I jinxed it. Got all fat and happy with a couple of weeks of success and trusted my gut a little too much. Straily fail, Marcum (continued) fail, Slowey mega-fail. Do I still believe in these guys? Not really with Slowey, but I stand by the fact that Straily has plus talent (though he’ll be sent down soon after another bad start Wednesday), while Marcum is still working his way through myriad problems. Onward and upward, streamers. Trust me one more time, as we may have a format change for next week. (And hey, if you want some confirmation I’m not completely full of it, I AM doing well in Fangraphs the Game for starting pitchers. It’s something, I guess.) As always, I aim for 50/25/15/5 ownership, roughly, when the streamers available allow.
Edwin Jackson (25% owned) – I recommended him last weekend and he did us no harm, so let’s roll the dice again, shall we? The Mets strike out at an above-average clip and are a below-average offense. They do take a fair number of walks, though, and Jackson’s control is yet to come into form this season (9.9% walk rate, his highest since 2007). Still, Jackson gets the strikeouts you seek and has a 3.50 FIP and 3.70 xFIP sitting below his 6.02 ERA. He’s not the best bet for a win thanks to anemic run support from his Cubs, but he should be safe for the ratios and punch-outs.
Brandon McCarthy (19%) – A blogger hyping Brandon McCarthy, drink! Make your jokes, but you know what should, in theory, help a pitcher? Never walking anybody, like McCarthy. But he’s had a rough go of it with a .365 BABIP and a HR/FB rate of 12%, his highest since 2006. There’s not a lot of K-potential, but he has a 3.74 FIP and 3.62 xFIP underlying that unsightly 5.63 ERA and should be through smashing your ratios. He also draws the Marlins, who you may have heard suck. They’re dead last in the league in offense. There might not be strikeouts, but this is a fairly safe win and quality start.
Bronson Arroyo (7%) – Yeah, I know he’s a boring play, but boring can also be safe. Arroyo sets up well in Philadelphia, against a squad that doesn’t walk or hit all that much. In years past, Arroyo has been an iffy start at home and a full-go in friendly road parks, but it’s become less of a concern the last two years as he’s done a better job limiting fly balls. In fact, I’d be pretty confident owning Arroyo if your league is deep enough that a 12-win, 4.00-ERA guy is worth holding on to (assuming there’s no innings cap, where his low strikeout rate becomes an annoyance). All of that is a long way of saying throw him out there this weekend.
Eric Stults (1%) – I’ve always hoped Stults stuck in a rotation, having been a fringe guy for nearly a decade now. It looks like he’s getting that chance with the Padres and is doing okay with it, posting a 4.01 FIP beneath his 4.57 ERA (his xFIP is 4.46 but his HR/FB rate of 8.5% is right around his career mark, though with just 300 innings I’m unsure if this is a skill or an extended period of fortune and NL West-age). Stults draws the Nationals in Petco, a double dose of pitcher friendliness. Outside of Bryce Harper, the Nationals have hit a wall offensively (get it? #heyo), ranking 28th in wOBA and third in strikeouts.
BONUS FIFTH STREAMER – Zach McAllister (15%) – Figured I owe you a bonus one after last week’s terrible showing. McAllister hasn’t been as good as his 2.68 ERA suggests but having watched a few of his starts now, I do think he’s better than the 4.03 FIP and 4.36 xFIP he sports. He gets the Mariners, who aren’t great to begin with but have done their damage almost exclusively against lefties (McAllister is a righty) while striking out at an above-average rate. They’re also subjectively terrible, making me confident in a win and decent ratios for McAllister. All scout speak in this blurb!
Week 5 Average: 4.9 IP, 1 W, 8.71ERA, 6.42 FIP, 2.0 WHIP, 2.3 K, 1-of-4 successful
Season Average: 5.5 IP, 1.5 W, 5.15 ERA, 4.32 FIP, 1.4 WHIP, 4.7 K, 13-of-24 successful