2018 Fantasy Baseball SP Streamers: Week 3
Streaming starters is a common practice in most fantasy baseball leagues. Dan Malin is here to provide you with a number of options to consider for the upcoming week.
So NOW we are slowly getting to the sample sizes where we can formulate some logical guesses in regards to who is worthy of streaming and who may not be. Streamers are typically trendy picks. They’ll be on a hot streak or in a favorable matchup. But this is the time of year where you can pick up guys that can stay on your roster for the entirety of 2018. So pay attention because while these pitchers are recommended for the upcoming week, these names may also be popular waiver wire additions. Just a heads up! Some of the names below also appeared in last week’s piece. I’m a big fan of these re-occurring players the rest of the season, but their ownership is still somewhat low. Hence why they made their way on to the Streamers article again for week three.
Rick Porcello (BOS) – Porcello is about 83% owned in both Yahoo! and ESPN leagues. For anyone thinking this may be a fluke start just note that when he was at his best during his 2016 Cy Young season he was throwing an effective two-seam fastball. He’s returned to form using it about 40% of the time, but at additionally he’s attacking hitters with all of his pitches. It’s the first time in two years that he’s used all his pitches and been able to attack with his entire repertoire. He’s not a massive strikeout producer (17 total through 19.2 innings), but he’s only given up one walk. His 1.83 ERA is justified by his 1.61 FIP and he hasn’t given up a home run yet. He’s certainly trendy and he’ll get a true test Wednesday night on the road against the Angels who are arguably the hottest hitting team in baseball. Big things could be in store for Porcello.
Jake Junis (KC) – A lot will be made about Junis’s no-hit bid earlier this week against Seattle. While the bid fell apart in the seventh inning, Junis came away with the win. The control wasn’t great. He gave up just two walks, but he also hit three batters that game. Now I do still believe in Junis’s stuff, but he’s got a tough matchup to finish week two against the Angels. The great part about Junis is he faces the Tigers in week three. As a team the Tigers are slashing .207/.291/.306 on the young season so this sets up very well for Junis. As of this writing, Detroit has scored just 12 runs over their last six games. The downside is the Royals lineup isn’t that great and run support will be hard to come by. But Junis can deliver a quality start if you’re in need of a streamer next week.
Sean Manaea (OAK) – After hyping up Manaea a week ago for his two deep starts to begin the year he goes out and throws just five innings against the Dodgers. So go figure, right? But Manaea does play the Mariners on Sunday, so he’s in play if you need a streamer in shallow leagues to end week two. Next week he gets a start against the Red Sox at home on Saturday. It’s risky because the Sox are off to a hot start, but it’ll be their first trip West for Boston so it’s possible fatigue plays a factor. The nice part about Manaea is that he’s keeping the walks to a minimum. He’s given up just two walks so far so if you play in a head-to-head categories league with ratio categories he’s certainly helping you with WHIP, K/9, and/or K:BB. The strikeouts may regress. He is inducing more groundballs (51.8%) so far on the year and while ground balls may result in an uptick in hits, he should still be fine.
Nick Pivetta (PHI) – Pivetta’s ownership should be expected to climb in the coming days. Currently he’s available in about 20-25% of leagues so he may still even be available in shallower leagues and he should honestly his ownership should be around 60%. Pivetta possesses some nice power. His fastball sits around 94-95mph and he gets great velocity separation from his off-speed pitches. The swinging strike percentage is still relatively low at 8.7%, but he has 19 strikeouts in 16.2 innings of work and he’s allowed just two walks on the year. He faces the Braves on the road next week. Here’s a little caveat: a little over two weeks ago Pivetta faced the Braves in Sun Trust Park and worked four innings, giving up five hits, two walks, and three earned runs. It could simply be a by-product of the Braves potent lineup, but I’m on board the Pivetta bandwagon even if he struggles next week.
