Welcome to David Mendelson’s Weekly Starting Pitcher Streamers for the week of April 18 – April 21.
What an amazing week of baseball we just got to witness. We saw Tylor Megill look like the top pitching acquisition of the year, Vlad Jr. hit three home runs at Yankee Stadium, Jesus Luzardo look like an ace, Steven Kwan go 117 pitches before a swing and a miss, and so much more. That’s not even counting Clayton Kershaw being pulled from his perfect game after seven innings. Did Dave Roberts do the right thing? I think he did. Anyway, let’s get to why you are here.
Sometimes, your draft doesn’t work out how you intended it to. Whether it be injuries, lack of performance, or maybe your draft was just awful. At some point, you’re going to need to pick up pitchers off the waiver wire and stream them (in other words pick them up for a start or two). This becomes crucial as hitting on the right pitchers consistently will help your ratios, while also potentially beating an opponent for those that play in H2H formats.
So how do we determine which pitchers to stream? Well, there are a lot of ways but I’ve found a few ways to be most effective. This can include looking at the trends of the opposing teams over recent periods of time, how they’re faring against certain handiness, and of course, how that streaming pitcher is currently performing.
I’m here to try and help you narrow it down to five names from all games Monday – Thursday every week, my goal all season being to provide you with the BEST pitching streamers each week to hopefully help you when you’re in a pinch. It’s important to remember that I won’t always be right (no one is), but I hope to provide you with winning streamers more often than not. The criteria for being in this article? The pitcher must be rostered in 50% or less of leagues on FantasyPros (the site being referenced for these articles).
This article will go out every Sunday morning so make sure to make necessary adjustments with postponements, starts skipped, IL stints, etc affecting the projected pitcher starting. The hope for these articles is to keep having more data that we can build off of as the season moves along.
With that being said, here are some factors that go into my streaming picks:
Percentage Rostered – Pitcher must be rostered in 50% or fewer according to FantasyPros to qualify for this article.
wRC+ of Opposing Team – wRC+ or Weighed Runs Created Plus, takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for important external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average and 150 would be 50 percent above league average. This is one of my favorite stats to look at when picking not just pitching, but hitting as well.
Home/Road ERA Splits – How a pitcher does at home versus how they do on the road. The biggest example of this is someone like German Marquez and how he pitches on the road compared to at Coors Field.
Other Analytics – Things like a pitcher’s swinging strike rate, K-BB ratios, ISO, & OPS are some of the other data that gets considered for each player.
Let’s take a look at my top pitching streamers for this week.
Top Pitching Streamers 4/18 – 4/21
Josiah Gray (17% Rostered) Monday vs ARI – Gray is coming off his best start of the season and one of the best starts of his young career. Gray pitched five innings of shutout baseball, allowing only one hit with three walks to five strikeouts against the Atlanta Braves. Gray is still allowing a 27% fly-ball rate, 36% line drive rate, and a 12.5% HR/FB rate, which is definitely troubling. The curveball and slider have looked strong though with both pitches having above 41% whiff rates and the strikeout upside is still there.
Facing the Diamondbacks at home, I like Gray’s chances to repeat his performance as he did against the Atlanta Braves.
Eric Lauer (11% Rostered) Tuesday vs PIT – Lauer had a lot of bad luck in his last start, with an error leading to making his final line of 4.1 innings and three earned runs not accurate of how well he actually pitched. Lauer’s curveball especially had four whiffs on eight swings and a 55% CSW, along with his fastball velocity being up 1.5 mph from 2021.
Lauer gets the Pittsburgh Pirates which are one of the worst offenses in baseball in the early going. I think Lauer’s increased velocity and improved secondaries make a great option for a Tuesday stream.
Jesus Luzardo (37% Rostered) Tuesday vs STL – The Lizard King as I call him was absolutely DOMINANT in his start against the Los Angeles Angels. He accumulated 18 whiffs on just 76 pitches and used his well-documented curveball in a whopping 50% of his pitches in this start. We’d been begging for Luzardo to start throwing his secondaries more and he darn well did in Spring Training and it carried over into this start. That’s also not to mention his once very hittable fastball was up 1.7 mph and got 3 whiffs on 11 swings in its own right. The final result was five innings allowing two hits, one earned run, and an eye-popping 12 strikeouts.
I expect this to be the last time Luzardo will be in this article as he should be rostered way higher than the 50% threshold by next week. For now, if he’s in your league, pick him up immediately and don’t put him back on the waiver wire for the rest of the season.
Kyle Wright (41% Rostered) Wednesday @ LAD – The 6’4 right-hander pitched well in his first start of the season, going six innings of shutout baseball with six strikeouts against the Cincinnati Reds. Wright threw mainly sinkers and curveballs in this start, pretty much ditching the changeup and slider (12 total pitches between the two in this start). Wright seemed to recognize the slider was ineffective in 2021 and saw how well his curveball played and adjusted accordingly.
Wright is a former top prospect and was a fast riser through Atlanta’s system before struggling in the majors. Wright’s increased velocity and pitch mix change have me very intrigued, even against a team like the Dodgers. I’d give him a run here if you need the start.
Daulton Jefferies (1% Rostered) Wednesday vs BAL – I called Cole Irvin last week and that worked out decently well. I’m going back to another Oakland Athletic here in Daulton Jeffries, who pitched five shutout innings against the vaunted Phillies in his first start. Now I won’t lie to you; Jefferies gives up a lot of hard contact and his ERA estimators are not very kind to him, but this isn’t a pick-up for the rest of the season. Jefferies, unlike Luzardo, is strictly favorable here based on his matchup against the Orioles in Oakland.
I think Jefferies will give you four to five innings of two earned runs or less and be enough to help you accumulate some extra points for your points or roto leagues. Temper your expectations in this one.
Make sure to follow me on Twitter @DMendy02 and tag me if I helped you strike gold with one of these pitching streamers. Good luck!