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.
I’ll be keeping them under 30% owned per usual, with all numbers pulled from Fantasy Pros’ consolidated ownage metrics.
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.
Matthew Boyd vs. Kansas City Royals – Have you realized how dominant Boyd has been in the second half? He’s boasting a 3.09 ERA (3.84 SIERA) with a 26% K rate, 5% BB rate, and 0.93 WHIP in 11 starts, even recording an IPS (Innings Per Start) above 6.0 in that time. His last two starts came against two tough opponents in St. Louis and Cleveland, yet it did little to slow him down, tallying 18 strikeouts and just 3 ER in 12.1 IP. Phenomenal. The biggest shift from his first half self is a major boost in velocity, averaging 92.0 mph during this hot stretch despite his early starts sitting 90/91. Bank on the heat returning and steamrolling the poor Royals lineup.
Chris Stratton vs. San Diego Padres – Despite Justin Mason’s love for him in the preseason (I liked his value at the time myself!) Stratton had been a disappointment through the entire year…until returning to the majors on August 21st. In his five starts since, it’s been a 2.10 ERA with a 0.73 WHIP, on the back of figuring out his breaking pitches. His curveball and slider have both significantly improved, rendering positive pVals following their -6.1 and -7.2 marks in 20 games prior. Now, there is still a possibility he regresses back to his old form, though the risk is lowered quite a bit when slated against the Padres. Stratton is worth the gamble with his improved stuff.
Tyler Glasnow vs. Toronto Blue Jays – It’s hard to forget a 7 ER start that lasts just two outs, but it’s in your best interest to do so as Glasnow is a better pitcher than his sub 20% ownage rate suggests. He’s allowed 3 ER total in the three other games in his last four, and the strikeouts are plenty alive while going 20 innings combined in those three outings. Yes, the Blue Jays are the team that handed Glasnow the massive clunker, but don’t let that hold you back from giving Glasnow another shot. There might not be a better strikeout/ratio upside play out there while the chances of hitting his floor are lower than you think.
Sean Reid-Foley vs. Tampa Bay Rays – I wanted to include a solid discount option and I was surprised to see a meager 2% mark for Reid-Foley despite two of his three games returning 10 strikeouts each. In deeper leagues where Glasnow/Boyd/Matz are all gone, there will not be a better strikeout upside play to be had, especially with Reid-Foley facing the Rays instead of a high-powered offense. The elephant in the room is a pair of 6 ER that could come knocking back his way, but desperate times call for desperate measures, and pencil in Reid-Foley as a possibility if you need to push the needle heavily in a pinch.