Fantasy Baseball: 5 Pitchers to Stream in Week 17
This weekend's triple-digit temperatures have finally subsided, but your fantasy standings are still hot to the touch. Cool things down for the home stretch with these five widely available starting pitchers, all poised to contribute refreshing fantasy stats to your extremely thirsty starting rotation.
Anibal Sanchez, Washington Nationals
Start: July 25th vs. Colorado Rockies
ESPN ownership: 24
Surprisingly consistent in a season of starter volatility, Anibal Sanchez has allowed more than three earned runs only once in his last nine starts, and over that span, he's failed to complete six innings of work only twice. That 3.80 ERA for the season is making it harder to ignore the veteran in standard leagues, even as his FIP (4.74) and SIERA (5.13) warn of the looming regression that comes with his bloated walk rate (9.1%) and a foreboding homer-per-fly rate (12.5%).
Streamers who don't mind betting into a winning streak can run with the Washington Nationals hurler in Week 17, where Sanchez draws the softer half of the Colorado Rockies' home/road split. True to form, the Rockies have been the MLB's least-productive road offense in July, significantly worse than even the Baltimore Orioles and Miami Marlins.
Merrill Kelly, Arizona Diamondbacks
Start: July 23rd vs. Baltimore Orioles
ESPN ownership: 21%
Merrill Kelly's 2.67 ERA since the start of June is a top-10 mark among qualified MLB starters, with a 0.92 WHIP in 57.1 frames that has made him a near-elite ratio asset in all formats.
A limited track record and modest 21% strikeout rate is likely what's keeping Kelley at the margins of standard-league consideration, but you'd have to be positively flush with roster depth to get away from the 30-year-old Arizona Diamondbacks righty as he squares off at home with the flailing Baltimore Orioles this week.
The talent-starved O's have been especially dreadful away from Camden Yards since the start of June, with a .144 group ISO in that span (third worst in the MLB) along with 25.2% strikeouts. Look for Kelley to flummox the free-swinging Orioles with his curveball, which has earned him 13.9% whiffs and a 42.7% reach rate across 388 curves thrown.
Jake Junis, Kansas City Royals
Start: July 26th vs. Cleveland Indians
ESPN ownership: 11%
Jake Junis has been downright dominant over his last three starts, twirling 20 frames of 1.35-ERA ball on the back of a 29.5% strikeout rate. An obviously unsustainable 100% strand rate should engender a fair bit of skepticism, but even if the Kansas City Royals righty pitches more towards his 3.94 FIP over that span, he should remain a useful streaming option in the right matchups.
One such matchup comes this week against the Cleveland Indians, who have improved a bit from their early-season futility but remain a decidedly mediocre offensive squad, submitting a team-wide .744 OPS and .176 ISO since the start of June.
Trevor Richards, Miami Marlins
A light week for streamable two-start pitchers finds us in the shaky arms of Miami Marlins righty Trevor Richards. The 26-year-old hurler remains an uneasy asset in fantasy thanks to a troublesome 10.7% walk rate on the season, a trend that's only gotten worse of late, with Richards doling out free passes at a 12.6% clip over his last 20 innings of work.
Streamers in a bind will have to hope the undisciplined Chicago White Sox (among the MLB's very worst in terms of strikeouts-minus-walks) will lean away from Richards' Achilles' Heel, while also banking that the spacious confines of Marlins Park will work against an Arizona Diamondbacks offense that has been a middle of the road producer since the start of June.
Adrian Sampson, Texas Rangers
Adrian Sampson rejoins the Texas Rangers rotation this week eager to chisel away at his 5.89 ERA across 62.2 innings of work as a starter. The 27-year-old draws a soft assignment to start the week, as the Rangers visit a Seattle Mariners squad that carries the MLB's worst team OPS in the month of July.
A weekend date against the red-hot Oakland Athletics should be avoided if possible outside of deep weekly lock leagues, though streamers in desperate need of two-start help can take solace in Sampson getting a reprieve from the pitcher-hostile Globe Life Park.