Week 13 Stream Team and Two Start Pitchers

The Stream Team feature is designed to help you identify the best pitching matchups for each week of the fantasy baseball season.  All pitchers with an average ownership below 40% in Yahoo! and ESPN Leagues are assigned a Matchup Score (MS), a score that weighs multiple factors in an effort to quantify how successful any pitcher will be on any given night.  You can learn more about how Matchup Scores are calculated by scrolling to the bottom of the page. 

If you’ve been reading this feature, you know we’ve been doing quite well when recommending stream starts.  Last week was no different.  Here’s how the Stream Team has performed over the past seven days:

Date Matchup Score Pitcher Opponent Dec IP ER BB K
13-Jun 7.8 Bartolo Colon vs SD W 7.1 2 1 7
14-Jun 6.3 Joe Saunders at SEA 6 2 0 3
15-Jun 5.9 Henderson Alvarez vs PIT 7 2 2 6
16-Jun 6.4 Rubby De La Rosa vs MIN W 7 0 3 3
17-Jun 7.1 Roenis Elias vs SD W 7 1 0 6
18-Jun 6.4 Bartolo Colon vs STL W 8 1 0 1
19-Jun 6.8 Jose Quintana vs MIN 7 2 1 6

These seven pitchers went 4-0 with a 1.82 ERA, a 0.81 WHIP, and a 4.6 K/BB ratio. We’ll hope for more of the same this week.

In addition to breaking down which pitchers you should use, which pitchers you should avoid, and which pitchers have performed well enough to find a spot on your roster long-term, I’ve also added a breakdown of the best two-start pitchers who are owned in less than 40% of Yahoo! and ESPN Leagues. As always, please remember that Matchup Scores are a starting place for my analysis. Often times, I will override Matchup Scores based on a statistic that is not captured by my formula. As always, questions and comments are welcome, and best of luck with your starts for week 13.



Monday – Nate Eovaldi at Phillies (7.1 MS, Yahoo! 38%, ESPN 34%)

Tuesday – Matt Shoemaker vs Twins (6.8 MS, Yahoo! 3%, ESPN 1%)

Wednesday – Henderson Alvarez at Phillies (6.4 MS, Yahoo! 35%, ESPN 36%)

Thursday – Vance Worley vs Mets (7.3 MS, Yahoo! 2%, ESPN 1%)

Friday – Josh Collmenter at Padres (6.8 MS, Yahoo! 6%, ESPN 2%)

Saturday – Brandon McCarthy (8.3 MS, Yahoo! 4%, ESPN 0%)

Sunday – Bartolo Colon (7.4 MS, Yahoo! 36%, ESPN 37%)



The following pitchers are currently scheduled for two starts in week 13 and are owned in less than 40% of ESPN and Yahoo! Leagues:

Pitcher Opp1 MS1 Opp2 MS2 Total MS
Bartolo Colon vs OAK 6.4 vs PIT 7.4 13.8
Nate Eovaldi at PHI 7.1 vs OAK 6.2 13.3
Jeff Locke at TB 5.9 vs NYM 7.3 13.2
Matt Shoemaker vs MIN 6.8 at KC 6.1 12.9
Wei-Yin Chen vs CHW 6.3 at TB 5.8 12.1
Drew Hutchison vs NYY 5.8 vs CHW 6.1 11.9
Drew Smyly at TEX 5.4 at HOU 6.4 11.8
David Buchanan vs MIA 6 vs ATL 5.7 11.7
Jake Arrieta vs CIN 5.6 vs WAS 5.6 11.2
Edinson Volquez at TB 4.5 vs NYM 6 10.5
Chase Whitley at TOR 4.7 vs BOS 5.5 10.2
Jeremy Guthrie vs LAD 4.8 vs LAA 5.4 10.2
Jose Quintana at BAL 5.1 at TOR 4.9 10
Kyle Gibson at LAA 4.8 at TEX 5 9.8
Colby Lewis vs DET 4.1 vs MIN 5.5 9.6
Roberto Hernandez vs MIA 4.8 vs ATL 4.3 9.1
Scott Feldman vs ATL 5.3 vs DET 3.8 9.1



