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.
Drew Hutchison, Toronto Blue Jays (Sunday vs. Rangers)
As is normally the case with Hutchison, this is a strikeout play. The Blue Jays starter has had a couple of decent outings recently, allowing a total of three runs in his last 10 2/3 innings, but his most important trait is his ability to miss bats. The Rangers rank seventh overall, and fourth in June, in strikeout rate. Hutchison is unlikely to give you a clean start in terms of ERA and WHIP, so you’ll want to think twice about using him depending on how you stand in those categories. He should, however, be able to rack up six or more strikeouts if he can get through just five innings.
C.J. Wilson, Los Angeles Angels (Sunday vs. Mariners)
Wilson has been either very good or very bad in most of his starts this season. He has allowed two or fewer earned runs while pitching at least seven innings six times. Conversely, he has either allowed four-plus runs or failed to make it through six innings in seven of his outings. Two of those good ones, however, have come against the Mariners. In 15 total innings against Seattle this season, Wilson has allowed two runs on nine hits. The Mariners’ offense has ground to a halt, ranking last in the majors in wOBA in June. The good Wilson should show up on Sunday.
Chase Anderson, Arizona Diamondbacks (Sunday @ Padres)
Anderson is not going to be a big help in strikeouts, and he has blown up in two of his last five starts, so the chance that he falls flat on his face is there. At the same time, he allowed three runs in 18 2/3 innings in his other three recent outings, and there’s reason to believe his assignment Sunday in San Diego will resemble the latter. The Padres offense has really struggled of late, outside of Justin Upton. The team ranks 28th in wOBA in June, ahead of only the Mariners and White Sox. Anderson has made two starts against the Padres this year, allowing a total of three runs in 13 innings. This is a good spot for the 27-year-old righty.
Brett Anderson, Los Angeles Dodgers (Friday @ Marlins)
Anderson has managed to stay healthy this season and has provided stability at the backend of the Dodgers’ rotation. In 14 starts, he has a 3.29 ERA, 3.58 xFIP and 1.33 WHIP across 82 innings. He’s easily on pace to make 20 starts for just the second time in his career, and could very well reach the 30-start mark, a level that seemed unfathomable for him after all his arm injuries. He may not have the strikeout upside he once did, but he doesn’t need it to be an effective fantasy spot starter against the Marlins. Their offense has been much better over the last three weeks or so, but this is still a team a pitcher can exploit if he limits the damage done by Giancarlo Stanton. That may be harder for a lefty like Anderson, but he has proven himself trustworthy in such a spot this season.
Matt Garza, Milwaukee Brewers (Saturday vs. Twins)
There are few instances in which you want to roll the dice on Garza. The 31-year-old is having the worst year of his career, racking up a 5.48 ERA, 1.54 WHIP and just 63 strikeouts against 29 walks in 87 innings. He has already surrendered 14 homers, two more than he did all of last season. So why should you give him a shot this weekend? The Twins have really scuffled offensively in June, hitting just .230/.285/.378 with a .287 wOBA—the fourth worst in baseball—in the month. With the way they’re swinging the bats, Garza can take advantage, even in a good hitting environment like Miller Park.
Joe Kelly, Boston Red Sox (Sunday @ Rays)
It’s always hard to tell which Kelly is going to show up, but we know his fastball gives him the ability to get a lot of empty swings, even though his strikeout numbers have taken a dip in his last six starts. Having said that, the Rays are eighth in overall strikeout rate and seventh against righties. Kelly should be able to find his strikeout groove against this team, even if they touch him up for a few runs. Think of him as the deep-league version of Hutchison. You may not want to go after him if you’re close in the rate categories, but if those are already settled, or if you’re willing to take a bit of a gamble, he can really help you in strikeouts.
Tsuyoshi Wada, Chicago Cubs (Saturday @ Cardinals)
This will undoubtedly be a tough test for Wada, assuming he’s able to take the ball on Saturday. He left his last start with tightness in his shoulder, though he has expressed optimism that he’ll be out there in St. Louis over the weekend. While the Cardinals overall wOBA is a healthy .319, it’s just .291 against lefties. Injuries, specifically the one to Matt Holliday, have started to catch up to the offense, as the Cardinals are ninth in June in strikeout rate. Before Monday’s start that got cut short, Wada had his best outing of the season, tossing seven shutout innings against the Indians, a team that has had a lot of success against left-handed pitching this year. If he is healthy enough to make his start Saturday, you’ll want to have him on your radar.