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, lots of two-start difference makers, and three widely-available rookies who might be worth rostering for the rest of the season (spoiler: did you catch Bryan Woo’s return from the IL?).
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 21
Pitching Streamers Available in Some Leagues (About 50% to 65% Rostered)
Grayson Rodriguez SP Orioles
Last start: Tuesday, August 22 vs. Blue Jays – 6IP 3ER 8H 2BB 5K
2 starts next week: Monday, August 28 vs. White Sox + Sunday, September 3 @ DBacks
Though it took 13 career tries for Grayson Rodriguez to register his first quality start, he’s now successfully pulled off four of them in his last five. He’s looked like a different pitcher since returning from his demotion seven starts ago. During that time, he’s complied a 3.24 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. Though his slider was not nearly as effective on Tuesday (zero whiffs or called strikes), it’s worth noting that the Blue Jays are fairly disciplined (6th best in K%) and the rookie still had 11 whiffs overall. He’ll get a chance to rack up the totals during his upcoming two-start week. His second start against the DBacks will be a big challenge (13th in WOBA and winners of nine of their last ten games), but that first start against the White Sox (29th in WOBA) ought to mitigate a bunch of risk. He shouldn’t be available in any standard leagues. Act now if he is in yours.
Kenta Maeda SP Twins
Last start: Wednesday, August 23 @ Brewers 5IP 3ER 4H 2BB 6K
1 start next week: Tuesday, August 29 vs. Guardians
OK, the results haven’t exactly been amazing for Kenta Maeda over his last two starts. But despite the six runs allowed over those nine innings, the veteran struck out 12 and still has yet to allow more than three runs in any start since returning from injury in June. Moreover, his 3.85 xFIP and 3.76 xERA seem to support his second-half surge (actual ERA is 4.22). Combined with all the whiffs (ranked in 70th percentile), he seems like a pitcher who shouldn’t be on a standard-league waiver wire. If he is, you might want to take advantage of the righty’s schedule next week. He’ll take on the Guardians, a team that has only averaged 3.4 runs per game in August and is ranked 26th in WOBA.
Pitching Streamers Available in Most Leagues (About 30% to 50% Rostered)
Tarik Skubal SP Tigers
Last start: Wednesday, August 23 vs. Cubs – 6IP 4ER 6H 1BB 7K
2 starts next week: Tuesday, August 29 vs. Yankees + Sunday, September 3 @ White Sox
After nine starts, the outward results for Tarik Skubal are a bit lackluster. He’s sporting a 4.08 ERA and has given up four or more runs in almost half of his outings (four). But is it possible he’s been getting a little unlucky? The expected stats sure say so. In fact, all of them suggest he should be among the best in baseball in ERA (xERA is 2.62 and xFIP is 2.77), WOBA (xWOBA .253), batting average against (xBA .219), and slugging against (xSLUG .308). Combined with his rather high .333 BABIP, it feels like the 26-year-old lefty could quickly reverse his fortunes. Especially so, considering his upcoming two-start week. The Yankees (24th in WOBA) are free-falling right now. During their recent nine-game losing streak they averaged just 2.33 runs per game! And the White Sox aren’t much better, ranking 29th in WOBA and 25th in runs per game. Seems like the right time to test the theory.
Seth Lugo SP/RP Padres
Last start: Wednesday, August 23 vs. Marlins – 6IP W 0ER 3H 1BB 4K
2 starts next week: Tuesday, August 29 @ Cardinals + Sunday, September 3 vs. Giants
In the chaotic world of pitching streamers, Seth Lugo is about as consistent as they come. He was particularly effective on Wednesday, shutting out the Marlins for six innings and picking up a win. That’s five quality starts out of seven for the veteran righty, who has a 3.57 ERA/1.19 WHIP and 43 strikeouts over his last 40.1 innings. You can combine the consistency with some volume next week. He’ll draw two starts. Though the Cardinals rank 5th in WOBA, they’ve hit a rough patch lately (losers of six of eight), during which they’ve averaged just 2.75 runs per game. The Giants, matchup number two, are ranked 23rd in WOBA, have won just five of 17, and are scoring an also-very-low 3.65 runs per game. If you’re into volume, consistency, and a high floor, look no further.
Cole Ragans SP/RP Royals
Last start: Wednesday, August 23 @ A’s – 6IP W 0ER 2H 0BB 11K
1 start next week: Tuesday, August 29 vs. Pirates
Cole Ragans was electric on Wednesday, tossing six scoreless innings, striking out 11, and inducing 18 swinging strikes. OK, fine, it was against the A’s, but did you see how hard he was throwing? The lefty topped out at 101 miles per hour on his fastball and was still throwing 100 in his last inning. His average of 97.9 on the night was up well over a mile per hour for the season and is up almost six miles per hour from last year! That, and a new slider (with a 45.1% whiff rate) that he started throwing when he was traded to the Royals could explain some of his recent dominance. He now has a 1.93 ERA in five starts with 44 strikeouts in 29.2 innings. To sweeten the pot further, he’ll oppose the Pirates next week (22nd in WOBA). There aren’t many potential difference-makers left on waivers this time of year. You might want to ride this hot streak to the playoffs.