I’ll continue to sing praises about Bartolo Colon until the fantasy community sends his ownership above 40%. His combined ERA for the 2012 and 2013 seasons was 3.00, and now he pitches in the National League East. Thanks in part to the weaker competition he’s faced, Colon has the lowest walk rate of his career and the second highest strikeout rate in 13 seasons, yet his ownership sits below 40% because some people still can’t see past the terrible luck he encountered early in the season (a career high BABIP was most to blame). On June 7, I wrote that he is the only pitcher with ownership below 40% who I could see posting a sub 3.00 ERA the rest of the way. Since then he’s 2-0 with a 1.71 ERA over three starts. Since May 17 he is 5-0 with a 1.66 ERA. I don’t think he is a must add player because his strikeout numbers leave something to be desired, but if you need help with ratios he should already be on your team.

Colon’s first start next week is versus his former team, but the matchup is better than it first appears (or as it is calculated by Matchup Score) because Oakland will lose their designated hitter in this interleague contest. As for Colon’s second start, he faced the Pirates earlier this year and held them scoreless over 7.1 innings. He’s an elite option as far as two-start pitchers go and should be owned and started in all leagues.

Speaking of players that should be owned in all leagues, it’s time to reconsider whether Nate Eovaldi is worth a long-term roster spot as I previously suggested. I cut him in some leagues earlier this week, primarily because his strikeout rate has plummeted, and it seems that I’m not the only one to do so as Eovaldi’s ownership has dropped below 40% for the first time in more than a month. While I don’t think Eovaldi is a must add player, I do believe he’s a must start player this week with two strong streaming matchups.   His best matchup this week is versus the Phillies, but as with Colon, the matchup with Oakland is slightly better than calculated by Matchup Score due to the loss of a designated hitter spot.

Matt Shoemaker leap frogs Jeff Locke in my rankings of two-start pitchers, primarily because I don’t trust Locke versus Tampa Bay. With regards to Shoemaker, he now warrants consideration as long-term option due to his continued ability to strikeout batters out while exhibiting above average control. It’s easy to assume regression to Shoemaker’s 9.57 K/9, especially if you glance at his minor league stats, but look a little closer and you see a steady trend of improving K%:

Season Team IP K%
2011 Angels (AAA) 21 12
2012 Angels (AAA) 176.2 15.9
2013 Angels (AAA) 184.1 20.5
2014 Angels (AAA) 25.2 22.6
2014 Angels 42.1 25.7

Shoemaker’s 42.1 IP don’t qualify him among the Major League leaders (starters need 69 IP to qualify), but his 74.5% contact rate would be fifth best in all of baseball and would put him amidst the likes of Felix Hernandez, Masahiro Tanaka, Stephen Strasburg, and Max Scherzer. He’s also exhibiting great control with a 1.91 BB/9 and a 5.1 BB%. When looking at Shoemaker’s ability to strike batters out while retaining control, he again finds himself among the best pitchers in the league. His 20.6 K-BB% would tie him with Madison Bumgarner for seventh best in all of baseball. The Twins and Royals are both decent offenses, and we all know how hot the Royals have been, but Shoemaker has shown enough to make him worth a pick-up regardless of who he faces this week. I still expect regression, but Shoemaker doesn’t have to be a top ten pitcher to be fantasy relevant. If he pitches well in these starts, I’d suggest holding him.

