Fantasy Baseball: 5 Pitchers to Stream in Week 16
With Major League Baseball back in earnest after the All Star Break, so too flows the starting pitcher stream. Whether you're beginning the second half in pole position or scraping to make headway in your standings, these five widely available starters are there for the taking in the majority of leagues to help you through the home stretch.
Griffin Canning, Los Angeles Angels
Starts: July 21st at Seattle Mariners
ESPN ownership: 18%
Owners who are able to side step Griffin Canning's early-week start against a menacing Houston Astros offense might want to stash the Los Angeles Angels rookie for his weekend date with the Seattle Mariners.
The 23-year-old right hander carries a 4.43 ERA that undersells the dominance of h
is arsenal, including a wipeout slider that has induced a stupendous 24.2% whiff rate across 302 thrown on the season. Canning's nasty secondary pitch should help him shred a Seattle team that posted a 25% strikeout rate in the first half.
Dylan Cease, Chicago White Sox
ESPN ownership: 17%
The All-Star Break has put a two-week wedge in Dylan Cease's first taste of Major League action. The Chicago White Sox rookie worked around four walks while striking out six Detroit Tigers in five innings all the way back on July 3rd, and, at long last, Cease begins the second half with a two-start week that should have him on fantasy radars even in standard leagues.
The Kansas City Royals need little introduction as a streaming target; their .154 group ISO in the first half would be worst in the American League if not for the Detroit Tigers. The Tampa Bay Rays, on the other hand, carry the patina of dominance thanks to their surprising position in the AL East dog fight. But truth be told, the Rays offense was pretty middling in the first half, with the fourth-lowest group ISO in the AL, ahead of only the Orioles and the aforementioned Royals and Tigers.
Sure, there's a path for Cease's walk issues to make him a toxic ratio asset even against weaker competition, but there's also a path for some real fireworks if things break right. Gambling streamers will be hard pressed to find a more tempting upside play this week.
Brad Keller, Kansas City Royals
Start: July 18th vs. Chicago White Sox
ESPN ownership: 12%
A reliable streaming fall back option for the bulk of the first half, Brad Keller might require more than a token minimum bid this week. The Kansas City Royals righty is fresh off his most impressive start of the season, punching out seven Detroit Tigers across eight shut out innings without walking a batter.
It's the lowly Tigers, of course, and Keller's overall numbers (4.25 ERA, 10.7% walks) might discourage streamers from leaning too hard on Keller here. That said, his Week 16 opponent is the Chicago White Sox, who posted the league's very worst walk-to-strikeout rate in the first half, with a team whiff rate of 12.6% that was second worst in the majors, behind only those lowly Tigers.
The Sox are particularly miserable on the road, posting a .142 group ISO away from Guaranteed Rate Field. All of this sets Keller up as a strong add this week, provided owners can calibrate their expectations appropriately.
Dinelson Lamet, San Diego Padres
Start: July 18th at Miami Marlins
ESPN ownership: 7%
After losing 2018 to Tommy John, Dinelson Lamet has re-emerged as every bit the tantalizing, frustrating fantasy asset that he was before he was waylaid by injury.
Lamet's 32.6% strikeout rate is the stuff of fantasy dreams, but with workload and inefficiency concerns limiting him to five innings a piece over his first two starts, the San Diego Padres flamethrower remains a volatile play in the long term. In the short term, though, Lamet looks like a supreme upside add for Week 16, where the hard-throwing 26-year-old matches up against the Miami Marlins, the MLB's worst power producer in the first half of 2019.
Tyler Mahle, Cincinnati Reds
Start: July 19th vs. St. Louis Cardinals
ESPN ownership: 7%
Thanks in part to a hair-raising 20.2% homer-per-fly rate, Mahle has been an unremarkable high-4.00s-ERA pitcher for the bulk of 2019, though his 24.3% strikeouts against 6% walks carry no small amount of intrigue in the current starter climate. Streamers can expect brighter days for the Cincinnati Reds sophomore against a Cardinals team that bested only the lowly Miami Marlins in terms of power production against righties in the first half.