Mike Clevinger SP White Sox
Last start: Tuesday, August 22 vs. Mariners – 5IP L 4ER 6H 4BB 4K
Next start: Sunday, August 27 vs. A’s
1 start next week: Saturday, September 2 vs. Tigers
After a solid four-start stretch since returning from the IL, Mike Clevinger finally stumbled this week against the Mariners. His four runs in five innings, including lots of base runners, earned him his sixth loss. The streak was a bit tenuous given that his expected stats are a long way off from the solid 3.47 ERA he’s put up (xERA 4.48/xFIP 5.46). With that said, however, his next two matchups are about as good as it gets. The A’s, Sunday’s start, are last in just about every offensive category. And the Tigers, next week’s opponent, aren’t much better. They rank 28th in WOBA and 29th in runs per game. If the definition of pitching streamers is available pitchers you can use for a week or two when they’ve got favorable matchups, this is certainly a textbook case.
Pitching Streamers Widely Available (About 30% Rostered or Fewer)
Chase Silseth SP/RP Angels
Last start: Saturday, August 19 vs. Rays – 3.2IP 5ER 5H 3BB 4K
Next start: Saturday, August 26 @ Mets
1 start next week: Saturday, September 2 @ A’s
The dominant stretch for Chase Silseth came to an end Saturday against the Dodgers. He was roughed up for five runs over just 3.2 innings. Can we give him a pass? The Dodgers are ranked 3rd in WOBA and have only lost three games the entire month on August. Plus, the four-start stretch was awfully impressive: 1.59 ERA/0.88 WHIP/31 Ks in 22.2 innings. Still not so sure? How about this: he pitches against the A’s next week! They’re last in WOBA, last in runs per game, and the best at helping any pitcher rebound from a tough start. There’s still lots of upside in the 23-year-old’s arm. Unlike many fantasy managers who have dropped him after one bad start, you might not want to give up on it so easily.
Ryan Pepiot SP Dodgers
Last appearance: Thursday, August 24 @ Guardians – 4IP W 1ER 3H 0BB 6K
Next start (tentative): Wednesday, August 30 vs. DBacks
If you’re still chasing pitching streamers who have upside to help you for the stretch run, Ryan Pepiot is a solid, widely available option. Though he’s not officially in the Dodgers rotation yet, Thursday’s performance makes him the clear front-runner to take over Tony Gonsolin’s (likely out for the season) spot. In bulk relief, he secured a win with four innings of one-run ball. He struck out six and induced 12 swinging strikes on 76 pitches. More importantly, no walks. Over his eight appearances this season, combined minors and majors, his BB/9 rate is a terrific 1.7. Compared with last year’s 4.4 BB/9, this improvement could be the final piece of the puzzle for the talented 26-year-old. Though you’re not going to love his matchup next week (DBacks are 13th in WOBA), it seems worth the risk in a deep league. Standard-league relevance could be coming soon.
Bryan Woo SP Mariners
Last start: Tuesday, August 22 @ White Sox – 4IP 1ER 3H 1BB 3K
2 starts next week: Monday, August 28 vs. A’s + Sunday, September 3 @ Mets
Woo-hoo, he’s back! Bryan Woo looked sharp in his return from the IL on Tuesday. He limited the White Sox to one run over four innings, struck out three, generated eight swinging strikes, and helped the Mariners win their eighth in a row. The rookie didn’t actually get the win, though. He was only allowed to throw 65 pitches. Will he be given a little more leash the further he gets from his IL stint? We sure hope that’s the plan. But in an upcoming two-start week, the counting stats have the potential to pile up. Especially in this two-start week. The 23-year-old will draw the worst offense in baseball in his first go-around, before heading to Queens to oppose the out-of-playoff-contention Mets (18th in WOBA, 19th in runs per game). It’s a great deep-league play for now, but Woo could quickly become standard-league relevant if his pitch count returns to pre-IL levels.
Tanner Houck SP/RP Red Sox
Last start: Tuesday, August 22 @ Astros – 5IP L 3ER 4H 3BB 2K
Next start: Sunday, August 27 vs. Dodgers
1 start next week: Saturday, September 2 @ Royals
If you’re in a deep league – and all the other names on this list are gone – you might want to consider Tanner Houck. He’s back from the facial fracture that cost him over two months on the IL. And though he wasn’t dominant Tuesday, he sure wasn’t helped out by his defense. They made three errors, extended his first inning (31 pitches), and allowed a run to score on a bizarre sac bunt/no-one-covering-home play. But the 27-year-old looks healthy. He did have seven swinging strikes on just 69 pitches. And before being injured had displayed flashes of upside (70th percentile whiff rate). He’ll get a very favorable matchup next week, too. The Royals are 27th in WOBA and have won just five of their last 18 games. It might be a good idea to see how he does this weekend against the Dodgers before making the decision. Not sure I’d recommend any pitching streamers against them right now unless you’re just chasing strikeouts.