It’s gut check time. While too many Fantasy Baseball owners lose interest in their teams at this time of year, you need to make sure that you have what it takes to keep up with the daily box scores and the news surrounding the players that can potentially make your team better. You need to be able to quickly react and make moves based on the trends that will help you win your league. The most proactive Fantasy Baseball managers will have the best shot at being the last man or woman standing at the end of the season. So tell me, who is more proactive than the guy or gal who streams their starting pitchers? Keep on molding your team into a champion and put the best players in your lineup every day! In order to help you do that, I’ve identified another seven pitchers that are owned in less than 55 percent of Yahoo! Fantasy leagues that have favorable matchups and the potential to provide your Fantasy team with a quality start between July 22 and July 28. 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 7/21/15
Cody Anderson, (R), Indians, 29 percent owned, vs. Brewers
Venue: Miller Park, Milwaukee, WI
If you regularly look for starting pitchers to stream, earlier in the season one of the first things you did was to check out who was starting
against the lowly Milwaukee Brewers. Their offense has come on of late, and while the Brewers are firmly entrenched in last place in the NL Central, you should no longer automatically think of their opposing pitcher as a good streaming option. That being said, I think that the Indians’ Cody Anderson has a good chance of providing you with a quality start against the Brewers this Wednesday. I know we only have 30.1 innings by which to evaluate him, and many of his season stats are due for some big time regression, but Anderson should continue to be effective for the short term. So far, opposing hitters are batting just .163 against him, and his 98.8 percent strand rate and .165 BABIP are amazing, even though we know that they are unsustainable for the long haul. On the negative side, his strikeout rate of 3.26 K/9 is the lowest of his professional career, but at the same time, so is his .89 walk rate. One thing in Anderson’s favor in this start is the fact that the Brewers don’t play well at home. Milwaukee is nine games under .500 at home, compared to being just two games under. 500 on the road, and their team batting average is 10 points lower when they play at Miller Park. Ride him while he is hot, but be aware that Anderson’s overall stats are due to take a big hit, especially when he faces an opponent for the second time.
Tom Koehler, (R), Marlins, 12 percent owned, vs. Padres
Venue: Petco Park, San Diego, CA
By no means is Tom Koehler elite, but when it comes to streaming, this pitcher, who has given up three or fewer runs in 14 of his 18 starts this season, is definitely someone worth considering if you find yourself in desperate need of a spot starter. His next opponent, the San Diego Padres, are ranked twenty seventh in overall team batting with a .238 average, and they have a .293 OBP against right-handed pitching this season. Opposing batters have a .233 batting average against Koehler this season, and just 17.8 percent of their batted balls have been hit for line drives. Admittedly, Koehler is not the best overall option for you to use as a starter on Thursday, but if you need to find someone on your league’s waiver wire, he might be your best shot at giving your Fantasy team a quick shot in the arm.
Manny Banuelos, (L), Braves, seven percent owned, vs. Cardinals
Venue: Busch Stadium, St. Louis, MO
The Cardinals have been one of the best overall teams for the past few years. Although they have the best record in baseball, the one thing they are missing is a potent offense. Manny Banuelos has pitched just 16.2 major league innings so far this season, but he has effectively used his fastball, curve, changeup and an occasional slider to limit opposing batters to a .213 batting average against him. Taking on the Cardinals at home is no small task but the “Red Birds” are batting just .227 as a team against left-handed pitching this season, and that should work in Banuelos’ favor. The Cardinals are also ranked nineteenth in overall runs scored and twenty sixth in home runs in the major leagues. Banuelos faces a tough Carlos Martinez in this start and he may struggle to get a win, but with his ability to get opposing batters to swing at his pitches out of the strike zone and his above average swinging strike rate, this could be an overall low scoring affair.
Miguel Gonzalez, (R), Orioles, 22 percent owned, vs. Rays
Venue: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, FL
Miguel Gonzalez faces a Tampa Bay team that he has had great success against when he pitches against them in the Rays’ home park. Gonzalez has a career 2.05 ERA and 1.07 WHIP to go along with a 4-2 won/loss record when he pitches in Tropicana Field. He has notched eight wins this season, and although his overall 4.21 ERA is rather pedestrian, opposing batters are swinging and missing at more of his pitches, as his career-high swinging strike rate would suggest. The Tampa Bay Rays have had to rely on their pitching in order to remain in contention in the AL East this season. They are tied with the Padres for the third worst team batting average in baseball and have scored the fifth fewest runs in the major leagues this season. Expect Gonzalez to continue to dominate the light hitting Rays this Saturday.
Andrew Heaney, (L) Angels, 55 percent owned, vs. Rangers
Venue: Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim, CA
In his abbreviated season thus far, Andrew Heaney has continually mowed down major league hitters with his 1.57 ERA and .82 WHIP. With just five starts under his belt this season, we are sure to see some regression in those stats, however, his SIERA, FIP and xFIP suggest that his overall ERA shouldn’t rise much above 3.50. Next up for Heaney is a Texas Rangers team that can’t hit lefty pitching. With the Texas Rangers owning just a .232 batting average, .291 OBP and .371 slugging percentage against southpaws, Heaney has a very good chance of notching his fifth win in his sixth start.
Kevin Gausman, (R), Orioles, eight percent owned vs. Braves
Venue: Camden Yards, Baltimore, MD
Kevin Gausman has bounced around this season. He has worked out of the bullpen, in the starting rotation and he’s even spent some time on the DL. Gausman has pitched with the Orioles big league club and in three different levels of the minors. On Monday, Gausman gets an opportunity to pitch against an Atlanta Braves team whose offense has been slumping mightily. Over the past week, the Braves are batting .200 as a team. They are also ranked sixth in the majors in offensive strikeouts during that span, which lends itself to Gausman’s specialty; striking out batters. Gausman has an above average 10.8 percent swinging strike rate and he has struck out 162 batters in 188 innings for his career. In this start, the Baltimore righty gets the support of a potent Orioles offense whose team slugging percentage and OBP are significantly higher when they play their games at home. In addition, their team batting average is 23 points higher when they play at Camden Yards. Although Gausman’s overall ERA is rather high this season, SIERA, xFIP and FIP suggest that he has pitched much better than his 5.00 ERA reflects. His pitches regularly top out in the mid to high 90 MPH range and his 36.2 percent O-Swing rate is more than six percentage points higher than the league average. Look for Gausman to bear down in this favorable matchup so that he can convince the Orioles that he belongs in the major leagues for the long haul.
Kyle Hendricks, (R), Cubs, 26 percent owned vs. Rockies
Venue: Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL
The Colorado Rockies offense is a lot tamer when they play their games away from Coors Field. Their .305 home batting average plummets to .238 when they play on the road. In addition, their home .358 OBP and .484 slugging percentage drops to .286 and .386 respectively, once they travel away from Denver. Those stats play like music to Kyle Hendricks’ ears because just like the Rockies offense, Hendricks performs much better when he pitches at home. Hendricks’ home ERA and WHIP drop to 2.81 and .96 as opposed to his road 3.97 ERA and 1.24 WHIP. With the Cubs offense being ranked 23rd and 26th in overall runs scored and batting average respectively, the only question that remains is whether or not Hendricks will be given enough run support to pull out a victory in this start.