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The merry go round carrying Fantasy pitchers ‘round and ‘round as they battle their various ailments continues its march through the 2015 Fantasy Baseball season. New pitchers join the ride as some old Fantasy friends disembark and rejoin their respective teams. This week, Yordano Ventura bought a ticket on the ride as he was placed on the 15 day DL, while Doug Fister was finally able to exit, only to pitch a stinker for the Nationals. Ivan Nova is about to be let off the ride for a Wednesday start and both Jose Fernandez and Matt Moore are close to rejoining their respective teams. Managing your Fantasy pitching staff can make you dizzy, (just thinking about that merry go round is giving me vertigo – like Jarred Cosart, who may or may not be back soon) and has caused many of us Fantasy managers to have to resort to streaming our starting pitchers. This week, I’ve identified another seven pitchers who are owned in 57 percent or less of Yahoo! Fantasy leagues and have favorable matchups with the potential of providing your Fantasy team with a quality start between June 24 and June 30. One of my selections is owned in just two percent of Fantasy leagues, so as usual, I warn you; some of these picks may not be suitable for the faint of heart…
All quoted stats are accurate as of the morning of 6/23/15
Ian Kennedy, RHP, Padres, 54 percent owned vs. Giants
Venue: AT&T Park, San Francisco, CA
Ian Kennedy has been a big disappointment for the San Diego Padres this season, however, he has had good success against the Giants throughout his career. He carries a 10-4 record, 2.42 ERA and 1.08 WHIP into his Wednesday start against the defending World Series champs. Surprisingly, the Giants have been a much better road team than at home this season. Their team batting average at AT&T Park of .249 is 35 points lower than their road average. In addition, they have a sub .500 winning record when they play at home compared to 21-14 on the road.
Overall, Kennedy’s current 4-5 record and 5.43 ERA is a bit ugly, but the former 21-game winner’s SIERA and xFIP both project that he has pitched much better than his stats indicate. With his history of success against the Giants, this could be a start that backs up those projected ERA findings.
Taylor Jungmann, RHP, Brewers, two percent owned vs. Mets
Venue: Miller Park, Milwaukee, WI
The Mets are battling the Nationals for first place, but if they didn’t have such a talented starting pitching staff there is no telling how far down in the standings they would be. With a .239 overall team batting average and the fifth fewest runs scored in baseball the Mets are a favorable matchup for Taylor Jungmann in his fourth major league start. Jungmann is an extreme groundball pitcher, and coincidentally, the Mets are tied for the major league lead in grounding into double plays. The Mets are a bad road team with a 10-24 record away from Citi Field and they have never faced Jungmann, a factor that could work in his favor.
Erasmo Ramirez, RHP, Rays, 13 percent owned vs. Red Sox
Venue: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, FL
Like many of the pitchers that are good streaming options, Erasmo Ramirez’s overall stats aren’t impressive. His 4.23 ERA and 1.20 WHIP are mediocre at best, however, he is a different pitcher when he works in his home park. His home ERA and WHIP are 2.65 and 1.03, respectively. When he pitches on the road his ERA and WHIP jump to 6.18 and 1.41. Baseball fans are familiar with the Red Sox’ struggles this season and, fortunately for Ramirez, their ineptitude is magnified when they play away from Fenway Park. Their team batting average drops 40 points to just .237 when they play on the road. Due to the weakness of the American League East, the Sox are within striking distance of the first place Rays, but their long term outlook doesn’t look good. Wade Miley’s shouting match with his manager and Pablo Sandoval’s preoccupation with his Instagram account show that Ramirez may be able to sneak in a good start against them on Friday night.
Charlie Morton, RHP, Pirates, 37 percent owned vs. Braves
Venue: PNC Park, Pittsburgh, PA
I don’t have any scientific data to support this, but I’ve noticed that if a good pitcher is very ineffective in a start, he usually bears down and pitches up to his normal potential in his next outing. For instance, Nathan Eovaldi gave up eight runs to the Marlins in two-thirds of an inning on June 16, and in his next start against the Tigers on June 20 he gave up just two runs across six innings. Charlie Morton had a similar disastrous start this past Sunday and was knocked around. He gave up nine runs in just two thirds of an inning. In his next start, he gets to face the Atlanta Braves at home, where he has a 0.87 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and a .197 batting average against him. With 67.3 percent of Morton’s batted balls hit on the ground, the Braves, who have hit the second most groundballs in the majors, play right into his game strategy. Overall, Morton isn’t as good as his home ERA or as bad as his last start would lead us to believe, however, his focus this Saturday will be on putting his last start behind him. With his propensity for getting ahead in the count and coaxing opposing batters to swing at his pitches outside the strike zone, Morton should keep coaxing opposing batters to hit groundballs and provide you with a quality start.
Chase Anderson, RHP, Diamondbacks, 22 percent owned vs. Padres
Venue: Petco Park, San Diego, CA
Chase Anderson has been very consistent this season; he’s given up three or fewer runs in 11 of his 13 starts. In addition, he has had success in his two starts against the Padres this season, giving up three runs in 13 innings against them. Despite all of the offseason moves that the Padres made in an attempt to improve their club, they are still a sub .500 team with a .243 overall team batting average. Although they have scored their fair share of runs this season, the Padres are still just 2.5 games ahead of the last place Rockies and have lost 10 of their last 14 games. Anderson’s stats are much better when he pitches on the road. His home ERA of 3.25 drops to 2.49 when he pitches away from Chase Field, and pitcher-friendly Petco Park should allow him to continue his trend of road success.
Jesse Chavez, RHP, A’s, 55 percent owned vs. Rockies
Venue: O.co Coliseum, Oakland, CA
Normally, you wouldn’t want your Fantasy starting pitcher to be going up against a team like the Rockies, but they are a very different team when they play on the road. As a team, the Colorado Rockies are batting .300 at Coors Field but away from home they are batting just .236. The Rockies aren’t just playing on the road, they are playing in pitcher-friendly O.co Coliseum against Jessie Chavez, who has a 1.75 home ERA and been very successful there. Since joining the Oakland rotation in late April, Chavez has put together a solid season. He’s raised his swinging strike rate and lowered his HR/FB rate from last season, and opposing hitters are batting just .229 against him. Chavez should fare well against a Rockies team who has lost nine out of their last twelve games.
Jaime Garcia, LHP, Cardinals, 57 percent owned vs. White Sox
Venue: Busch Stadium, St. Louis, MO
I know that he is extremely injury prone, however, I’m still a bit surprised that Jaime Garcia is not owned in more Fantasy leagues. With a 1.76 ERA and 0.90 WHIP, Garcia makes a great short-term solution for your Fantasy staff. This is an especially good matchup for Garcia since the White Sox bats are especially feeble against left-handed pitching. As a team, they are batting .216 against southpaws and overall, the Sox have scored the second fewest total runs in baseball this season. Garcia has become more of a groundball pitcher this season, which has helped lower his batting average against to a paltry .208. With a 12-24 road record, the Sox present Garcia with an opponent that he should be able to dominate.