Fantasy Baseball Pitching Streamers Week 21
A strategy that I have used with success in deeper leagues is streaming starting pitchers. That is, if you miss out on one or more of your high-end targets, you can piece together a fairly solid pitching staff by picking up guys each day and starting them in advantageous matchups to give you reliable results.
Maybe you can’t replicate what Clayton Kershaw would do, but you can certainly put up some solid numbers if you pick your spots while using the picks you’d have spent on middling starters to beef up your offense. I find it to be an enjoyable strategy that requires some persistence and a bit of being the early bird who gets the worm, and the payoff can be particularly sweet.
We’re going to set a 30 percent threshold for ownership, and we’ll use ESPN to get us there. Feel free to guide us in the comments section if you think there’s a better way.
Monday, Aug. 21 – Tyler Skaggs (LAA) – v. Texas Rangers (8 percent ESPN)
Mondays are typically short slates, and this one is no exception with nine games — including two between the Twins and White Sox that don’t really have much in the way of interesting pitching. We’ll roll with Skaggs against the Rangers (96 wRC+) since it isn’t a particularly rough matchup, and in limited time this season (eight starts), the lefty has looked pretty good: 3.63 ERA, 43/16 K/BB ratio.
Tuesday, Aug. 22 – Clayton Richard (SD) – @ St. Louis Cardinals (6.5 percent ESPN)
We don’t love this one either, but there’s not much to choose from. Richard doesn’t have great numbers (4.84 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, .312 BAA), but he’s coming off three straight quality starts and threw a complete game, three-hit shutout last time out against the Phillies. The Cardinals’ offense is fairly strong, but not overwhelming (100 wRC+).
Wednesday, Aug. 23 – Erasmo Ramirez (SEA) – @ Atlanta Braves (3.3 percent ESPN)
We don’t love Erasmo either (is there a scratch on this record?), but it’s an exploitative matchup against the Braves (88 wRC+, tied for 25th in MLB) and the righty has allowed just one earned run over his last 12 innings (against the Rays and Angels, who are better offenses than Atlanta).
Thursday, Aug. 24 – Jerad Eickhoff (PHI) – v. Miami Marlins (30.6 percent ESPN)
We have to bend our 30 percent ownership rule ever so slightly with this one, as the rest of the day is, quite frankly, pretty murky. The Marlins’ offense is only so-so (96 wRC+) and Eickhoff has allowed three or fewer earned runs in five straight starts and seven of his last eight. He won’t be owned this low for very long.
Friday, Aug. 25 – Chad Bettis (COL) – @ Atlanta Braves (11.9 percent ESPN)
Bettis kicked cancer’s ass — he should be able to do the same to a lowly Braves’ offense. In fact, that’s what he did in his first start back, tossing seven shutout innings while scattering six hits with a pair of strikeouts and 13 (!) grounders at Coors Field.
Saturday, Aug. 26 – Luis Castillo (CIN) – v. Pittsburgh Pirates (27.9 percent ESPN)
We’re still not sure why this guy isn’t more highly owned. Through 11 MLB starts, he’s got a strikeout per inning, a great WHIP (1.18), amazing BAA (.212) and has allowed three or fewer earned runs in all but two starts.
In those two outliers, he allowed four earned runs in each. He’s not blow-up proof, but keep in mind the Pirates’ offense is pretty bad (88 wRC+).
Sunday, Aug. 27 – Mike Foltynewicz (ATL) – v. Colorado Rockies (28.9 percent ESPN)
Folty’s been way up and down this season, but the road Rockies’ offense is dreadful. They have a team wRC+ 84 overall (27th in MLB), but on the road it’s just 79 with a collective triple-slash line of .250/.312/.382. I’ll play the hell out of that matchup.