Each week I look at the collection of starting pitchers owned in under 30% of leagues (consensus Yahoo/ESPN ownership from Fantasy pros) with a few extra sub 10% discount options at the end, pointing out the options to consider if you need an extra arm or two at the end of your staff.
Let’s highlight my ten favorite starting pitcher options that may be available on your waiver wires, roughly ordered from top to bottom:
Corbin Burnes (Milwaukee Brewers) – It shouldn’t be much of a surprise to see Burnes back on this list – you’ll see a lot of repeats from last week – after he fanned twelve Cardinals in his season debut. His fastball features plenty of cut-action at 94 mph, with a deadly slider that missed bats near a 25% clip in 2018. There is some concern about his volume and weakness to the longball, though his upside is far too tantalizing to leave on the wire.
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Opening Day is around the corner and it’s time to bring back last year’s weekly column as we work to hone our pitching staffs.
Note: This week alone I will be using Yahoo’s Owned % as Fantasy Pros has yet to update their consolidated ownership rates for 2019.
Corbin Burnes (Milwaukee Brewers) – This pick, and many others here, are geared more for 12-teamers where it’s in your best interest to chase pitchers that could break the wall of mediocrity and return high replacement value through the season. Burnes is my favorite of the list as he features the best pitch of the bunch – a slider that returned a 47% O-Swing, 47% zone rate, and near 25% swinging-strike last season out of the pen. He brings an above-average heater as well and there’s room for development as his curveball or changeup shift into a serviceable third option. It may take a little longer than others to return six innings of production consistently, though he shouldn’t do serious harm in the meantime. Read the rest of this entry »
We all have our guys. Those players where you circle a round in your notes and make sure you’re adding them to your squad. You chuckle, smile, and type your love for them into the league chat.
Today, I’m going to highlight three pitchers that I’ve found myself owning in the heavy majority of my leagues.
I’ve written a fair amount about my love of Wheeler and I’m going to add on a bit here. Wheeler sports a hard fastball that he favors not only on both sides of the plate within the same at-bat, but also elevated for strikeouts often. It’s an elite pitch, returning a 20+ pVal last season, including a rugged opening 14 starts to the year.
I’m going to say something that hasn’t been said enough this off-season.
There is a lot of starting pitcher depth this year.
That may be a bit of a surprise given the constant emphasis on getting aces early or leaving the first seven or eight rounds with three starters, but with every mock and real draft I’ve done, I’ve found myself with quality arms left on my queue in the final rounds.
You’re targeting most of these names already, maybe even all of them. At the very least, these ten arms should serve as a reminder that you do not need to chase elite arms early as there are plenty fewer impact bats left in the late rounds than quality arms.
I’ll be using Fantasy Pros’ aggregate ADP to gather the names past pick #400 and despite their price of “free” in standard leagues, these pitchers deserve heavy consideration in the final rounds.
Merrill Kelly (Arizona Diamondbacks, ADP #409) – This cheap price for Kelly is expecting his floor, while not embracing the possibility of his ceiling – a sub 3.70 ERA with a decent WHIP and a 20%+ strikeout rate. The Diamondbacks are going to let Kelly fly for as many innings as they can, especially when he has a lock on a rotation spot. It’s hard to find an arm with strikeout upside and a strong volume of frames without toxic ratios and I wouldn’t be surprised if the first person who owns Kelly retains him through the full year.
After the first twenty-five starters are off the board, it gets a bit dicey. As we’re seeing in the PL Experts Mock, starters went quickly in the first six rounds (23 gone in the first 72 picks!), but just twelve were plucked in the following five rounds. The cliff hits suddenly and owners are taking their time to pick up their fourth and fifth starters.
But when the time comes, who should they target? Here are five names to consider during the middle rounds of your drafts.
J.A. Happ (Free Agent) – At 35-years-old, Happ continued to produce, registering his fourth straight season under a 3.70 ERA while boasting career bests in WHIP (1.13), strikeout rate (26.3%), and over swinging-strike rate (10.4%). His new affinity for the K began when he elevated four-seamers consistently and even a transition to the Yankee squad didn’t hold back the punchouts. The major pushback from owners is his elevated Hr/9, which rose to a 1.37 mark along with his career-high 13.4% HR/FB rate.