Joey Lucchesi (SD) – Lucchesi has proven to be a pretty viable streaming option and deeper league owners have taken notice. He’s now 34% owned in Yahoo! leagues and only 14% owned in ESPN leagues. He’s coming off back-to-back starts against the Rockies where he’s rung up 15 batters in 11 innings, but he has given up four walks. The 13.9% swinging strike rate over those 11 innings is promising and he’s given up just five hits. The concern with Lucchesi is that maybe opposing offenses pick up on the fact that he only has three pitches to work with. And he’s used only two of those pitches (fastball and changeup) 95% of the time because Milwaukee got the best of his curveball in his debut. If he can get more movement and confidence with his breaking ball he’ll be better suited for the rest of the season. For now he’s still a great streamer in deeper formats. He faces the Giants on Sunday and then the Diamondbacks in Chase Field next Saturday.
Lance Lynn (MIN) – Lynn finds himself in a great spot. He’s another pitcher that can help you late in week two. He faces the White Sox who have lost six of their last seven games and they’ve scored just 19 runs over that span. So if Lynn goes out and shuts this team down on Saturday then he should get a ton of consideration next week. Lynn draws the Rays in Tropicana Field on Friday night. The Trop has been the most pitcher-friendly ballpark so far this year and the Rays are slashing .216/.301/.306 as a team and all those numbers rank in the bottom ten throughout the whole league. He is scheduled to face off against Chris Archer , who has been very good at home over the last couple seasons. Regardless, Lynn needs to be streamed next week.
Tyler Skaggs (LAA) – Skaggs is off to a pretty good start. Through three starts (16 innings) he has not given up a home run, he’s surrendered 13 hits, six walks, and he’s struck out 17 hitters. Now these starts have come against Cleveland, Texas, and Oakland. Cleveland and Texas are collectively among the worst hitting teams in baseball right now, while Oakland is doing pretty well. The true test for Skaggs will be over his next three starts where he’s projected to face the Red Sox, Astros, and Yankees. Skaggs also isn’t a very efficient pitcher. He required 114 pitches in his last start to get through five innings. He’s a riskier play the next couple weeks due to the matchups and inability to pitch deep into games. However, if he can get through the gauntlet of Boston, Houston, and New York without too much damage then more people could buy in.
Deeper League Options
Hyun-Jin Ryu (LAD) – I’ve never been a huge fan of Ryu, but I am a fan of his matchup this coming Monday. In his last start at home against Oakland, Ryu pitched six innings and struck out eight batters while walking one in a winning effort. And this is an Oakland team that’s been hitting the ball very well as a team. He faces the Padres in Petco Park on Monday and the Padres are slashing just .223/.290/.377 so far. If he shuts down the Padres you can probably throw him back into the free agent pool because he’s slated to face the Nationals the following Sunday at home. That’s a fairly risky matchup. The Nationals are off to a sluggish start offensively, but they’ll likely break out of their slump at some point. If they’re still struggling to hit the ball and post runs then maybe you can play Ryu in that second start for week three.
Nick Tropeano (LAA) – Durability will always be a concern with Tropeano. He possesses a lot of talent, but at 27 years old he’s never thrown more than 70 innings in a season. Sure some of it has to do with being a late call-up in 2014 and 2015, but he also didn’t pitch at all in 2017 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. But he looked great in his first start of 2018. Against Kansas City he lasted 6.2 innings while striking out six batters, and giving up six hits and two walks. It may be premature because he has to pitch against the Red Sox on Wednesday night. If he can hold his own he may earn a couple more starts, but Boston will be a very difficult matchup next week.
Chris Stratton (SF) – Stratton is the epitome of a streaming pitcher in deeper leagues. And to be fair he should be considered in 12-team leagues because he gets two starts in week four, so if he does well on Wednesday against the Diamondbacks (in Chase Field) then you may want to hang on to him. In 2017, after dealing with injuries in the first half of the season, Stratton finished the season strong. Over his last eight starts he threw 39.2 innings with 39 strikeouts, but he did walk 16 batters and he had only an 8.5% swinging strike rate over that span. So the strikeouts are somewhat fluky so don’t expect him to get many if you stream him this year. In three starts last year against Arizona he worked 17 innings, gave up just six earned runs, with 18 strikeouts, and ten walks. Again this is kind of the norm for Stratton. He won’t blow you away and the walks will frustrate you. But he’s worth a look in deeper leagues.