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Fantasy Baseball Streaming Pitchers: Week 5 Waiver Wire Picks (2023)

Fantasy Baseball Streaming Pitchers: Week 5 Waiver Wire Picks (2023)

As we move into May, let’s take a moment to consider the ideal pitcher to stream. First, the pitcher must be available. Otherwise, they are only a wish that our heart makes. *presses finger to heart*

Next, we identify available pitchers on teams with solid run-producing lineups. We also want this pitcher to face weaker lineups. This is why, say, Kyle Gibson for Baltimore is a great option again for this Wednesday.

Naturally, we consider the ballpark. For instance, we usually avoid Coors Field and Great American Ballpark. I love those Alex-Wood-types in Oracle Park.

But as we dive into May, sometimes it’s also useful to consider the top-ranking team ERA. One category in particular, the hard-to-get pitcher-win, relies heavily on the bullpen carrying a lead to the end of a game. Here are the eight top-ranked teams in terms of ERA.

  • Tampa Bay Rays (2.83)
  • Houston Astros (3.16)
  • New York Yankees (3.31)
  • Minnesota Twins (3.42)
  • Atlanta Braves (3.44)
  • Milwaukee Brewers (3.46)
  • Chicago Cubs (3.51)
  • Pittsburgh Pirates (3.60)

Using this list, I’d like to highlight someone who ticks all the boxes as our two-start pitcher of the week – Drew Smyly.

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Waiver Wire SP Streamers: Week 5

Remember I try to choose a pitcher every day, but I like to warn you when it’s a tough day to stream. For this week, beware of Thursday and Friday.

Here’s to the first week of May.

Monday, May 1

Drew Smyly (CHC): at WSH 45%

The Cubs have been doing well this year. They are 5th in runs-scored and they sit 7th in team ERA. I usually stick to pitchers who are owned in less than 30% of leagues, so I’m breaking the rule slightly for a tough week to stream, but only by 15%. But if there is a time to break the rule, Smyly is the clear standout here with a 3.21 ERA that matches his FIP. But I do not think he is a hold. I’m sorry.

Smyly is basically throwing his primary pitch, the sinker, even more. And so far he’s not getting nearly as many swings and misses out of the zone. He’s throwing it in there and letting them hit it. And when they do, it’s often in the air (53.8% FB%). But here’s the thing: It’s softer contact. Hitters are topping the ball 20.5% of the time (versus 11.9% in 2022). Hitters are struggling to line the ball, and that’s good for us for one week.

Tuesday, May 2

Tyler Wells (BAL): at KC 20%

There is this cutter-thing he’s doing now, taking that horizontal slider-action and making it part of his fastball repertoire. And it seems to be better than his primary pitch, the fastball. This cutter has a 34.7% CSW, and hitters have a .211 AVG against it. I always like to look and see if this changes how his fastball has played, and it really hasn’t, except for being able to throw it out of the zone for a few more strikes.

So let’s not be fooled. There is danger here, but the Royals are 29th in runs-scored, right next to the Tigers for this dubious honor. So let’s give Wells the matchup play.

Other option: Joey Lucchesi (NYM) at DET 35%

Wednesday, May 3

Kyle Gibson (BAL): at KC 53%

There aren’t many options below 30% owned today, so I’m going with Gibson. He struggled against Detroit his last time out, but in the game before (against that same Tigers ballclub) he struck out 11 in 6.1 IP. His 3.93 ERA is not appealing to keep on your team, but for streaming against a lackluster Royals lineup (28th in runs-scored), it’s perfect. His sinker (with a CSW of 32.9% and a GB% of 71.4%) and his slider (with a CSW of 36% and a BA of .147 agaist) are his key offerings, but he has a slew of other options to get hitters out.

Thursday, May 4

David Peterson (NYM): at DET 19%

This is a clear matchup play at a time when we seem to be struggling to find highly available pitchers to stream against weak teams. Peterson has not been good to start the season. He is not using his slider to great effect, failing to get as many swings and misses out of the zone as he did last year. But the fastball is not hitting the corners either. He threw that pitch in the zone over half the time in 2022, and he’s managing to locate it in the zone for strikes this year only 37.4% of the time.

If hitters can remove a primary pitch from their concerns, it makes it a lot easier to sit on a concrete-mixer slider. BUT Peterson’s xFIP is 3.24 and his fastball had a 40% CSW in his last outing, so we can hope that he’s figuring it out enough to get through a weak lineup.

Friday, May 5

Tylor Megill (NYM): vs. COL 33%

The Colorado Rockies are 25th in runs-scored. But like Peterson above, Megill has struggled to start the season. We need to thread the needle here. Not a lot of options between Thursday and Friday might mean you should take a break if you don’t need the innings.

The best I can say about Megill is that he’s still getting a lot of groundballs, nearly 50% on both of his primary pitches (fastball and slider). But like Peterson, he’s not locating his fastball in the zone, and when he moves it outside of the zone, it hasn’t been nearly as enticing to hitters to generate swings (28% in 2022 vs. 12.4% in 2023 for O-Sw%). I think these two have shown us enough that it’s early and they can get some control issues out of the way. But this is a case where I MUST offer a pitcher every day, but it doesn’t feel safe.

Saturday, May 6

Drew Smyly (CHC): vs. MIA 45%

And what else can I say here that I didn’t say about Smyly in Monday’s blurb above. Miami is 28th in runs-scored. They are in the middle-of-the-pack in terms of hard hit balls. They lead the league in grounding into double plays. Everything indicates that Smyly, at least from my vantage point at the start of the week, is a decent streaming option, and decent is what we look for when we stream.

Sunday, May 7

Yusei Kikuchi (TOR): at PIT 55%

Okay. So it’s happening. I promised myself that I wouldn’t fall for it again, but I can’t ignore how well Kikuchi is doing. He fanned eight Toronto Blue Jays through 5 2/3 IP on Wednesday, and he beat the Yankees in his previous outing. Kikuchi owns a 28:6 K:BB and now owns a 3.00 ERA and a 4-0 record.

In spring training, Kikuchi mentioned how the pitch clock is helping him avoid overanalyzing his delivery, and the result seems to be a more confident pitcher. Oh, and he’s throwing his changeup in the zone more and getting hitters to go out of the zone on his fastball. So there is a pitch selection change. Let’s see if it it lasts through Pittsburgh.

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