2014 Fantasy BaseballAndrew Miller

2014 Fantasy Baseball: Week 19 Two-Start Pitchers and Streamers

With so many good pitchers being dealt this past week a lot of rotations are still uncertain heading into the weekend. I’ve done my best to make sure the starters’ matchups listed below are correct, but things could change very easily. If something changes after the piece is published I will add an update section to the top.

There are several two-start pitchers who qualify for the streaming portion of this article. For sake of brevity I’ll only cover them in the top portion of the article, but you should definitely pick up any of the two-starters you want to stream. If you have any questions about these starters, other pitchers or general fantasy baseball questions hit me up on Twitter.

Must-start

  1. Clayton Kershaw – Tue vs. LAA, Sun at MIL
  2. Felix Hernandez – Tue vs. ATL, Sun vs. CWS
  3. Max Scherzer – Mon at NYY, Sat at TOR
  4. Corey Kluber – Mon vs. CIN, Sat at NYY
  5. David Price – Tue at NYY, Sun at TOR
  6. Johnny Cueto – Tue at CLE, Sun vs. MIA
  7. Zack Greinke – Mon vs. LAA, Sat at MIL
  8. Alex Cobb – Mon at OAK, Sun at CHC
  9. Jeff Samardzija – Mon vs. TB, Sat vs. MIN

Samardzija has had two semi-clunkers since moving to Oakland thanks to a home run rate that’s twice his Chicago rate. But he’s limiting his hits allowed and walks allowed, which has lead to a 27:4 K:BB. He sometimes gets hit hard, but he’s still too good to bench in any league.

Start in 12-teamers

  1. Zack Wheeler – Tue at WSH, Sun at PHI
  2. Tanner Roark – Mon vs. BAL, Sat at ATL
  3. Garrett Richards – Mon at LAD, Sat vs. BOS
  4. Dallas Keuchel – Tue at PHI, Sun vs. TEX
  5. Tim Hudson – Mon at NYM, Sat at KC
  6. Danny Duffy – Tue at ARI, Sun vs. SF
  7. Wade Miley – Tue vs. KC, Sun vs. COL
  8. Alfredo Simon – Mon at CLE, Sat vs. MIA
  9. Kevin Gausman – Mon at WSH, Sat vs. STL

Wheeler has gone at least six innings in each of his last six starts, allowing just one run in five of those starts and two in the other. That streak of at least six innings is the longest of Wheeler’s short career. His opponents rank 20th and 28th, respectively, in wOBA against righties this week, so he’s a strong start. Roark is on a similar hot streak, pitching seven innings in each of his last five starts and allowing just one earned run in his last four. The 27-year-old ranks 10th in the NL in ERA (2.74) and sixth in WHIP (1.08). In his hot stretch he’s been throwing more sliders, which is arguably his best pitch. The Orioles hit righties well, but they’re 27th in offense in the last month while the Braves rank 19th. Roark should continue his good stretch.

Hudson is seemingly still undervalued by some fantasy analysts, but you can count his number of bad starts this year on one hand. He’s thrown three quality outings in a row, and he has two very pitcher-friendly matchups this week. Duffy catches Arizona at the right time with Paul Goldschmidt on the DL. The D’Backs rank 11th in wOBA against lefties, thanks mostly to Goldschmidt’s .470 mark. In 11 starts since June 2 Duffy has a 1.83 ERA with 56 strikeouts in 68.2 innings. He’s held hitters to a .098 Isolated Power mark in that time, too. In that time he’s been throwing more sliders and curves, which are his two best swing-and-miss pitches.

Miley has five quality starts in his last six, averaging six strikeouts a start. The Fix’s Landon Jones wrote about Miley’s increased slider usage, which has led to an uptick in strikeouts this year. Since May 22 Miley has a 3.55 ERA with 83 strikeouts in 83.2 innings and more than three strikeouts for every walk. I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t want to start him against Colorado, but the Rockies have slowed to the 10th best offense in the past month. They also rank 28th in road wOBA.

Deep-league starts

  1. Gio Gonzalez – Tue vs. NYM, Sun at ATL
  2. Dillon Gee – Mon vs. SF, Sat at PHI
  3. Charlie Morton – Tue vs. MIA, Sun vs. SD
  4. Tim Lincecum – Tue at MIL, Sun at KC
  5. Phil Hughes – Tue vs. SD, Sun at OAK
  6. Hiroki Kuroda – Tue vs. DET, Sun vs. CLE

Gonzalez has been too inconsistent this season for me to recommend him in any shallow leagues. The Braves hit lefties well, so I wouldn’t recommend starting him in many leagues. Gee‘s been rocked in his last three starts, but he still sports a 3.77 ERA and 1.10 WHIP for the year. This week he has two bottom-five offenses against righties.

I don’t think you’d want to start Morton in any shallow leagues, but he’s a good deep-league pitcher because he’ll give you a good amount of innings with good ratios, usually, even despite a lack of strikeouts. It seems the Marlins have come back to the pack after a hot start, so that matchup isn’t as scary as it was at the beginning of the season. And of course you want to start him against San Diego. Lincecum is the exact opposite of Morton, but you can start him in deep leagues. He isn’t always a consistent innings-eater, but he’ll get you a ton of strikeouts even if he only goes four innings.

If you can start Hughes against San Diego and not Oakland that should be your plan. Hughes’s strikeout, walk and home run numbers continue to be career-bests, and his FIP and xFIP are much lower than his 4.12 ERA. He’s due for a good stretch soon, and if you’re in a weekly league I’d say you can start Hughes and just hope he doesn’t get crushed by Oakland, which ranks 15th in wOBA in the last 30 days.

AL-/NL-only starts

  1. Brad Hand – Tue at PIT, Sun at CIN
  2. Brandon McCarthy – Mon vs. DET, Sat vs. CLE
  3. John Danks – Tue vs. TEX, Sun at SEA
  4. Jason Hammel – Tue vs. TB, Sun vs. MIN
  5. Bud Norris – Tue at TOR, Sun vs. STL
  6. Mark Buehrle – Tue vs. BAL, Sun vs. DET

Pitchers to avoid

Top streaming options available in at least 50 percent of ESPN leagues

Danny Salazar – Wednesday at Cincinnati – Salazar has a 2.00 ERA in three starts since coming back from the Minors. He’s struck out 17 and walked six in 18 innings. Cincinnati ranks 25th in wOBA against righties and 28th in overall wOBA in the last 30 days.

Ryan Vogelsong – Wednesday at Milwaukee – Vogelsong threw a two-hit complete game against the Mets Friday, running his stretch of good starts to seven. In those starts he’s walked only five and struck out 35. The Brewers rank well against righties on the season, but in the past month their overall wOBA is the fifth worst in baseball.

Collin McHugh – Thursday at Philadelphia – The Phillies rank 28th in wOBA against righties, and in the last month their .298 overall wOBA ranks just 24th in the Majors. In two starts since returning from the DL McHugh has pitched into the seventh both times while striking out 14 total with just two walks.

Vance Worley – Friday vs. San Diego – Worley has three solid starts in a row, and while the competition hasn’t been good it’s at least a positive sign for him. He actually has quality starts in seven of his eight starts, so he’s been very consistent. You can’t ask for a better matchup than San Diego.

Francisco Liriano – Saturday vs. San Diego – Before Liriano’s Sunday start the lefty has three straight good starts including consecutive seven-inning, one-run outings. He’s struck out 23 in his last 19 innings, too. And, obviously, San Diego ranks dead last in wOBA against lefties.

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