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10 Pitching Streamers to Target in Week 23

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 playoffs? 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: grab Cole Ragans now if he’s still available), and one widely-available rookie who’s worth rostering for the rest of the season.

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 23

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

Cole Ragans SP/RP Royals

Last start: Tuesday, August 29 vs. Pirates – 7IP 0ER 3H 1BB 9K
2 starts next week: Monday, September 4 vs. White Sox + Sunday, September 10 @ Blue Jays

Stop reading this (but come back!) and check if Cole Ragans is still available in your league. The rookie has made a remarkable return to the Majors since being traded to the Royals. In those seven starts he’s put together a 1.73 ERA, a 1.08 WHIP, and struck out an astounding 56 batters over 41.2 innings. He was electric again on Tuesday, shutting down the Pirates for seven innings, striking out nine, and inducing 16 swinging strikes. Seven of those whiffs came on the slider, a pitch he’s developed recently and seems to be making all the difference. In addition to the hot streak, Ragans will benefit from a two-start week. He’ll get a juicy matchup against the White Sox (29th in WOBA, and only 3.92 runs per game in August), before a tougher one in Toronto. The Blue Jays are ranked 11th in WOBA, but have averaged just 4.0 runs per game in their last 20 contests. But to be honest, it feels like you should be starting the lefty no matter who he’s facing and in pretty much all leagues.

Alex Cobb SP Giants

Last start: Tuesday, August 29 vs. Reds – 9IP W 1ER 1H 1BB 8K
Next start: Sunday, September 3 @ Padres
1 start next week: Saturday, September 9 vs. Rockies

After an already-solid season, Alex Cobb flirted with history on Tuesday. He entered the ninth inning with a no-hitter and came just two outs short before a walk and a double ended both the no-no and the shutout. The wonderful performance lowered the veteran’s ERA to 3.57 and with a 3.45 xFIP, it appears legitimate. Will the 131 pitches thrown, a career-high, affect the righty’s effectiveness in his next start? That sure is possible. He will, however, draw a very favorable opponent next week. The Rockies are not-so-great overall (21st in WOBA), have been bad lately (losers of nine out of 10), and are much less potent on the road (.656 OPS vs. .767 at home). Put it all together, seems like a high-floor stream in standard leagues.

Andrew Heaney SP Rangers 

Last start: Tuesday, August 29 @ Mets – 5.1IP 0ER 5H 1BB 7K
2 starts next week: Monday, September 4 vs. Astros + Sunday, September 10 vs. A’s

Veteran Andrew Heaney was sharp in his recent outing on Tuesday, keeping the Mets off the board for 5.1 innings and striking out seven. He also induced a solid 11 swinging strikes on just 81 pitches. It’s been the limited pitch counts that have capped the lefty’s innings of late. He hasn’t thrown at least 90 pitches since July. But next week the lefty should have a good chance to accumulate some stats in a two-start week. I am not going to lie, his first start against the Astros will not be an easy one. They’re ranked 7th in WOBA and have been crushing it lately (52 runs in the last five games!). But hopefully, the second start will balance it all out. He’ll get the ranked-last-in-just-about-everything A’s. In a daily lineup roto league, it might be advisable to just go with start two. In a weekly points league where ratios are less important, though, seems like a worthwhile risk.

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

Tarik Skubal SP Tigers

Last start: Tuesday, August 29 vs. Yankees – 6IP L 2ER (3R) 4H 2BB 9K
Next start: Sunday, September 3 @ White Sox
1 start next week: Saturday, September 9 vs. White Sox

Tarik Skubal was solid against the Yankees on Tuesday. The lefty allowed just two earned runs, struck out nine, and induced 15 swinging strikes. The good start lowered his ERA back under four (3.93) and complements an impressive 1.08 WHIP. That makes sense given that his expected stats are well below the results (xERA is 2.63 and xFIP is 2.82, for example). Do you know what might be even more encouraging? He’s now gone six innings in each of his last three outings. If that trend continues, he could be in line for some quality starts the next couple of times out. He’ll draw the White Sox in both his start this weekend and next week. They rank 28th in WOBA and 25th in runs per game. Looking even further ahead, the Tigers have one of the softest schedules in September with series against the A’s, Royals, and Guardians. So even though this is an article for pitching streamers, you may want to ride this pick for the foreseeable future.

Mike Clevinger SP White Sox

Last start: Sunday, August 27 vs. A’s – 7IP W 1ER 1H 2BB 10K
Next start: Saturday, September 2 vs. Tigers
1 start next week: Friday, September 8 @ Tigers

Earlier this week it looked like Mike Clevinger would have a new team. He was placed on waivers on Tuesday but ultimately went unclaimed. This likely had more to do with money than how the 32-year-old veteran has performed lately. Since a return from a biceps injury, he’s made six starts and given up one or zero runs in four of them. He’s surprisingly struck out 27 over his last 25 innings. But most importantly, he’s going to benefit from the White Sox schedule. His next two starts, tonight and next week, will be against the Tigers. They rank 29th in WOBA and 28th in runs per game. Should we be concerned that Clevinger’s xERA of 4.21 and xFIP of 5.31 are quite a bit higher than his 3.32 ERA? Sure. Do we think it will regress dramatically during these two starts? Hopefully not. Pitching streamers are rarely perfect.

