1. Jonathon Niese (New York Mets)
Next scheduled start: Friday at Washington
Considering that Niese is pitching for New York and has arguably been the team’s most consistent pitcher, it’s odd that he’s owned in only 41% of Yahoo! and 44% of ESPN leagues. Nevertheless, he is available and he’s an excellent streamer on Friday. Niese is averaging 7.09 K/9; opponents have just a .227 BA against him and he has yielded a 1.07 WHIP.
On Friday, he’ll face the Nats, who are striking out 22.5% of the time against left-handers this year. Although Washington has had some success against Niese, they’ve struggled over the past week with a .209 BA, .249 OBP and 14 R scored, which places them in the bottom three of the league in those categories over that timeframe. Expect the Nats offensive woes to continue.
2. Drew Hutchison (Toronto Blue Jays)
Next scheduled start: Friday at Texas
How can a guy who is 1-3 with a 4.37 ERA and 1.30 WHIP make this list? Easy. Drew Hutchison is a completely different (better) pitcher on the road. Toronto’s own Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, owned in 15% of Yahoo and 3% of ESPN leagues, has a lower ERA and WHIP, allows fewer walks and has more strikeouts on the road than at home while facing double the amount of total batters. Hutchison is also inducing a lot of fly balls on the road without giving up a lot of home runs, which means that those fly balls are turning into outs. The Rangers have slugged only .381 at home and own a .200 BA on batted fly balls so expect Hutchison to force a lot of cans of corn.
3. Danny Duffy (Kansas City Royals)
Next scheduled start: Saturday vs. Baltimore
Danny Duffy is about one or two more good starts away from being anointed “Duff-Man” by Royals and Simpsons fans alike. Owned by only 4% of Yahoo! and 1% of ESPN leagues, Duffy will be an easy pickup in whatever league you’re in. Opponents own a .141 BA and a .191 BABIP against Duffy which partially explains his 1.96 ERA. In addition, Kansas City’s third-best 19.1 UZR (a statistic placing a value on how many runs a player or team saved or gave up based on their defensive play) is obviously keeping those opponents hitting numbers down. Duff-Man has a favorable matchup this weekend. Against left-handers, the Orioles own a fourth-worst .227 BA and fifth-worst .293 OBP. Duffy’s only downside this weekend is his inability to go deep into games so his fantasy owners won’t see a drastic increase in IP for the day.
4. Jordan Lyles (Colorado Rockies)
Next scheduled start: Saturday vs. San Diego
It’s a good thing Jordan Lyles is on pace to force the most ground balls in his young career, because Coors Field does not forgive fly ball pitchers. With ownership numbers at 36% in Yahoo! and 35% in ESPN leagues, Lyles may not last long on the waiver wire with one more good start this weekend. Lyles is forcing over half of hitters faced into hitting ground balls (55.4% GB rate) while only allowing a .222 BAA overall. Against right-handed pitching, San Diego owns a .216 BA, a .265 BABIP (both second-worst in the league) and has hit over half of batted balls into the ground. Oh yeah, Colorado’s offense is playing at home and is really, really ridiculously good-looking. That’ll help Lyles’s chances to earn the W.
5. Tyler Skaggs (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim)
Next scheduled start: Thursday vs. Tampa Bay
At 19% ownership in Yahoo! and 11% in ESPN leagues, Skaggs shouldn’t be hard to acquire. Another ground ball pitcher, Skaggs is inducing a 55.2% GB rate and will go up against a Rays team that hits ground balls poorly, a third worst .214 BA on all ground balls. Skaggs has also successfully forced a lot of opponents into infield pop ups and the Rays are in the upper-third of all teams with a 10.9% infield fly ball rate. Adding Skaggs should give you help in IP, ERA and WHIP. The Angels will also be teeing off on Erik Bedard, so you could even add a W for good measure.
6. Robbie Ross (Texas Rangers)
Next scheduled start: Sunday vs. Toronto
Ownership: 4% Yahoo!, 2% ESPN. Don’t look into his 5.04 ERA, 1.53 WHIP too much because the Rangers defense hasn’t done Robbie Ross any favors. However, his 2.67 K/BB rate is solid enough and he’s allowing a lot of base runners to score. His 59.7% LOB rate should even out to around 70% and Toronto’s eighth-worst .302 OBP gives Ross a nice chance for a bounce-back start.
7. Tanner Roark (Washington Nationals)
Next scheduled start: Friday vs. New York
Ownership: 25% Yahoo!, 6% ESPN. His 3.60 K/BB rate will make him a solid streamer every five days and he’s also had some success against the Mets in his career as a reliever and a starter. What makes Roark a great stream this weekend is that he’s pitching at home where he’s been nearly unbeatable: 0.00 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 0 HR and .179 BA allowed in 15.1 IP. Start him with confidence.
8. Roenis Elias (Seattle Mariners)
Next scheduled start: Saturday at Minnesota
Ownership: 16% Yahoo!, 7% ESPN. If you’re in need of strikeouts, look no further on the waiver wire than Roenis Elias. His 8.16 K/9 as well as Minnesota’s 23.9% K-rate is a recipe for some strikeout cooking. The Twins are also hitting only .237 with a ninth-worst .666 OPS against lefties. It could be another long night of flyball outs for Twins fans.
9. Wei-Yen Chen (Baltimore Orioles)
Next scheduled start: Thursday at Kansas City
Ownership: 7% Yahoo!, 2% ESPN. The Royals aren’t exactly lighting it up against lefties with a .247 AVG and a 48.3% GB rate. Not only has Wei-Yen Chen’s control improved this year, he also has his lowest walk rate of his career, and he’s also on pace to force the most ground balls in a season since he came into the league. Take a chance on him for Thursday.
10. Jose Quintana (Chicago White Sox)
Next scheduled start: Friday at Houston
Ownership: 36% Yahoo!, 9% ESPN. The Astros are another team that will continually make this list due to inconsistent and poor hitting. Quintana has a solid 3.08 K/BB rate and a decent 1.22 WHIP, and the Astros are the worst-hitting team in the league with the fourth-highest K-rate at 23.6%. Sorry, Astros fans.
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