In the 2020 sprint maximizing your opportunities is going to be key to your success. That means being smart with your two-start pitcher targets, because every added start brings that much more value. Let’s identify a few potential streaming options scheduled to take the mound twice this week (to be eligible the pitcher had to be owned in less than 50% of CBS Sports formats):
Dylan Cease – Chicago White Sox
at Cle, at KC
Both starts come on the road, which generally isn’t ideal. Of course 2020 isn’t the same animal, with no fans in the stands, and while the numbers weren’t impressive Cease was also better on the road in 2019:
- Home – 6.82 ERA
- Road – 4.89 ERA
His biggest problems were home runs, with a 1.85 HR/9. At the same time a 45.7% groundball rate should produce a much better mark than that. Then you have the matchups, with the Indians (tied for 16th) and Royals (28th) both finishing ’19 in the bottom half of the league in terms of home runs.
As long as the control is there, with fewer home runs allowed, better luck (.326 BABIP, 68.1% strand rate despite a 30.3% Hard%) and a stronger supporting cast, everything is pointing up. He’s an ideal post-hype sleeper candidate, and he could make some noise in a two-start week.
Pablo Lopez – Miami Marlins
vs. Bal, vs. Was
When you just look at last year’s 5.09 ERA it would be easy to write him off. However the underlying skills represent a much better mark:
- Strikeouts – 7.68 K/9 (he was at 8.57 in the first half)
- Control – 2.18 BB/9
- Groundballs – 47.6%
Then you have the matchups, which scream to be taken advantage of. We all know how bad the Orioles are, but the Nationals lineup is hardly impressive right now as well. Obviously if Juan Soto is cleared and returns to the middle of the lineup before this game the outlook would be a little bit different, but even then the defending World Series are hurting. Just keep in mind that on Opening Day they ran out a middle of the lineup featuring Starlin Castro, Howie Kendrick and Eric Thames.
Kyle Wright – Atlanta Braves
at TB, vs. NYM
Here’s another young pitcher whose poor 2019 has likely skewed your view of him. It was just 19.2 innings, but an 8.69 ERA is hard to ignore. However he’s proven throughout his minor league career to have strong control (3.1 BB/9), an ability to generate groundballs (1.43 GO/AO) as well as a strong repertoire that can miss bats.
The matchups aren’t quite as appealing as the others, and that puts him as the worst choice on this list, but he has the stuff to ultimately be the best performer of the group.
Kyle Gibson – Texas Rangers
vs. Ari, at SF
It’s been a long time since Gibson has been a truly viable fantasy option, so why is he someone we should be considering? The matchups are certainly part of the equation. Last season the Giants posted the third worst OPS in baseball and while we are just a handful of games in, neither of these offenses have looked very good thus far:
- Giants – .524 OPS
- Diamondbacks – .509 OPS
As for Gibson, he showed an increased strikeout rate (9.00 K/9) to go with enough control (3.15 BB/9) and groundballs (51.4%) last season. His trouble was in his luck (.330 BABIP, 67.5% strand rate) and he was particularly bad at home (5.24 ERA). With the Rangers sporting a new ballpark, why not roll the dice?
Sources – Fangraphs, MLB.com