by Ken Balderston
Streaming pitchers off the waiver wire can be a very effective way to add innings to your staff. Maybe you missed out on some of your end game pitchers in the draft, have run into a string of injuries or just want to take advantage of some matchups. Here’s a look at some options owned in less than 50% of CBS leagues to help you gain an advantage this week.
To be considered in most leagues
Jordan Lyles – Padres (vs. Braves, 26% owned) ‘A-’
Lyles started the year in the bullpen (3.66 ERA), and has been about as successful since becoming a starter (3.64 ERA). Where we see the biggest split is in his home/road production, with a 2.01 ERA in 31.1 home innings and 6.50 ERA in 18.0 road innings. The Braves have a formidable road offense (.776 road OPS) but this game will take place in San Diego’s Petco Park, long thought of as a pitcher’s heaven. This is especially true at night, and favorably for Lyles this game starts at 7:10 pacific time. He held a 37% ownership rate last week, pitched well again and is now down to 26%… go figure. The good new is there’s a chance he’s on your waiver wire, and if he can handle the Braves you might even want to consider hanging onto him.
Some nice upside but also some risk
Nick Tropeano – Angels (vs. Royals, 20% owned) ‘B-’
Tropeano is not a household name, and that shows by his 20% ownership rate in CBS leagues despite putting up a 3.80 ERA so far this season. His FIP is elevated at 4.93, but he shows a nice control of the strike zone, 11.6% K-BB%, and even put up an 11.6% SwStr%. The Royals started the year hopeful, but Dayton Moore has already said they’ll be sellers at the deadline. Ranking 18th in road OPS and a sub .400 road SLG hardly scare opposing pitchers. Pitching in his home park against a struggling road offense should lead to a successful start.
Solid option but also a fair amount of uncertainty
Tyler Mahle – Reds (vs. Rockies, 28% owned) ‘C’
Mahle had a bit of a rough May, with a 5.33 ERA, he but got off to a nice start in June with 5.0 shutout innings in San Diego. He’s going to try to do it in a home start against a team that historically has very extreme home/road splits. This season the Rockies are 4th worst in MLB in road OPS at .654, and struggle mightily against right handed pitching with a .696 OPS (24th in MLB), compared to a .760 OPS (10th in MLB) against lefties. Mahle has had some trouble at home with the HR, allowing 9 in 29 innings, and the Rockies have managed 40 in 32 road games, so keeping guys off the bases will be key.
Significant risk but also potential to put up a solid outing
Derek Holland – Giants (vs. Diamondbacks, 4% owned) ‘D’
Holland has gotten off to a rocky start to start, with a 4.94 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. He’s had a bit of bad luck at home, not in his BABIP necessarily, but he’s sporting a 5.75 home ERA despite a .690 home OPS and 1.13 WHIP. There would appear to be room for these stats to normalize, and facing the Diamondbacks is a good opportunity to do so. Arizona currently owns the 25th best road OPS at .663 and were terrible in May, putting up a .580 OPS (dead last in baseball by .040 points). There are reasons to be concerned starting Holland, as he hasn’t been the poster boy for consistency the last 3+ years, but some of his peripherals suggest he could harness a struggling offense.
Options you might be considering but are not recommended
Jhoulys Chacin – Brewers (at Phillies, 43% owned) ‘F’
Chacin has been on a bit of a hot streak lately, putting up a 2.73 ERA in May and seeing his ownership rate rise to 43%. A closer look at some of the peripherals makes this one seem like a risky start though. On the year he has an elevated walk rate of 3.98 BB/9, and there is not much to write home about in his 6.39 K/9, resulting in only a 6.3% K%-BB%. He’s also been markedly better at home, (2.79 ERA vs. 4.46 on the road) and of course, this will be a road start. The Phillies have dramatic home/road splits, with a .660 road OPS and a scary .757 OPS at home. Due to his recent success owners could be viewing Chacin as a must start option, but in this case there’s plenty of reason to leave him on your bench or waiver wire.
Always open to comments or questions in the notes below, or on Twitter @kenintoronto
Sites consulted: CBSsports, MLB.com, Fangraphs, Baseballreference ESPN, Fantasy Pros
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