A couple of weeks ago, I did a pretty terrible job of recommending pitching streamers for each day over the remainder of the fantasy week. The results of the five starters were not pretty. Together, they pitched a total of just 26.1 innings, earning 1 win and posting a gruesome 6.49 ERA and 1.52 WHIP. But hey, they did record 29 strikeouts! I am rarely a fan of the streaming strategy to begin with, but given your league context and standings situation, there are times in which it might be advisable. If you deem that this is the case, then here’s your guide.
I am going to once again risk my credibility by trying to identify pitchers who are likely available in the majority of leagues.
Ethan Martin vs WAS
Yeah, he has a 6.39 ERA, but you know by now that I largely ignore the surface stat. This is especially true when the sample size is just 25.1 innings. His SIERA is a much more palatable 4.10. Martin’s biggest bugaboo is his control. He has had difficulty throwing both first pitch strikes and hitting the strike zone. Luckily, he’ll be taking on a Nationals team that ranks 16th in baseball in walk percentage versus right-handers and also middle of the pack in the National League. Though he hasn’t induced a high rate of swinging strikes, he has been striking out batters at an impressive rate. It won’t continue at this pace, but he has always displayed decent strikeout rates in the past. He’ll be opposing Gio Gonzalez, so unfortunately the holy win might be a bit difficult to attain, but he may contribute in the other three categories.
Taijuan Walker @ KC
It might seem a bit silly to recommend a hyped top prospect who recently made his Major League debut. But he’s only owned in 53% of CBS leagues, so there’s a real chance he’s still available in your league. He’ll probably only get two starts over the remainder of the season, which is likely one of the reasons why his ownership rate isn’t higher. But that doesn’t matter when your goal is simply to stream. And he has quite the matchup to do so.
Walker has struggled with his control during his time at Triple-A this year and he has never posted a walk percentage below 8.9% at any of his minor league stops. So I don’t think he’s necessarily ready to succeed immediately and become a regular part of a shallow mixed league staff. However, the Royals are an impatient bunch. They rank 23rd in baseball in walk percentage versus righties and 12th in the American League. Of course, that also comes along with a fantastic team contact rate, but it also comes with the second worst ISO mark in baseball. Assuming he doesn’t get singled to death, this one should yield good results.
Trevor Cahill @ SF
After a strikeout rate surge last year, Cahill’s strikeouts have dipped back down to previous levels. But he is still doing what he does best — inducing ground balls, and tons of them. He faces a mediocre Giants offense that owns a .308 wOBA versus righties, which ranks 9th in the National League. The team also possesses limited power, having posted just a .118 ISO, ranking behind only the Marlins.
Scott Kazmir vs NYM
After a 2.75 ERA in July, Kazmir’s luck reversed course and he posted a 5.40 mark in August. Yet, his xFIP of 3.62 was right in line with every other month. After failing to average even 87 mph with his fastball in 2011, it’s pretty amazing what Kazmir has done this year. His SIERA is almost in line with what he had posted during his peak years. Of course, the primary reason for this recommendation is his opponent. With David Wright and Ike Davis hurt and Marlon Byrd sent packing, that lineup looks nearly as bad as the early season Marlins. Keep in mind, however, that the Indians plans to piggyback Corey Kluber during the game, though when he will enter is anyone’s guess. Hopefully for Kazmir owners (like me!), Kazmir will have the opportunity to go five to qualify for the win.
Dan Straily vs HOU
Straily’s overall statistical line is fairly meh. He possesses an underwhelming fastball for a right-hander and decent, albeit unspectacular control, along with a significant fly ball tendency, which isn’t such a terrible thing when pitching at home at the Oakland Coliseum. Though the strikeout rate is respectable, his SwStk% is well above average, suggesting some upside in that department. Of course, his minor league record also suggests the same. Once again, the opponent comes into play here. It has been well documented that the Astros swing and miss a lot. Straily will square off against Brett Oberholtzer whose good luck is bound to disappear sooner or later (2.79 ERA vs 4.34 SIERA).
Esmil Rogers @ MIN
Earlier in the season, I ranked Esmil Rogers pretty low in my monthly AL starting pitcher tier rankings. I was criticized for it as at the time Rogers’ ERA was somewhere in the 3.00 range. Now his ERA sits at a bloated 5.03 and here I am actually recommending him. Who wudda thunk it? Back then, Rogers was quite fortunate, as his ERA was well below his SIERA. Now his ERA is almost a full run above his SIERA. While his strikeout rate leaves something to be desired, the rest of his skill set is respectable enough to combine for an acceptable package. Facing the Twins though will make life a bit easier. While Joe Mauer might be back by this game, Justin Morneau is gone and the Twins offense hasn’t been very productive all season long. They rank 12th in the American League in wOBA and have the second highest strikeout rate.