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10 Pitching Streamers to Target in Week 18

Are you in a weekly-transaction fantasy baseball league and looking to sure up your roster in time for Sunday night? Are you a daily-league manager who has a big matchup next week that you don’t want to lose? Or, are you in any type of league and just looking to improve your pitching staff for the stretch run? In all of those cases, you’ve clicked the right link. In this weekly edition of pitching streamers, there’s plenty of favorable matchups, two-start difference makers (spoiler: did you see Kutter Crawford’s schedule next week?), and a couple of trade-deadline pitchers who have moved to greener pastures.

So good luck, stream responsibly, and start scrolling. As always, this list is in roster-percentage order.

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10 Pitching Streamers to Target in Week 18

Pitching Streamers Available in Some Leagues (About 50% to 65% Rostered)

Dane Dunning SP/RP Rangers

Last start: Wednesday, August 2 vs. White Sox – 7.2IP L 1ER 3H 1BB 11K
2 starts next week: Monday, August 7 @ A’s + Sunday, August 13 @ Giants

After experiencing a rough July (5.06/1.46 ERA/WHIP), Dane Dunning’s roster percentage has slipped just enough to be included as a pitching streamer. But based on his latest start on Wednesday, when he struck out 11 and yielded just one run over 7.2 innings against the White Sox, he’s likely to be snatched back up in leagues where he was dropped. That especially makes sense given his two matchups next week. The 28-year-old will draw the A’s on Monday, who rank last in just about every offensive category. And then will face the Giants over the weekend. They’re a bit better, but still just rank 21st in WOBA. Both opponents strike out a ton (3rd and 4th most). Will Dunning’s slider (that put away five batters on Wednesday) rack up the Ks again? It sure seems possible.

Michael Lorenzen SP/RP Phillies

Last start: Thursday, August 3 @ Marlins – 8IP W 2ER 6H 1BB 5K
1 start next week: Wednesday, August 9 vs. Nationals

After getting traded at the deadline, Michael Lorenzen made a big splash in his debut for the Phillies on Thursday. He earned the win by throwing a season-high eight innings and held the Marlins to two runs. Though the veteran righty has certainly allowed his fair share of hard contact this season (his average exit velocity ranks in the 23rd percentile and hard hit rate ranks in the 39th), he’s limited damage with a solid 2.22 BB/9 rate and a chase rate ranking in the 75th percentile. It will be interesting to see how his high 29.5% flyball rate will play in his new home in Philly, a park known for yielding some cheap home runs. But against the Nationals, a team with the second-fewest home runs, this seems like a good week to find out.

Kenta Maeda SP Twins

Last start: Sunday, July 30 @ Royals – 5IP L 2ER 4H 2BB 7K
Next start: Saturday, August 5 vs. DBacks
1 start next week: Thursday, August 10 @ Tigers

Though falling a bit short of a third quality start in a row, Kenta Maeda again limited damage and racked up another seven strikeouts on Sunday against the Royals. The outing not only bolstered his impressive season-long K/9 rate of 10.9 but continued a string of seven straight starts of yielding three runs or fewer (six out of seven were two runs or fewer). This coincides with the return from a calf injury he sustained in April. Clearly, he’s feeling healthy now and looking more like the dominant pitcher from his 2020 season. He’ll face a big challenge this weekend against the DBacks, a team that ranks 5th in WOBA against righties. But next week will draw the Tigers whose WOBA is significantly worse (29th). His roster percentage has been climbing pretty steadily. This could be your last chance to grab him for the stretch run.

Yusei Kikuchi SP/RP Blue Jays

Last start: Wednesday, August 2 vs. Orioles – 6IP W 1ER 6H 1BB 3K
1 start next week: Tuesday, August 8 @ Guardians

Faced with yet another difficult challenge this week, Yusei Kikuchi again delivered a solid start against the Orioles on Wednesday. He earned a win by yielding just a run over six innings. That’s four good outings in a row now (1.23 ERA), all against over-.500 teams. The 32-year-old lefty will get a step down in weight class next week. He’ll draw the Guardians, an offense ranked 25th in WOBA and 27th in runs per game. Even though his xERA (4.46) and FIP (4.67) are both significantly higher than his actual ERA (3.67), this doesn’t seem like a likely week for regression. If some of the above pitching streamers are gone, this seems like a decent option.

Nick Pivetta SP/RP Red Sox

Last start: Monday, July 31 @ Mariners – 7.1 L 3ER 5H 0BB 10K
Next start: Saturday, August 5 vs. Blue Jays
1 start next week: Thursday, August 10 vs. Royals

Nick Pivetta finally got an actual start this week! Though it did allow him to earn a quality start, it sure didn’t make a difference with effectiveness. He struck out ten over 7.1 innings on Monday without issuing a walk. Over his last seven appearances, the 30 year old’s ERA/WHIP is now a super-impressive 2.01/0.70. And the K/9 rate is a ridiculous 14.4. That level of domination warrants a start against just about any opponent. For instance, I would certainly start him agains the Blue Jays tonight despite their potent offense (9th in WOBA). But next week, for his start against the 28th-ranked-in-WOBA Royals, I would go out of my way to grab him. In leagues where he’s been overlooked, now’s the time.