There’s a case to be made that all but the worst landing spots will help keep the longballs down while I expect his strikeouts to stay elevated near the 23-25% mark given his strong high heat approach. Mix in his ability to produce solid H/9 and walk rates and Happ transforms into a prime option for owners to pad their rotation.
It’s been a fun season covering discount starting pitcher options here at Rotographs, and in the final week I’ll be talking exclusively about streams through the rest of the week to consider to stream to pull ahead through the weekend, beginning with Friday, September 27th.
I’ll be keeping them under 30% owned per usual, with all numbers pulled from Fantasy Pros’ consolidated ownage metrics.
Jose Urena vs. New York Mets (Friday) – Urena’s ownership rates have climbed steadily over the past few weeks, and justifiably so as he’s allowed 1 ER or fewer in five of his last six starts, with the sole exception coming against the elite Red Sox lineup. He gets quite the opposite against the Mets this weekend and Urena can take advantage. His two-seamer that consistently bores inside to right-handers means plenty of weak contact, though those looking for strikeouts should look elsewhere – these six starts have tallied just 24 punchouts.
It’s been a fun season covering discount starting pitcher options here at Rotographs, and with under two weeks remaining, I’m shifting this piece to focus on options through the rest of the week to consider to stream to pull ahead through the weekend.
Steven Matz vs. Philadelphia Phillies + Washington Nationals – Matz has two starts left this week, playing in just an hour against Phils and on Sunday against the Nationals and his low ownage rate shocks me. He’s sporting a 2.67 ERA with a 3.03 SIERA to back it across his last five starts, averaging seven strikeouts and over six frames per start. He’s increased his slider usage from 8% on the season to 15% in that time frame, returning an impressive 2.8 pVal, which has also amplified the effect of his heater. Batters are more aware of Matz’s strong slide piece that they can’t sit on heaters, creating tougher at-bats, and more efficient starts for Matz. Meanwhile, the Phillies and Nationals are far from strong offenses – lineups Matz has produced against recently – and should make for productive outings for Matz owners.
I can’t believe I’m going to write this.
Wade Miley has a 2.12 ERA this season.
It’s just a 63.2 inning sample across twelve starts, but that’s still over a third of a season’s work with sparkling results, including a 1.18 WHIP.
Will this stick? In all likelihood, no. His 4.59 SIERA is nearly 2.5 points higher than the marvelous ERA, inflated by a minute 6.1% HR/FB rate, .260 BABIP, and 80% LOB rate. These numbers are all due to fall as the sample rises.
But this isn’t to say that Miley has had a remarkable season simply by being in the good graces of Lady Luck. Miley has completely revamped his approach:
Each week I look at the collection of starting pitchers owned in under 30% of leagues (consensus Yahoo/ESPN ownership from Fantasy pros) with a few extra sub 5% discount options at the end, pointing out the options to consider if you need an extra arm or two at the end of your staff.
Steven Matz (New York Mets) – After a rugged four-game stretch, Matz has rebounded in a big way in his last three outings, featuring a 1.89 ERA, 0.68 WHIP, 33% K rate, and 4.5% BB rate in 19 frames. It’s a small sample, though he might be worth the gamble as he has a cushy schedule of PHI, MIA, @PHI, @WSH, and MIA ahead. This could be a season-winning stretch.
Those who know me understand that I enjoy watching pitchers experiment and dive into it when it happens. Often they are irrelevant, failing to prevent the tires from spinning in the mud. There are exceptions, as always, and I find it interesting to point out possible exceptions before they are illuminated to the masses.
So today I want to talk about a pitcher that I wouldn’t actually suggest chasing in 12-teamer. Reynaldo Lopez’s 4.51 ERA and 1.36 WHIP with a 17.3% K rate are enough to turn anyone away while his FIP and SIERA are even worse, each with marks over 5.00. Even cherry picking his last six games returns a 4.28 ERA. Things aren’t great for Reynaldo Lopez.
Something peculiar did happen in his last start, though. It was a strong 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Ks effort against the Yankees and it may have been a result of some tweaking in Lopez’s repertoire. I want to tell you about it.