Fantasy Baseball Pitching Streamers: Week 8 (2022)
June is upon us, which means it’s Memorial Day. It’s time to remember those who died while serving in the armed forces. One way we do this in my family is by turning on a ball game because Major League Baseball, as the National Pastime, always salutes this significant occasion with the kind of pageantry that is important for honoring those who sacrificed their lives. And it gives us a moment to appreciate what we have.
So I’m wishing you all a wonderful Memorial Day, but as you are here for your streaming needs, I will get right to it. This week, I’m putting Aaron Ashby on my team as a possible two-start gem. Rich Hill may also be worth putting on the fantasy radar, as he has two starts against good matchups in Baltimore and Oakland. Roansy Contreras is a young arm that many managers may not be rostering because he’s on a weak team. But if you need starting pitching, at the very least, he’s streamable this week.
Remember that I must choose pitchers owned by less than 30% of Yahoo leagues (sometimes I break this rule). Here’s another rule: No matter how scary a day looks, I must stream someone.
*At publication, I use probable starters listed on CBS Sports on Saturday, May 28.
Monday, May 30
Aaron Ashby (SP – MIL) at CHC 33%
Ashby’s worst pitch is his four-seam fastball, which has an xBA against of .278 and an xSLG against of .695, according to Baseball Savant. But he has thrown it 4.4% of the time this year. His other four pitches (slider, sinker, changeup, and curveball) have been effective to a large degree. On Wednesday against the Padres, he managed 91 pitches for a 34% CSW. His slider was the best pitch, achieving a 46% CSW, and he’s thrown it 33.1% of the time this season. His ERA is 2.91, but that FIP sits at 3.46. (xFIP 3.48). Regardless of this disparity, it’s still a good number, and most of the contact is of the worm-killing variety, with a GB% of 65.9%. Wrigley can play funky depending on the weather, and the rostership is a bit above what I allow for myself in this article, but I think you should pick up Ashby, play him, and hold for now.
Other options: Rich Hill (SP – BOS) vs. BAL 7%
Tuesday, May 31
Devin Smeltzer (SP – MIN) at DET 5%
This is not the best day to stream someone, so we look for a matchup play. Detroit is at the bottom of the league in runs scored. Smeltzer pitched seven shutout innings against KC in his last outing, but I’m not fooling myself into believing he’s a breakout candidate. He limits walks, but NOT by striking out a ton of guys. He currently has a 4.15 K/9. But maybe he’s a hot hand right now and he can “finesse” his way through a weaker lineup with a stronger offense behind him. That’ll offer us a chance for a Win.
Other option: Let’s leave it.
Wednesday, June 1
Jeffrey Springs (SP – TB) at TEX 26%
Springs might disappear from our streamer pages by next week as his rostership continues to climb. His FIP is over a run higher than his ERA in the first 33.1 innings and he has a career 4.09 ERA, so we want to exercise some long-term caution about recent successes. But there are some notable changes, specifically in the department of pitch usage. He’s throwing the changeup a LOT more…seriously. Like 11% more. And it makes sense since hitters are slugging .200 against it, with a BA of .154. His GB% has gone from 34.4% to 42.7%. His BB/9 has decreased from 2.82 to 1.89. Granted, the K% has decreased by nearly 10% as well. But sometimes that switch to the rotation requires length more than dominance, and that changeup may be offering it.
Other option: None
Thursday, June 2
Adrian Houser (SP – MIL) vs. SD 27%
I’m sure many of us are wondering if it’s just luck, Houser’s 2.98 ERA with a 3.14 FIP (3.89 xFIP). Houser pitched to a 3.22 ERA in 142.1 innings last year as well. Still luck? Here’s what I can tell you: He’s using his offspeed pitches a little more, and perhaps with more confidence. And I suspect the changeup, slider, and curveball are all playing a bit better off each other (for now). The changeup had a Whiff% of 18.7% in 2021, but so far this year that number is 31.4%. The slider’s Whiff % went from 28.6% to 40%. He’s putting guys away a little bit more with those two pitches overall. Now, he’s getting fewer whiffs on the curve, but sometimes a pitcher figures out how to use one pitch more effectively to set up another. Let’s see if he can keep it up at home against the Friars.
Other option: maybe…Chris Archer (SP – MIN) at DET 5%
Friday, June 3
Alex Cobb (SP – SF) at MIA 43%
I’m cheating today out of sheer protest against Cobb’s bad luck this season. He has one of the largest discrepancies between his ERA (6.25) and his underlying stats (FIP 2.76, xFIP 2.37, SIERA 2.56). He’s been able to strand runners on-base at ONLY a 49.1% clip. Ouch. The BABIP against him is 4.11. On the plus side, his K/9 is 11.08. His GB% is 66.3%. I have to believe all the sayings: better times are ahead, the ship will be righted, etc. While I’d prefer to test that theory out in San Francisco in the more pitcher-friendly Oracle Park, we’re going to jump the gun and do it here. He’s owned in more than 30% of Yahoo leagues, which makes him off-limits in my column, but if I think he’s someone to own, I feel it’s my duty to highlight him in a mere streaming opportunity.
Other option: JT Brubaker (SP – PIT) vs. ARI 5%
Saturday, June 4
Aaron Ashby (SP – MIL) vs. SD 32%
We’re at the second start of the week for Ashby, so everything from Monday applies. I don’t know how the game against the Cubs went, but I do know how well he pitched against these same Padres 10 days ago. He shut them out for 5.2 innings, throwing 91 pitches and striking out five batters. There are some control issues. The 5.29 BB/9 scares me a bit. But last year in the same number of innings (at the time of writing this article), he managed a 3.41 BB/9. There is some wildness, but he’s gotten a significant number of punchouts, with a K/9 similar to Nestor Cortes, Kevin Gausman, and Taylor Rogers. Those are solid closer numbers that we’re hoping will stick in the starting rotation.
Other option: Roansy Contreras (SP – PIT) vs. ARI 25%
Sunday, June 5
Rich Hill (SP – BOS) at OAK 7%
Hill is another matchup play. With hitters like Trevor Story coming to life in the Red Sox lineup, I’m even more intrigued at the opportunity for a hard-to-get Win. Oakland is 27th in runs scored in the entire league. Hill pitched well against the White Sox in his last outing. In his last 22 innings, he’s pitched to a 3.27 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, with 17 Ks. He doesn’t walk OR strike out a ton of hitters, but he seems to keep them off balance still with a lot of soft or average contact.
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