We have reached the All-Star Break, a time when fantasy baseball managers make a final decision about their chances of winning their league, especially those of you in keeper leagues or leagues that trade draft picks. Those leagues can entice some teams to play for next season. Real-life baseball teams are doing this, too, no doubt.
This is my plea to managers who find themselves in the bottom half of their league standings. Your involvement has an effect on the outcome of your league. Don’t forget that. It’s one reason that I tend to avoid Winner-Take-All leagues, as the attrition rate is higher if more people believe it’s impossible to win first place. More competitive leagues, in my experience, will offer perks for the 4th-ranked or even 5th-ranked team at the end of the season. This makes it more fun for everyone.
If you’re struggling to rank this year, consider a few categories where you might be able to compete, and by all means, continue to put your active guys into games. Also, please consider reaching your innings limit. This will force managers at the top to continue fighting for their position, keeping them honest, especially in categories like strikeouts and wins. To get you started for the second half, here are three names that you might find useful.
- Weekly Trade Advice
- Weekly Waiver Wire Advice
- Weekly Fantasy Baseball Content
- MLB Prop Bet Cheat Sheet
Fantasy Baseball Pitching Streamers: July 14 – July 16
Friday, July 14
Jack Flaherty (STL) vs. WSH: 38% Rostered
Flaherty is coming off two good outings against the Yankees and Marlins and hasn’t given up an earned run since June 19th against these same Nationals. Admittedly, Flaherty is still a dangerous play with his 1.67 WHIP in the last month, and even his previous matchup against the Marlins saw him dancing in and out of trouble with nine hits and two walks. But hey, he had a 30% CSW, and his velocity was up on the fastball in that game. His FIP is 4.03 (which is a stream-worthy number). We should note that his BABIP is .354 and his HR/9 is 0.58, so there are signs here that might indicate Flaherty is dealing with a little bad luck. Let’s go for it.
Saturday, July 15
Brayan Bello (BOS) at CHC: 67% Rostered
This one pushes my rostership requirements a little, as Bello is owned in over 50% of Yahoo leagues. But I think that number could be higher soon. If he’s not available, consider Tarik Skubal (DET) against Seattle, just to see if he’s returned to his 2022 heights. According to Baseball Savant, Bello has an xERA of 3.99, so he may be overperforming with his 3.04 ERA. But if you are a regular reader of this article, you will know that those numbers (as stated in Flaherty’s blurb above) are still within our acceptable streaming range. With his 3.78 FIP, according to Fangraphs, his 55.8% GB%, and his sparkling 1.82 ERA and 0.87 WHIP in the past month, it’s safe to say that he’s a streamable for many other reasons too. I tend to think he should throw his changeup more (32.8% CSW and a .155 xAVG) and reduce the slider usage (21.5% CSW and a .322 xAVG), but that’s armchair coaching. And yet, there are some signs that he’s been doing that recently. He only threw the slider around 5%-9% of the time on June 23rd and June 29th (versus his average of 18% on the season). Some tinkering with the pitch mix for a young pitcher makes me feel good about his adaptability, and I’m hoping he can give us a solid outing against the Cubs.
Sunday, July 16
Seth Lugo (SD) at PHI: 33% Rostered
Lugo has a 3.39 ERA in 63 IP in 2023, so we should be prepared to accept that he’s flying under fantasy radars to a degree. He was activated from the IL in mid-May, so that may be part of it. And I marked him as a possible streamer-darling early in the season. In the last two weeks, he’s gone 17 innings with 16 K’s, 2.12 ERA, 1.06 WHIP. Lugo owns a 3.37 FIP (3.57 xFIP). His primary pitch is a curveball, but I think it’s been setting up his fastball even better in 2023. Consider that he gets batters to swing out of the zone on his heater 35.5% of the time now versus 22.4% in 2022. The Phillies are no slouches at the dish, but the Padres are third in runs produced in the past month. Let’s see if he can give us gold here.