by Ken Balderston
Any team looking at a stretch run to the money could use a boost in the pitching game, and some can be found on your waiver wire. While not an exact science, there are usually effective options out there for the astute owner. Let’s see who could impress this week:
To be considered in most leagues
No truly enticing options this week, but there are a few interesting ones listed below
Some nice upside but also some risk
Reynaldo Lopez – White Sox (vs. Tigers, 44% owned) ‘B’
Lopez has always intrigued owners with his tantalizing stuff, but so far he’s failed to register high strikeout rates in 2018 with only 116 in 155 innings or a 6.73 K/9. He has been much better of late, with 18 K in his last 3 starts covering 14.2 IP (11.05 K/9). Those 3 starts resulted in a 5.52 ERA, but that’s largely thanks to a rough home start against the Royals (6 ER in 2 IP) while he handled the Yankees and Tigers on the road in the other two starts, giving up 3 ER total in 12.2 IP.
He’ll be facing the Tigers again this week, this time at home, and while Lopez does not have dramatic home/road splits in ERA (4.36/4.65), the Tigers are outright bad on the road. For the season they’ve managed the second worst road OPS in baseball at .650 and have only scored 237 runs in 68 road games or under 3.5 runs a game. Lopez’s stuff has always been appealing, but he’s beginning to show signs of maximizing it and a matchup like he has this week makes him an appealing option for streaming in deeper leagues.
Solid option but also a fair amount of uncertainty
Anthony DeSclafani – Reds (vs. Padres, 48% owned) ‘C’
DeSclafani seems to be getting stronger the further he gets from the injury bug he had over the previous 18 months. While he holds a 4.34 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 2018 (87 IP), he’s also better of late with a 3.03 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in his last 5 starts. This week he’ll face a team that was thought to be a bad offense, and has proven that correct all year. On the road San Diego is 26th in MLB in OPS at .671, and only manage to score on average 3.75 runs a game. DeSclafani’s ownership rate is quite high at 48%, so he might not be available if you’re in a deeper league. If he is available take a minute to consider trotting him out for you next week.
Significant risk but also potential to put up a solid outing
Daniel Mengden – Athletics (vs. Rangers, 15% owned) ‘D+’
Strikeouts continue to keep Mengden’s ownership rate down, as his soft stuff just does not rack up the strikeouts. He’s managed only 57 in 94.2 innings this year, going into Saturday’s game where he was serving as ‘primary pitcher’ following the ‘opener’ Liam Hendricks. He does keep the game in control though, as his WHIP continues to be low at 1.18, and he has a respectable 4.28 ERA. He’s actually far better at home, with a 3.64 ERA and .285 wOBA in O.co this year. He’ll be facing one of the worst road offenses in the Rangers, owners of a .675 road OPS (25th in MLB) who score under 4 runs a game. They also strike out nearly 10 times a game, so we’ll see if Megden can manage a respectable strikeout rate in a game that does not intimidate.
Options you might be considering but are not recommended
Daniel Norris – Tigers (vs. Cardinals, 5% owned) ‘F’
I read today on Rotoworld if Daniel Norris had anything other than bad luck, he’d have no luck at all. Well things seem to be looking up a bit at the moment, after his first start off the DL, as Norris went into Yankee Stadium and one hit the Yanks over 4.1 innings while striking out 7. A very nice start against a very tough offense indeed. In fact on the year Norris owns a 10.57 K/9… but also a 5.28 BB/9. Lack of control of the strike zone in today’s MLB will simply sink you as a pitcher. Putting guys on base for free, with the high home run rates, can really put the pitcher behind the 8 ball quickly. This week Norris faces the Cardinals in Comerica. On the surface that might not seem intimidating, but look deeper. On the year the Cardinals have the 4th best road OPS at .765, and they also have the 6th best OPS vs lefties year, sitting at .765 (again). In August the Cardinals put up the second highest OPS in baseball at.804. Maybe the note on this is not so much Norris, but beware the Cardinals offense for the time being.
Hit me up on twitter (@kenintoronto) or in the comments below if you have a player you’re considering streaming and want some thoughts on
Sites consulted: CBSsports, MLB.com, Fangraphs, Rotoworld, MILB.com