Fantasy Baseball: 5 Pitchers to Stream in Week 10
With roughly one third of the fantasy season in the books, the pecking order in your season long standings should be coming into focus. Whether you're wrestling for a spot at the top of the standings or digging your way out of the basement, a little help in the starting pitching department could go a long way. Scour your waiver wire for these five widely available starters, each primed with plus matchups and ready to provide strong fantasy value at little to no cost in Week 10.
Wade Miley, Houston Astros
Once a begrudging streamer target for owners in need of a cheap win and decent ratio help, Wade Miley has raised eyebrows of late by raising his strikeout rate, with the Houston Astros southpaw punching out 17 hitters in 13 innings over his last two starts.
Miley is doing a lot of damage with his changeup, a pitch that's coaxing 19.1% whiffs while limiting hitters to a .576 OPS on 162 pitches thrown. These gains come at the expense of Miley's sinker, once a heavy part of the lefty's arsenal but one that Miley has wisely leaned away from after that pitch was rocked for a 1.026 OPS across 111 offerings last season.
A revitalized Miley should keep rolling during his two-start slate in Week 10, particularly against a Seattle Mariners squad that couldn't hit a beach ball if it were thrown by a left hander (27.1% strikeouts, .209 AVG against southpaws in May). Miley will probably have to keep the Ks rolling a little longer to become a standard-league mainstay, but for now he's a luxury streamer target in all formats.
Sonny Gray, Cincinnati Reds
Starts: June 8th at Philadelphia Phillies
ESPN ownership: 27%
Standard league players who kept Sonny Gray on a short leash after his discouraging 2018 campaign (4.90 ERA, 11.3% strikeouts-minus-walks in 130.1 innings) might have jumped ship a month ago when the 29-year-old Cincinnati Reds righty labored through a four-start stretch that saw him post a 5.49 ERA across 19.1 frames. A 3.40 fielding independent pitching (FIP) over that span signaled an inevitable turnaround that Gray has made good on since mid-May, chiseling his season ERA down to 3.54 while flashing a career-best 26.9% strikeout rate.
With Gray's fantasy ownership spiking, a road tilt against the Philadelphia Phillies might seem like a tough activation decision on paper. Gray carries a less-than-sterling 4.09 ERA at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, a rough equivalent to Citizen's Bank in Philadelphia per ESPN Park Factors. But once again, Gray's 2.82 FIP and 0.30 homers-per-nine at home suggest some positive regression in the offing. On top of that, the Phillies lineup was far from formidable against righties over the month of May, posting 24% group strikeouts and the fifth-worst team ISO in the majors.
It seems like the hesitance around Gray deserves to be squashed. The Reds righty is a no brainer plug-and-play this week, and those who add him might think twice about throwing him back into the waiver pool.
Devin Smeltzer, Minnesota Twins
Starts: June 4th at Cleveland Indians, June 9th at Detroit Tigers
ESPN ownership: 22%
Devin Smeltzer barely averages 90 mph on his fastball, but that didn't stop the Minnesota Twins rookie from posting some outrageous numbers in his debut start against the Milwaukee Brewers last week. The 23-year-old lefty coaxed a 51.2% reach rate with 14.5% swinging strikes from the Brew Crew on Tuesday, and all of a sudden the fifth-round pick who barely sniffed a deep league roster last week is looking like one of the hotter pickups in fantasy for Week 10.
It's hard to argue with the swell of enthusiasm here, as Smeltzer lines up to face two of the league's least-imposing offenses in Week 10. Who knows how long Smeltzer can keep fooling hitters with his secondary stuff, but he sure looks like a tantalizing upside stream.
Brad Keller, Kansas City Royals
Start: June 7th vs. Chicago White Sox
ESPN ownership: 13%
Brad Keller's walk numbers are ugly (12.2% walks against 15.7% strikeouts in 78 innings pitched). Thing is, the Chicago White Sox's numbers on the road might be even uglier. Chicago just can't get anything going away from Guaranteed Rate Field, flailing to an AL-worst .145 road ISO and an undisciplined 20% strikeouts-minus-walks.
Keller has fallen a long way since rattling off four starts of 2.45-ERA ball for the Kansas City Royals, so he's probably there for the taking outside of deep leagues for streamers who miss on the trendy waiver options this week.
Merrill Kelly, Arizona Diamondbacks
Start: June 8th at Toronto Blue Jays
ESPN ownership: 7%
Merrill Kelly took the loss last week against the Colorado Rockies as Coors Field, but you have to like what you saw from the rookie. Kelly had limited the Rockies to two earned runs on four hits through six innings before a bloop and a blast from Ian Desmond and Chris Iannetta broke the tie, making Kelly's night seem a heck of a lot worse than it actually was. With five strikeouts against one walk and only 20% hard contact allowed on the night, it's fair to treat that Coors start as a net positive in what has thus far been an up-and-down season for the Arizona Diamondbacks righty.
Meanwhile, Kelly put in some impressive work when he struck out ten New York Mets across 7.2 frames of one-run ball on Sunday. Look for Kelly to ride the upswing when he toes the rubber against a sputtering Toronto Blue Jays squad later this week. The Jays have mustered a mere .380 group slugging percentage against righties this season, while their weighted production against right handers would be worst in the majors were it not for the slightly more hapless Detroit Tigers and Miami Marlins.