Things are getting interesting for fantasy baseball in Week 14. Many of the low-owned starters are facing challenging teams, and those with two starts are few and far between. Pick up the pitchers you want right away, because they might not be there if you hold off until the last minute. Of note: all four pitching streamers mentioned in this article are starting on Tuesday, July 3rd.
Let’s get started on this week’s Pitching Primer! We’ll look at pitchers that you can stream, who are available in about 50% or more of ESPN and Yahoo fantasy baseball leagues. Listed will be a pitcher and their team, along with ownership percentages and their projected opponent. This week also includes two, two-start pitchers.
Clayton Richard (ESPN: 43%, Yahoo: 33%)
Projected starts: 7/3 @ OAK, 7/8 @ ARI
Richard is the only two-start pitcher that I’m recommending for this week’s Pitching Primer. You don’t always want to rely on game logs, but take a look at Richard’s. In 12 out of 17 starts this season, he has pitched at least six inning, and 10 of these have been quality starts. Richard’s first start of the week in Oakland, is more favorable (weaker lineup, better ball park for pitching). Chase Field hasn’t been the product of huge offensive games this season. Richard’s been good about keeping the ball in the park and on the ground, with a HR/9 of 0.84 and a ground ball rate of 57.7%. Richard is capable of keeping his team in the game, and lets hope that Padres’ hitters can get to Greinke on Sunday. It’s difficult to justify keeping a starter from a losing team at times, but you may want to consider it with Richard if you have a spot to fill on your roster.
Zach Eflin – Philadelphia Phillies (ESPN: 35%, Yahoo: 49%)
Projected start: 7/3 vs. BAL
Eflin could get lost in the shuffle a bit, with recent attention going to his teammate, Nick Pivetta. People’s interest in Pivetta is because of strikeouts. Eflin holds his own, with a K/9 of 9.05 vs. Pivetta’s 10.78. Eflin allows fewer BB/9, less home runs, and has a better ERA than Pivetta. He’s won five straight starts, pitched at least five innings in all of them, with 28 strikeouts. His Week 14 start comes against the Orioles, who have the worst record in baseball. The Phillies are making the NL East a three-way race, and will be competitive with their opponents for the time being. If you’re not comfortable with Eflin, the least you should do with him is pick him up for this start.
Marco Estrada – Toronto Blue Jays (ESPN: 16%, Yahoo: 21%)
Projected Start: 7/3 vs. NYM
Estrada’s another pitcher who has been doing well over his last five starts. It’s not quite the success as Eflin, but we’re seeing a more stable string of outings from him. All but one of these five starts were quality starts, with just two home runs given up (both in the same start against the Orioles). He’s averaging about a walk and a half during this time, but his strikeouts per game range from 1 to 9. Estrada’s Week 14 start is at home, against the Mets, who are the fourth lowest scoring team in MLB. Because his overall consistency as far as outcome is concerned, Estrada is worth the roster move, against a weak offense.
Anthony DeSclafani – Cincinnati Reds (ESPN: 11%, Yahoo: 9%)
Projected start: 7/3 vs. CWS
DeSclafani is making his way back from a UCL sprain and oblique strain. With just five starts under his belt for 2018, he’s done quite well for a pitcher who hasn’t seen major league action since 2016. DeScalfani’s been able to pitch through at least five innings per start, with a little less than a strikeout per inning. Walks and home runs are of concern, but if he stays healthy, he should steadily progress back to his usual ways. He gets this start against the White Sox. This game is in Cincinnati, which means the White Sox are losing their DH. Any little edge that can help DeSclafani and your fantasy team is a plus. If you feel like you need to see one more start from him before streaming him, it looks like DeSclafani’s next starts will be against the Indians and Cardinals – so stream him for Week 14!
Thank you for reading, and good luck with your fantasy baseball season and pitching streamers!