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Two-Start Pitcher Streamers for Fantasy Baseball - Week 10

zach eflin fantasy baseball rankings draft sleepers waiver wire pickups starting pitchers

The list is long yet the pickings are slim this week. Many of the two-start streamers have either proven they cannot be trusted to your fantasy teams or have worrisome matchups ahead. For those who have to delve into the risky streamer section, it is advisable to read the full analysis for each player to understand what you are getting into and who might benefit most in a given category.

For those new to this recurring column, each week this fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups column will identify starting pitchers expected to make two starts in the upcoming fantasy baseball week, ahead of the Sunday night waiver wire runs for leagues with weekly transactions.

This list will be limited to players under 50% rostered in Yahoo leagues and divided into three sections based on recommendation levels: solid starters, risky streamers, and must-avoids.

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Solid Two-Start Pitcher Streamers

Zach Eflin, Philadelphia Phillies - 26% rostered

Scheduled starts: vs MIA, @WAS

If not for a blow-up start against the Mets on May 28, Eflin would be getting a lot more attention in fantasy leagues. Actually, in just two games the Mets have accounted for 12 of the 23 runs scored on him this year. Otherwise, Eflin has been really solid and even with those blowups, he has a 29.5% Hard-Hit% and .321 xwoBACON. He is one of the few pitchers who truly uses a six-pitch mix, including a curveball that currently induces a 47.1% Whiff% and .119 BAA.

He's not a terrific source of Ks just yet and Washington barely strikes out, so don't get hopes up for a huge total in that category. He should be a big help in ratios for both of his outings this week.

Brady Singer, Kansas City Royals - 24% rostered

Scheduled starts: @SF, @OAK

Singer was hit with some regression this past week as he allowed 10 runs in two starts. The Astros and Blue Jays are two formidable offenses as it turns out. The good news is that despite getting hit hard (five HR allowed), he didn't walk a batter and struck out nine. Singer hadn't had trouble with the long ball to that point so it appears his sinker just wasn't sinking and those power bats were able to take advantage.

He gets a reprieve with a west coast trip to a couple of very pitcher-friendly parks and gets an Oakland offense that remains punchless. While Oakland has posted the lowest team OPS vs sinkers+sliders this season, San Fran is second-highest with a .736 OPS. If he is at least adequate in the first start, he could pay off with an excellent second start late in the week.

Alex Faedo, Detroit Tigers - 9% rostered

Scheduled starts: vs CHW, vs TEX

After seven MLB starts, Faedo is yet to allow more than two ER in an appearance. The knock on him for fantasy was a low strikeout rate but that has picked up lately; he's whiffed 12 in his past 10 innings. Faedo doesn't have elite velocity and he's a fly ball pitcher so at some point his fortune will turn around. For example, he's given up four HR but his 6.5 xHR speaks of some close calls. He's really benefited from facing Pittsburgh twice, Cleveland twice, and Oakland once.

Faedo will be worth streaming in favorable matchups but doesn't have the makeup to be a long-term add as of now. The White Sox seem to have snapped out of their offensive lull with 17 runs in the past two games, so it's hard to feel extremely comfortable in that matchup. Still, it's been an up-and-down season for the Sox and they aren't a fly-ball heavy team. Texas is second-highest in FB% but they just don't hit the ball hard enough. I would trust Faedo for the time being, knowing that regression will rear its head soon enough.


Risky Two-Start Pitcher Streamer Picks

Josiah Gray, Washington Nationals - 41% rostered

Scheduled starts: vs ATL, vs PHI

Bold Prediction: Gray gets hit fairly hard in one of these two starts and looks solid in the other but comes away with 13 K for the week. That would be a typical Gray week.

He's been terrible at restricting hard contact with a 13.5% Barrel% and 14 HR allowed. Turns out the Braves and Phillies are second and third in home runs, plus third and fourth in team slugging respectively. Of course, with sluggers come plenty of Ks too. Gray could kill your ratios but pile up strikeouts at the same time. His talent and upside is nearly unmatched among all streaming options. Just be prepared for the worst in negative matchups such as these and fade this week if possible.

Yusei Kikuchi, Toronto Blue Jays - 33% rostered

Scheduled starts: vs BAL, vs NYY

Every time Kikuchi looks like he is turning a corner and fantasy managers start buying into him, something like last week happens when he gets lit up like a Christmas tree. Kikuchi didn't make it out of the first inning against the Royals, walking four and allowing three runs. This comes one turn after allowing three homers to the Twins. He now resides in the bottom 10th percentile in Hard Hit%, Average Exit Velocity, Barrel Rate, and Walk Rate with an xERA in the 12th percentile.

