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Two-Start Pitcher Streamers: Week 13

tarik skubal fantasy baseball rankings draft sleepers waiver wire starting pitchers MLB DFS injury news

So recently I started up a podcast where I talk with former Major League Baseball players about their careers, and it's been a blast so far getting to talk to these guys and hear their stories. And even though I've talked to a dozen former players at this point, it still feels surreal when something like the other night happens, where I answer my phone and am greeted with, "Hi Michael, this is Steve Sax. How are you?" I know you all are here for guys who are still playing the game though, so I won't waste any more of your time with that. But seriously, that was way cool.

Anyways, recapping the last two weeks, we'll start with Week 11 and hoo boy was that a rough week. Like wow. Just terrible. Matthew Boyd has to be considered the winner, and he only ended up making one start as he allowed one unearned run over six innings and earned the win against Seattle. And so far in Week 12, Vladimir Gutierrez is leading the pack after allowing two runs while striking out six in six innings of work and earning the win against the Brewers.

Now without further ado, I present to you the Week 13 two-start streaming options.

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Week 13 Streamers — Under 50% Rostered

Tarik Skubal, DET - 46% rostered

Probable Opponents: vs STL, vs HOU

So Skubal is currently 4-7 with a 4.36 ERA and a 27.8 percent strikeout rate over 66 innings of work. The strikeout numbers are great, but the win-loss record and ERA don't look very impressive. But that was largely dragged down by a rough (to say the least) start to the year, in which he went 0-6 with a 5.73 ERA and 20.4 percent strikeout rate over his first eight starts. Since May 19 though, Skubal has gone 4-1 with a 3.00 ERA and a 36 percent strikeout rate across six starts — pitching at least five innings in each appearance and averaging over eight strikeouts per start. Before we continue on, I'd like to announce I'm starting a support group for those who dropped Skubal at the beginning of May and are regretting their choices now.

This will definitely be a test of Skubal's abilities in Week 13, as he takes on a pair of tough offenses in St. Louis and Houston. He will get a bit of a boost playing at home though, as he has pitched better over his career at Comerica Park (3.42 ERA, 1.220 WHIP) than on the road (6.19 ERA, 1.542 WHIP). That benefit should come in handy in his first outing of the week, as the Cardinals this year have been hitting worse on the road (.213/.291/.389) than at home (.247/.313/.378). Although that benefit could be outweighed by the fact that St. Louis is hitting better against lefties (.258/.335/.437) than against right-handers (.223/.294/.372). The Cardinals have been in a bit of an offensive slump over their last 14 games however, going 5-9 while slashing .224/.292/.339 and averaging 3.1 runs per game. Given his second start is against Houston, I think it's safe to say this start against St. Louis should be his best performance of the week.

And now we get to the Astros matchup. Not only are the Astros 10-4 over their last 14 games, slashing .307/.374/.557 and averaging 6.3 runs per game in that span, they are hitting better this season against left-handers (.286/.348/.459) and are also hitting better on the road (.283/.344/.460). Now that's not to say there's no hope for Skubal against Houston. He shut down the White Sox in back-to-back starts this month, allowing four earned runs over 11 innings with 17 strikeouts. And that's against a Chicago squad that feasts on left-handed pitching (.279/.351/.464) and is averaging 5.3 runs per game over their last 14 games.

Bottom line, Skubal will get a good matchup against St. Louis and he should be able to put up a solid performance against Houston. If you're willing to take the risk on the Houston outing potentially blowing up, Skubal is definitely one of the top guys to target this week. But even if you're not high on his potential against the Astros, you should still add him in all 12-team and deeper formats, and start considering him in 10-team leagues as well.

Mike Minor, KCR - 41% rostered

Probable Opponents: @ NYY, @ TEX

Here we have yet another case of a guy with underwhelming season stats who has begun to heat up recently. While his season line shows a 5-4 record, 4.63 ERA and 26.3 percent strikeout rate over 79 2/3 innings of work, Minor has looked better over his last five starts, going 2-2 with a 3.82 ERA and 28.3 percent strikeout rate in that span.

Much like with Skubal, Minor will also benefit from home-road splits this week, however Minor has pitched far better on the road this year (2.73 ERA, 1.091 WHIP) than at home (5.98 ERA, 1.200 WHIP). He'll kick things off by facing the Yankees, who have been hitting worse at home this season (.224/.316/.361) than on the road (.240/.315/.411). That being said, they have started to heat up on offense recently, as they are slashing .251/.319/.450 and averaging 4.8 runs per game over their last 14 games. Plus they are hitting better against left-handed pitching (.245/.310/.405) than against right-handers (.228/.320/.380). This will definitely be the tougher of the two matchups, but if he can make it out of there relatively unscathed, he'll get a better matchup against Texas.

