Fantasy Baseball: 5 Pitchers to Stream in Week 22
Five months removed from draft day and nearly a month away from the closing bell of the regular season, fantasy baseball becomes less about the names on your roster and more about bottom-line production.
As such, the home stretch of the season is the time for streamers to shine. These five pitchers may lack name recognition and draft-day capital, but when all is said and done, they're the kind of pick-ups who spell the difference between a pennant and a participation trophy.
Michael Pineda, Minnesota Twins
Michael Pineda might not have the eye-popping output nor the strikeout chops to move the needle in shallow leagues, but as fantasy owners narrow their focus on specific categories in the final weeks of the season, shrewd players will want to look towards the 30-year-old righty as a solid source of WHIP and of both wins and quality starts.
Over his last eight turns, the Minnesota Twins hurler has made five notches in both the W and QS columns, while his slender 5.1% walk rate and average of just over six frames per start have helped produce a 1.12 WHIP over that span.
Pineda should have no problem padding those strong recent numbers this week against two of the five weakest MLB offenses in the second half. The veteran may lack upside, but he sure looks to have the sturdiest floor of any two-start streamer this week.
Tanner Roark, Oakland Athletics
Start: August 28th at Kansas City Royals
ESPN ownership: 20%
To be fair, Roark has surrendered a good amount of hard contact over that span (43.5%), while his exceptionally high 84.7% strand rate figures to regress some.
But even if Roark edges closer to the 3.67 FIP he carries through his short tenure with the Athletics, he could be a useful plug-and-play arm for needy fantasy owners. That's particularly the case this week, with Roark drawing a favorable matchup with a Kansas City Royals team that has been among the MLB's very worst offensive producers since the All-Star break.
Anibal Sanchez, Washington Nationals
Start: August 30th vs. Miami Marlins
ESPN ownership: 20%
Anibal Sanchez should have the attention of waiver hawks this week, and not just because he's fresh off of a surprisingly thorough domination of the Chicago Cubs, limiting that formidable lineup to a single earned run over 8.1 frames.
The veteran Washington Nationals hurler suffers from unsexy peripherals (11% strikeouts-minus-walks on the season) and inconsistent performance (he coughed up 13 earned runs across his four starts previous to the Cubs gem), but it's hard to look past a date with the weak-hitting Miami Marlins. The admittedly shaky veteran figures to hold his own against a team that ranks near the very bottom of the MLB in most power and plate-discipline metrics since the break.
Dinelson Lamet, San Diego Padres
Start: August 29th at San Francisco Giants
ESPN ownership: 16%
Fantasy owners in search of strikeout upside need look no further than Dinelson Lamet. The 27-year-old's injury-abbreviated season may seem lackluster if you focus only on his surface results (4.30 ERA, 1.30 WHIP in 46 innings), but there is no shortage of voltage under the hood for the hard-throwing righty, whose fierce trademark slider has generated a mammoth 23.6% swinging-strike rate across 344 thrown so far this season.
That's a heck of a lot of whiffs, and there should be more to come as the San Diego Padres hurler is set to square off against the San Francisco Giants this week. Granted, in the second half, the G-Men haven't quite been the punching bags that starter streamers have relied on in recent years, but their attack remains decidedly muted at home, toting a subdued .146 team ISO at Oracle Park since the break.
Adrian Houser, Milwaukee Brewers
Start: August 27th vs. St. Louis Cardinals
ESPN ownership: 10%
Fantasy owners have been slow to embrace Adrian Houser, the Milwaukee Brewers righty who, despite a 2.70 ERA and 25.5% strikeout rate over his last four starts, remains largely at the fringes of standard-league ownership.
Expect the 26-year-old to earn a little more love this week as he lines up for his second straight matchup with the flailing St. Louis Cardinals. Expect Houser and his excellent sinker (73.1% grounder rate, .646 OPS allowed) to once again frustrate a Cardinals team that has struggled to generate power in the second half.