Pitching Streamers for Week 4 (August 10 – 16)
Is it just me, or have these last two weeks felt like two months? Between the cancellations and postponements, the injuries already piling up, and bullpen arms seemingly blowing up on a nightly basis, this season already feels like a war of attrition. It has been no different when it comes to pitching streamers. It feels like I change several of the names on this list multiple times per week, as rotations and team schedules seem to change by the hour. As always, check the latest news before placing bids and claims on any of these pitching streamers. Then, hope the games get played and that your pitchers contribute. At least we are all playing by the same rules, right? Let us get to it. Here are this week’s preferred streaming options.
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Pitching Streamers for 8/10 – 8/16
Framber Valdez (Friday v. Seattle, 28 percent rostered in Fantrax leagues)
David Peterson (Thursday v. Washington, 37 percent rostered)
Zach Eflin (Thursday v. Baltimore, 41 percent rostered)
Zach Eflin has a solid 2020 debut, hurling four scoreless innings while striking out five against the New York Yankees. He did not qualify for the win but was very impressive. Eflin will look to continue that momentum when he faces Baltimore next week. As if the schedule has not been wacky enough early on, Baltimore swept Tampa Bay and followed that up by getting swept by the Miami Marlins. We know Baltimore is not good, but they have had an above-average offense to this point. Still, Eflin is more than capable of shutting them down if he performs as he did on Thursday, which I am expecting.
Daniel Ponce de Leon (TBD, 22 percent rostered)
Austin Gomber (TBD, 4 percent rostered)
The St. Louis Cardinals were finally set to resume play and had finally settled on their updated starting rotation when another pair of positive tests put Friday’s game on hold. As of this writing, I do not know for sure when their next game will be. I do know that they have two prime pitching matchups against Kansas City and Pittsburgh next week if they do suit up. Odds are that at either Daniel Ponce de Leon or Austin Gomber (and possibly both) will be viable streaming options this week. Keep in mind they may not be fully stretched out, so a win may not be in the cards. (You’re welcome.) For what it is worth, the Pirates represent the easier matchup of the two. So, once you get a feel for how things will play out with their rotation, act accordingly.
Brad Keller (Wednesday at Cincinnati, 37 percent rostered)
Austin Voth (Thursday at New York Mets, 42 percent rostered)
Austin Voth won a job in the rotation in Summer Camp and should be able to stick even with the impending return of Stephen Strasburg. Voth should get another chance to fortify his role on the team when the Nationals face Baltimore next week. Even though the Orioles have been a solid offensive club thus far, it makes sense to target pitchers who face the O’s. They lost 108 games a season ago and are not expected to compete for a playoff berth this year. Picking on bad teams is by no means a foolproof endeavor, but it is a good place to start when looking for weekly pitching streamers. For his part, Voth was solid in spot duty last season and was a popular flier at the end of 2020 fantasy drafts, so it is worth it to see if he can stick.
Zack Godley (Thursday v. Tampa Bay, 11 percent rostered)
Zack Godley pitched four shutout innings in his Red Sox debut out of the bullpen two weeks ago while striking out seven Mets hitters. That game earned him a start against the Yankees, but that did not go nearly as well. Godley gave up five runs in just 3.1 innings. He will get another opportunity on Saturday against Toronto and presumably pitch against Tampa Bay on Thursday. The Jays and Rays are struggling a bit offensively, so this could present Godley with a chance to establish himself in what is arguably the worst starting rotation in all of baseball. He is just two years removed from making 32 starts for Arizona, so Godley could be a streaming candidate for most of the short season.
Michael Wacha (Wednesday v. Washington, 42 percent rostered)
Wacha in this one. When it comes to streaming pitchers, beggars cannot be choosers. If you need someone to fill a spot or if you are just trying to stack innings together, Wacha could be a serviceable option next week.
Vince Velasquez (Friday v. New York Mets, 35 percent rostered)
I am pretty sure this is the third time I have listed Velasquez in this space. Yet as I write this, he has thrown a total of three innings in 2020. This season has been fun so far. He was originally scheduled to take on Baltimore next Thursday. However, Philly was rained out, so he should be on track to face the Mets next Friday. By that point, he will only have pitched once in over two weeks due to unforeseen circumstances. The team may need to stretch Velasquez out a bit, so I would not count on more than five innings from him next week. Still, that is enough for him to possibly grab a win and strikeout a handful of hitters.