Wei-Yin Chen has quietly had a very good season going 7-2 with a 3.78 ERA and 1.24 WHIP. Everything in his profile looks the way it should, so expect more of the same from Chen. He’s not going to strike many batters out, but a left-handed pitcher with a low 90s fastball and terrific control can always get by. The White Sox have the fourth worst K% and fifth worst wOBA versus left-handed pitching of any team in the majors and the Rays, while hovering around the league average for K%, have the 7th worst wOBA versus left-handed pitching this season. I don’t expect Chen to put up elite numbers this week, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he picked up a win and a pair of quality starts.

I’m sure plenty of people will be using Jake Arrieta in both of his starts this week, but I won’t be one of them. Arrieta’s been fantastic, but as I wrote last week, based on Arrieta’s below average swinging strike rate we should expect serious regression to his strikeout rates. His homerun rates also suggest he’s had lady luck on his side this season, as does a ridiculously high strand rate. The only difference between the 2014 version of Jake Arrieta and the Jake Arrieta that found himself back at AAA last season is the addition of a cutter to his arsenal. Don’t get me wrong, his cutter has been fantastic, but it barely begins to explain all of the gains he’s made with regards to ERA. The Reds and Nationals are two above average offenses and I expect at least one of these two outings to go poorly for Arrieta. I’m avoiding him and if you have him on a team, I think he is an ideal sell-high candidate.

Jeff Locke, as I noted above, drops in my rankings due to his start versus the Rays. On top of the tough matchup, I simply don’t trust Locke. Locke’s 2013 season was the tale of two halves. Prior to the All-Star Game, which Locke was surprisingly part of, he posted a 2.15 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. Fantastic numbers that were unfortunately fueled by a ridiculously low .228 BABIP and an insanely high 83.3% strand rate. In the second half, his good fortune disappeared and he posted a 6.12 ERA and a 1.87 WHIP behind a .365 BABIP. Locke is hoping that 2014 is a tale of two halves as well, with the first half being the minor league stint he just finished and the second half spent hanging onto a spot in the Pirates’ rotation. Unfortunately, I don’t think Locke is long for the big leagues. Last season, his major problem was his control. He skated by with a 3.88 BB/9 in the first half but followed that up with an atrocious 5.81 BB/9 in the second half. Across his first 26.1 innings with the Pirates this season, he’s walked just two batters, but before you get too excited, you need to realize he was walking four batters per game at AAA prior to being called up. If you need a two-start pitcher, Locke is an option, but he’s an option primarily because he faces the Mets in his second start of the week. I’ll happily stream Locke against the Mets, but I won’t use him as a two-start pitcher this week.

Other pitchers I won’t be using include Drew Hutchison, who faces a Yankees team that chased him from a start Thursday after going just 4.1 innings. Hutchison has gone more than five innings just three times in his last six starts and just isn’t worth the risk right now. Drew Smyly struggles versus right-handed hitting and faces two teams with plenty of it in Texas and Houston. I’d still stream him versus the Astros, but he’s not a two-start option for me. And finally, David Buchanan draws to decent matchups but simply hasn’t been effective enough to this point to warrant serious consideration as a two-start pitcher.



Monday’s Options

Pitcher Opp Opp K% Opp wOBA Park Factor MS Yahoo ESPN%
Nate Eovaldi at PHI 21.0% 0.294 1.03 7.1 38 34
Wei-Yin Chen vs CHW 23.8% 0.296 1.04 6.3 20 18

As I stated in my analysis of two-start pitchers, Nate Eovaldi is still worth consideration as a long-term solution in your rotation, but there’s nothing to consider about his start versus the Phillies. If he’s available in your league, use him. As for Wei-Yin Chen, I get the feeling people are afraid of White Sox thanks to the addition of Jose Abreu, but they’ve struggled mightily versus left-handed pitching. I think Chen gets through this start just fine.


