As you continue clawing away in order to put together a weekly winning Fantasy Baseball lineup, you start to realize that if you’re going to be a successful season-long Fantasy Baseball manager, you can’t stand still. You need to roll with the punches and continually tweak your roster to give yourself a chance to be a winner. Had you been satisfied with Shane Greene and Nick Martinez’s early season success and neglected your roster and kept them in your lineup, you would not be happy with the results. As I said last week, 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. Streaming your starting pitchers so they have the best chance of providing you with a quality start is, simply put, a good strategy. In order to help you find your winning starting pitching combination, I’ve identified another seven pitchers who are owned in between seven and 66 percent of Yahoo! Fantasy leagues with favorable matchups between July 29 and August 4. 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 7/28/15
Jose Quintana (L), White Sox, 66 percent owned, vs. Red Sox
Venue: Fenway Park, Boston, MA
Jose Quintana is coming off a complete game shutout against the Cleveland Indians and faces a Red Sox team that, within a relatively small sample size, he has dominated. Quintana has a 1.27 ERA and .66 WHIP in his three career starts against the BoSox. In addition, the Red Sox’s ineptitude against left-handed pitching should help him provide you with a quality start. Boston is batting just .238 with a .373 slugging percentage against southpaws so far this season. After some early season inconsistency, Quintana seems to have straightened himself out and has a 2.76 ERA since May 30. In addition, he should get some added help from the White Sox offense in this start, since his opponent, Rick Porcello, has a 4.02 lifetime ERA against the team from the south side of Chicago.
Jon Niese, (L), Mets, 13 percent owned, vs. Padres
Venue: Citi Field, Flushing, NY
Beginning with his start on June 5, Jon Niese began methodically trimming his ugly 4.42 season ERA. He’s put together eight straight starts in which he gave up three or fewer runs, but I guess he was distracted by the impending birth of his son (he got to watch it live on FaceTime), since he gave up six runs in just three innings in his last start. His next start is against the Padres and their feeble offense. Niese has pitched well against San Diego across his career, with three wins, a 2.04 ERA and a .93 WHIP in five starts against them. Although the Mets’ equally troubled offense may make it difficult for Niese to notch a win against the Padres, if you enjoy low scoring games this matchup may be right up your alley.
Taylor Jungmann, (R), Brewers, 35 percent owned, vs. Chicago Cubs
Venue: Miller Park, Milwaukee, WI
With the second worst record in baseball, there haven’t been too many bright spots for the Milwaukee Brewers this season, however, the performance of 25-year-old Taylor Jungmann should give Brew Crew fans something to look forward to for the 2016 campaign. Jungmann, who has a 5-2 won/loss record with a 2.14 ERA and 1.05 WHIP, has given up two or fewer runs in all but one of his nine starts so far this season. He faces a Cubs team that has been struggling offensively as of late. The Cubs’ free swinging ways, (they lead the majors in offensive strikeouts) as well as Jungmann’s ability to induce opposing batters into hitting groundballs, should help to keep the Cubbies’ bats in check for this matchup.
Nathan Eovaldi, (R), Yankees, 25 percent owned, vs. White Sox
Venue: US Cellular Field, Chicago, IL
Even though Nathan Eovaldi has put together seven straight starts in which he has given up three or fewer runs, Fantasy Baseball managers still don’t seem to trust him, as his 25 percent ownership rate in Yahoo! Fantasy Sports leagues would indicate. He averaged just under six innings per start during those seven starts, which is a bit concerning, however, he pitched eight solid innings in his last effective road win against the Twins this past Sunday. Eovaldi is doing a better job of harnessing his above average tools as of late. He has posted a 2.85 ERA since June 20. Although the White Sox offense has been coming alive recently, on any given day they have up to five right-handed bats in their lineup. That works to Eovaldi’s advantage since righties are batting .079 points lower against him as opposed to lefty batters. In addition, he has been getting some solid run support of his own from the Bronx Bombers’ bats and it should continue in this start, since his opposing pitcher, John Danks, has a career 5.64 ERA against the Yanks.
Jaime Garcia, (L) Angels, 55 percent owned, vs. Rockies
Venue: Busch Stadium, St. Louis, MO
Unfortunately, Jaime Garcia spends way too much time on the disabled list to be considered a long term viable starting pitching option in your Fantasy Baseball league, but when he is healthy you need to get him in your lineup. In his start this coming Sunday, he faces a Rockies team whose offense loses a lot of its bite when it plays on the road. Their .303 home batting average and .486 slugging percentage drops to .238 and .386, respectively, when they hit the road. The lefty Garcia has a further advantage against the Rockies since their overall batting average drops 21 points when they face a southpaw pitcher. Garcia had put up some pretty impressive numbers in his first 48 innings of work this season, with a 1.69 ERA and .88 WHIP, however, a strained groin forced the Cardinals to shut him down. With the Red Birds having won the most home games in all of baseball this season, and the Rockies having issues with their offense when they play away from Coors Field, Garcia has a good chance of picking up right where he left off. Let’s just hope that he can stay off of the disabled list for a while.
Tom Koehler, (R), Marlins, 17 percent owned vs. Mets
Venue: Marlins Park, Miami, FL
A big part of streaming your starting pitchers is a combination of riding a pitcher when he’s hot, while simultaneously taking advantage of favorable matchups. Tom Koehler fits the bill on both counts. Since June 10, he’s dropped his season ERA from 4.00 to its current 3.16. I recommended that you to start him in last week’s article and, thankfully, he pitched seven shutout innings on his way to beating the Padres. That was the sixth straight start in which he had given up two or fewer runs. This week, Koehler gets a home start against another weak offense, courtesy of the NY Mets, and it looks like Koehler has a chance for another win. Marlins Park is ranked twelfth for runs scored this season. Across his career Koehler has pitched much better at home. His 3.34 overall home ERA jumps to 4.37 when he pitches on the road. Those statistics combined with the Mets’ overall .236 team batting average, as well as the fact that they have scored the second fewest runs in baseball, all point towards another potential Koehler quality start.
Jake Peavy, (R), Giants, seven percent owned vs. Braves
Venue: Turner Field, Atlanta, GA
Since coming off of the DL, Jake Peavy has been a serviceable starting pitcher with two wins and a 3.57 ERA in his four starts. With a start against the punch-less Braves, Peavy faces a team that has the second lowest slugging percentage in baseball. Their bats have been especially bad as of late. Over the past week, the Braves are batting just .234 and they are 26th in total runs scored during the same period. Peavy has a good chance for a win with the support of a Giants team that is on fire. They’ve won 12 of their last 13 games and their offense is clicking on all cylinders. As a team, they are batting .291 and have scored the eighth most runs in the majors during the past week.