The pitching landscape keeps on changing as the Fantasy Baseball season wears on. We had to put Fantasy underachievers Stephen Strasburg and James Paxton on the shelf for a little while, and welcomed back old friends who’ve had some past Fantasy success, like Tanner Roark and Jaime Garcia. Are Chi Chi Gonzalez and Eduardo Rodriguez the Fantasy future? Only time will tell, but for the short term if you stream pitchers, and I know a lot of you do, I’ve identified another eight pitchers who are owned in between 12 and 64 percent of Yahoo! Fantasy leagues that have favorable matchups and a good chance of providing your Fantasy team with a decent start between Wednesday June 3 and Tuesday June 9. As always, 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 6/2/15
Hector Santiago, (L), Angels, 50 percent owned, vs. Rays
Venue: Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim, CA
As his peripheral stats continue to improve, more and more Fantasy owners are becoming aware of Hector Santiago but he is still unowned in half of all Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Leagues. Santiago’s Fantasy stock is slowly rising as owners realize that his strikeouts are up, his walks are down, and opposing batters are batting just .207 against him. In his next outing he gets a home start against a Tampa Bay Rays team that has scored the fifth least number of runs in the major leagues. Santiago is especially effective at home this season, compiling a 1.49 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. In addition, the Angels are especially effective at home, batting 21 points higher at Angel Stadium compared to their offensive output on the road. With all of that going for him, Santiago looks poised to have a good chance of putting together a quality start. Grab him off of the waiver wire before someone else does.
Eduardo Rodriguez, (L), Red Sox, 37 percent owned, vs. Twins
Venue: Fenway Park, Boston, MA
What is there not to like about Eduardo Rodriguez? He’s a southpaw who regularly hits the upper 90s on the radar gun and faces a Minnesota Twins team that is batting just .225 on the road compared to .288 at home. We Fantasy players do need to limit our expectations for Rodriguez, but it’s hard not to get excited about this kid who has a skill set that can just as easily strike out his prey or get them to make an out by hitting a groundball. We Fantasy owners do have to realize that putting a lot of stock into rookie pitchers is risky and the Twins will in no way be pushovers. However, as long as Rodriguez limits the number of walks he gives up, which was an issue at times during his minor league career, he should have the upper hand as he faces opposing batters for the first time.
Chris Young, (R), Royals, 64 percent owned, vs. Indians
Venue: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, MO
After having battled injuries for years, Chris Young is finally healthy and enjoying a great season so far. Young faces the Indians at home on Thursday, where he has been especially tough with a 0.43 ERA and 0.81 WHIP. A loss in velocity over the years has forced Young to reinvent himself and move away from using his fastball while throwing his slider with greater frequency. This has helped his batted ball stats, since opposing batters are hitting line drives against him at a rate of 15.9 percent, which is way below the major league average. Cleveland hitters are batting .238 on the road as opposed to .263 in their home park, and since Young’s overall batting average against is just .164, you can look for the Indians’ road batting average to plunge even lower after Thursdays game.
Tim Lincecum, (R) Giants, 55 percent owned, vs. Phillies
Venue: Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA
Tim Lincecum has been enjoying a resurgence of some sort this season, with five wins and a 3.00 ERA, but he has had a tough time of it in his last two starts. Lincecum has given up four runs in each of those two outings but there is nothing like pitching against the Phillies to help get you back on track. I’ll provide the specifics about the frailties regarding the Phillies offense a little later in this article, but I chose Lincecum as a streamer in this start due to his career success at Citizens Bank Park. He has struck out 34 batters in 33.1 innings and compiled a 2.70 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in his six appearances at Philadelphia’s home park. Lincecum should have a good chance of snapping out of his recent slump against a Phillies team that has lost seven straight and nine of their last 11.
Mike Pelfrey, (R), Twins, 12 percent owned, vs. Brewers
Venue: Target Field, Minneapolis, MN
After healing from Tommy John surgery and a myriad of other injuries in recent years, Mike Pelfrey is finally fully healthy and finally pitching up to his potential. He’s won four games while compiling an overall 2.77 ERA, which drops to 2.01 when he pitches at home. He’s gained back the couple of MPH on his fastball that he lost while he was struggling to get healthy, but he is throwing it less frequently and using his splitter, sinker, and slider with greater frequency. Look for him to continue his winning ways, as he faces the Brewers, who have the worst batting average in major league baseball and have been struggling to score runs all season long.
J.A. Happ, (L) Mariners, 21 percent owned, vs. Rays
Venue: Safeco Field, Seattle, WA
J.A. Happ has given up three runs or less in eight of his ten starts this season and is someone that can help your Fantasy team when the matchup is right. The matchup is right this Sunday, as he faces the Rays, who have had a tendency to go down swinging this season, which should help them seal their fate against Happ. The Rays have the fifth highest total of offensive strikeouts in baseball for the 2015 season. Happ has a decent 3.70 ERA overall and his xFIP and FIP are also in that range, but he is especially effective when he pitches at Safeco Field. His home ERA drops to 2.30 and his WHIP is a sparkling 1.15 when he pitches in Seattle. As he is unowned in 71 percent of Yahoo! Sports Fantasy leagues, he makes for a perfect streaming pitcher in this matchup.
Lance McCullers, (R), Astros, 24 percent owned vs. White Sox
Venue: U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago, IL
Lance McCullers has fared well in his first three major league starts, having compiled a 2.40 ERA and 10.80 K/9 rate. He has, however, pitched just 15.1 innings in those starts due in part to a high walk rate. If he limits the number of walks he gives up, not only will his innings pitched increase but it will also help him to lower his mediocre 1.33 WHIP. Luckily for McCullers, the White Sox offense has the third fewest walks in the major leagues this season. In addition, they have scored the second fewest total runs in baseball. McCullers has the powerful Astros lineup, whose overall batting average is 15 points higher when they play on the road, to back him up in this start. Overall, if McCullers hopes to have a successful major league career he will have to stop issuing free passes, and if there is any team that can help him with that issue it is the White Sox.
Anthony DeSclafani, (R), Reds, 25 percent owned vs. Phillies
Venue: Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA
I really had a problem finding a pitcher to stream for Tuesday, but in the end the ineptitude of the Phillies offense led me to my “paesan” Anthony DeSclafani. DeSclafani has given up three or fewer runs in eight of his 10 starts this season. When he gave up six runs to the Giants on May 17, it caused his ERA to swell to 3.80 and Fantasy owners prematurely dropped him like a bad habit. In his two starts since getting pounded by San Fran, he has pitched to a 2.08 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. Fortunately for DeSclafani, but unfortunately for Philadelphia fans, the Phillies offense is still struggling with the third worst overall batting average and the lowest run total in the majors this season.