Fantasy Baseball Pitching Streamers: Week 19
The amount of relevance this article will have for you depends almost entirely on whether your league more resembles the American or National League. In the former, where two divisions are all but locked up and there are only a handful of teams competing for the two wild card spots, you’re probably in one of two situations. Either you are one of the teams already comfortably in the playoffs and you’re fine-tuning your roster for the final run, or you’ve been out of serious contention for months and you’re planning for next year. The other option is that you’re one of the few teams with your fate still undecided, much like nearly all of the NL contenders, with no division lead larger than two games. If you find yourself in that group, it’s important to squeeze every amount of value you can out of the players available to you, which is where streaming can help. The right players in the right matchups can be enormously beneficial, and you might be surprised about the quality of players that are freely available.
To determine the pitchers eligible for consideration, I looked at players who were owned in less than 30 percent of ESPN leagues.
Monday, August 13
Pablo Lopez (MIA) @ Atlanta Braves (1.7%)
He’s not the most well-known name out there, but during his brief time in the majors, Lopez has gotten the job done. His 4.32 ERA isn’t all that bad, but a 3.81 xFIP shows that he isn’t being overmatched by major league hitters. He’s walked more than two batters in a game just once, while striking out at least five on five separate occasions. A matchup against the Braves, who have been below average offensively against lefties this season, shouldn’t give him too much trouble.
Tuesday, August 14
German Marquez (COL) @ Houston Astros (29.7%)
Marquez has looked incredible over his past three starts, striking out 27 in 20 2/3 innings while walking just five. He got BABIPed to death his last time out there, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s pitched extremely well. This start will take him away from Coors, where he’s struggled this season to the tune of a 6.42 ERA (compared to a 3.09 road ERA). And while he’ll be pitching against the Astros-generally one of the last teams you want to face-they haven’t looked the same without Altuve, Correa, and Springer in the lineup.
Wednesday, August 15
Derek Holland (SF) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (15.3%)
Holland’s ERA on the season sits just below 4.00, and his supporting metrics are right in line with that assessment (4.05 FIP, 4.06 xFIP). While he hasn’t gone deep into games, he’s been terrific while on the mound, striking out over 24 percent of the batters he’s faced. A matchup against the Dodgers-the second worst offensive team against lefties over the last 30 days going into Thursday-should allow him to stay hot.
Thursday, August 16
Sam Gaviglio (TOR) @ Kansas City Royals (1.7%)
Another player who doesn’t go deep into games, Gaviglio nevertheless warrants this pick-even if that’s primarily because the other options for the day are even worse, at least as of this writing. His 5.08 ERA is unsightly, but his 4.16 xFIP is more indicative of how he’s pitched this year, striking out over 21 percent of batters and walking just under 8 percent. Those aren’t elite numbers, but they don’t have to be against the Royals, who had baseball’s fourth-lowest wRC+ against righties before Thursday’s games-the majority of which came with now-Brewer Mike Moustakas on the team.
Friday, August 16
Joey Lucchesi (SD) vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (14.0%)
Lucchesi has looked in early-season form in his past few outings, striking out 18 while walking just three over 15 1/3 innings. His 3.70 ERA on the year is backed up by his xFIP, so he’s not overperforming in any meaningful way. His strikeout percentage of 24.9 percent is well above the league average, and he should be able to pile on the punchouts against a Diamondbacks team that struck out the ninth-most-often against lefties heading into Thursday at 23.1 percent.
Saturday, August 17
Tommy Milone (WSH) vs. Miami Marlins (4.8%)
While it’s hard to advocate for somebody whose ERA last season was above 7.00, Milone has looked every bit the part this year, albeit in limited time. In his three starts, he’s struck out 19 batters and walked none over 18 innings, good for a 3.93 FIP and 3.33 xFIP that are almost certainly more meaningful than his 5.50 ERA. Whatever he’s changed, he’s generating swinging strikes at almost double his career rate, leading to what would be a career-high strikeout rate if he keeps it up (and if he were to qualify-which it won’t). While I wouldn’t expect the strikeout surge to continue to this extent, it doesn’t have to when he’s facing the Marlins. As a team, Miami had the second-worst wRC+ against lefties before Thursday’s games.
Sunday, August 18
Jake Odorizzi (MIN) vs. Detroit Tigers (19.5%)
Admittedly, some of Odorizzi’s shine has worn off the past couple of weeks. He’s made it more than five innings just once in his last five starts and has just 18 strikeouts over that span. Still, his ERA sits at 4.50 ERA for the season, which is usable in the right matchup, like the one he finds himself in to close out the week. The Tigers were the worst offensive team against righties going into Thursday, and, for what it’s worth, Odorizzi has a 2.51 career ERA against Detroit in five career starts.