Fantasy baseball Pitcher Streaming Options: McHugh, Roark
Streaming is a time-tested approach prized by fantasy owners of all stripes. Categories in head-to-head leagues can often come down to the thinnest of margins, making the weekend a crucial time to think about streaming pitchers. Below are this weekend's best options -- all owned in 30 percent or less in either Yahoo!, CBSSports or ESPN leagues as of Thursday night.
• Collin McHugh, Houston Astros -- This season has already had its fair share of surprising pitching performances, and McHugh's debut ranks toward the top of that list. He was nearly as impressive in his second start, and that pair of outings has him safely in the Houston rotation. He'll make his third start on Sunday against the Mariners, a team hitting .231/.289/.368 with a 24-percent strikeout rate. McHugh, of course, has already seen the Seattle nine, having dominated them in his first start of the year. He fanned 12 Mariners in 6 2/3 shutout innings, allowing three hits and walking nary a batter. While the familiarity will definitely help the Mariners more than McHugh in their second go-round, he'll have to be taking the mound with confidence on Sunday. McHugh actually has some impressive strikeout totals from his minor league days, most notably his 9.06 K/9 in 46 2/3 innings with Triple-A Colorado Springs in the Rockies organization, so his ability to miss bats this season comes with some foundation. Combine that with the Mariners' proclivity to swing and miss, and McHugh is a great stream option no matter which category or categories you need this weekend.
• Tanner Roark, Washington Nationals -- He may be in a rotation filled with stars, but Roark has managed to steal some of the press for himself this year. He's worthy of a stream play this week both on his own merits and the matchup. In 32 2/3 innings across five starts this year, Roark has a 2.76 ERA, 3.44 FIP, 1.16 WHIP and 26 strikeouts. He gets the ball for the Nationals on Saturday against the Phillies, an offense that has had some decent batted-ball luck but hasn't done much in the way of driving the baseball. They're hitting a better-than-average .256 as a team, but have a .690 OPS and .305 wOBA, both of which rank 19th in the majors. They're one of three teams in the top 10 in BABIP that isn't also in the top 10 in OPS, signaling plenty of good fortune this year. Roark's counterpart on Saturday is A.J. Burnett, who had struggled with walks all season before his last outing. Roark is ready to help regardless of where you trail.
• Tyler Skaggs, Los Angeles Angels -- In most instances, a decent-but-not-great starter like Skaggs going up against the Rangers would not be an advisable stream move. However, the Rangers offense has been struggling mightily of late, and now might be a good opportunity to take advantage. Skaggs has been all right this year, most recently striking out six and allowing three runs on four hits in seven innings against the Indians. He may not measure up to Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir or Jesse Chavez, the Oakland triumvirate that shut down the Rangers at the beginning of the week, but he's certainly capable of turning in a quality start. He does oppose Yu Darvish, so his offense will have its work cut out, and the Rangers' team-wide strikeout rate is just 17.8 percent, sixth lowest in the majors. Skaggs isn't the best stream option if you're chasing down strikeouts, but he can certainly help your rate categories when he takes the mound on Sunday.
• Franklin Morales, Colorado Rockies -- Morales is admittedly a bit of a reach as a stream option, but hey, you're likely desperate if you're streaming, so hear me out. While Morales has had a few rough outings this year, he also put up a 13-inning stretch against the Padres and Giants in which he allowed two runs on nine hits while striking out 12. The Mets, Morales' opponent on Saturday, rank last in baseball in slugging percentage, 29th in OPS, 29th in wOBA and 29th in weighted runs created plus. In short, their offense has been bad this season, no matter how you measure it. They also have a strikeout rate of 24 percent, so Morales could rack up some whiffs on Saturday. You can do better than Morales when it comes to streaming this weekend, but if you need all the help you can get, he's a sneaky choice given the Mets' offensive struggles this year.