Every week, we’ll give you pitchers to add for weekend spot starts who can help you chase down a category or two in head-to-head leagues. All of the pitchers we offer will fall under one of three headings. If a pitcher is a stream candidate in “shallow” leagues, it means he has an ownership rate between 35% and 50%. “Medium” translates to pitchers with ownership rates between 21% and 34%, while those under the “deep” heading are owned in 20% of leagues or less.
An endorsement for a pitcher in a shallow or medium league would also apply to the leagues beneath it, but those of you in deep leagues shouldn’t hold out hope that a pitcher with an ownership rate of 40% will be available.
Matt Shoemaker, Angels (Friday @ A’s)
Shoemaker barely qualifies for this column, checking in at an ownership rate of exactly 50%. There are probably plenty of you reading this who wish you could still pick up Shoemaker, not just for a spot start, but to be a key part of your rotation for the rest of the season. Shoemaker has been one of the best pitchers in the majors over the last month, and absolutely should be added in all formats. The fact that he has a great matchup this weekend is just the cherry on top. Over his last five starts, Shoemaker has allowed eight runs, while striking out 48 batters and walking one in 38 1/3 innings. Get him now.
Mike Leake, Cardinals (Sunday vs. Rangers)
Leake has been quietly effective for the better part of the last six weeks, allowing two or fewer runs while going at least six innings in six of his last seven starts. In that time, Leake has a 2.66 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 31 strikeouts against five walks in 47 1/3 frames. The Rangers present a tough matchup, but Leake’s a good bet for shallow-league owners looking for some last-minute help.
Jerad Eickhoff, Phillies (Saturday vs. Diamondbacks)
Like Shoemaker, Eickhoff should be owned in more leagues, though he’s not of quite as high a priority. He has been excellent in four of his last five starts, going at least six innings and allowing no more than two runs in any of those outings. It won’t be a walk in the park against the Diamondbacks, but Eickhoff has faced the Cubs and Blue Jays in his last two trips to the mound, surrendering one run on five hits with 13 strikeouts in those starts. He can handle this Arizona lineup, and is the sort of pitcher owners in 12-team or more leagues should consider keeping around beyond the weekend.
Shelby Miller, Diamondbacks (Sunday @ Phillies)
Miller, who’s on the DL with a potentially dubious finger injury, is scheduled to rejoin the Arizona rotation in Philadelphia on Sunday. He has been great in his two rehab outings, though it must be noted that they have been against High A competition. Still, in those two starts, he has allowed one earned run while striking out 19 batters in 12 innings. Miller is one of the hardest players to value for the rest of the season, but it’s worth giving him a shot this weekend, especially in a good matchup with the Phillies. For those of you in leagues with at least 12 teams, he has the upside to be a backend starter.
Nathan Eovaldi, Yankees (Sunday @ Twins)
Eovaldi has really struggled in his last three starts, allowing 16 runs on 26 hits in 14 2/3 innings. One of those was against the Orioles while another was at Coors Field. He’ll have a much easier assignment against the Twins at Target Field this weekend. The Twins are 22nd in the majors in wOBA and eighth in strikeout rate, making them a welcome sight for Eovaldi. The matchup and his strikeout upside make him a worthwhile stream for owners in standard leagues.
Trevor Bauer, Indians (Friday vs. White Sox)
Bauer spent the last six weeks or so locking down a spot in the Cleveland rotation. He doesn’t necessarily command a full-time spot in your rotation, but he’s one of the better streaming options this weekend. Over his last three starts, Bauer has a 2.38 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 19 strikeouts in 22 2/3 innings. There are a couple of threatening bats in the White Sox lineup, but the team still leaves a lot to be desired, especially in the consistency department. You can trust Bauer in this matchup.
Jon Gray, Rockies (Friday @ Marlins)
Gray has pitched well at Coors Field. Gray has pitched well against great offenses. Gray has pitched well against great offenses at Coors Field. It’s time to acknowledge that we just might be watching the 24-year-old starting to realize his potential. In his last four starts—two of which were at home, including one against the Red Sox—he has a 2.30 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 29 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings. Miami should be another tough test, but we’re beyond doubting Gray based on his opponents. Go ahead and get him in your lineup, and give him a shot to stick around, as well.
Brandon Finnegan, Reds (Sunday @ Astros)
Deep-league owners who need to stream pitchers are in a tough spot this weekend. There simply aren’t many great, reliably available options. Finnegan has thrown the ball well this month, compiling a 1.86 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in three June starts. Those are arbitrary endpoints, of course, but it still underscores that he is in the middle of a good stretch. Houston isn’t an ideal matchup, but if you’re in a league with at least 14 teams, the chances of any of the pitchers listed above Finnegan being available are slim. If you are in the streaming market, he’s going to be your best bet.
Tim Lincecum, Angels (Saturday @ A’s)
Lincecum is set to make his 2016 and Angels debut, taking the ball on Saturday against the A’s. He made three starts at Triple A Salt Lake, amassing a 2.65 ERA, 0.76 WHIP and 10 strikeouts in 17 innings. He hasn’t been a fantasy asset since 2011, but deep-league owners would be wise to kick the tires this weekend. He gets a soft landing in his first start against an Oakland team that is 26th in the majors in wOBA, and has enough upside to become a reliable backend starters in leagues with at least 14 teams.