It may be the Fourth of July this weekend, but the fantasy baseball doesn't stop. Here are the best pitchers to pick up for a spot start.
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 50–70% are considered streamers for shallow-league owners. If a pitcher is available in 71–89% 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.
Eduardo Rodriguez, Boston Red Sox (Sunday vs. Astros)
Rodriguez’ first seven starts in the majors have been all or nothing. We hear about three-true-outcomes hitters all the time, but you could say that he has been a two-true-outcomes pitcher. In five of Rodriguez’ outings, he has allowed one or zero runs while pitching at least six innings. In the other two, he surrendered 15 runs in a total of 8 1/3 innings. He may not keep a clean sheet against the Astros’ offense, but he should be able to miss plenty of bats. If he can go at least six innings, he’ll give the owners who stream him somewhere in the neighborhood of seven strikeouts.
Steven Matz, New York Mets (Sunday @ Dodgers)
Matz had a phenomenal major league debut last week, allowing two runs on five hits and striking out six in 7 2/3 innings to notch his first career victory. He also went 3-for-3 with four RBI, something no other pitcher has done in his debut in the last 100 years. That offense doesn’t much matter to fantasy owners. They hope he can keep dealing on the mound against the Dodgers this weekend. That’s a tougher assignment than the Reds, but Chavez Ravine is a good place to pitch, and Matz is one of the best, widely available pitchers on the board on Sunday.
Mike Bolsinger, Los Angeles Dodgers (Sunday vs. Mets)
There’s no better stream target this weekend, regardless of your league size, than Bolsinger. He has been very good for the balance of the season, totaling a 2.76 ERA, 3.22 xFIP, 1.21 WHIP and 59 strikeouts in 62 innings. He also has a great matchup with the punchless Mets on Sunday. The Mets are coming off a month of June in which they scored 84 runs in 27 games (3.1 runs per game) and were 28th in the majors in wOBA. This would probably be a substandard offense even if David Wright and Travis D’Arnaud were healthy. Bolsinger should dominate the Mets on Sunday.
Chris Tillman, Baltimore Orioles (Friday vs. White Sox)
Tillman has had a dreadful season, racking up a 5.67 ERA and 1.51 WHIP in 79 1/3 innings. That said, the White Sox have been quite possibly the most disappointing team in 2015. They were supposed to have a strong rotation and an offense to match after all the moves they made in the offseason, but that just has not come to fruition. They’re last in the majors in slugging, 29th in wOBA and isolated slugging, and 27th in OBP. As bad as Tillman has been this year, he should still be able to take advantage of this matchup.
Danny Duffy, Kansas City Royals (Sunday vs. Twins)
We could basically repeat the Tillman recommendation here, replacing his name with Duffy’s and “White Sox” with “Twins.” Duffy has struggled to this point of the season, although his FIP (4.17) 1.3 runs lower than his ERA (5.44). The Twins, however, have really fallen off in terms of offense, and now rank 21st in the league in wOBA. I’d rather stream Bolsinger or Tillman than Duffy, but he’s still a guy worth adding if you need help anywhere in your pitching categories. He pitches Sunday, so you know exactly what you’ll need going in your matchup going into his start. If you find yourself in need of a spot starter on the last day of the week, Duffy will be one of your better options.
Kendall Graveman, Oakland A’s (Saturday vs. Mariners)
Since allowing six runs to the Astros back on April 25, Graveman hasn’t surrendered more than three in any of his eight trips to the mound. In his last five starts, he has allowed just six runs in 36 innings, good for a 1.50 ERA, to go along with a 1.11 WHIP. Seattle’s offense is 27th in the majors with a .292 wOBA while also sporting the fifth-highest strikeout rate. Graveman is listed under the deep-league heading because of his ownership rate, but this is so great a matchup that you can really stream him in any format this weekend.
Cody Anderson, Cleveland Indians (Saturday @ Pirates)
Anderson has thrown 15 2/3 innings in the first two starts of his career, allowing a total of one run on eight hits and one walk. That’s pretty good, especially when you see that he backed it up with a 1.89 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in 71 1/3 combined innings at Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus before getting the call to the majors. The 24-year-old didn’t enter the season on any top-100 prospect lists, but he has really seemed to put it together after struggling in the minors in 2014. The Pirates don’t necessary present a plus matchup, but Anderson has shown enough in his first two outings to be worth a spot start in deeper mixers this weekend.