Fantasy Baseball: 5 Pitchers to Stream in Week 12
As injuries and poor performance continue to trouble the high end of the starting pitcher pool, fantasy fortunes appear to increasingly hinge on each fantasy owner's ability to squeeze value out of unexpected places.
Sure, if we could go back in time to draft Hyun-jin Ryu or Lucas Giolito, we very much would. But failing that luxury, it's time to look ahead to the next diamond in the rough. These five widely available arms might not be the answer for the remainder of the season, but they are set up to provide strong streaming value to get you through Week 12.
Griffin Canning, Los Angeles Angels
Starts: June 22nd at St. Louis Cardinals
ESPN ownership: 23%
Despite allowing seven earned runs in two back-to-back starts against the powerhouse Los Angeles Dodgers, Griffin Canning comported himself well against the prohibitive favorites for the National League pennant, notching twelve strikeouts without walking a single batter.
A number of shallow leaguers may have bailed on Canning with the Dodgers double dip on the horizon, so streamers should swoop in with the Los Angeles Angels right-hander finally draws a schedule break this week. Canning lines up against a slumping St. Louis Cardinals offense that carries a dreadful .138 ISO against righties over the last month.
Pablo Lopez, Miami Marlins
Start: June 20th at St. Louis Cardinals
ESPN ownership: 20%
Pablo Lopez's 10-run implosion against the New York Mets on May 10th has cemented its place as the great streaming blunder of 2019, but don't let that ratio-busting start turn you off on Lopez completely. The young Miami Marlins righty has been pretty darn excellent over the six starts since that disastrous outing, posting a 2.27 ERA with 22.6% strikeouts against 5.1% walks in 35.2 innings.
The Mets debacle will likely keep Lopez's season-long numbers (4.23 ERA) at a distance from his tantalizing 3.52 FIP, but streamers who can put the past behind them should benefit from rostering Lopez in Week 12, where he draws that same scuffling St. Louis Cardinals squad that we're targeting with Canning later in the week.
Merrill Kelly, Arizona Diamondbacks
After swapping promising starts and frustrating duds for the better part of May, Arizona Diamondbacks rookie Merrill Kelly has strung together three consecutive impressive outings, spinning an 0.81 ERA across his last 22.1 frames.
Kelly's 22.8% strikeouts against 2.5% walks could certainly signal a skills breakthrough, though a .175 BABIP and 100% strand rate in the recent sample paints Kelly as a bit of an overachiever.
Still, it's hard not to see Kelly continuing to punch above his wait given the competition he'll face in Week 12. The Colorado Rockies are the second least productive road team in the majors, while the perennial streamer punching bag San Francisco Giants are the least productive offense in the majors period. With this assignment ahead, Kelly looks like the luxury two-start add of the week.
Adrian Sampson, Texas Rangers
In this truly dire starting pitching environment, why are standard league owners keeping Adrian Sampson at arm's length on the heels of a four-hit, one-earned-run complete game? Well, shrewd fantasy players don't have to dig too deep to realize that the 27-year-old is cursed with a truly bad fastball, one that's surrendered a 1.003 OPS across 863 career fourseams.
That said, struggles with the heater are masking how the Texas Rangers righty has turned his slider into a real difference maker, one that's coaxed a 39% reach rate and 18.9% whiffs on 318 offerings this season.
But even with the modest overall strikeout gains (18.5% compared to 15.4% in 2018), Sampson's limited arsenal and offense-forward home ballpark peg him as a matchup play at best. Standard leaguers might want to tread lightly with two starts in Arlington this week, but deep league players have to like the weak opposition here, with the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians both well-below-average power producers against righties this season.
Freddy Peralta, Milwaukee Brewers
A spike in home run rate has cast a pall over Freddy Peralta's work as a starter for the Milwaukee Brewers this season, with the hard-throwing 20-year-old coughing up a 20% homer-per-fly rate in his starts this season, more than double the 9.4% rate that he allowed in 14 appearances last season.
Hence the odd dissonance between Peralta's results as a starter (7.07 ERA in 35.2 frames) and his skills metrics (27.1% strikeouts against 6.5% walks). There's certainly something for gambling deep leaguers to sink their teeth into here, and there's no better time to take a shot on Peralta than Week 12, where he squares off against two teams that are among the MLB's most generous in terms of strikeouts against righties over the last month.