Need a boost for your pitching stats this weekend? SI.com’s fantasy expert Michael Beller picks out the best starters to stream this weekend.
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.
Danny Duffy, Royals (Saturday @ Phillies)
How Duffy is still eligible for the Weekend Stream is beyond me. Come on, shallow leaguers, this shouldn’t be so hard. Duffy has been excellent as a starter this year, pitching to a 3.33 ERA and 1.03 WHIP with 58 strikeouts in 48 2/3 innings. We’ve seen more than enough from him to make him a must-add in all formats. As for this weekend in particular, the Phillies are 29th in the league in wOBA and 11th in strikeout rate. They should make for a willing patsy.
Anthony DeSclafani, Reds (Friday @ Nationals)
DeSclafani is coming off his best outing of the season, an eight-inning, zero-run, five-hit domination of the Padres. He struck out five and walked none in the outing, and now has reached the admittedly low threshold for a quality start in three of his four trips to the mound. His test with the first-place Nationals on Friday will be a whole lot tougher than the one he aced against the Padres last weekend, but there’s no reason for shallow-league owners in need of a spot start to shy away from him.
CC Sabathia, Yankees (Sunday @ Padres)
It’s a bountiful weekend on the stream for shallow leaguers, with three attractive options, one pitching each day. Sabathia has a great matchup with the Padres this weekend, a team that hasn’t given many pitchers trouble this year. He appears to be slowing down judging by the results his last two starts, but understand that in his last outing, in which he allowed six runs to the Rangers, he had surrendered just two through the first seven innings. Joe Girardi sent him back out there for the eighth, and that’s when he gave up the other four without retiring a batter. Sabathia is enjoying a resurgent season, and there’s little reason to expect that not to continue in San Diego on Sunday.
Kevin Gausman, Orioles (Friday @ Mariners)
Gausman is one of the season leaders in Weekend Stream appearances, which is sort of a dubious honor. On the one hand, it means he’s good enough to consistently make spot starts for owners in leagues of all sizes. On the other, it means he’s not quite good enough to own for the long haul. No matter what, though, he’s worth trotting out there for his Friday start against the Mariners. He had one of his best starts of the season his last time out, shutting out the Rays for 7 2/3 innings while striking out seven and allowing four hits.
Jon Gray, Rockies (Sunday @ Dodgers)
We all know why Gray is here. Few pitchers as widely available as the 24-year-old bring his strikeout upside to the table. Gray has 83 strikeouts in 76 1/3 innings this year. He has three games with double-digit strikeouts, and three more with at least seven whiffs. Gray is not going to give you a clean outing, so if you’re locked up in a couple of rate battles, you might want to shy away. If you’re looking for help in the strikeout department, though, he’s your best bet of anyone in the Weekend Stream.
Adam Conley, Marlins (Sunday @ Braves)
One of the first things we do when filling out the Weekend Stream is see which team gets the Braves. This weekend, it’s the Marlins, and Conley is one of the lucky three who will get to face one of the league’s worst offenses. The last time Conley opposed the Braves, he fired eight shutout innings, allowing four hits while striking out four batters. If that’s not enough of an endorsement, I don’t know what is. He doesn’t have Gray’s strikeout upside, but he’s the best streaming option across the board this weekend.
Daniel Mengden, A’s (Sunday vs. Pirates)
Through the first four starts of his career, Mengden is looking like he can be one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dark 2016 season for the A’s. He has thrown 25 2/3 innings across his four starts, compiling a 2.81 ERA, 3.82 FIP, 1.17 WHIP and 26 strikeouts against nine walks. The 23-year-old Mengden didn’t have much of a prospect profile, but he impressed in 11 minor league starts this season, especially the seven he made with Triple A Nashville, where he posted a 1.39 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and 39 strikeouts in 45 1/3 innings. The Pirates aren’t an ideal stream opponent, but Mengden has earned enough trust to trot him out there if you need one last start this weekend.
Chad Kuhl, Pirates (Saturday @ A’s)
It’s relatively barren on the Weekend Stream for deep-league owners, with most of the options concentrated above the 20% ownership level. If you’re desperate for helpo, consider Kuhl in a good matchup with the A’s. The Pirates opted for him last week over Tyler Glasnow, and he allowed three runs on four hits with five strikeouts in five innings against the Dodgers in is major league debut. This is more about the A’s, however, a team tied with the Mets for 23rd in the league in wOBA.
Brandon McCarthy, Dodgers (Sunday vs. Rockies)
First and foremost, the Dodgers have yet to confirm that McCarthy will make his season debut on Sunday. He’s in the final stages of his rehab from Tommy John surgery, and his return is indeed right around the corner. He made his most recent rehab start on Monday with High A Rancho Cucamonga, allowing four runs in five innings and running his pitch count up to 72. If he does make a start against Colorado this weekend, he’s only a recommended play if you absolutely need one last start for the week. No matter what, though, he’ll be an intriguing guy on the waiver wire. The last time we saw him pitch for a full season, back in 2014, he had a 4.05 ERA, 3.55 FIP, 1.28 WHIP and 175 strikeouts in 200 innings, numbers that would make him a backend starter in 12-team or deeper formats.