It’s a pitching-light Tuesday in terms of streamable options, but it also doesn’t set up for a huge scoring night, either. It’s one of those in-between days. A lot of mid-level pitchers and some will rise while others will crumble, identifying who will go which way is more difficult, but I’ve come up with some intriguing options on both ends the spectrum, including a Cardinals outfielder I’m looking at well beyond Tuesday.
Pitchers to stream
Mike Clevinger (R), 45 percent ownership in ESPN leagues, Cleveland Indians at San Francisco Giants: Clevinger is rolling right now with 20 strikeouts and just two earned runs in his last three starts totaling 18 innings. In fact, he’s been pretty fantastic all year. The one flaw is his 13 percent walk rate, but when you’re allowing hits at a 5.7 per nine clip, you can afford a higher walk rate. The Giants have a 7.5 percent walk rate, sixth-worst in the league, so they are unlikely to take advantage of Clevinger’s flaw.
Michael Wacha (R), 52 percent, St. Louis Cardinals at New York Mets: Wacha has had an up and down season, but he’s back on an upswing with a 1.53 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and 23 strikeouts in his 17.7 innings of work. He also posted a 2.74 ERA in his first seven starts of the season.
Adam Conley (L), less than 1 percent ownership, Miami Marlins vs. Philadelphia Phillies: Conley is the gamble pick of the bunch. He returns to the majors for the first time since May 8th and he was sent out after three devastating starts (15.19 ERA in 10.7 IP). He wasn’t great in the minors, either, with a 5.49 ERA in 62.3 innings. So why am I picking him? I’m just not afraid of the Phillies and I still see a solid lefty with a three-pitch mix and some swing-and-miss to his game. The Phillies hold just a .299 in wOBA against lefties this year, 24th in the league.
Pitchers to avoid
Dylan Bundy (R), 57 percent, Baltimore Orioles vs. Texas Rangers: Bundy hasn’t allowed fewer three runs in any of his last six starts, yielding a 7.76 ERA in 31.3 innings. He does have 31 strikeouts in that time, but 34 hits, 14 walks, and nine homers. This is still just first full season as a major league starter, so it’s not too surprising that he’s struggling a bit. I think his start (2.26 ERA through eight starts) paired with his pedigree made most of us believe right away. The Rangers sit 12th in the league with a .325 wOBA.
Cleveland’s league-best 2.91 reliever ERA is part of why Clevinger is 3-0 in his last four starts despite not going more than six innings in any of them. The Angels are seventh in the league with a 3.80 ERA, though that will be tested with a visit from the Nationals this week.
Projected game scores
GS is the projected game score for the pitcher. The asterisk (*) means that the pitcher lacks requisite career major league data to produce an accurate rating; these are the author’s ratings.
Josh Phegley (R), less than 1 percent, Oakland Athletics vs. Tampa Bay Rays (LHP Blake Snell): Phegley has carved out a little second catch, short-side of the platoon role for himself, but he does have just a .620 OPS against lefties this year in 50 PA so it’s time to start hitting. Plus, Bruce Maxwell doesn’t do anything against lefties so the playing time is there for Phegley to turn it around. Snell has been wildly inconsistent in his big league career with righties doing most of the damage. They have hit all 12 of the career homers Snell has allowed. He also loves giving out free passes with a career 13 percent swinging strike rate.
Matt Adams (L), 32 percent, Atlanta Braves vs. Chicago Cubs (RHP John Lackey): The Adams breakout has been fueled by a devastation of righties: .315/.365/.580 with his OPS tracking 284 points higher than his work against lefties. Lackey, meanwhile, has a .378 wOBA against lefties this year, worse than everyone but Jordan Zimmermann and JC Ramirez. That Adams is only 32 percent owned speaks more to the depth of first base than anything else.