Tuesday’s Options

Pitcher Opp Opp K% Opp wOBA Park Factor MS Yahoo ESPN%
Matt Shoemaker vs MIN 20.5% 0.316 1.02 6.8 3 1
Bartolo Colon vs OAK 17.4% 0.339 0.92 6.4 36 37
David Buchanan vs MIA 24.1% 0.319 1.02 6.0 0 0
Jeff Locke at TB 21.0% 0.299 0.99 5.9 5 3
Drew Hutchison vs NYY 19.0% 0.307 1.08 5.8 28 11
Wade Miley vs CLE 16.5% 0.296 1.02 5.6 14 10
Jake Arrieta vs CIN 20.0% 0.308 1.02 5.6 37 31

Shoemaker, as I outlined in my analysis of two-start pitchers has shown a steady trend of improving his strikeout numbers and now sits at an elite level with regards to swinging strikeout percentage and K-BB%. There’s a chance that his hot start could continue and he’s a great streaming option versus the Twins on Tuesday. Colon, as I’ve written time and time again, is good. Nothing else needs to be said about him. If he’s available, use him. Since Shoemaker should be available in nearly every league, I see no reason to start David Buchanan on Tuesday, but Buchanan’s shown enough control to make him a decent streaming option versus a Marlins team that hasn’t hit on the road.


Wednesday’s Options

Pitcher Opp Opp K% Opp wOBA Park Factor MS Yahoo ESPN%
Henderson Alvarez at PHI 21.0% 0.294 1.03 6.4 35 36
Jaime Garcia at COL 18.6% 0.347 1.12 6.1 32 43
Brandon Workman at SEA 21.7% 0.3 0.96 6.1 5 2

 I like Henderson Alvarez. He’s an intriguing pitcher, and his success is a bit reminiscent of R.A. Dickey’s Cy Young season in that he’s fun to root for and he’s having success in a rather unusual way. For Dickey, of course, it was his knuckleball. For Alvarez, it’s the 98 mph fastball he can’t strike anyone out with. I like Alvarez and he’s performed well whenever I recommend him. I’m not enamored with him from a fantasy perspective, but he should find more success this week when he faces the Phillies.

Last week I suggested Jaime Garcia should be owned in all formats and until something changes I’m sticking with my recommendation. Still, I’ll never stream anyone at Coors Field as I only use elite pitchers there. Garcia’s not elite. Avoid him this week and if he’s already owned in your league, hope for a rough outing to drop his value.

Brandon Workman has been hovering around the league average over his 34 innings in the big leagues this season, but a start versus the below average Mariners makes him worth a spot start. I’d definitely use him over Garcia this week.


Thursday’s Options

Pitcher Opp Opp K% Opp wOBA Park Factor MS Yahoo ESPN%
Vance Worley vs NYM 21.0% 0.292 0.93 7.3 2 1
Mike Leake at SF 22.0% 0.312 0.97 6.5 35 15
Ryan Vogelsong vs CIN 20.0% 0.308 0.97 6.3 23 17
Travis Wood vs WAS 20.3% 0.333 1.01 5.8 34 7

I didn’t expect to break down Vance Worley’s peripherals this season, but after getting called up by the Pirates and with a start versus the Mets, we need to consider whether he’s a viable option. Since 2011, Worley struck out less batters each season while making minor gains in his walk rates. Consider the following numbers:

Season Team IP K% BB% K-BB%
2011 Phillies 131.2 21.5 8.3 13.2
2012 Phillies 133 18.1 8 10.2
2013 Twins (AAA) 48.2 13.6 6.8 6.8
2013 Twins 58 10.7 6.4 4.3

If Worley wasn’t just 26 years old, you couldn’t be blamed for thinking he was on his way out of baseball. Instead of fading into oblivion, Worley has used his time in the minors to develop several of his offerings and, at least through his first start, is now throwing his two-seam fastball, cutter, and slider far more often. Worley has continued to improve his command, walking just four batters over 46 innings in AAA this season and not offering a single free pass in his first start in the big leagues, yet he’s seen a huge spike in his strikeout rates in 2014, as seen in the chart below:

Season Team IP K% BB% K-BB%
2011 Phillies 131.2 21.5 8.3 13.2
2012 Phillies 133 18.1 8 10.2
2013 Twins (AAA) 48.2 13.6 6.8 6.8
2013 Twins 58 10.7 6.4 4.3
2014 Pirates (AAA) 46 23.2 2.2 21.1
2014 Pirates 7 19.2 0 19.2

I’m not about to suggest Worley is going to be a top forty pitcher in the second half. He’s just as likely to find himself back in the minors. But there’s enough here to suggest he could be fantasy relevant the rest of the way. The Mets is a great matchup for him. I plan to use Worley in all of my leagues this week.

If you look to go another direction, Mike Leake and Ryan Vogelsong should both turn in a quality start, though don’t expect much help in the way of strikeouts. Travis Wood as I’ve written time and time again has been unlucky this season, but the Nationals are raking versus left-handed pitching it’s a matchup I think you would be best off avoiding.


Friday’s Options

Pitcher Opp Opp K% Opp wOBA Park Factor MS Yahoo ESPN%
Josh Collmenter at SD 22.6% 0.276 0.95 6.8 6 2
Brandon Cumpton vs NYM 21.0% 0.292 0.93 6.1 1 0
Marcus Stroman vs CHW 23.0% 0.327 1.08 5.9 14 2
Rubby De La Rosa at NYY 19.0% 0.307 1.03 5.8 8 7
Jacob deGrom at PIT 20.1% 0.322 0.93 5.8 5 1
Jake Odorizzi at BAL 19.7% 0.319 1.04 5.6 9 2

Josh Collmenter is a slightly above average pitcher facing one of the worst offenses in the last fifty years of baseball. Seriously, the Padres’ .274 wOBA this season is the worst since 1972, and their .276 wOBA versus right-handed pitching is hardly any better. Average pitchers have looked elite versus the Padres all season, and Collmenter should continue that trend.

Brandon Cumpton’s been underwhelming this season. His strikeout rate is among the lowest of any starting pitchers in the majors, but on the plus side, he’s not hurting himself with free passes. The Mets’ offense isn’t as bad as the Padres, but it’s still bad. Cumpton is at least an option.

As for the other options on Friday, Marcus Stroman has encountered some bad luck since being called up to the Blue Jays’ big league squad. I like him long-term but the White Sox are hitting right-handed pitching well and the Rogers Centre is a terrible home park for Stroman. As I wrote last week when recommending Rubby De La Rosa for last Monday’s Stream Team, De La Rosa isn’t nearly as good as his early numbers seem to suggest. The Yankees are a difficult draw – avoid him this week. Jacob deGrom can’t throw a strike when he needs to and his strikeout numbers are pedestrian. The only time you should use him right now is versus the Padres or if he finds a way to pitch against his own team. Jake Odorizzi’s strikeout potential makes him a possible option if that’s all you need late in the week, but otherwise there’s no reason to stream anyone versus the Orioles at Camden Yards.


Saturday’s Options

Pitcher Opp Opp K% Opp wOBA Park Factor MS Yahoo ESPN%
Brandon McCarthy at SD 22.6% 0.276 0.94 8.3 4 0
Jon Niese at PIT 19.4% 0.337 0.94 6.7 40 38
Trevor Bauer at SEA 21.7% 0.3 0.96 6.4 21 5
Nate Eovaldi vs OAK 17.4% 0.339 0.94 6.2 38 34
Edinson Volquez vs NYM 21.0% 0.292 0.93 6.0 6 0
Wei-Yin Chen vs TB 21.0% 0.299 1.04 5.8 20 18
David Buchanan vs ATL 22.3% 0.296 1.02 5.7 0 0
Jake Arrieta vs WAS 21.5% 0.305 1.02 5.6 37 31
Roenis Elias vs CLE 16.5% 0.296 0.96 5.6 20 10