Derek Holland (Thursday at Cincinnati, 15 percent rostered)
Derek Holland has acquitted himself adequately in two starts as a Pittsburgh Pirate. The veteran will look to continue his solid start to the season on Thursday against the Cincinnati Reds. Cincinnati has scuffled out of the gate despite a favorable schedule early on. Their offense has been spotty outside of Nick Castellanos, and they had struggled against left-handed pitching before this past Friday. Cincinnati has an OPS of just .620 versus southpaws. That deficiency plays into Holland’s strengths. Holland has been able to limit hard contact and keep the ball in the park. I expect Holland to keep Cincinnati off-balance and keep his team in the ballgame. Pittsburgh’s offense is even worse than Cincinnati’s, so do not rely on a win. But Holland should go longer than the average streamer and provide a handful of punchouts.
Jordan Lyles (Wednesday v. Seattle, 34 percent rostered)
Zach Davies (Wednesday at Los Angeles Dodgers, 48 percent rostered)
Touki Toussaint (Tuesday v. New York Yankees, 24 percent rostered)
Kris Bubic (Tuesday at Cincinnati, 29 percent rostered)
Jordan Yamamoto (Wednesday at Toronto, 40 percent rostered)
Asher Wojciechowski (Wednesday at Philadelphia, 16 percent rostered)
Brandon Bielak (Tuesday v. San Francisco, 16 percent rostered)
Kyle Wright (Friday at Miami, 48 percent rostered)
Gio Gonzalez (Tuesday at Detroit, 31 percent rostered)
Not Even With Your Team
Antonio Senzatela (Wednesday v. Arizona, 34 percent rostered)
To his credit, Antonio Senzatela has looked like an improved pitcher early in 2020. He has toyed with his pitch mix in the past, and this year it looks like he is utilizing his changeup more often. After throwing the pitch on 6.8 percent of his 2019 offerings, he has upped its usage to 12.2 percent so far in 2020. However, his underlying metrics suggest his hot start is less than legitimate. His 4.78 xFIP is near twice the size of his actual ERA (2.45). Plus, even if his improvements are sticky, I am not throwing a pitcher in Coors Field unless he is a bonafide ace. He does get two road starts the following week, but they are against the Astros and Dodgers. I would leave him on the wire for now and see if someone else will take the bait.
Tyler Anderson (Tuesday at Houston, 7 percent rostered)
Tyler Anderson’s walk rate has increased in each of his four MLB seasons. That is not exactly a recipe for a long career. He has started 2020 off on the wrong foot in that regard as well. Through 12.1 innings, he has already walked eight hitters. Now he must face a Houston Astros lineup that has the best K-BB percentage in all of baseball. I ceded earlier that Brandon Bielak may struggle more than expected in this game, but that does not mean I am willing to take the other side. Anderson’s weaknesses (walks and homers) play right into Houston’s strengths, especially when you consider their ballpark and how heavily skewed their lineup is towards the right side of the batter’s box.
Ryan Weber (Wednesday v. Tampa Bay, 4 percent rostered)
Ryan Weber pitched three innings in his last start against the Toronto Blue Jays. He allowed two runs and seven baserunners and improved both his ERA and WHIP. That should tell you all you need to know about how the right-hander has performed so far in 2020. Tampa Bay’s offense has been below average through their first dozen games. But I am sure there are better streaming options available in your league unless you are in a deep or AL-only league.
Kolby Allard (Friday at Colorado, 20 percent rostered)
I realize Coors Field has not exactly played like Coors Field yet. And Kolby Allard has done an admirable job of keeping the ball in the park as a member of the Rangers. But you do not want to be the manager who decides to test Coors with a pitcher who carries a career 7.5 percent swinging-strike rate.
Brett Anderson (Thursday at Chicago Cubs, 22 percent rostered)
Brett Anderson went just three innings in his first start as he is still working on his stamina. I cannot see him going more than five innings against the Cubs, and that is if he can avoid significant damage. That is no sure bet against the team that, at least before this weekend, led the National League with 10 wins. Chicago has sported an above-average offense even though it feels like they have not fully clicked yet. This start could go very badly for Anderson, especially if the winds are blowing out at Wrigley. Anderson does not even offer enough strikeout upside to warrant consideration in this game. I do not have any desire to toss him out there next week.
Wade LeBlanc (Thursday at Philadelphia, 15 percent rostered)
Wade LeBlanc has some, shall we say, interesting number through three starts this season. He has walked just two of 61 batters faced. On the flip side, he has only struck out eight. Quite simply, LeBlanc makes Zack Davies look like Josh James. Then, of course, there is the home run ball. LeBlanc has served up four already, after giving up 28 in just 121.1 innings last season. The Phillies have the best walk rate and the best strikeout rate in the Majors, so do not expect many whiffs from LeBlanc in this one. He has always had good control, so I think he can force Philadelphia to swing the bats. The problem for LeBlanc is that the Phillies have the second-best ISO against left-handed pitchers in all of baseball. This feels like it will be one of those days where the Phillies put up some crooked numbers.
Like Mick’s pitching streamers? Then you should also check out next week’s Two-Start Pitchers!
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