It’s the weekend, meaning it’s your last chance to flip categories in head-to-head leagues. Every week, Michael Beller will provide you with the best pitchers to stream in shallow, normal and deep leagues. Pitchers with availability rates of 50% to 70% are considered streamers for shallow-league owners. If a pitcher is available in 71 to 89% of leagues, he falls in the normal section. Anyone available in 90% of leagues or more is a deep stream option.
Here are Beller’s picks for this weekend.
Hector Santiago, Los Angeles Angels (Friday vs. Tigers)
One more strong start for Santiago would probably push his ownership rate north of 50%, and rightfully so. Realistically, it should already be there. The Tigers are a tough draw, but Santiago has been solid all season, posting a 2.47 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 50 strikeouts in 54 2/3 innings. Given the opponent and the fact that he takes the ball Friday, it would be understandable if you passed on streaming him this week. But give him a shot if you’re already hurting in ERA and WHIP.
Miguel Gonzalez, Baltimore Orioles (Friday vs. Rays)
Gonzalez is the Keith Richards to Santiago’s Mick Jagger, the Pippen to his Jordan, the Madison to his Jefferson. Both have appeared in multiple Weekend Stream columns this year, and both will continue to show up until they’re owned in enough leagues. Gonzalez has allowed nine runs combined in his last two starts, though he did have eight strikeouts in the first outing. He can exploit a Rays’ lineup that is tied for the fifth-highest strikeout rate in league and ranks 22nd in wOBA against righties. He has already faced them twice this season, allowing a total of one run on seven hits and five walks with 11 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings.
Chase Anderson, Arizona Diamondbacks (Sunday @ Brewers)
Anderson’s golden carriage is probably going to turn back into a pumpkin at some point. His strikeout rate is just 17.1%, his ground-ball rate is good-but-not-great, and his peripheral numbers suggest he’s getting very lucky with a 3.7% HR/FB ratio. Having said that, he takes a 2.59 ERA, 3.15 FIP and 1.11 WHIP in to Milwaukee on Sunday, where he’ll meet a Brewers team that, while hitting more of late, still isn’t exactly a fearsome lineup. Ryan Braun is swinging a hot bat and presents Anderson with his greatest challenge, but if he can sidestep him, he could provide owners looking for help on the last day of the week with a useful outing.
Shane Greene, Detroit Tigers (Saturday @ Angels)
One month ago, it seemed like Greene would never be part of a Weekend Stream column. It appeared he was fulfilling his breakout potential through his first three starts of the season, but his performance has been up and down ever since. His advanced numbers suggest, however, that he has been a bit unfortunate. Greene has allowed a hard-hit rate of just 23.5%. He’s not walking anyone, and he doesn’t surrender many home runs. Unfortunately, Greene seems to always give up hits in bunches, evidenced by a strand rate of 64.5%. He may not be a fantasy ace, but he also shouldn’t be this readily available. He’s one of the best pitchers to stream for any format this weekend.
Lance McCullers, Houston Astros (Friday vs. White Sox)
McCullers has put together a decent start to his major league career, allowing three runs and fanning 11 batters in his first 10 2/3 innings. Friday is a tricky day to stream a pitcher since so much could still happen over the weekend, but if you’re looking for someone at this stage of the week, he could have some success against the White Sox. They’re dead last in the league in wOBA against left-handed pitching, with Alexei Ramirez, Adam Eaton and Adam LaRoche all struggling mightily against southpaws.
Drew Hutchison, Toronto Blue Jays (Sunday @ Twins)
Hutchison hasn’t taken off as many expected him to this year, but he is still racking up strikeouts. The hard-throwing righty has fanned 51 batters in 58 innings this year, and has especially picked it up of late, notching 28 strikeouts in his last 26 2/3 frames. The Twins do a lot of things well on offense, but they also carry the league’s seventh-highest strikeout rate. Hutchison may not be the best pitcher to stream if you’re still close in the rate categories, but there’s no better pitcher to grab if you need help in strikeouts.
Charlie Morton, Pittsburgh Pirates (Saturday @ Padres)
Morton made his season debut earlier this week, tossing seven innings and allowing two runs on eight hits in a win over the Marlins. Morton isn’t a big strikeout pitcher, though he did cobble together an 18.9% strikeout rate and 7.21 K/9 last season. What he does do well is keep the ball on the ground, and that was on display against the Marlins. He got 16 ground-ball outs and needed just 83 pitches to get through seven innings. The matchup with San Diego is neutral, but the setting is great.
Odrisamer Despaigne, San Diego Padres (Sunday vs. Pirates)
Despaigne has put together consecutive strong starts, allowing two runs on 11 hits and two walks in 12 innings over his last two outings. His second stint as a temporary member of the San Diego rotation this year got off to a rocky start, but he has corrected course over the last couple weeks, and has a nice matchup with the Pirates at Petco Park on Sunday. Pittsburgh is 20th in the league in wOBA against right-handed hitters, and Despaigne has a good enough change to deal with the likes of Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez.
Tsuyoshi Wada, Chicago Cubs (Sunday vs. Royals)
Wada likely would have started the year in the Cubs’ rotation if not for an injury in spring training, and he has proved why in his first two starts of the 2015 season. He has taken a pair of no-decisions, but has allowed three runs on eight hits with 15 strikeouts against the Padres and Nationals. He’ll face a tough test against a Kansas City team that has a .340 wOBA against left-handed pitching this year, but he has shown enough in his first two starts to give him a chance, considering that he takes the ball on Sunday and represents one of the fantasy community’s very last chances this week to chase down pitching categories in head-to-head leagues.