Two-start pitchers with good matchups are usually owned or will cost a decent penny in this shortened season. The focus of this weekly series to find really available pitchers and hitters who can be rostered a week early to beat the rush.
Week three is not going to be a good week to add streamable pitchers, for the simple reason, most are already owned. The two-start arms are comprised mostly of #2 and #3 starters. To focus the discussion on available players, I’m just going to list players available in less than half of CBS leagues. I’m trying to dig past the obvious choices. With that caveat out of the way, there are a few guys to gamble on.
Pitchers (using CBS ownership)
Green Light: Grab These Pitchers
Josh Lindblom (MIL) at CHW, vs CIN (29%)
Lindblom should already be owned by some team in every league with his single start at Pittsburgh. I’m guessing the low ownership rate is based on him being an unknown quantity. Last season in the KBO, he earned the league MVP award (20 Wins, 2.50 ERA and 189 strikeouts over 194 innings). Owners should roll him out this week and keep him around for the two-start week coming up.
Justus Sheffield (SEA) vs OAK, vs COL (27%)
Like Lindblom, Sheffield has a nice single start (vs LAA) before the two start week. It’s tough to buy in since he really struggled last season. While the strikeouts were decent (9.3 K/9), he allowed too many walks (4.5 BB/9) and got hit around (1.3 HR/9 and .371 BABIP).
Despite the suspect major league results, there is some upside. Sheffield has some pedigree as top-100 prospect (#27 in 2019 by Baseball America). Also, he is working on a new two-seam fastball.
Unlike Lindblom, I may not blindly start Sheffield at the Angels (Andriese), but if he does break out, this week will be the last chance to get him relatively free.
Brady Singer (KCR) at CHC, vs MIN (13%)
I’m not sure how much trust to put into Singer, but it might already be too late for some cheap bids. He struck out seven Cleveland hitters in five innings of work allowing only two runs. And he gets to start versus Detroit (Nova) next week. The bidding will be intense and I could see him go in the 20% to 50% range. Some desperate owners may take a chance on him.
Brady Singer, Disgusting 85mph Slider. 🤮 pic.twitter.com/j01X8IqvS1
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 25, 2020
Yellow Light: Maybe, if you are desperate
Justin Dunn (SEA) vs LAA, vs COL (6%)
Dunn’s matchups aren’t the worst but he struggled in a small MLB stint after being a borderline prospect while traversing the minors. His potential owners get to see him face the Angels (Sandoval), so the high minor league strikeout rate (10.8 K/9 in AAA last) may become obvious. With Dunn, fantasy owners are hoping on a spectrum of unknowns.
Kevin Gausman (SFG) at COL, at LAA (19%)
This option is decent and I’d recommend him if it weren’t for the word “at”. I just don’t think a fantasy team can take a chance with Gausman in Colorado. The win would be in play because the Rockies offense stinks. I guess maybe. Ratios be damned.
Daniel Mengden (OAK) at SEA, vs HOU (2%)
First, these two starts may not happen because Oakland’s staff is still getting set. While the Seattle start seems workable, Houston has seen Mengden enough to be used to his funky delivery. In nine games against Houston, Mengden has a 6.21 ERA and 1.67 WHIP. If I had to make the decision, I like the two-starts more than the choices after him but a disaster most likely will happen.
Red Light: No thanks
Steven Brault (PIT) at MIN, vs DET (1%) and/or Chad Kuhl (PIT) at MIN, vs DET (1%)
It’s tough to know what Pittsburgh is going to do next week with this spot, let alone in two weeks. The current scuttlebutt is that the pair are going to piggyback the start. If that happens, the second starter is worth a dart throw for a chance at the win. Pass on both this week, but re-evaluate after the situation clears up.
Framber Valdez (HOU) at AZ, at OAK (15%)
Just because a pitcher plays for Houston, it doesn’t make him good. Valdez’s issue is too many walks. In over 100 major league innings, he has a 5.70 BB/9. As a starter, he has a 5.25 ERA with matching ERA estimators. He has to get the walks under control. There is always a chance, but he’s already 26 so the breakout should have already occurred. Pass.
Carlos Rodon (CWS) at MIL, vs CLE (11%)
What a tough draw for a two-start week. I don’t see myself using any resources on him this week for those matchups. I can’t do it.
Danny Duffy (KCR) at CHC, vs MIN (16%)
Duffy got the Opening Day nod for the Royals so potential owners at least got a look before bidding and didn’t see much. It wasn’t pretty. He only struck out two batters over four innings. Additionally, his fastball velocity was down over 1 mph. I just don’t see any upside here.
Ivan Nova (DET) vs StL, vs PIT (3%)
The rotation is in flux with Daniel Norris off the COVID IL but is not yet stretched out. It’s possible that Dario Agrazal gets the first start for the week in question. Everyone involved has limited talent so owners should just stay away.
Tommy Milone (BAL) vs NYY, at WAS (3%)
There is a good chance Milone doesn’t make it to this start based on his lack of talent and/or John Means comes off the IL.
Note: I rarely add hitters two weeks in advance to stream, but if I’m making a decision for the next week, the streamable week is a nice tie-breaker.
Twins (2 at PIT, 2 vs PIT, 3 at KC)
Load up on them, but most already are. The only option may be Marwin Gonzalez (7%) if Byron Buxton stays hurt.
Giants (4 at COL, 3 at LAD)
Who cares about those three at the Dodgers. Four on the road at Colorado makes any Giant with talent a must-target.
Wilmer Flores (3%), Hunter Pence (9%), Mauricio Dubon (13%), and Darin Ruf (0%) would be my choices based on lineup position and talent. For a long shot, Jaylin Davis (2%) is a member of my Voit-Muncy All-Stars and has the potential to be a deep sleeper. And he’s already got a home run on the season.
Rockies (4 vs SFG, 3 at SEA)
Most of the Rockies are already owned. The only option — and I feel dirty for saying it —is Matt Kemp (4%). The Rockies seem invested in DHing him every day. Rockies going to Rocky.
Tigers (2 vs StL, 2 at Stl, 3 at PIT)
Besides Jack Flaherty, the Cardinals starters are rather pathetic. The problem is that so are the Tigers. The three options I prefer are Nicko Goodrum (19%, batting leadoff), Jonathan Schoop (14%, batting 2nd), and C.J. Cron (31%, batting 4th). All three could be a decent bench bat this upcoming week and then streamed the next week.
Cubs (2 vs KC, 2 at KC, 3 vs StL)
It’s time to continue picking on the St. Louis and Kansas City pitching staffs. Jason Heyward (12%), Ian Happ (40%), and Victor Caratini (11%) are available options. While Happ is the most owned, he may struggle to accumulate counting stats batting 9th. While not a sexy pick, Jason Heyward is a nice safe play for a team needing outfield help. The wildcard is Caratini. He doesn’t need to produce much from the catcher position to be valuable.