Fantasy Baseball: 5 Pitchers to Stream in Week 13
A lengthy PED ban for breakout Oakland Athletics pitcher Frankie Montas is the latest chapter in what is shaping up to be an unending gauntlet of misery for the 2019 fantasy starting pitcher pool. With available options thinner than ever, more and more fantasy players will be turning to the waiver wire for answers as the season approaches the long stretch of summer competition.
At this point, few if any owners are feeling good about their starting staffs, but these five widely available pitchers should provide some temporary comfort in leagues of all shapes and sizes.
Trevor Richards, Miami Marlins
Fantasy owners will be flocking to the waiver wire this weekend for a newer, shinier Miami Marlins pitcher, and the fuss over the recently activated Zac Gallen will probably leave Trevor Richards lost in the shuffle. Shrewd streamers should pounce on what profiles to be a strong two-start turn for Richards, who has quietly twirled 22.2 frames of 2.78-ERA ball in the month of June, certified by a 2.55 FIP and 23.7% strikeout rate.
Richards and his devastating changeup (17.8% whiffs, 51.1% reach rate on 552 thrown this season) get a pair of assignments in the pitcher-friendly Marlins park against the Nationals and Phillies, both teams decidedly below average in production against righties since the start of May. The strangely underowned Richards should be a priority target for arm-starved owners this week.
Framber Valdez, Houston Astros
Start: June 26th vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
ESPN ownership: 15%
The Pittsburgh Pirates profile as an ideal matchup for sinker-balling Houston Astros lefty Framber Valdez. The 25-year-old has coaxed 72.1% grounders across 16.1 frames in three starts this season, and the Pirates sport the National League's highest ground-ball rate against lefties since the start of May (51.4%), rounding out a profile that pegs the Pirates as weak and overeager against southpaws (.156 team ISO, 4% walks).
Valdez's 11.7% strikeout-minus-walk rate between starting and relief duties this season certain paints him as a volatile, low-upside asset, but in a matchup this tailor-made for his skill set, he should have the attention of fantasy owners as a plug-and-play option.
CC Sabathia, New York Yankees
Start: June 24th vs. Toronto Blue Jays
ESPN ownership: 11%
CC Sabathia logged his 250th career win against the division rival Tampa Bay Rays last week. He also reached another, more dubious milestone: that start was only the third time in 12 starts this season that he completed six innings of work. Indeed, Sabathia is no longer the sturdy innings eater that made him a fantasy stalwart during his heyday, so it's hard to feel confident that he'll contribute more than minor ratio help and some chip-in strikeouts. Even so, the 38-year-old should have the eye of deep-league streamers this week as the New York Yankees' lefty lines up to face the reeling Toronto Blue Jays, who carry a .711 team OPS against southpaws since the start of May.
Michael Pineda, Minnesota Twins
Start: June 29th at Chicago White Sox
ESPN ownership: 9%
A minor Michael Pineda resurgence over the last two months finds the 30-year-old veteran providing some low-key ratio help to needy fantasy owners. Where Pineda really helps is in the WHIP category: Pineda's 4.35 ERA across his last nine starts is nothing to write home about, but his exceptional control (3.9% walk rate) has produced a 1.06 WHIP across 51.2 innings. Pineda has been a little unlucky in the win column over that span, as well, earning just two wins in nine attempts for a Minnesota Twins team that boasts the breakout offense of 2019.
Pineda will look to bring home a W this week against a Chicago White Sox team that has been useless against righties since the start of May, limping to a .679 team OPS on the back of 26.4% strikeouts and just 33.6% group hard contact. The rejuvenated 30-year-old looks like a strong play in all but the shallowest leagues this week, and he's perhaps an outright hold in deeper formats.
Tanner Anderson, Oakland Athletics
Start: June 26th at St. Louis Cardinals
ESPN ownership: 2%
With his rotation spot temporarily safe thanks to the Frankie Montas suspension, Tanner Anderson carries some minor streaming intrigue in Week 13 by virtue of a matchup with the St. Louis Cardinals. Anderson himself is no great shakes (4.20 ERA, 19.7% strikeouts in 15 innings), but then again neither are the Cardinals. St. Louis' .661 OPS against right-handers since May 1st is sandwiched between the punchless Miami Marlins and Detroit Tigers at the very bottom of the leaderboard.
The no-frills, sinker-balling Anderson (59.6% grounders, 6.4% walks) should play it safe behind an excellent Oakland infield defense, perhaps providing some sneaky low-end streaming value for owners in a real bind.