Welcome to David Mendelson’s Weekly Starting Pitcher Streamers for the week of May 16 – May 19.
Welcome to Week Seven of your pitching streamers! Here we like to give you an edge over your competition every week by helping find diamonds in the rough when it comes to borderline rosterable pitchers. Everyone needs to do this in one way or another during the season, and it’s important that you have the best information for making these decisions when it comes to beating your opponent.
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 get considered for each player.
Let’s take a look at my top pitching streamers for this week.
Top Pitching Streamers 5/16 – 5/19
Alex Cobb (40% Rostered) Monday @COL – I’ll be honest, I was shocked that Alex Cobb is still technically a “streamer.” Besides his rough outing against the Nationals (where he still only allowed 1 ER), Cobb has very much shown he’s taken the next step as a pitcher you can trust start after start. He has a 1.43 xERA (top 1% of baseball), has a career-high 31.5% K rate, and has one of the better exit velocities allowed in the league. To put it simply, he’s having a breakout season, even if the numbers don’t show it yet.
Cobb is going to be at Coors field which is never great, but the Rockies have the fifth-worst wRC+ over the last two weeks against RHP, with a puny .107 ISO. Cobb to me is a must-start regardless of circumstance this season.
Josh Winder (32% Rostered) Tuesday @OAK – Winder was looking like a hot pickup after back-to-back six-inning gems against Tampa Bay and these same Oakland A’s. He came back to Earth in his last start against Houston, where he didn’t make it out of the fourth inning. However, his three walks are not something I expect to see a lot of. Winder has great control and has shown that all throughout his time in the minor leagues. His opponent definitely makes you feel comfortable streaming him here.
Oakland has been awful in general swinging the bat, but even more so recently against RHP. Since the end of April, Oakland has a 45 wRC+ (worst in baseball), a .175 batting average as a team, and a .071 ISO. Oakland is an easy target to pick against here.
Mitch Keller (2% Rostered) Tuesday vs CHC – We’re going back to the well with Mitch Keller here and I can’t say I love doing it. Yes, the velocity has continued to stay up over 2 mph from last year. The problem is there’s not much else there to like. Keller’s ghastly 6.11 ERA is not doing him any favors and neither is his sub-10% swinging-strike rate. ERA estimators show he has some positive regression coming, but he’s not poised to be the breakout pitcher we all thought before the season.
Keller gets to face the Cubs who have struck out nearly 31% of the time against RHP over the last two weeks and have the second-worst wRC+ in baseball over that time. They also are only slugging .264 as a team. Keller has the right matchup here to turn in a decent start.
Vince Velasquez (3% Rostered) Wednesday @KC – The casual baseball fan might not even realize that Vince Velasquez is now on the White Sox. While Velasquez has been very underwhelming (21 K’s in 22.2 IP), he does have a 3.97 ERA and has only given up more than three earned runs in one of his five outings. He won’t give you tons of innings but can definitely help you out on a thin Wednesday slate.
The Royals offense has been abysmal, with a league-worst 0.64 ISO over the last two weeks against RHP. Not just that, but the Royals offense has only a .273 OBP over that time. The Royals offense might just be dormant enough for Velasquez to give us a good start here.
George Kirby (46% Rostered) Thursday @BOS – What an electric debut from Mr. Kirby! Six shutout innings with seven strikeouts and most importantly, zero walks. He has amazing control, multiple pitches that he can use to strike hitters out, and is the next great Mariners prospect to burst on the scene. This guy was dominating through the minor leagues, and I have no doubt this will be the only time you can find him in this article.
Kirby is facing Boston, who has had a cold offense as of late and very much not been what we’ve expected from them this season. While they’re in the middle of the pack in terms of most offensive statistics since the end of April, I expect the stuff that Kirby has can keep them off-balance in this start. Fire up Kirby everywhere you have him.
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!