Jose Peraza (R), 48 percent, Cincinnati Reds vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (LHP Robbie Ray): Pereza is a high-contact bat that can spike that multi-hit, multi-steal game for you, though it is worth noting that he hasn’t swiped a bag since June 20th. He does have a .281 AVG and 14 percent strikeout rate against lefties and Ray does have a 42 percent hard contact this year so a low-strikeout guy can be a problem.
Joey Gallo (L), 25 percent, Texas Rangers at Baltimore Orioles (RHP Dylan Bundy): It only makes sense to attack our avoid pitcher. Gallo’s batting average is a nightmare, but you’re hoping for a bomb whenever you start him. He has a .311 ISO against righties with 17 homers in 223 plate appearances. Bundy has allowed 18 homers in his last 14 starts (after 0 in the first four) and lefties are toting a .218 ISO against him this year.
Orlando Arcia (R), 27 percent, Milwaukee Brewers at Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP Ivan Nova): Arcia is quietly raking over his last 50 games with a .322/.353/.461 line including 5 HR and 4 SB in 190 PA. The surge has boosted him to 16th on the Player Rater among shortstops, just behind Manny Machado. He does his best work against righties, too, with a .286/.319/.437 season line and eight of his nine homers. While Ivan Nova is having arguably his best season ever, he still gives up homers with regularity. He’s at 1.1 HR/9 this year, though that’s much less of an issue at home so Arcia is a better bet for multiple hits and a stolen base if he goes off.
Mike Napoli (R), 17 percent, Texas Rangers at Baltimore Orioles (RHP Dylan Bundy): Napoli is riding hot with hits in all but one of his 10 games this month, good for a .278/.316/.861 line with six homers and 10 RBIs in 38 PA.
Jose Pirela (R), 9 percent, San Diego Padres at Colorado Rockies (RHP Antonio Senzatela): Jumping on the Coors train with a couple Padres picks. Pirela has been an out-of-nowhere solid bat in his 138 PA sample so far: .282/.319/.481 with 4 HR and 3 SB.
Tommy Pham (R), 40 percent, St. Louis Cardinals at New York Mets (RHP Rafael Montero): Pham’s degenerative eye condition no doubt led to some of his uneven work in parts of the last two seasons, but with a new solution to the issue Pham is playing his best ball ever. The 29-year old is hitting .306/.390/.514 on the season with 11 HR and 12 SB in just 249 PA. While the right-handed hitter is worse against same-handed opposition, he still has a perfectly usable .298/.376/.476 line against with 7 HR and 8 SB. If the Mets are foolish enough to let him see a lefty, he could add to his .333/.433/.646 line against them. This is someone I’d pick up not only on a spot start, but for the remainder of the season in most formats.
Nick Markakis (L), 21 percent, Atlanta Braves vs. Chicago Cubs (RHP John Lackey): Eager to pick on Lackey, even with a punchless bat like Markakis’. He has a solid .293/.370/.407 line against righties this year with 22 of his 27 extra-base hits. His 34 percent hard contact rate is his best mark since 2007 (35 percent).
Jabari Blash (R), 1 percent, San Diego Padres at Colorado Rockies (RHP Antonio Senzatela): Blash’s playing time has opened up with Hunter Renfroe on the DL and he’s responded with hits in all three games this past weekend. Blash has done his best work against lefties, but he started against two righties this weekend and should get the look here in Coors.
Hitter matchup ratings
Notes: Hitter ratings account for the opposing starting pitcher’s history (three years’ worth, as well as the past 21 days) and ballpark factors. “LH” and “RH” ratings account only for left- and right-handed batters, respectively. Weighted on-base average (wOBA) is the primary statistic used in the calculation. Ratings range from 1 to 10, with 10 representing the best possible matchup, statistically speaking, and 1 representing the worst. So, for example, a 10 is a must-start rating, whereas a 1 should be avoided (if possible); a 1-2 is poor, 3-4 is fair, 5-6 is average, 7-8 is very good and 9-10 is excellent.