There’s just a few more weeks left in our Fantasy Baseball leagues, and finding pitchers to stream doesn’t get any easier in Week 22. There are two, higher owned, two-start pitchers that I’ll mention in a nutshell, in addition to the usual four streamers.
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.
CC Sabathia – New York Yankees (ESPN: 45%, Yahoo: 52%)
Projected starts: 9/3 @ OAK, 9/9 @ SEA
Vincent Velasquez – Philadelphia Phillies (ESPN: 31%, Yahoo: 42%)
Projected starts: 9/3 @ MIA, 9/9 @ NYM
Sabathia and Velasquez have similar weeks coming up. Both have two starts, both of these starts are on the road, and they’re in pitcher-friendly ballparks. The Yankees and Phillies have something to play for, but the Yankees have a tougher week. The A’s are just 1.5 games behind the Astros in the AL West, and the Mariners are seven games back. For the AL Wild Card, the Yankees and A’s have those two spots, with the Mariners 5.5 games back. Meanwhile, the Phillies are two games behind of the Braves in the NL East, and three games back from a Wild Card spot.
Sabathia’s been tracking a strikeout or more per inning in his last five out of six starts. Strikeouts like that haven’t been as consistent for Velasquez, but he certainly has the ability for it. He pitches well enough against weaker offenses, and can be streamed this week, along with Sabathia, who is no stranger to big-game situations.
Even though their ownership percentages are high, it’s possible that they’re still available in your leagues. With the season getting down to the wire, there are less competitive teams who are looking for pitchers to stream.
Wade LeBlanc – Seattle Mariners (ESPN: 27%, Yahoo: 22%)
Projected start: 9/4 vs. BAL
LeBlanc has put together a nice 2018 season. His win-loss record could be better in his favor, as he had good starts but didn’t factor into the decision. If you need quality starts – of his last eight, five of them have been quality starts. In Week 22, LeBlanc will face the Orioles at home. On Friday, Brad Keller of the Royals, pitched eight innings of two-run ball. I believe we should expect similar results from LeBlanc. He also isn’t a strikeout guy, but we’ll trade that for a solid start, against a bad team.
Anthony DeSclafani – Cincinnati Reds (ESPN: 19%, Yahoo: 23%)
Projected start: 9/7 vs. SDP
DeSclafani’s ownership has been slowly creeping up, and for good reason. He’s pitched at least six innings in his last four starts. While he did give up for earned runs in each of his last two, DeSclafani gave up a total of just one run in the other two starts. Lack of strikeouts could be an issue, but this start will be against the Padres, who are striking out 25.4% of the time. Pitching into the later innings is a good sign for DeSclafani. We should take advantage of this start against the Padres. It looks like the start after this one will be against the Dodgers.
Joey Lucchesi – San Diego Padres (ESPN: 17%, Yahoo: 25%)
Projected starts: 9/3 @ ARI, 9/9 @ CIN
Early on, Lucchesi seemed flukey but I’m slowly believing in what he has to offer. Having started 21 games, he’s allowed just 42 earned runs. That equates to two earned runs per start. Lucchesi is able to get a strikeout per inning, more consistently than most pitchers around his ownership level, at 9.74 K/9. He’ll have a tougher matchup in his first start against the D-backs, who are the currently leading in the NL West. The better matchup, if you’re looking to stream Lucchesi for just one of the two, is against the Reds. Even with the ballpark advantage at home, the Reds still have difficulties with winning at home. Something interesting about Lucchesi’s splits this season: he has pitched better on the road than at home.
Wei-Yin Chen – Miami Marlins (ESPN: 7%, Yahoo: 9%)
Projected start: 9/7 @ PIT
With an inflated ERA that’s just a tad below five, Chen isn’t on the minds of those who just look at his totals on the season. If you take a closer look through his games started, you’ll see that he does have streamable starts, and even against teams that you may not expect. The strikeouts may not always be there, but he could surprise you like he did in his last start against the Braves; striking out 10 batters. In his last 12 starts, Chen has pitched at least 5 innings in 10 of them – which is good enough for the win if he keeps runs allowed to a minimum, and if the Marlins can score some runs. Chris Archer is projected to pitch opposite of Chen in this game. Archer has been struggling. He hasn’t pitched more than five innings in any of his five starts with the Pirates, and has allowed 19 earned runs. Consider Chen if you need to.
Thank you for reading, and good luck with your fantasy baseball season and pitching streamers!