Looking to swing pitching categories in fantasy baseball? Take a chance on starting Taylor Jungmann or Joe Ross, both of whom have favorable matchups against weak offenses this weekend.
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.
Ian Kennedy, San Diego Padres (Friday @ Marlins)
Kennedy’s 3.84 xFIP is much better than his 4.58 ERA, which is to be expected given his high strikeout and home run totals. The good news for him, and his prospective owners, is that the Marlins strike out a lot, and Marlins Park is very forgiving of fly-ball pitchers. This is a good spot for Kennedy, regardless of league size. Owners in shallow leagues can stream him, and those of you who have Kennedy stashed on your bench in deep leagues should activate him with confidence for this start in Miami.
C.J. Wilson, Los Angeles Angels (Sunday @ Dodgers)
Wilson got rocked his last time out, and the Dodgers are a high degree-of-difficulty matchup. He can, however, counteract a lot of the pop in their lineup thanks to his platoon advantage over Adrian Gonzalez and Joc Pederson. Before the Astros touched Wilson up for six runs in four innings his last trip to the mound, he had five consecutive quality starts, surrendering a total of nine runs in 31 2/3 innings in that span. If you can wait until Sunday to make the move, do so. Wilson isn’t a slam dunk in this matchup, so see exactly where you need help before adding him to your roster.
Eduardo Rodriguez, Boston Red Sox (Friday vs. Rays)
Rodriguez was excellent in his last start, allowing just one run and striking out six in seven innings in a win over the Tigers. He has surrendered two or fewer runs in four of his last five starts, and draws a great matchup with the Rays on Friday. The Tampa Bay lineup is fifth in the majors in strikeout rate and 23rd in wOBA. The only teams to get to Rodriguez for more than two runs in his 11 starts this year were the Blue Jays and Angels, and they rank first and 13th, respectively, in wOBA. Rodriguez has already had a ton of success against lineups like the Rays’ this season. He should continue that on Friday.
Taylor Jungmann, Milwaukee Brewers (Friday vs. Cubs)
It has been a predictably disappointing season in Milwaukee, with the Brewers comfortably out of playoff contention heading into August, but Jungmann has been one of the few bright spots. The 25-year-old has a 2.14 ERA, 3.23 FIP, 1.05 WHIP and 46 strikeouts in 59 innings. He’ll start the series opener against the Cubs on Friday, and is one of the strongest spot starters for fantasy owners in typical leagues. The Cubs have really been struggling offensively since the All-Star break, and they continue to swing and miss with the best of them, as they have done all season long. If Jungmann can pound the strike zone, he can have a really nice start against the Brewers’ rival to the south.
Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies (Saturday vs. Braves)
Nola has been very good in his first two starts as a major leaguer, allowing a total of five runs on 10 hits and three walks with 12 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings. He looks like he can be a nice piece for the Phillies in the future, and he can certainly be a nice piece for fantasy owners this weekend when he takes on the Braves. Even with Freddie Freeman back in the lineup, this Braves’ offense is among the worst in the league. If Nola can make someone other than Freeman beat him, he should be able to get through six or seven innings with a decent number of strikeouts.
Joe Ross, Washington Nationals (Saturday @ Mets)
Ross has done his best Stephen Strasburg impression in place of the injured starter. In his five starts, Ross has allowed a total of 11 earned runs in 32 2/3 innings, good for a 3.03 ERA. He has fanned 34 batters and walked just three, and carries an impressive 0.95 WHIP. It’ll be awfully hard for the Nationals to send Ross to the bullpen when Strasburg returns, but that’s what they’ll have to do. In the meantime, he should have a field day against the lowly Mets’ lineup on Saturday. Even with the additions of Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe, this is arguably the worst offense in the league. Ross already faced them once, allowing two earned runs and striking out four in 6 1/3 frames.
Cody Anderson, Cleveland Indians (Saturday @ A’s)
Anderson doesn’t bring a ton of strikeout upside to the table, and that’s always going to keep his fantasy value down. Having said that, he has a great matchup with the A’s on Saturday. Oakland’s offense was league-average or worse in most offensive statistics before it dealt Ben Zobrist, and the A’s could make more trades by time they see Anderson over the weekend. Even if they don’t, this is a lineup fantasy owners want to target when streaming pitchers. Anderson has been roughed up in his last two starts, but he gave up just three runs in 30 1/3 innings in the four starts that preceded those. He has shown enough this year to trust him in an outing against the A’s.
David Phelps, Miami Marlins (Friday vs. Padres)
Speaking of teams that could be active before Friday’s trade deadline, the Padres may look awfully different when Phelps takes the ball against them than they do at press time. Most notably on the offensive side of the equation, Justin Upton could be in a new uniform by Friday night. Whether or not the Padres trade any of their hitters, this is a bad offense. It’s last in the majors in wOBA and third in strikeout rate. Phelps has been a pleasant surprise for the Marlins this year, amassing a 3.86 ERA, 3.71 FIP and 1.28 WHIP in 100 1/3 innings. This is a great opportunity for fantasy owners to stream him.