- Kyle Freeland and Zack Wheeler may not do too much to help your strikeout totals, but they are dependable options if you need a streaming starter for your fantasy team.
Every week in the Weekend Stream, we’ll give you pitches 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 fewer.
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.
Wade Miley, Orioles (Sunday vs. Blue Jays)
Miley has predictably slowed off the pace he set for himself in April, but he’s still a worthy spot starter in all formats this weekend. There’s not much to this Toronto offense with Josh Donaldson on the DL, making Miley one of the best stream options in leagues where he is available. He’s still walking too many batters, but this should be a lineup he can handle. Miley fanned eight batters in six innings in his first start against the Blue Jays this season.
Ian Kennedy, Royals (Saturday vs. Twins)
Kennedy is expected to return from the DL to take on the Twins on Saturday. Before going on the shelf with a hamstring injury, Kennedy racked up a 3.03 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 31 strikeouts in 35 2/3 innings. The Royals offense doesn’t inspire much confidence, but, circumstances aside, Kennedy is the best pitcher taking the mound this weekend who’s available in more than 50% of fantasy leagues. If you do scoop him up, you will want to consider letting him stick on your roster beyond this weekend.
Kyle Freeland, Rockies (Sunday at Reds)
Freeland’s stats don’t jump off the page, but he has been mostly effective for the Rockies this season. The 24-year-old rookie has a 3.13 ERA, 3.91 FIP, 1.35 WHIP and 29 strikeouts in 46 innings. He has notched quality starts in six of his eight outings, including five in a row, and has allowed one or zero earned runs in five of his eight trips to the mound. He’s not going to help you much with strikeouts, but he can contribute everywhere else when he takes on the Reds this weekend.
Brandon McCarthy, Dodgers (Sunday vs. Marlins)
McCarthy got roughed up by the Giants in his last start, allowing six runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. He did strike out five batters in the outing, though, and now has 30 whiffs in 34 2/3 frames this season. The Marlins do a good job of making contact as a team, ranking 20th in the majors in strikeout rate, but McCarthy is still one of the better strikeout options for owners in standard formats this weekend.
Zack Wheeler, Mets (Saturday vs. Angels)
Not a whole lot is going right for the Mets this season, but Wheeler has been one of the lone bright spots. He has made seven starts, amassing a 3.76 ERA, 4.16 FIP and 1.23 WHIP with 35 strikeouts in 38 1/3 innings. Wheeler has looked great in his last two outings, going six innings and allowing just one run in both, totaling 10 strikeouts against five walks. The Angels don’t strike out much, but all that contact doesn’t change the fact that they’re a relatively punchless team outside of Mike Trout.
David Phelps, Marlins (Sunday at Dodgers)
Phelps is expected to leave the bullpen and join the Marlins rotation this weekend, likely getting the ball in the series finale with the Dodgers on Sunday. After a rough start to the season, Phelps has rebounded nicely. He hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last 10 innings, striking out 10 batters while allowing just three hits in that span. Phelps made five starts for the Marlins last year, and while he was more effective as a reliever, he has the arsenal to succeed as a starter. If you pick him up for this start, you might want to give him a few turns through the rotation to see what he can do.
Dan Straily, Marlins (Saturday at Dodgers)
Straily left his last start early after getting hit on the forearm with a line drive, but he has put in his normal work this week and is showing no ill effects from the comebacker. He has been quietly effective this season, notching a 3.56 ERA, 4.23 FIP, 1.00 WHIP and 40 strikeouts in 43 innings. The FIP suggests he has been a bit lucky, but there’s no mistaking his 23.3% strikeout rate. Straily is another pitcher deep-league owners will want to consider beyond just a spot start.
Luis Perdomo, Padres (Saturday vs. Diamondbacks)
Speaking of quietly effective, Perdomo’s season is totally off the fantasy radar judging by his 4% ownership rate in Yahoo leagues. The 24-year-old has a 4.19 ERA and 1.28 WHIP, but also a 2.95 FIP and 34 strikeouts in 34 1/3 innings. Perdomo has largely scrapped his four-seamer this season, and is now relying almost entirely on his sinker and slider. The change has worked for him, accentuating the two best offerings at his disposal. The Diamondbacks are a tough matchup, but they can strike out with the best of them. Their 23.5% strikeout rate is the fourth highest in the league.