It’s the final week of the regular season! This makes for the perfect opportunity to stream as the ratio categories should be pretty locked in at the moment, while the upside from some additional wins and strikeouts likely far outweigh any downside from an implosion or two. Here are this week’s recommendation, while sticking with under 50% ownership on CBS.
Once again I’m recommending Morton as he has yet another strong matchup. It’s somewhat understandable given his sketchy history that fantasy owners are still a bit suspect of the worm-killing right-hander. But increased fastball velocity has led to the best SwStk% of his career, while his control has improved. Combine that with league leading ground ball ways in front of an excellent Pirates defense and you have yourself a pretty solid, and safe, fantasy starter.
Here’s a bonus second recommendation for Monday as the flame-throwing rookie gets a strong matchup against a light-hitting Mariners lineup in a pitcher’s park. Despite lighting up the radar gun by averaging 98 mph with his fastball during his Major League debut, he induced few swinging strikes, posting a SwStk% of just 3.5%. But that should jump of course and he has posted strong strikeout rates everywhere he’s pitched. He’ll also be facing a Seattle team that ranks fifth in baseball in strikeout percentage.
It boggles my mind that Ross is owned in just 45% of CBS leagues. I am officially announcing today that he will be one of my favorite 2014 sleepers, just as Andrew Cashner was for me this year. Speaking of Cashner, Ross is quite similar in that he features a high velocity fastball and complements that with an excellent slider. He is also a ground ball pitcher and has just so-so control, something that Cashner was considered to have prior to this year’s improvement.
The second rookie streaming option recommended, I analyzed Paxton’s prospects just last week. An 11/7 K:BB ratio over 17 innings, along with a 4.51 SIERA versus 2.12 ERA, aren’t exactly screaming must-add in fantasy leagues, but he throws hard and induces ground balls. His biggest issue at the moment is control, but fortunately the Royals have posted the fourth worst walk rate versus left-handers this season.
I believe I may have recommended McAllister in every single streamer article. The Indians have really had a soft schedule in the last couple of weeks, which has caused me to continue to identify a pitcher with a 4.47 SIERA a decent option. His ability to outperform his SIERA is due primarily to his HR/FB rate suppression, which is playing with fire. Luckily, he faces a Twins team that ranks just 19th in baseball in ISO at pitcher friendley Target Field.
Last week I recommended Smith for the first time as he faced a tough Dodgers offense. This time, he’ll take on a much weaker Giants attack. Since returning to the Padres rotation, Smith has started 3 games and has posted a 23/11 K:BB ratio over 18 innings. The walk rate is out of character as he has shown sterling control throughout his minor league career. His F-Strike% is also well above the league average, so there’s a clear disconnect here and I would expect the walk rate to drop precipitously. The other good news — his SwStk% of nearly 14% is fantastic and would lead baseball if he qualified.
Facing the Mets equals automatic recommendage and it’s yet another week that I am going with Peralta. Did you know that he has only allowed more than 3 runs in a start once over his last 10 outings? I don’t usually care for just focusing on runs allowed, especially in some small sample size, but his performance makes it surprising that he’s owned in just 29% of CBS leagues. Although his control comes and goes, his ground ball tendency and improved strikeout ability should limit the blowups. And it would take some really bad pitching to blow up against the Mets.
On the final day of the 2013 regular season, no starting pitcher fits the criteria that I feel comfortable recommending. Hopefully you’ll have your league titles wrapped up by then anyway!