It might be understandable to chance him against Baltimore if you don't have more appealing options on the waiver wire but you've gotta have, ahem, "ornaments" of stone to stream him against the Yankees.

Adrian Houser, Milwaukee Brewers - 19% rostered

Scheduled starts: @NYM, @CIN

This one is tough because Houser is coming off a rough outing and trending downward but the schedule looks so good. With Pete Alonso and Starling Marte banged up, it's a good time to catch the Mets. The Reds rank as one of the worst offenses in the league but they are starting to pick things up recently. What tilts this decision closer to "Sit" for me is the fact Houser has been far worse on the road this season. He owns a 5.32 ERA and 1.61 WHIP in five road starts as opposed to a 2.94 ERA and 1.24 WHIP at home. He's not an outright must-sit but he is definitely lower on the scale among those in the risky range.

Dane Dunning, Texas Rangers - 14% rostered

Scheduled starts: vs HOU, @DET

Dunning had a solid April but has gradually seen his ratios revert toward last year's marks, which isn't a good thing considering he posted a 4.51 ERA. He has been a workhorse, starting 12 games and compiling one of the higher innings totals among starters. Unfortunately, he is also now in the top 10 in total runs and hits allowed.

Dunning will face the Astros for the second time this season, a team he fared well against back in May. Again, that's back when he enjoyed his best three-game stretch as a starter. It's hard to imagine he will do better although he is another pitcher who has done better at home. The Tigers are about as easy a matchup as you can get these days so there is room for optimism if he can get away with a QS or close to it in his first start.

Chris Flexen, Seattle Mariners - 14% rostered

Scheduled starts: vs MIN, vs LAA

Flexen has been utilizing his changeup less and his cutter more in the past couple of starts, which has led to some actual success. His ERA was almost to 5.00 in late May but he's been much better over the last three starts, allowing a total of six ER in 18 2/3 IP. The strikeouts rate is still low and the home run ball is a threat to return, so take these improvements with a grain of salt.

Normally the prospect of facing a team coming off a 14-game losing streak would make for an inviting opportunity but not with this Angels team. The talent, especially on offense, has never been in question. Joe Maddon had clearly lost the clubhouse and things sprialed out of control. Anthony Rendon is off the IL and Taylor Ward should be back any day now. The Twins start is risky but don't take his second one for granted. Flexen is a desperation streamer.

Dylan Bundy, Minnesota Twins - 12% rostered

Scheduled starts: @SEA, @ARI

Since returning from the IL, Bundy has been keeping the ball in the strike zone a bit too much. He's back to his old ways from his Baltimore days, giving up gopher balls left and right. In his last four starts, Bundy has coughed up six homers.

His fastball remains mediocre and the one saving grace he had in his breakout (outlier) 2020 was the slider. It's not saving him anymore and continues to look less impressive with each passing season.

The schedule keeps him viable, particularly the Arizona game. The D-Backs have the second-lowest Swing Success rate (2.9%) and third-highest strikeout rate against sliders. Paradoxically, their 18 HR against sliders is tied for most in the league, so it's feast or famine for them. Bundy could easily see more balls leave the yard in any given start but this isn't the worst slate to stream him. If he does keep the ball in the park, his low walk rate and strong offensive support could net him a win or two.

Justin Steele, Chicago Cubs - 6% rostered

Scheduled starts: vs SD, vs ATL

A walk rate of 12.3% is worrisome as is a low 9.8% SwStr%. One thing he's excelled at is avoiding the barrel. His 1.4% Brl/BBE% is nearly the best in the majors with just a pair of relievers besting him. Something has to give when he faces a Braves team that still leads the league in strikeouts but also barrels the ball a ton. Before that, he faces a more disciplined Padres squad that can draw walks and has been scoring plenty of runs recently with 35 in the past seven days.

Steele is coming off his best performance of the year when he spun seven strong innings against St. Louis, allowing one run on two hits. That provides enough hope that he might have turned a corner or discovered something that works to make him a streaming possibility in 14+ team leagues or NL-only formats.

Taylor Hearn, Texas Rangers - 1% rostered

Scheduled starts: vs HOU, @DET

Another innings-eater with fat ratios, Hearn continues to have difficulty keeping runners off base. He has one quality start to his name although he has somehow earned four wins. I'd normally keep him in the Stay Away category but a road contest in Detroit is almost too good to pass up.


