These fantasy baseball starting pitcher rankings were pulled Thursday morning. Please be aware the matchups are subject to change. The data is up to date as of Wednesday night.
Jeff Samardzija grabbed all the headlines after being traded, but when the trade occurred I said Jason Hammel would be the better pitcher the rest of the year and thus, have more fantasy value. Hammel has the better strikeout rate and most importantly, the lower walk rate. Unlike Samardzija, Hammel gets substantially more outs via the fly ball, which isn’t a big deal because he’ll pitch his home games in Oakland. The A’s will not need a fifth starter until July 26th (at Texas) so it could be Jesse Chavez, Tommy Milone or Drew Pomeranz (he came off the DL and was sent to Triple-A) who take that spot. … For his career, Dillon Gee has a 3.15 ERA and 1.21 WHIP (in 49 games, 47 starts) compared to a 4.44 ERA and 1.36 WHIP on the road. This year in three road starts this year he has a 1.93 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. Odds are the road statistics are going to regress, but I don’t see that happening in San Diego. If I was in a daily league I wouldn’t start him in Milwaukee though. The Brewers have the 7th highest OPS against righties in the majors for the year. If you play in weekly formats I would start Gee because his outing in San Diego will be good enough to offset the expected poor start in Milwaukee. … I was a big believer in Alex Cobb heading into the season and obviously he has underperformed so far. In mid-April he hit the DL with an oblique strain and missed nearly six weeks of the season. Cobb is someone I would target because his peripherals are the same as last year and the quality of his stuff is still the same, which indicates he’s been unlucky. His BABIP is slightly higher than last year, but the biggest difference is the strand rate; last year it was 81.4 percent and this year it’s 71 percent. He has a career 74.5 percent strand rate so he should see a positive regression in the second half. Also, I detailed why the Rays offense should back in the second half, which means the Rays pitchers should have a lot of winning opportunities.
Stream options in 10-team & must-starts in 12-team
Zack Wheeler has a 2.67 and 1.19 WHIP in his last five starts, but I’m not buying it. He faced the Marlins twice, Rangers, Braves and the A’s, who lit him up for six earned runs in two innings. Like Gee, I love the start in San Diego. However, in weekly formats I’m not as optimistic because he could easily blow up in Milwaukee because of his propensity to walk a lot of batters and the Brewers smash right handed pitching. … Barring injury Rubby De La Rosa is going to remain in the Red Sox rotation the rest of the year. Obviously he’s not going to continue to have a sub-3.00 ERA, but he has the ingredients to be a consistent must start in 12-team mixed leagues because he misses bats, doesn’t walk batters and generates a lot of ground balls. In weekly leagues the Toronto start seems worrisome, but this is not the same Blue Jays offense from a month ago. Edwin Encarcion, Adam Lind and Brett Lawrie are all on the DL and they’re playing fringe major leaguers as replacements.
Stream options in 12-team & must-starts in 15-team
The Braves’ first 17 games in the second half of the season are going to be a streamers paradise as they will face the Phillies, Marlins, Dodgers and the Padres for seven of those games. I would pick Aaron Harang and Ervin Santana if either are available. After a brutal month (May 16-June12) Santana has performed better in his last five starts: 3.82 ERA and 1.24 WHIP. I still expect his ERA to drop half a run by the time the season ends and he couldn’t have found a better schedule than to begin the second half of the year. … Alfredo Simon has pitched great in the first half of the year, but he’s going to regress. Among starters with at least ten starts he has the second highest strand rate (85.1 percent). Since he only strikes out 16 percent of batters eventually more of those runners on base are going to score. However, he has a career 76 percent strand rate and in the past two seasons, as a reliever, its 78.4 percent so I don’t think he regresses to his 4.34 FIP. For the rest of the year he’ll have a 3.65-3.75 ERA. … After Tim Lincecum’s second no-hitter I wrote, “if Lincecum can limit the walks, induce more weak contact and not throw the fastball up in the zone he could be fantasy relevant in every format.” In his last four starts he’s done that; the walk rate decreased one percentage point; the ground ball rate has increased six percentage points and he’s throwing his fastball less in the upper part of the zone. In those last four starts he has a 0.30 ERA and a 0.63 WHIP, which is unsustainable, but I think it’s possible (although not very likely) what he’s doing is permanent.
Stream options in 15-team
R.A. Dickey very quietly has been very good the past six weeks. In his last eight starts he has a 3.14 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. Obviously the ERA is low considering how high the WHIP, but the overall question is can he sustain a performance similar to this moving forward? During that stretch his walk rate was 8.1 percent, which is far higher than his previous three seasons. His career ERA at home is nearly a full run higher (4.47 at home compared to 3.65) and his starts are at home, albeit against poor offenses. The Rangers and Red Sox are in the bottom third in OPS in the last month. … I’m very curious to see how Tyler Skaggs’ season progresses the rest of the year. He has a 4.50 ERA and 3.55 FIP which indicates he’s been unlucky. When you see him pitch he’s basically a two-pitch pitcher: fastball and curveball. In order to survive throwing two pitches the command has to be even better. On top of that, for the curveball to be effective the fastball command has to be really good; if it isn’t the curveball will not be effective. When he doesn’t have command he gets lit up like he did in his last start at Texas. In daily formats I would stream him in 12-team mixed leagues against the Mariners. In weekly leagues I would be more hesitant because the Tigers have the third highest OPS against lefties for the season.
Pitchers to start only in dire circumstances
Vance Woorley has pitched great in his past few starts, but I’m still not buying yet. Also, he’s only scheduled to have one start which puts him at a disadvantage because 95 percent of the pitchers have at least two starts this week.