Does your fantasy baseball team need pitching help this weekend? SI’s Michael Beller picks out the best pitchers for spot starts on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Every week we’ll give you pitchers to add for 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.
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Matt Andriese, Rays (Friday @ Tigers)
Andriese sure knows how to protect his spot in a starting rotation. The Rays recalled him from Triple A Durham during the first week of May after his strong start in the minors, and in two starts with the Rays this season, he has allowed one run on six hits in 16 innings, including tossing a complete-game, two-hit, five-strikeout shutout against the A’s. Friday’s assignment against the Tigers is much tougher than either of his first two starts, but Andriese could be here to stay for a while. If he has another strong outing Friday, you’re going to want to keep him around for the time being.
Jerad Eickhoff, Phillies (Sunday vs. Braves)
Eickhoff has allowed three earned runs in four straight starts, pushing his ERA up to 4.44 and his FIP to 4.05 on the season. There remains plenty of strikeout upside in his right arm, but it’s worth mentioning that he has fanned just 12 batters in his last 22 1/3 innings. Still, it doesn’t get better for a pitcher in 2016 than a matchup with the Braves. They’re last in the league in wOBA, slugging and isolated slugging, 27th in OBP, and 28th in batting average. Even though they got to him in Atlanta a week ago, this remains an offense he should be able to dominate.
Tyler Chatwood, Rockies (Saturday @ Pirates)
In four starts covering 27 2/3 innings outside Coors Field this season, Chatwood has a 0.33 ERA, 0.80 WHIP and 21 strikeouts. He has limited hitters to a .175/.223/.216 slash line on the road, winning all four of his starts. He may be going up against a tough Pittsburgh team Saturday, but Chatwood has done enough to earn our trust when he’s on any mound not in Denver. If your league goes more than 12 teams deep, you might want to consider keeping Chatwood around for a while. You won’t use him when he starts at home, but he has been good enough on the road to stick on a roster in deeper formats.
Alex Wood, Dodgers (Saturday @ Padres)
Wood has been great in his last two trips to the mound, allowing two earned runs on seven hits while striking out 14 and walking three in 12 1/3 innings. Wood has seemed to locate his swing and miss stuff since the end of April, fanning 30 batters in his last 24 1/3 frames. If you’re a pitcher and you can’t face the Braves, the next best matchup you can hope for is the Padres. They’re 29th in wOBA, 28th in slugging, 27th in ISO, and 30th in OBP and batting average. Wood is one of your best stream options this weekend, regardless of league size.
Adam Conley, Marlins (Sunday vs. Nationals)
Conley has showed why the Marlins are so excited about his future in three of his last four starts. We’ll put aside the one bad one for now, and instead focus on the other three. In those outings—wins over the Brewers, Diamondbacks and Phillies—Conley has allowed all of one run on 10 hits and six walks in 19 innings. He whiffed 18 batters in those starts, and now has 43 strikeouts in 42 1/3 innings on the year. Washington may not be a pushover, but the 25-year-old Conley is proving that he’s good enough to use in any matchup.
Tyler Duffey, Twins (Friday vs. Blue Jays)
There may not be a lot to get excited about in Minnesota this season, but Duffey is shaping up to be a silver lining. The 25-year-old has a 1.85 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 23 strikeouts in 24 1/3 innings this year. His FIP is up at 3.03, but even if he’s getting lucky, the Twins couldn’t be disappointed in him pitching to a mid-3s ERA. The Toronto offense isn’t typically one we target with a spot starter, but this hasn’t been the juggernaut of last year. Only Josh Donaldson and, to a lesser degree, Jose Bautista are living up to what they did last season. Russell Martin and Troy Tulowitzki are having dreadful campaigns, while Edwin Encarnacion hasn’t approached his usual numbers over his tenure with the Blue Jays. Duffey’s worth a shot in deeper leagues.
Matt Wisler, Braves (Friday @ Phillies)
Wisler’s unlikely to help much in the strikeout department. He has just 32 whiffs in 48 2/3 innings this year, totaling a 16.5% strikeout rate. The Phillies are 11th in the league in K-rate, but that makes them just slightly worse than league average. The other shoe is likely to drop on Wisler soon. He doesn’t miss bats, and his ground-ball rate is just 35.6%. Still, a matchup with the Phillies, the 28th-ranked team in wOBA, is a good one for any pitcher. Deep-league owners can’t be too picky when looking for stream opportunities. Wisler can suffice with Friday’s start in Philadelphia.
Danny Duffy, Royals (Saturday @ White Sox)
Duffy is filling in for Kris Medlen, who is on the DL with a rotator cuff strain. The 27-year-old spent the first five weeks of the season pitching out of the bullpen, so his arm isn’t stretched out to the point that he can go deep into a game. He started against the Braves on Sunday, but went just three innings. The results of those three innings, however, were excellent. Duffy struck out five while allowing just one hit in three shutout innings. He may not go much deeper into this one, and the matchup with the White Sox is a whole lot more challenging, but Duffy brings a high per-inning strikeout ceiling to the table.