Stay Away from these Two-Start Pitchers

Merrill Kelly, Arizona Diamondbacks - 43% rostered

Scheduled starts: vs CIN, vs MIN

Kelly still holds a formidable 3.32 ERA but his strikeout stuff is waning as the season progresses. He's struck out fewer than five batters in four of his last six outings all while his walk rate and WHIP continue to climb. What once looked like a cake matchup with the Reds is no more; they've scored the second-most runs in the majors over the past week and Joey Votto has finally come alive. Meanwhile, Minnesota has posted the highest team batting average over the past week at .308 so he finds both teams at an inopportune time. Don't confuse early-season Kelly with this Kelly and keep him out of your lineup.

Kyle Hendricks, Chicago Cubs - 41% rostered

Scheduled starts: vs SD, vs ATL

No discount ratio help here. Hendricks has dwelled among the lower ranks in ERA and xERA all year. He's been prone to disastrous outings all season, giving up four ER or more on five occasions.

For two straight seasons now, Hendricks has seen his expected slash line rise while his K% has dropped to 14.6%. He's officially entered must-avoid territory until further notice.

Jordan Lyles, Baltimore Orioles - 6% rostered

Scheduled starts: @TOR, vs TB

Lyles has gobbled up plenty of innings for the O's this year. That's about all I can say that's complimentary. His 4.97 ERA is a tad better than last year too, although his WHIP isn't. Once in a while a pitcher like Lyles catches a team taking him for granted or having a bad day but it isn't something you'd want to stake your fantasy fortunes on.

Chris Archer, Minnesota Twins - 4% rostered

Scheduled starts: @SEA, @ARI

I'm not changing my stance on Archer. He's got one win, 34 K in 44 IP, and remains on a pitch count that will always limit his upside. There just isn't enough potential reward to accompany the risk.

Kyle Bradish, Baltimore Orioles - 2% rostered

Scheduled starts: @TOR, vs TB

Does Bradish start twice every single week? Because it sure feels that way.

He's been covered extensively in this column before and not much has changed. He is striking out over a batter per inning but he is also yet to make an appearance without giving up a home run. That makes 10 HR in eight starts which is mostly to blame for a 6.45 ERA. There are better ways to catch up on strikeouts, like adding a pair of high-end RP such as Michael King and Tanner Scott.

Mitch Keller, Pittsburgh Pirates - 2% rostered

Scheduled starts: @STL, vs SF

A pitcher on a bad team who doesn't even hold a 20% K% gets to face two of last year's playoff teams that are among the toughest to strike out. Not exactly a recipe for success.

Keller has looked better recently, not allowing more than two ER in each of his last four appearances. Only two of those were starts and they went five and six innings respectively. Keller is too erratic to trust when facing good competition.

Mike Minor, Cincinnati Reds - 2% rostered

Scheduled starts: @ARI, vs MIL

The rash of injuries in Cincy's rotation led the team to throw rookie after rookie into the fray but now it's 12-year veteran Minor's turn. He was out of action the first two months with a shoulder injury and will be worked slowly back into form, so that's one red flag for starters. Then there's the fact he's already surrendered five HR in his first eight and a third innings of action this season. The matchup data and peripheral stats are superfluous in this case - do not take a chance on Minor.

Antonio Senzatela, Colorado Rockies - 1% rostered

Scheduled starts: vs CLE, vs SD

Senzatela holds a 4.83 ERA and is one of the biggest overachievers compared to his expected ERA by two full runs. That means he should have an ERA of 6.84 along with his league-worst .370 xBA. Don't forget a minuscule 10.4% K% in the lowest percentile. Is matchup analysis even necessary?

Jared Koenig, Oakland A's - 0% rostered

Scheduled starts: @BOS, vs KC

Koenig is a soft-tossing pitch-to-contact guy who relies on a curveball in addition to his sinker-slider mix. It makes for a lot of grounders but not a lot of whiffs. Neither Boston nor KC ground out at a high rate and the Red Sox are one of the better offenses versus left-handed pitching. His first start draws the lowest score of the week of 15 in Jon Anderson's Start/Sit matrix, tied with Mitch Keller's tilt vs SF. There's no reason to have interest here.

Packy Naughton, St. Louis Cardinals - 0% rostered

Scheduled starts: vs PIT, @BOS

No, he's not a character from Peaky Blinders. Naughton is real-life pitcher who made a handful of starts for the Cardinals last year without much success (0-4, 6.35 ERA, 1.81 WHIP). The sequel hasn't been much better, as he's 0-2 with a 5.34 ERA and 1.38 WHIP in 2022. Naughton is merely an opener and not a very good one thus far, having allowed five runs on seven hits in just three 2/3 innings in his starts. Look elsewhere.

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