Down the stretch, we’ll be covering the probable starters and highlighting our favorites to stream as you chase down your fantasy titles. The pitcher in question must be available in 50% or more of leagues according to FantasyPros.com which combines ESPN and Yahoo! roster rates (sometimes exceptions just over 50% will be mentioned if they are really good and should have a much higher roster rate). I’ve listed the players in order of interest.
Anthony DeSclafani (9-9, 3.84) at PIT |38%
Since allowing six runs in four innings of work against the Nationals on August 12th, DeSclafani has posted a 2.05 ERA (4.17 xFIP) in seven starts. He looks to be doing it by generating more groundballs (52.2%), and fewer strikeouts than he had previously. The Pirates have been one of the worst offenses in the second half of the season (87 wRC+). He’s also gone deep into games – pitching at least six innings in six of his last seven starts. He looks like a strong play against Pittsburgh on Friday.
Jose Urquidy (1-1, 4.63) at LAA |3%
Urquidy’s FIP (3.79) is almost a run lower than his ERA. Friday night he’s facing an Angels team without its two best hitters in Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, a team that has produced a wOBA of .293 in September. His ability to pitch deep into games hasn’t been established so there’s a bit of risk here, but you like the pitcher and you like the matchup.
GIVE THEM A LOOK
Zach Plesac (8-6, 3.82) at WAS |36%
Save for a complete game shutout against the Angels on September 10th, Plesac has struggled since the beginning of August, posting an ERA of 4.43 in eight starts. With both Washington and Cleveland fighting for their playoff lives this weekend, expect a quick hook.
Austin Voth (1-1, 3.35) v. CLE |17%
Cleveland’s offense is a little less dangerous against right-handers (.319 wOBA) and Voth could be a solid source of strikeouts. Dave Martinez hasn’t let Voth make it deep into games very often so consider there’s less opportunity for the win or quality start.
Nate Eovaldi (2-0, 6.03) v. BAL |40%
Eovaldi will make his last start of a disappointing 2019 season on Friday in Baltimore. The matchup with the Orioles is a good one, but he’s been maddeningly inconsistent and ineffective this season thanks to a 4.45 BB/9 walk rate. It’s possible he helps you get a win, but there’s WHIP and ERA risk here.
Eric Lauer (8-10, 4.53) at ARI |12%
Lauer was solid against Arizona last weekend despite the fact that the D-Backs own the fourth highest wOBA and wRC+ against left-handed pitching this season. With Lauer’s strikeout potential, a homer-supressing environment, and Ketel Marte sidelined for the remainder of the season, there is some potential here.
Ivan Nova (11-12, 4.80) v. DET |17%
Nova isn’t going to help in strikeouts and his second half xFIP (5.22) is significantly higher than his ERA (3.67). Because he’s pitching against the Tigers, there’s some win potential here, but not a ton else to be excited about.
Justus Sheffield (0-1, 5.81) v. OAK |11%
Sheffield should have fared better than his ERA suggests (4.29 xFIP). He’s also a solid source of strikeouts. But the A’s mash at home, and their team walk rate of 9.8 percent doesn’t bode well for a pitcher walking 9.7 percent of the batters he’s faced. There’s an outside chance he does something but there are safer plays on Friday.
Zach Davies (10-7, 3.61) at COL |35%
Aside from the fact that Davies is pitching at Coors, Craig Counsell is routinely removing his starting pitchers in the fourth and fifth innings – preventing them from pitching deep enough into games to qualify for wins and quality starts. In the last week, only Chase Anderson has pitched six innings. He’s a decent pitcher, but he’s got a lot working against him.
Tyler Alexander (1-4, 4.99) at CWS |2%
Alexander appears to have taken a step forward this season in his bat-missing abilities – his triple-A K/9 of 9.88 was the best of his career. The White Sox hit lefties well (106 wRC+) and his role as a swing man means he hasn’t pitched deep into games. Continue to proceed with caution.
Vince Velasquez (7-8, 4.76) v. MIA |14%
In addition to the inconsistencies that have plagued Velasquez, he’s been unable to pitch deep into games, having pitched more than five innings only four times in 22 starts this season.
Steven Brault (4-6, 5.07) v. CIN |4%
The Reds struggle against left-handed pitching, which is about the only positive you can take from Brault’s matchup against Cincy. He’s nothing more than a flyer here.
T.J. Zeuch (1-1, 4.58) v. TB |1%
Zeuch isn’t the absolute worst option – but with Tampa fighting for their playoff lives and the risks that come with starting someone who has made just two major league starts, you should stay away unless absolutely necessary this weekend.
Asher Wojciechowski (3-8, 5.31) at BOS |5%
Boston’s offense has gone cold in September but that’s not enough reason to trust Wojciechowski here.
Johnny Cueto (1-1, 2.57) v. LAD |36%
Cueto’s making his fourth start since returning from Tommy John surgery and has yet to pitch into the sixth inning. His velocity is up from his 2018 numbers but you want to avoid him against the Dodgers.
Manny Banuelos (3-4, 6.93) v. DET | 0%
His first start since June 11 means he won’t be stretched out.
Chi Chi Gonzalez (2-6, 5.68) v. MIL |2%
The Brewers are a fairly average offense (96 wRC+) against righties but you still can’t trust Gonzalez at Coors.
Taylor Clarke (5-5, 5.40) v. SD |1%
Clarke has been pitching in the bullpen recently and will likely be acting as an opener here.
Eric Skoglund (0-2, 7.50) v. MIN |0%
You don’t wanna touch any stream-quality pitchers taking on the Twins.
Patrick Sandoval (0-3, 5.25) v. HOU |1%
The Yankees get all the offensive press but the Astros actually lead baseball in team wOBA (.354) and wRC+ (125) this season.
Joe Palumbo (0-2, 9.22) v. NYY |0%
This one is pretty self-explanatory.
Nick thinks running a Major League or fantasy baseball team is incredibly easy. Until he is handed one of those coveted GM positions, his writing at RotoGraphs will illustrate how to do it properly. Fantasy baseball trade consultations and anything else can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweeted to @nickdika.