Kyle Hendricks SP Cubs

Last start: Wednesday, August 30 vs. Brewers – 6IP 0ER (1R) 4H 2BB 6K
2 starts next week: Tuesday, September 5 vs. Giants + Sunday, September 10 vs. DBacks

Not going to lie, didn’t expect to be recommending Kyle Hendricks ever again. But his elite 1.63 BB/9 rate, combined with great exit velocity numbers (98th percentile average exit velocity, 91st hard hit rate), combined with lots of ground balls (48.6%) have been occurring too long now to be ignored. Those are the kinds of things that made the veteran righty a reliable source of ratio stats and innings from pretty much 2015 to 2019. So even though he’s now 33 years old and averaging just 87.7 miles per hour on his fastball, he should be among the pitching streamers pool depending on matchup. He’ll get two next week, actually, which could potentially offset his lack of strikeouts and allow the innings to add up. He’ll draw one team that strikes out a ton, the Giants (23rd in WOBA, 5th most Ks). And then a DBacks team that’s averaged just 3.92 runs in August. Seems like a universally decent option, but most especially for points leagues, or where quality starts are most desirable.

Bryan Woo SP Mariners

Last start: Monday, August 28 vs. A’s – 6IP W 0ER 3H 1BB 5K
2 start next week: Monday, September 4 @ Reds + Saturday, September 9 @ Rays

In case you haven’t noticed, Bryan Woo has sure looked sharp since his return from the IL. His six shutout innings on Monday against the A’s earned him a win and quality start. He’s now yielded just one run and six hits in those 10 innings. The start also brought his season ERA/WHIP down to a respectable 4.15/1.17. Will the Mariners increase his pitch count back to the 85-90 we saw pre-injury? We sure hope so. He’ll get a chance for some accumulating in an upcoming two-start week. The Reds, opponent one, are ranked 17th in WOBA and have scored 4.32 runs per game in August (down from a season average of 4.75). The Rays, next weekend’s matchup, are surely a step up in weight class. If the risk bothers you too much, perhaps leave it for the deep leaguers. Feels like you could do much worse in a standard league, though.

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

Kyle Harrison SP Giants

Last start: Monday, August 28 vs. Reds – 6.1IP W 0ER 3H 2BB 11K
Next start: Saturday, September 2 @ Padres
1 start next week: Friday, September 8 vs. Rockies

After a mediocre first start to his career, Kyle Harrison flashed some big upside on Monday against the Reds. He earned a win, struck out 11, and threw 6.1 scoreless frames. There were concerns before his call-up about control (6.63 BB/9) and lack of inning depth (only went five innings one time this year). But the three walks in his first ten innings and working into the 7th inning are hopefully signs of things to come. It’s worth noting that he didn’t walk anyone in the two starts prior to his promotion. Also worth noting: strikeouts have NEVER been an issue. The lefty compiled a 13.61 K/9 in AA last season and an even better 14.49 K/9 rate in AAA this year. If all that isn’t enough, take a look at next week’s opponent. The Rockies are 20th in WOBA and are much less potent on the road (.656 OPS vs. .767 at home). They also struggle against lefties (.668 OPS vs. .727 against righties). With deep-league availability, Harrison makes for a universally great stream. Highly recommend.

Griffin Canning SP Angels

Last start: Sunday, August 27 @ Mets – 7IP 1ER 5H 1BB 9K
Next start: Saturday, September 2 @ A’s
1 start next week: Thursday, September 7 vs. Guardians

After making two appearances out of the bullpen since returning from the IL, Griffin Canning finally made his first start on Sunday. He did really well, holding the Mets to just one run over seven innings, striking out nine, and inducing 16 swinging strikes. It’s been and up-and-down sort of year for the 27-year-old righty, but he’s one of the decent pitching streamers when things are going well. And when he has the right opponent. About that: he’s due for two very favorable ones in a row. This weekend he’ll make a trip to Oakland, who rank last in just about every offensive category. And next week, he’ll draw the Guardians. They rank 26th in WOBA and have averaged just 3.71 runs per game in August. With Shohei Ohtani done pitching for the year and now Lucas Giolito waived, Canning should be in the rotation for the rest of the year. Stay tuned for his good matchups.

Matt Manning SP Tigers 

Last start: Thursday, August 31 vs. Yankees – 6IP 0ER 2H 2BB 4K
1 start next week: Wednesday, September 6 @ Yankees

It’s not very often you’ll find deep-league pitching streamers who have allowed just one run over four starts, but Matt Manning has done just that. Also kind of amazing: he’s only given up 10 hits and compiled an 0.68 WHIP during that stretch. And against a couple of really good lineups (including vs. Astros and at Red Sox). It’s not hard to figure out why his roster percentage is still very low, however. The 25-year-old has struck out just 10 over those same 23.2 innings (5.73 K/9 rate overall) and has expected stats well above the results (3.62 ERA, 5.40 xERA, 5.46 xFIP). But if you’re in a deep league and making a playoff run, chances are there’s not much left on the wire. This is a case of playing a hot hand (arm?) when the opponent is right. That being said, the opponent is right next week. It’s a rematch against the Yankees, a team now ranked 24th in WOBA and looking a bit less motivated each day. Their home ballpark might not be super conducive to fly-ball pitchers, but it still seems like a worthwhile risk.

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