I’ve been touting Brandon McCarthy for weeks and he’s yet to deliver. His 8.3 Matchup Score is the highest score any starter has had in more than a month and the fourth highest score yet this season, which led me back to his player profile to try to figure out what’s going on. First, realize that this is a pitcher who had a 3.32 ERA in 2011 and a 3.24 ERA in 2012 while pitching in the American League, but who now pitches in the National League. Also realize that he’s experienced a two mile per hour increase in velocity this season, that he currently has the best K/9 of his career, as well as the best groundball percentage of his career, and the best xFIP of his career. His BB/9 is well below his career average and in line with his two best seasons in Oakland. His swinging strike rate and contact rates are the best they’ve been since 2006. Nearly everywhere you look, McCarthy is pitching as well as he ever has, and he was fantasy relevant just two seasons ago.

McCarthy’s downfall this season has been three stats we attribute primarily to luck   First, his BABIP is a career worst, and while this could be tied in some ways to his career best groundball percentage, his line drive rate is significantly lower than the last two seasons which suggests he’s still been quite unlucky on batted balls. The second cause of McCarthy’s rough season is the worst strand rate of his career.   Inducing more groundballs should lead to more double plays and help him in this category, as should pitching in the National League where he can work around batters to face a pitcher. There’s simply no reason his strand rate should be as bad as it’s been beyond bad luck. Finally, the biggest problem for McCarthy has been home runs. His 22.7% HR/FB is by far a career worst and is well above twice his career average. It’s also four percentage points higher than any other qualified pitcher in the major leagues this season. While pitchers have some control over their HR/FB%, there is also a lot of luck involved, and a 22.7% rate is just ridiculous. Hell, 22.7% would make for a decent showing in the home run derby.

As McCarthy has continued to get lit up, I decided to dig deeper into his statistics to see if I could find a reason for his spike in home runs. Amazingly, McCarthy has given up nine home runs when throwing a sinker this season. The obvious place to look for a problem was with this pitch, and I thought perhaps his increased velocity came with a loss of movement. Here’s how his sinker breaks down since 2012 when he began throwing it:

Season SI % Pitches HR FB% HR/FB Velocity x-mov z-mov Mov
2012 31.9 501 3 33.6 8.3 90.3 -8.2 5.7 10.2
2013 42.9 861 4 15.5 12.9 90.7 -7.6 5.1 9.4
2014 56.6 767 9 16.5 28.1 92.8 -7.8 5.5 9.7

As you can see in this chart, his movement isn’t as good as it was in 2012 but it’s better than it was last season. Therefore, there’s no way to explain the drastic spike in HR/FB that I can see outside of bad luck. I’m sticking by my recommendation with McCarthy for at least another week. It certainly doesn’t hurt that he faces the Padres. But if he lets me down again this week, it’s over between the two of us.

Among the other options on Saturday, Jon Niese is a fine stream starter versus the Pirates. I don’t think Niese warrants a long-term spot on your roster, but he’s a great streaming option on most weeks. The only way I’m using Trevor Bauer is if I need strikeouts. In a vacuum, I’d much prefer Nate Eovaldi versus the A’s, and as I wrote in my analysis of two-start pitchers, Eovaldi’s Matchup Score should be slightly higher since the Athletics will lose their DH for this series.


Sunday’s Options

Pitcher Opp Opp K% Opp wOBA Park Factor MS Yahoo ESPN%
Bartolo Colon vs PIT 20.1% 0.322 0.93 7.4 36 37
Jeff Locke vs NYM 24.9% 0.302 0.93 7.3 5 3
Mike Bolsinger at SD 22.6% 0.276 0.94 6.9 0 0
Josh Tomlin at SEA 21.7% 0.3 0.96 6.7 8 4
Drew Smyly at HOU 22.0% 0.329 1.03 6.4 24 50
Tommy Milone at MIA 19.8% 0.316 0.95 6.4 16 6
Drew Hutchison vs CHW 23.0% 0.327 1.08 6.1 28 11
Matt Shoemaker at KC 14.6% 0.309 0.99 6.1 3 1
Colby Lewis vs MIN 20.5% 0.316 1.00 5.5 2 0
Chase Whitley vs BOS 21.3% 0.307 1.03 5.5 11 0