Grayson Rodriguez SP Orioles

Last start: Wednesday, August 2 @ Blue Jays – 5.2IP L 3ER 2H 2BB 6K
2 starts next week: Tuesday, August 8 vs. Astros + Sunday, August 13 @ Mariners

Since being called back up to the Majors, it’s looking like Grayson Rodriguez is finally trending in the right direction. On Wednesday, he held a solid Blue Jays lineup to three runs over 5.2 innings, struck out six, and now has a 3.57 ERA/1.02 WHIP since his return (four starts). Even better, his velocity has been up over a mile per hour and his secondary pitches have been producing more whiffs. The slider and changeup, specifically, induced half of the 14 swinging strikes in this most recent start. More good news: he lines up for two starts next week. The first one, against the Astros, a team ranked 14th in WOBA, will be a big challenge for the rookie. But the second, against the Mariners (ranked 22nd in WOBA), has the potential for lots of whiffs. They strike out second-most in all of baseball.

Pitching Streamers Available in Most Leagues (About 30% to 50% Rostered)

Jack Flaherty SP Orioles 

Last start: Thursday, August 3 @ Blue Jays – 6IP W 1ER 4H 2BB 8K
1 start next week: Wednesday, August 9 vs. Astros

Can a change of environment make a pitcher better? It sure looked that way for Jack Flaherty in his Orioles debut on Thursday. Not only did he earn a win, yield only one run in six innings, and strike out eight Blue Jays, he induced a startling 19 swinging strikes on just 85 pitches. His fastball was faster too, up over a mile per hour. And it seems like his cutter was working. He threw it more often and it induced eight of the whiffs. Does this mean we can expect more consistency out of the veteran righty whose ERA/WHIP of 4.28/1.52 is hardly inspiring? Not so sure. But he’s in the middle of a pennant race now and at this point in the season, finding difference-makers off the waiver wire sure is difficult. The Astros matchup next week is not ideal. But they’re middle-of-the-road in WOBA (14th) and do more of their damage against lefties (only a .724 OPS against righties vs. .767 against LHP). It’s a risky one, but seems worth it, especially in points leagues where ratios aren’t as important.

Seth Lugo SP/RP Padres

Last start: Monday, July 31 @ Rockies – 7IP 2ER (3R) 5H 3BB 9K
Next start: Sunday, August 6 vs. Dodgers
1 start next week: Saturday, August 12 @ DBacks

Has there been a more consistent pitching streamer than Seth Lugo this season? After traveling to chaotic Coors Field on Monday and yielding just two earned runs over seven innings, the veteran righty has now produced quality starts in five out of the last six outings. For the season, he now has 10 quality starts out of 16. He’s only given up more than three runs three times, and his ERA/WHIP now stands at a solid 3.54/1.19. Due to the high floor, he seems like a viable option even against the Diamondbacks next week. Though they do rank 11th in WOBA and 6th in runs per game, Lugo handled them pretty well the first time around back in April (two earned runs in six innings). Tomorrow’s start against the Dodgers comes with a little more risk, but if you just need volume you could definitely do worse.

Cristopher Sanchez SP/RP Phillies

Last start: Sunday, July 30 @ Pirates – 5IP 0ER 0H 2BB 3K
Next start: Saturday, August 5 vs. Royals
1 start next week: Friday, August 11 vs. Twins

Can Cristopher Sanchez sustain his elite 1.52 BB/9 rate? Combined with his high 56.8 ground ball percentage, it’s led to a pretty amazing 2.66 ERA/0.91 WHIP through his first nine starts of the season. He was good again on Sunday when he threw five shutout/hitless innings in Pittsburgh. He did, however, allow two free passes (for just the second time all season) and hit three batters. Whether that part was just an outlier, or whether he’ll regress to something closer to his 5.3 BB/9 in the minors remains to be seen. But he’s lined up for a great matchup tonight against the Royals (ranked 28th in WOBA), and then the Twins next week (ranked 21st in runs per game). If the regression is coming, hopefully, it will hold off a little longer.

Pitching Streamers Widely Available (About 30% Rostered or Fewer)

Kutter Crawford SP/RP Red Sox

Last start: Wednesday, August 2 @ Mariners – 5IP 0ER 4H 1BB 5K
2 starts next week: Monday, August 7 vs. Royals + Saturday, August 12 vs. Tigers

If you’re looking for a two-start pitching streamer next week who has favorable matchups, look no further than Kutter Crawford. It doesn’t get much better than opposing the Royals (ranked 28th in WOBA and 29th in runs per game) and Tigers (29th in WOBA and 28th in runs per game). Even without the extremely favorable schedule, though, the 27-year-old righty has been pretty consistent lately. He’s yielded just 10 runs in his last six starts and struck out 31 during those 30.1 innings. His wide availability makes this an ideal deep-league play. Certainly not a bad standard-league option either.

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