This is my weekly column where I suggest low-owned starting pitchers that have a matchup in their favor in the coming week to help your fantasy baseball team. Most of these hurlers are to be used and tossed back to the waiver wire. Some of them will graduate from the wire and find a permanent space on a roster, hopefully yours. This week we are looking at streaming starting pitchers week 5.
My process is to look at wOBA, ISO and K% to identify weak-hitting lineups. Conversely, for pitchers I look at wOBA, ISO against and their K%. For more detail on this process check out last week’s Straight Cheese.
Starting next week you’ll see the results of my previous recommendations in this space. That’s right, I hold myself fully accountable. Here are my final totals from the 2018 season:
31 Wins, 388 Strikeouts, 3.64 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in 400.0 innings (71 starts)
Not bad if I do say so myself… and I, um, just did.
All statistics, ownership and projected starting dates are as of Thursday morning, April 18.
Streaming Starting Pitchers Week 5
RHP Aaron Brooks, OAK
Owned Y2%/E2% · vs. Texas Rangers – Wednesday, April 24th
When the Rangers come to town there is an opportunity for RHP to take advantage. Last season they posted a 0.301 wOBA (20th), 0.160 ISO (17th) and 24.9 K% (23rd). Through 179 plate appearances this season they have a 0.335 wOBA (10th), 0.152 ISO (15th) and 28.5 K% (27th).
I think I had Brooks on my fantasy football team when he was the New Orleans Saints quarterback… What’s that? Different Aaron Brooks? Looks up Aaron Brooks on FanGraphs. Okay, I’m not going to try and convince you that Aaron Brooks is good: 4.24 ERA, 5.30 xFIP, 1.12 WHIP, 11 strikeouts in 17 innings (16.4 K%).
Call this a hunch but I don’t think the Rangers are that good and Brooks could surprise us here. I’m not saying he is going to no-hit them but, more like, be serviceable.
RHP Brandon Woodruff, MIL
Owned Y30%/E16% · at New York Mets – Saturday, April 27th
Through his first four starts this season Woodruff has a 5.23 ERA, 3.54 xFIP, 1.40 WHIP and 26 strikeouts in 20.2 innings (28.6 K%). The kid only has 106 total Major League innings but they have been promising.
Last season the Mets struggled against RHP at home to the tune of 0.290 wOBA (29th), 0.152 ISO (20th) and struck out 22.5% of the time (22nd). So far in 2019, they have turned things around with a 0.347 wOBA (6th) and 0.209 ISO (7th) in 137 plate appearances. They are still prone to the strikeouts though (20th with a 24.8 K%).
Starting Woodruff on the road against a resurgent Mets lineup will be risky, but I ultimately believe he will reward you for taking the chance.
RHP Erik Swanson, SEA
Owned Y1%/E1% · vs. Texas Rangers – Saturday, April 27th
Everything I said about the Rangers on the road against RHP applies here. The difference is Swanson > Brooks. He only has one Major league start as I write this, and it was a good one.
Last season in the minors he struck out 139 batters in 121.2 innings (29.2 K%). He has the ability to make batters miss and the Rangers have the ability to make their bats miss. This should be good for us.
Here is where I recommend a two-start pitcher for you to stream. Please bear in mind that things can change after this article is posted. Injuries, rain delays, managerial moves, etc. can happen. We are looking at this over a week in advance of the pitcher’s second projected start.
RHP Michael Pineda, MIN
Owned Y50%/E33% · @ Houston Astros (Tue Apr 23) & vs. Baltimore Orioles (Sun Apr 28)
First let’s talk about Pineda. After missing the entire 2018 season recovering from Tommy John surgery he’s strung together three nice starts to begin his Twins career: 3.00 ERA, 3.48 xFIP, 1.00 WHIP and 15 strikeouts in 15 innings (26.3 K%).
Houston against RHP at home are currently sporting a 0.389 wOBA (2nd), 0.220 (5th) and 20.2 K% (9th) over 193 plate appearances. Those numbers are better than last season for sure: 0.314 wOBA (18th), 0.153 (19th) and 18.7 K% (4th).
So far in 2019 the Orioles have a 0.305 wOBA (18th), 0.135 ISO (21st) and 26.0 K% (22nd) against RHP on the road. That’s pretty much more of the same since 2018: 0.296 wOBA (24th), 0.154 (21st) and 26.0 K% (28th). They are exploitable. Pure and simple.
His first start at Houston could get messy but that home start against Baltimore should be worth it.