Bartolo Colon should be started versus everyone right now, Jeff Locke should be used for the Mets, and Mike Bolsinger is Sunday’s automatic stream start versus the Padres. I broke down Josh Tomlin last week showing how he has performed quite well despite facing elite competition each time he’s stepped on the mound this year. He finally gets a favorable matchup at Safeco Field and makes for a great streaming option as well. I’ll use him over Locke. Finally, Drew Smyly is an option if all you need are wins and strikeouts, and Tommy Milone is a good option if you need to lower your ratios.


How Matchup Scores are Calculated

When evaluating pitcher matchups, there are a number of important factors to consider, including

  • A pitcher’s strikeout and walk percentages
  • A pitcher’s batted ball profile
  • A pitcher’s wOBA
  • The opposing team’s wOBA vs either LHP or RHP
  • The opposing team’s K% vs LHP or RHP
  • The likelihood that a pitcher earns a win in the contest
  • The effect that the ball park will have upon the pitcher’s performance

Matchup Scores attempt to take all of these factors into consideration, assigning a weight to each factor that is proportional to each factor’s impact and predictive power. Perhaps the easiest way to think of a Matchup Score is as a rating for how well a pitcher is expected to perform against a specific opponent, in a specific park, at a specific time.

While I have been evaluating pitcher matchups based on these factors for some time, I only began the process of quantifying these factors into a single score in April of 2014. This is an ongoing process and changes to the formula are continually being considered and implemented in an effort to make Matchup Scores more predictive.

Matchup Score Ratings

Matchup Score Rating
12.0 Excellent
10.0 Great
8.0 Very Good
7.0 Good
6.0 Average
5.0 Poor
4.0 Awful


10 thoughts on “Week 13 Stream Team and Two Start Pitchers”

  1. Hey, Rob, what are your thoughts on Tim Lincecum for ROS? His peripherals on the surface don’t look that bad to me. Really enjoy your stream articles and info you give!

    1. Thanks J. I thought Lincecum had a chance to be fantasy relevant this season. I had him projected for a 3.90 ERA and 1.31 WHIP, both slightly above the league average, with an 8.5 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9. Even with these numbers, Lincecum was the 63rd most valuable starting pitcher based on my projections. While I correctly projected a decline for Lincecum’s strikeout rates, he’s been worse than I though (8.38 K/9) and the minor gains he main in regards to his control last season have been lost, as he’s walking 3.8 batters per nine. His ERA is a full run worse than I projected and his WHIP sits at 1.48.

      When I look at his profile for this season, the only thing I see that suggests he’s been unlucky is a slightly bloated BABIP of .324. I had him projected at .300 though his LD% of 23.75 is slightly worse than my projection (27%) and he’s inducing more groundballs than I projected (46.1% to 45%). Based on his batted ball profile, his BABIP might be a bit high, but it’s not like he’s been terribly unlucky.

      Everywhere else I look, all I see are problems. His velocity has dropped for the fourth straight season, but this hasn’t helped him improve his control. He’s throwing less pitches inside the strike zone than at any point in his career, batters are swinging at less pitches outside the strike zone than they have at any point in the past five years, and batters are making better contact versus him (both inside and outside the strike zone) than at any point in his career. Based on what I see, my inclination suggests he’s lucky to have as high of a strikeout rate and as low of a walk rate as he does. In other words, I think things are going to get worse for him before they get better.

