It’s another call to the bullpen as Will Anderson has been placed on leave to attend to family matters, or go on a drinking binge; he sure gathers his fair share of drinking badges on twitter from @Untappd. Normally when there is an unscheduled absence I expect to see a horrific line from the previous week’s streamers, but that is not the case this week.
Last week’s six pitchers went 2-2 with a 2.83 ERA, a 1.28 WHIP, and a 6.17 K/9. Definitely serviceable numbers, although some luck was involved as all five of Jorge De La Rosa’s runs were unearned. Better lucky than good I always say. Before we get into this week’s pitchers there is a matter of the Ins, Outs, and What Have Yous from last week.
|What have you|
|Jorge De La Rosa
And there you go; now on to this weeks streamers!
Robert Gsellman (at Braves) – Streaming options are somewhat thin on Friday so you’ll need to be creative. Gsellman’s numbers in Triple-A this season are nothing to look at, but I chalk some of that up to the PCL. Prior to this season he had several seasons of low walks and home runs along with a very streamable ERA and WHIP. The strikeouts weren’t fantastic (much better this season despite the higher ratios), but his overall game was solid.
The Braves are hitting well in the early goings of September, ranking in the top-10 for batting average, OBP and runs scored, but they are also one of the most strikeout prone teams right now. Gsellman just held the Nationals to one-run on six-hits over six-innings, and the Nats are a much better team. Plus, Gsellman has the element of surprise since major league teams have not seen him nor had enough time to scout him properly.
It’s a calculated risk, but if you need a sneaky under-owned streamer option for Friday this could be it.
3.7% owned in ESPN, 9% owned in Yahoo!
Jimmy Nelson (at Cardinals) – Yup, little Jimmy is probably the second best streaming option under the 50% ownership umbrella for Friday – told you things were thin today. His road numbers are (expletive, deleted), and his recent body of work has been erratic to say the least. There are two things in Nelson’s favor today. First is he faced the Cardinals twice in July, throwing a textbook definition of a quality start on July 2 and two-run, six-inning game against them the following week on July 8.
The second thing in Nelson’s favor (somewhat) is the Cardinals have been just average so far in September. The team ranks between 13th and 19th for batting average, OBP and runs scored. The two biggest threats to Nelson, Piscotty and Carpenter, are both in a mini-slump right now and Piscotty is nursing a sore wrist (bonus points). That’s not a lot to go on, but there is not a lot to choose from – beggars can’t be choosers.
9.3% owned in ESPN, 38% owned in Yahoo!
Tom Koehler (vs Dodgers) – Koehler has a 3.46 ERA at home, a 3.50 ERA in August, and a 2.85 ERA post all-star. His FIP and xFIP are a little higher, but neither are over 4.00 during these times so well within streaming range. Over his last 10 starts he has held opponents to two or fewer runs six times and allowed more than three runs twice – both times on the road.
The Dodgers have shown some signs of life the past few weeks with some high scoring games, but the low scoring contests mixed in show they are not dominant and can be held in check. That’s what I’m expecting Koehler to do today. I expect a quality start at the least, but a win may be too much to ask for with Rich Hill opposing Koehler on the mound.
26.7% owned in ESPN, 32% owned in Yahoo!
Seth Lugo (at Braves) – Lugo is pitching beyond what his minor league numbers say he should be producing, but in fantasy we don’t bite the hot-hand that feeds us. Since joining the rotation he has quality starts in three of four starts – the non-quality start was a five-inning two-hit shutout at St Louis. His walk and home run ratios are both low, and he has kept the hits to a minimum so you’re virtually assured of a strong WHIP. I already discussed at Atlanta when recommending Gsellman and the same thing applies here. The Braves are an improved hitting team, but not one to be feared. Expect Lugo’s good fortunes and the Mets winning streak to continue this weekend.
29.2% owned in ESPN, 28% owned in Yahoo!
Robert stephenson and Chad Kuhl (Reds at Pittsburgh) – Since I like both pitchers today I figured I do this as a tandem – pick your poison. Stephenson has shown improvements in each spot start. Three of his four minor league games were at least six innings with two or fewer runs and five or more strikeouts. While he lost his last major league start on Monday, he held the Mets to two-runs over 5.1 innings while striking out nine.
Kuhl had much more impressive minor league numbers so his major league success is a little easier to buy. With the exception of his two-inning debacle on Monday, Kuhl has held opponents to two or fewer runs in five of his previous six starts and flashed some strikeout potential in five of those starts. His high home ratios are a result of his first few starts (one against the Cubs) so take them with a grain of salt; he is a much better pitcher now.
As for each teams offensive prowess: The Pirates are hitting for a high average this month, but they still struggle to get on base (low walks), score runs (24th in September), and are just average when it comes to home runs. The Reds are hitting for a much higher average than Pittsburgh and are second in OBP this month, but they are 25th in runs scored (right below Pittsburgh) and dead last in home runs (only one in September). I can see a quality start and similar lines from both pitchers. The win is a coin flip and could very easily be awarded to someone from the bullpen.
Stephenson under 5% ownership on both sites, Kuhl less than 15%
Chad Bettis (at San Diego) – There was a little rough patch in his last 10 games from August 11 to 22, but in the other seven games Bettis had seven quality starts with the last two being high-quality with strikeouts to match. Both the FIP and xFIP say his second half 3.58 ERA is a mirage and at least a full-point too low, but I look at the increased soft contact (16.1% to 21.2%), decreased hard contact (32.3% to 25.5%), lower line drive rate and increased ground balls and think that maybe he has earned it despite the .249 BABIP
Besides, he’s playing the Padres in San Diego. This is a team that has been well below par for most of the year, and this month they rank in the bottom five for batting average, OBP and runs scored. Plus, they are the second worst strikeout team. You should get at least a six inning quality start with a handful of strikeouts and a win (Edwin Jackson on the mound for SD). Stream with confidence.
12.6% owned in ESPN, 10% owned Yahoo!
Luke Weaver (vs Milwaukee) – The rookie phenom has not produced the numbers we saw in the minors, but they are certainly stream worthy totals. In his five major league starts he has shown decent control (2.52 BB/9) along with high strikeout capabilities (11.16 K/9). His 3.96 ERA is a little high due to a .344 BABIP, but somewhat warranted with an 85.2% strand rate. Weaver just faced the Brewers in Milwaukee; he held them to three-runs over six innings, but he also struck out 10 batters.
The Brewers offense is somewhat middling in September, but they are 27th in batting average and dead last in runs scored on the road. A below average hitting team plus a better than average pitcher usually equals some fantasy goodness as Will would say.
28.3% owned in ESPN, 25% owned in Yahoo!
Honorable Mention: Bartolo Colon (at Braves) – You can’t have a streaming week without big ol’ Bartolo. His numbers to date, accomplishments and accolades have all been well documented in the space over the year, as well as in the waiver wire report a number of times. The only thing new to add would be that Colon has faced the Braves twice this season and has held them to one run over 15 innings with nine strikeouts. He’s an honorable mention since his ownership level is just over the cutoff mark, but if he is available I would pick him up and start him today.
Well, that’s all I got. Seriously, get outta here, go stream!
Need more streamer options or potential two-start pitchers, head on over to Fantasy Rundown