We’re creeping closer and closer to the all-star break, so now’s the time to make a serious push in your leagues. By streaming, you can get a leg up on your competitor in a head-to-head league or boost your counting statistics in a roto league. We’re at about the halfway point in terms of fantasy and you simply can’t fall too far behind at this juncture. All this talk is making me giddy, so let’s get to some of our plays.
Yusei Kikuchi, SEA (vs. KC, vs. BAL)
The Streamonator absolutely loves Kikuchi this week, as he happens to be the highest priced two-start streamer of the season. In fact, it has him projected to provide $53.7 worth of value, which is the equivalent of a Top-10 pitcher for the week. Overall, the Streamonator has him projected to accrue a 2.85 ERA and 1.01 WHIP while striking out 12.9 batters across 11.6 innings. Those are simply elite statistics and his early-season form shows why he’s a great option. Over his first 11 appearances, Kikuchi pitched to a 3.43 ERA and 1.02 WHIP. What makes him so enticing this week are his matchups, as he gets two home starts against terrible offenses. In fact, Kansas City ranks 24th in runs scored, 24th in OPS, 25th in xwOBA and 28th in xSLG while the Orioles sit 19th in K rate, 26th in runs scored and 29th in wOBA.
Joe Musgrove, PIT (vs. DET, vs. SD)
Recent form makes me wanna puke when recommending Musgrove but it’s hard to argue with these matchups. Not only does Musgrove get two home starts in a pitcher’s park like PNC, he faces two of the worst offenses in the Majors. Detroit currently ranks 27th in wOBA, 29th in runs scored and 29th in K rate while San Diego sits 27th in K rate, 28th in xwOBA and 26th in OBP. We’re talking about a pitcher with some serious upside too, as he pitched to a 1.54 ERA and 0.89 WHIP over his first six appearances. The last eight starts haven’t been as pretty but he still does have three stellar starts in that span. The Streamonator agrees that Musgrove is a fantastic pick-up this week too, projecting him to provide $18.1 worth of value
Lance Lynn, TEX (vs. CLE, vs. CWS)
This is not a guy who I had much faith in coming into the year but he’s shown some flashes of brilliance recently. It’s two bad outings that have really skyrocketed Lynn’s numbers, as he’s actually allowed three runs or fewer in all of the other 12 starts. All but one of those were quality starts, with the one non-quality start falling one out shy of that threshold. His recent form is what’s really encouraging, with Lynn posting a 3.39 ERA and 1.22 WHIP over his last nine starts while striking out 69 batters across 58.1 innings. That K rate is extremely enticing and it’s clear that he’s in top form considering he’s thrown at least six innings in all nine of those outings. These matchups are simply the icing on the cake, with Cleveland ranking 22nd in OBP, 25th in OPS and 23rd in both wOBA and runs scored. Chicago’s not much better, sitting 21st in wOBA and 22nd in both runs scored and K rate
Chris Bassitt, OAK (vs. BAL)
Bassitt is another player whose recent form has lowered his ownership but there’s a lot to like about this talented righty. His early-season form is what’s really promising, with Bassitt posting a 1.93 ERA and 0.92 WHIP over his first five starts. While his last six starts haven’t been as impressive, Bassitt is still pitching to a 3.68 ERA and 1.19 WHIP for the season. Those are still very good numbers and it pairs beautifully with his 23 percent K rate. The reason we believe he can recapture that early-season form is because of this matchup. Not only do we expect Bassitt to enter this game as a –200 favorite in a pitcher’s park like Oakland Coliseum, he also gets to face a Baltimore team that ranks 26th in runs scored and 29th in wOBA. That’s why the Streamonator has him projected to provide $24.2 worth of value, which is easily the highest total of any one-start streamer.
Michael Pineda, MIN (at KC)
Many people forget just how good Pineda has been at times in his career and it’s hard to argue with his lofty floor. We’re talking about a guy who hasn’t allowed more than three runs in six straight starts. His 5.04 ERA is nothing impressive but his 1.21 WHIP and 3.46 career xFIP indicates that he’s been pretty unlucky. Getting a three-run floor from a streamer is a huge plus and it would be hard to imagine an offense like the Royals cracking that three-run wall. In fact, Kansas City currently ranks 24th in both runs scored and OPS while ranking 28th in xSLG.
Zach Plesac, CLE (vs. DET)
Plesac has been one of the best pitchers in the minors since the beginning of last season and his results at this level indicate that it’s no fluke. Over his first four starts in the Majors, Plesac is pitching to a 2.92 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. The only thing that’s held him back are homers but facing Detroit limits that risk. The reason for that is because the Tigers currently rank 29th in total dingers, which is actually what they rank in both runs scored and wOBA. That simply means they’re one of the worst offenses in the league and that puts Plesac squarely in line for another solid outing. He’s actually likely to enter this game as a –2000 favorite and the Streamonator has him projected to provide $15.5 worth of value.