      If you’re in a deep league, I’d suggest trying to trade him for whatever you can get. If you’re in a shallow league, I would drop him outright. Matt Shoemaker, who I broke down in this article, has had better strikeout numbers than Lincecum this year yet is pitching with much better control. If you need strikeouts, Shoemaker would be my first option on the waiver wire (assuming Collin McHugh is gone). Assuming you need Lincecum’s strikeouts, I’d even take a chance on someone like Jake Odorizzi over Lincecum right now. Shoemaker and Odorizzi are available in 97% of leagues right now. If strikeouts arent’ as important, Bartolo Colon, Jamie Garcia, and even Brandon McCarthy are players I would rather own than Lincecum

      Hope that helps and thanks for the question.

  2. What are your thoughts on Marcus Stroman this week since his start got bumped from Sunday vs Cin to NYY? It seems like a much better matchup since NYY is not very good against righties. Just wondering if his score got computed since he got bumped from Sunday to Monday. Great article again this week! Keep it up!

  3. Thanks Jeff. I like Stroman in the long run, but I hate that he pitches for the Blue Jays. The Rogers Centre has been nearly as tough on pitchers as Coors Field the past two seasons, and not only does it limit Stroman’s value this season, it limits his value as a stream starter versus the Yankees on Monday.

    I recalculated his value based on the matchup change, but his Matchup Score came in as a 5.9. The Yankees are in the bottom 3rd in wOBA versus RHP but they are stingy when it comes to striking out. This came out as a neutral matchup based on Stroman’s opponent, but the formula dinged him .4 points for pitching at the Rogers Centre.

    I still prefer Colon, Eovaldi, Shoemaker and probably Chen as two start pitchers this, but I’m not opposed to taking a shot with Stroman.

    1. Just realized the Angels shifter their rotation and Shoemaker is pitching today. Hence, he’s no longer a two-start option next week.

  4. Thanks, I’ll pass on Stroman this week. What are your thoughts on Gausman this week, supposedly he’s being called back up for the double header on Friday vs. Tampa Bay.

    1. I ended up using Stroman when Colon, Eovaldi, and Chen were gone. I’m nervous about it, but since my leagues allow daily changes if he implodes I can still win strikeouts and wins. I’ll take on his risk in a few leagues.

      As for Gausman’s matchup with the Rays, when I look at the numbers I see that the Rays are the fourth stingiest team in the majors when it comes to striking out versus right-handed pitching and they chase pitches outside the strike zone less than any team in the majors. Since young pitchers have a propensity to nibble at the strike zone — and so far this season Gausman’s 43.5 zone% suggests he’s doing that — I can foresee Gausman getting himself in trouble in this game.

      But, young pitchers are notoriously difficult to project early in their careers and when a young guy gets rolling he usually keeps it up a while. Gausman shut the Rays down in his last start striking out six and walking only one, so the numbers only take you so far. I have no problem envisioning Gausman shutting the Rays down again and I will use him if I need him. I would still make Collmenter versus the Padres my first option on Friday, but I’d take a shot with Gausman as my number two choice. If you’re hoping to find a pitcher who will contribute the rest of the season, go ahead and bump Gausman ahead of Collementer as Gausman has a much higher ceiling long-term even though there’s a lot more risk involved with his Friday start than Collmenter’s.

  5. Rob, which projection system (Steamer or ZIPS) has been historically more accurate in their ROS projections? Which has been more useful to you? Thanks, J!

    1. Off the top of my head I’m not sure which has proven more accurate, but in Nate Silver’s book “This Signal and the Noise” he writes that over time a consensus of experts who independently make projections will always be more accurate than any single expert’s projections. I’m not sure if Mr. Silver would consider a consensus of two an actual consensus, but when I need to rely on outside projections, I usually use the average of the Steamer and ZIPS. Rotochamp has software that averages their projections with Steamer, ZIPS, and maybe even someone else but it costs money. Fantasypros is a great website that has composite projections from experts and is free. You can even select which experts you want to include in your composite rankings. I’d give that a try too.

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