’ve taken a step back compared to their 2018 Championship Team. They still have a 106 wRC+ on the road but guess what? They are on the road in an NL park, so that means no DH. They drop to just a 73 wRC+ in NL Parks this season. Lamet has been on fire since coming off the IL with a 31% strikeout rate. All of his metrics point to an ERA below 4.00 (he’s at 3.95) so given the current environment, that’s pretty fantastic. His fastball averages 96 mph but it’s been hit around a bit. His slider has been the dominant pitch and he’s throwing it 45% of the time. It has a strikeout rate of 52%, backed by a 24.2% SwStr rate. Walks could be an issue but I’m going to give the edge to Lamet since the Red Sox are not familiar with his stuff. I’m STREAMING but understand the blow-up potential here. (#5 option)


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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.