We are covering the probable starters and highlighting our favorites to stream as you chase down your fantasy titles. Here is Thursday’s slate. 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). The pitchers are in order of how I’d rank them.
Chris Bassitt vs LAA (45%): While Bassitt has had some luck (.257 BABIP), he’s not been horrible in any one category (3.67 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 8.2 K/9, 9 Wins). He’s on a good team facing a below-average one. He’s what owners should like for in a streamer.
Logan Webb at STL (10%): I’m not a fan of his supporting cast, but Webb might be must-start for the rest of the season. His 9.4 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 are supported by his minor league stats. His 56% GB% is near elite and it’s impossible for ground balls to fly out as a homer. I know it’s only been three starts for him but with the lack of starting pitching, he needs to be owned in every league.
Several Category Contributors
Elieser Hernandez at PIT (2%): He’s too flyball prone to feel good about limiting runs in this start but the weak opponent and his 8.8 K/9 make him an interesting option.
Austin Pruitt vs TOR (0%): A bullpen arm thrust into the rotation. He’s thrown over 5 IP in each of last two games so he could get a Win. His 7.9 K/9 isn’t great but it is better than most of the other starters listed. His 51% GB% is decent enough to limit home runs. He’s never walked many batters with a BB/9 near 2.0. I wonder if part of my reason for recommending him is that he’s not burnt me yet.
Kolby Allard at BAL (7%): Allard’s ratios could be shot after this start but he’ll likely come out of the start with some strikeouts and a Win if he can make it five innings.
Single Category Contributors
Zach Plesac vs CWS (41%): A Win only play. He could destroy a team’s ratios with only two strikeouts and still come out with the W.
Chase Anderson vs CHC (14%): Like Hernandez, he could provide a Win and it seems like some strikeouts, but the strikeouts are fool’s gold. His declining velocity has him with a 7.1 K/9 in the second half compared to 9.1 in the first half.
Dario Agrazal vs MIA (1%): He’s facing Miami, so he could get a Win. With a 4.5 K/9 over 54 innings, he needs to pray to BABIP god before each start for some good luck.
Glenn Sparkman vs DET (1%): He’s facing Detroit. Everyone who starts against Detroit has a great chance for a Win.
Trent Thornton at TB (3%): He could be a strikeout play and not a good one at that. I have him above López but it’s close between the pair.
Reynaldo López at CLE (18%): He had a great July (3.41 ERA) with some changes but is back with a 5.34 ERA in August. He’s not horrible and the matchup isn’t horrible, so he gets top billing in the Hell No category.
Jason Vargas at CIN (12%): He has been bad since joining the Phillies (5.18 ERA, 4.6 K/9, 3.6 BB/9). It’s tough to see where he’d help a fantasy team besides a puncher’s chance at a Win.
Martín Pérez at BOS (32%): Useless right now. His early-season success is masking his second-half struggles (6.8 K/9, 3.7 BB/9, 2.3 HR/9, 6.17 ERA). The drop in results can be linked back to his slower fastball.
Jose Suarez at OAK (1%): The only reason he’s above others is that he’s throwing in spacious Oakland Coliseum.
Nathan Eovaldi vs MIN (37%): A flyball pitcher against the team who has hit the most home runs in the history of baseball. Pass.
Dylan Bundy vs TEX (18%): A home game for Bundy is an automatic pass for me. Bundy just gives up too many home runs to start him in the high school stadium.
Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.