So once again Minor benefits from his own home-road splits here, and the Rangers have hit slightly worse at home (.228/.294/.369) than on the road (.229/.304/.371). They have hit for a slightly higher average against left-handers (.233) than against right-handers (.226) this year, however they have a worse OPS against left-handers (.656) than against right-handers (.677). On top of that, the Rangers are in the midst of an offensive slump this month, as they are slashing .217/.287/.336 and averaging 3.7 runs per game over their last 13 games.

This is a "one good start, one bad start" scenario for Minor. He'll have a tougher matchup against the Yankees to start the week, but should be able to find success at the end of the week against his former team. Between Minor and Skubal, Skubal is the guy to target first and foremost, but Minor should still be a solid play in most formats this week.


Week 13 Streamers — Under 25% Rostered

Ross Stripling, TOR - 9% rostered

Probable Opponents: @ MIA, vs BAL

Stripling struggled early on this year but has looked much better over his last five appearances where he has gone 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA and 25.4 percent strikeout rate. He'll open up Week 13 against Miami, and while he is on the wrong side of the Marlins' lefty-righty and home-road splits, he will be facing off against a team that has struggled over their last 16 games, slashing .238/.313/.371 and averaging 3.7 runs per game in that span. In his second outing of the week it will be the complete opposite scenario for Stripling. The Oriole have been on fire over their last 14 games, slashing .268/.325/.460 while averaging 5.1 runs per game. However they are both hitting worse against right-handed pitching (.219/.287/.364) and hitting worse when on the road (.222/.280/.363).

Stripling isn't going to be a definitive game-changer in fantasy this week, but both these matchups should provide him with solid value that should provide a nice boost to your lineup in Week 13.

Paolo Espino, WSN - 2% rostered

Probable Opponents: @ PHI, @ MIA

This is probably the riskiest play of the column, and we'll get into why in just a moment. Espino has spent most of the season pitching out of the bullpen, but in his latest appearance he got the start against the Pirates and tossed five shutout innings to earn the win. Granted, that came against the Pirates, but he's been solid enough out of the bullpen that he's worth taking a look at in Week 13. He'll open things up with the Phillies, against whom he has allowed two runs in three innings of work this season. The Phillies have been hitting well recently, slashing .271/.337/.440 while averaging 5.6 runs per game over their last 12 games. However Philadelphia is hitting worse against right-handers this season (.234/.308/.373) than against lefties (.252/.322/.409), which could be a boost for Espino's value.

Now here's the rub: the second start against Miami. On one hand it should be a decent matchup for Espino, as he'll be in the same boat more or less as Stripling will be in his outing with the Marlins. However it's probable that Max Scherzer — whom Espino is filling in for currently — will be activated from the injured list by then, which would bump Espino back to the bullpen. What I would recommend in this case is for managers who have Scherzer rostered to start both Scherzer and Espino this week, as Scherzer should put up good numbers against the Marlins if healthy, and if he's still out then Espino should be able to pick up the slack.

Johan Oviedo, STL - 2% rostered

Probable Opponents: @ DET, vs PIT

OK what's not to love about Oviedo this week? He's without question got the easiest schedule in Week 13, and he's coming off a nice performance in his last start where he tossed seven shutout innings with four strikeouts against the Marlins. He'll open the week against a Tigers squad that owns the highest strikeout rate in the majors (27.6 percent), and is hitting worse at home (.225/.303/.372) than on the road (.235/.295/.389). Then in the second half of the week he'll face the Pirates, who are hitting worse on the road (.224/.283/.343) than at home (.232/.313/.361), and who have also struggled recently by slashing .231/.289/.358 and averaging 3.5 runs per game over their last 14 games. Oh, and both teams rank in the bottom-10 in the league in average and OPS.

This is about as easy a schedule as you can hope for with a rookie who is starting to show promise. I mean I'd take just about any pitcher if they had a projected matchup like this. Obviously him being a rookie along with the fact his last start was just the second outing this year in which he pitched five  innings are signs that he could potentially struggle this week. But I feel you can't avoid taking advantage of these matchups, and as such he should definitely be considered in many formats this week.

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