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When deciding on which pitchers to stream, you have to go with the flow. You’ve got to strike while the iron is hot and jump on a pitcher’s bandwagon when he’s hot. Almost every pitcher in the major leagues is going to have their good outings and some real stinkers as well. Your job as a Fantasy manager who streams his or her starting pitchers, is to try to predict when that good start is coming and when a particular pitcher deserves a spot in your lineup. The universe of potential streamers is dynamic and you need to be as well. For instance Mike Pelfrey and Chris Young were good streaming options but have since fallen on hard times, and their recent performances are closer to what was expected of them. As in previous weeks, I’m going to try to give you a hand. It’s not easy but I’ve identified another seven pitchers who are owned in 60 percent or less of Yahoo! Fantasy leagues that have favorable matchups with the potential of providing your Fantasy team with a quality start between July 1 and July 7. As usual I warn you, some of these selections may not be suitable for the faint of heart…
All quoted stats are accurate as of the morning of 6/30/15
Mark Buehrle, (L), Blue Jays, 32 percent owned, vs. Red Sox
Venue: Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The Red Sox are batting .229 against lefties as a team and in Mark Buehrle they are facing one hot southpaw. On May 6, his ERA stood at 6.00. No, that’s not a measurement of an earthquake on the Richter scale; that was his ERA. Since then Buehrle has won five games and pitched to an ERA of 2.66. He’s also pitched much better at home this season. Buehrle’s Rogers Centre ERA is 3.25, and when he pitches on the road it jumps to 4.25. He pitched well in his last start against the BoSox, giving up just one run in 6.2 innings of work. Look for him to have similar success against them on Wednesday.
Matt Moore, (L), Rays, 25 percent owned, vs. Indians
Venue: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, FL
Matt Moore makes his first start of the season against a Cleveland Indians team whose batting average on the road is 15 points lower than its average at home. He also has the advantage of owning a .200 batting average against the players that comprise this season’s typical Indians lineup. In case you’ve forgotten, Moore won 17 games in 2013, and although his control has been a bit of an issue, he has struck out just under a batter per inning for his career. He may suffer from a bit of rust in this start, but his 2.95 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 21.1 innings of work in his five rehab outings, demonstrates that he can still rack up the Ks.
Jesse Chavez, (R), A’s, 56 percent owned, vs. Mariners
Venue: O.co Coliseum, Oakland, CA
With a 2.16 O.co Coliseum ERA, Jesse Chavez continues to be a good streaming option when he has a favorable matchup at home. His peripheral stats are outstanding. He’s raised his swinging strike rate and lowered his HR/FB rate from last season. Opposing batters are hitting just .238 against him, and with Mariners big boppers like Kyle Seager, Nelson Cruz, Mark Trumbo and Robinson Cano continuing to struggle, don’t expect Seattle to do much against Chavez. Since they are batting just .224 on the road and have scored the fewest runs as a team in the major leagues, Chavez should be able to put together another successful home start.
Hector Santiago, (L), Angels, 60 percent owned, vs. Rangers
Venue: Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Arlington, TX
With a 2.58 ERA and 1.13 WHIP, Hector Santiago has quietly emerged as one of the Angels’ most reliable starters. He’s given up more than three runs in just two of his 16 starts this season and has raised his strikeout rate while lowering his walk rate this year. His opponent, the Texas Rangers, are batting just .238 and have a slugging percentage of .383 against lefty pitchers. Santiago should get adequate run support from his team since his opposing pitcher, Wandy Rodriguez, has a home ERA of 7.11. ERA evaluators like xFIP, FIP and SIERA point to Santiago regressing a bit, so while he may not be the best long term solution for your Fantasy team, he should fare well in this start.
Mike Montgomery, (L) Mariners, 16 percent owned, vs. A’s
Venue: O.co Coliseum, Oakland, CA
This looks like it has the potential to be an old fashioned low scoring pitcher’s duel. I’ve already talked about the Mariners’ offensive futility, and while Oakland has scored their fair share of runs this season, their overall team batting average drops 18 points when they face a left-hander. We only have a small sample size by which to evaluate him by, but Mike Montgomery has kept opposing hitters at bay with a .208 batting average against and his .99 WHIP and 5.8 percent walk rate demonstrate that he has excellent control. He has given up a below average percentage of line drives and has done a good job of keeping the ball in the ballpark so far this season. His 65.5 percent first strike rate reveals that he is getting ahead of opposing batters on a regular basis. Like many of your streaming options, Montgomery is expected to regress a bit as the season wears on, but for now, Oakland batters have never faced him, and he should be able to use that and the element of surprise to his advantage.
Chris Heston, (R), Giants, 50 percent owned vs. Mets
Venue: AT & T Park, San Francisco, CA
I’ve featured Chris Heston in this column before, and I’ve discussed how on any given day he either performs well enough to pitch a no-hitter or badly enough to give up six runs. On Monday, he faces the punch-less Mets offense that he no-hit in his last start against them. I’m sure the Mets are going to be looking for revenge but in this matchup, however, I liken the “Amazins” to the little kid throwing wild punches at the big bully. None of the punches land because the bully is keeping him at bay with his outstretched hand firmly against the little kid’s forehead. Just think of the Mets as Popeye trying to take on Bluto before he’s eaten his spinach. With the Mets’ incredible starting pitching, if they ever land some spinach, hitters they will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come. The Mets are 11-26 on the road and they have a .226 batting average away from Citi Field. I think it’s a safe bet that this has the potential to be one of Heston’s better starts.
Wei Yin-Chen, (L), Orioles, 51 percent owned vs. Twins
Venue: Camden Yards, Baltimore, MD
Wei Yin-Chen faces a Minnesota Twins offense that with a .221 batting average and .281 OBP has had its issues playing on the road. That road batting average is 55 points lower than their home batting average. While they are 10 games over .500 when playing at home, they have a 15-21 won/loss record away from Minnesota. On the other end of the spectrum, the Orioles are batting .277 and have a .474 slugging percentage when they play at home, so Chen should enjoy plenty of run support in this contest. With a 2.90 overall ERA and 1.15 WHIP, Chen has pitched well this season. He has raised his strikeout rate while decreasing his line drive rate, which are both trends that are consistent with good pitchers. With the Orioles playing 11 games over .500 at home and the Twins playing poorly this season away from Target Field, Chen has a good shot at providing you with a quality start.