Fantasy Baseball Category Impact: ERA
Each week, Colby Conway provides in-depth analysis on specific category contributors who may be lingering on your waiver wire.
Welcome back, FA Nation! Get ready for this week’s edition of Category Impact! If you’re new to the site or just forget how this article works since last week, let me offer a quick refresher.
Category Impact will offer up anywhere from four to six players that can help you out in a certain category, whether it is stolen bases, home runs, or strikeouts. Some weeks, there will be an added focus on a specific categories, while others will be just players that you will want to pick up, but there will be in-depth analysis detailing exactly what category, or categories, a certain player will be of added benefit.
This week’s featured category is….ERA!
Andrew Heaney , SP LAA – Come on people, stop sleeping on Heaney! There’s no way his ownership should be under 40-percent over on ESPN! Come on! Sure, he’s 9-9 on the year, but his 3.98 ERA and 1.16 WHIP are serviceable numbers that would help plenty of fantasy teams. His most recent start was an absolute gem against the White Sox, punching out 12 batters over seven scoreless innings. Yes, there’s been a clunker or two or three mixed in, but for the most part in the second half, he’s been really good, and consistent in the strikeout department. In the last two weeks, his ERA is 1.89, which is very good, and for the month of September it resides at a quality 2.77 ERA.
If he’s still available in your league, go add this guy now. As the season winds down, he can throw up another gem or two for your fantasy squad, and who knows, it could be the slight boost you need to advance to the next round or win it all.
Steven Matz , SP NYM – Matz was effective on Thursday, holding the Marlins to three earned runs over 6.1 innings of work. His record on the year is paltry, but at his ownership percentage, a 4.17 ERA is far from horrible. For the second half as a whole, he’s been worse compared to the months before the All-Star break, but he’s picked it up of late. After a rough July (6.07 ERA), he’s settled in, most notably with a sub-3.00 ERA in the month of September. The southpaw is hurt by the long ball when facing righties, but only two balls have left the yard by way of a left-handed hitter.
Again, every opportunity could be your last to accrue meaningful fantasy stats, and with his next start coming against the Phillies, it would be wise to add Matz to your rotation if you haven’t done so already. For what it’s worth, the Phillies rank just outside the bottom-five in terms of team OPS against southpaws.
Jorge Lopez , SP KC – Lopez has been throwing the baseball very well of late, even for a middling Kansas City ball club. Since August 15th, he’s allowed one earned run in three outings, going at least five innings in each of those outings. He had two rough starts at the end of August, but in September, Lopez has allowed just two earned runs over 15 innings, good for a 1.20 ERA this month. Opponents are hitting just .120 against him this month, and Lopez’s 12:1 K/BB ratio has been a big factor in his success this month. Just like most young pitchers getting accustomed to the big leagues, there’s a chance he gets knocked around the park, but with an upcoming start against the Twins, a team he just dominated, Lopez has a great opportunity to be a value added to your team’s ERA. Don’t overthink it folks. Ride the wave.
Joey Lucchesi , SP SDP – Lucchesi has found his name in my Category Impact on many occasions, largely in part due to his ability to rack up some strikeouts in an uber-friendly pitcher’s park. The strikeouts are still there for Lucchesi, punching out 18 batters over his last 16.2 innings, but his 3.24 ERA and 1.20 WHIP are incredibly enticing as the regular season draws closer to the end. He draws a favorable start with the Giants in his next outing, and let’s not underestimate what Lucchesi has displayed this season. In the San Diego rotation, one could argue that Lucchesi is the most attractive fantasy option this season, and will likely be a stalwart in the starting five in 2019. There are some key pieces coming back from injury, but for those in deeper dynasty formats, the 25-year-old southpaw is worthy of a roster spot through the offseason.
Shawn Armstrong , RP SEA – Over the last two weeks, no one has been able to crack the code of putting up some numbers against the 28-year-old from East Carolina University. In 8.1 innings of work at the big league level, Armstrong has surrendered just four hits, while striking out seven batters, good for a spotless 0.00 ERA and 0.48 WHIP. He’s right around a strikeout per inning, and even though he won’t be getting saves for your fantasy team down the stretch, he’s able to be a dominant reliever to boost your team’s ERA, along with WHIP and K/9. Armstrong is getting the opposition to hit the ball on the ground more than in the air, and his 1.13 GB/FB ratio would be the second-best mark of his career. He’s practically available in every fantasy league in America, so you should have no problems scooping him up for the stretch run of the 2018 fantasy campaign.