The match ups and data you see below were pulled Friday morning. Please be aware the match ups are subject to change. If you have any questions about the rankings hit me up Twitter @MattCommins
On paper James Paxton appears to be a really good streaming option. He has a sub-2.21 ERA with a 22.1 percent strikeout rate, he gets to pitch at home and faces the Rangers, who have the third lowest wOBA against left handed pitchers. A few days ago I wrote a “scouting report” that essentially said he’s going to be pitching in the Mariners’ bullpen in 2016 because I don’t think he’s going to throw strikes consistently to stay in the bullpen. In his last two starts his command has been extremely loose, but he has managed to get away with it in terms of it negatively effecting his ERA. I have Paxton ranked as a stream option in a 12-team mixed league, but I wouldn’t stream him in a 10-team because I wouldn’t be surprised if his command is missing again.
Since July Alex Cobb has a 1.93 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 25.5 percent strikeout rate and 6.1 percent walk rate (in eight starts). At the beginning of the season I was extremely high on Cobb and Corey Kluber because of the high ground ball and strikeout rates. Pitching in Baltimore’s ballpark isn’t ideal, but he has career 3.45 ERA in that ballpark, which makes him a must start in all formats.
Since joining the A’s Jeff Samardzija has been extremely prone, allowing eight home runs in nine starts. I’ve watched his starts and I don’t know why he’s homer prone; he keeps the ball down and his pitches are more effective when thrown down in the zone. His skill set suggests he’s been unlucky, but when fringe Major Leaguers (like Eric Campbell) are taking him deep I have to start to question what is he doing wrong because a pitcher of his caliber should be eating batters like Campbell for breakfast.
Colin McHugh has a 22.1 percent strikeout rate on pitches inside the strike zone, which is the fifth highest among starting pitchers with at least four starts this year. The only pitchers with higher strike out rates are Clayton Kershaw, Jose Fernandez, Chris Sale and Max Scherzer. McHugh is legitimate and is someone who is not going to go away next year.
Dillon Gee has been absolutely brutal since July began as he’s posted a 5.06 ERA and 1.25 WHIP (in eight starts). From what I’ve seen his biggest problem has been the long ball (14.5 percent HR/FB rate) and batters are hitting .300 with runners in scoring position (with a .375 BABIP). For the month of July batters are only hitting .236 with a .254 BABIP, which suggests he’s been pitching well, but has been unlucky with runners in scoring position.
Since June 17 Matt Shoemaker has been lights out posting a 3.25 ERA, 1.07 WHIP with a 24.5 percent strikeout rate and four percent walk rate (12 appearances and ten starts). What he’s doing is totally legit too. He has a plus fastball (on the scouting scale) to go along with slider that can miss right handed bats and a changeup that can miss left handed bats. A month ago a start against the A’s would have only made him a deep mixed league, but with the A’s recent scuffles and the Marlins being a bad team I have no hesitation starting Shoemaker.
A few days ago news came out that Zack Greinke has been pitching with a tender elbow for close to a month and was skipping bullpen sessions to manage the pain. During the past month he has pitched great, posting a 2.18 ERA and 1.00 WHIP with a 30.3 percent strikeout rate. Obviously this news doesn’t bode well for his long term value, but if you have him you’re starting him because it appears the sore elbow isn’t effecting his ability to pitch.