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Top Two Start Pitcher Streamers and Sleepers for Week 21


Quality over quantity. Every fantasy owner knows this. But when looking at the starting pitcher free agent waiver wire for the coming week, ideally you’d like to have a guy that is going to be on the mound more than once.

Most teams are going to have a couple of starters pitching twice in a week. This in turn raises their value as streaming options and weekly sleepers. In this column, I’ll be looking at my top two-start pitchers that you should consider streaming for your fantasy teams for the approaching Week 21.

These pitchers are projected to pitch twice in the coming week and are owned in less than 50% of Fleaflicker and Yahoo leagues. Note: While I only covered four pitchers, I did not feel comfortable adding another name I did not think would have two quality starts this week.

 

Kris Medlen, SP, KC

8/24 vs BAL, 8/29 @TB

Working his way back from Tommy John surgery, it seems as if Kris Medlen has made the last step in his recovery. Following seven appearances this season, it was announced that Medlen will be joining the rotation for the Royals stretch run. In his time with Kansas City this season, he is 1-0 with a 2.51 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and a 14/5 K/BB rate over 14 1/3 innings. His 8.79 K/9 rate, albeit in a small sample size, is actually Medlen’s best since 2009. How about this one to put his post-TJ surgery doubters to rest? After his fastball velocity peaked at 90.7 MPH in 2011, he slowed down to an 88.9 MPH by 2013. However, so far this season, he is averaging 91.5 MPH!

Starting at home against Baltimore, the Orioles have fared much worse away from Camden Yards. Their .689 road OPS, good for 17th in the league this year, is much worse than their home OPS of .777. The same goes for their K% (23.5% away, 20.6% home) and wRC+ (90 away, 110 home.) While Baltimore is a fine team offensively, they seem to be a much easier opponent when on the road. Ironically, the Rays are in the opposite boat. They have a road OPS of .706, the ninth best this season. Yet when at Tropicana Field, their .695 OPS drops them from ninth to 25th. Even though the drop is not that dramatic, the fact that Tampa actually has worse numbers at home indicates Medlen could have a nice week against the AL East.

 

Charlie Morton, SP, PIT

8/25 vs @MIA, 8/30 vs COL

Despite having an up and down season, Charlie Morton has hit quite a high the past few starts. After striking out nine Mets, he followed up with another eight over a combined 13 innings while only giving up two earned runs in that span. On the year, he is 8-4 with a 4.06 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and a 71/30 K/BB rate. Morton is nothing if not consistent when it comes to his Swinging Strike%. Since his rookie year in 2008, he has never gone higher than 8.1% or lower than 6.8%. He is on the high end this season at 7.9%.

It’s no secret the Marlins have been possibly the biggest disappointment this season. Their .683 OPS at home is the worst in the National League this year, and the same can be said for their .116 ISO. Their .371 SLG% is second-worst only to Atlanta. It’s safe to say the Marlins miss their star hitter Giancarlo Stanton, who will not be ready to return until around September 1st. After trading away Troy Tulowitzki, the Rockies have clearly not been the same team offensively. Since August 1st, their 80 wRC+ is the third worst in baseball. Along with playing away from their home launching pad in Colorado, their .671 road OPS this year is a far cry from their home .841.I have total confidence in playing Morton knowing the Rockies are far less dangerous away from Coors Field.

 

John Lamb, SP, CIN

8/25 vs LAD, 8/30 @MIL

So yes, this is a slow week for quality two start pitchers when I am recommending a guy with a 6.35 ERA. However, John Lamb has the promise to make his week worth streaming. In his two starts this season, Lamb has given up a total eight runs on 17 hits over 11 1/3 innings, which aren’t the best numbers. Yet in that same time, he has struck out 15 with only two walks. Lamb, who was a big part of the Reds trading away Johnny Cueto, has a fastball that averages around 91.5 MPH, and a solid 87 MPH cutter as a secondary pitch, along with a curveball and changeup. While he might not be the best option if you are looking for a win, Lamb should be great for padding your strikeout numbers.

The Dodgers, who were just victims of Mike Fiers’ no-hitter, have not been the same team offensively this month. While a Top three team all season across the board, the past month they have a .736 OPS, 108 wRC+, and .146 ISO. While these are not horrible numbers, they are essentially a middle of the pack team, and should be feared when streaming a pitcher against them. Now the Brewers on the other hand, they have just been bad all season. A .696 OPS, .302 wOBA, along with a league low 85 wRC+ this season indicate the Brewers are a great team to stream against. And these stats are mostly before they traded away Carlos Gomez!

 

Mark Buehrle, SP, TOR

8/25 @TEX, 8/30 vs DET

While technically above the 50% owned maximum to be eligible for this column, I have gotten a few questions about Mark Buehrle for this week. After lasting only four innings against the Phillies in his last outing, Buerhle’s fantasy value for the stretch run has been called into question. On the season, he has an impressive 13-6 record with a 3.45 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and a 75/24 K/BB rate over 159 innings. Before his most recent outing, Buehrle had not lost since July 6th. One bad start should not hinder your trust in a veteran pitcher such as Buehrle.

While the Rangers are a fine team offensively, they have shown a weakness against left-handed pitching. They have a .706 OPS when facing a lefty, yet a .735 OPS when facing a righty. They also strike out at a higher rate against southpaws, 22.4%, compared to 19.6 against right-handed pitching. The Tigers, who have had a strangehold on the AL Central for years, have not had the same results this season. Even though they are still statistically a fine team, they have managed to float around .500 this season thanks to their pitching, and not as much their hitting. The injuries to Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez, along with the struggles of V-Mart, have made Detroit just another average offensive team.

 

You can follow me on Twitter @JustBerglund with all questions on who to add and start for the week. 

 

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