Monday offers us a typical mid-August slate with one-third of the league enjoying an off day. Barring unforeseen weather, the other 20 clubs will all play under the lights. Unfortunately, it's a scant slate for those looking to get a head-start on building up pitching stats as the streamers are thin.
Fantasy playoffs are fast approaching, so here's some players in good shape to help chase or lock down a playoff berth, all rostered in less than 50 percent of ESPN leagues.
Pitchers to stream
Chase Anderson (R), rostered in 50 percent of ESPN leagues, Milwaukee Brewers vs. Cincinnati Reds: Anderson is coming off a pair of subpar outings, failing to work five innings in either game. However, prior to this rut, Anderson threw 43.1 innings with a 2.08 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. The Reds are a good opponent for Anderson to get back on track. Since the break, Cincinnati sits 25th in terms of wOBA versus right-handers, fueled by a 23 percent strikeout pace in those situations.
Mike Fiers (R), 30 percent, Oakland Athletics vs. Texas Rangers: If the Reds are going to be penalized for their sluggish play since the break, it needs to be pointed out the Rangers have been crushing righties in that same time span, though with a 30 percent strikeout rate on the road. While Fiers' season-long 6.9 K/9 may be pedestrian, the "green and gold" seems to be agreeing with him, as the right-hander has fanned 13 batters in his 11.1 frames with Oakland. Adding to the allure on Monday is that Fiers will be working at home, one of the best pitching venues in the league. He's also supported by a surging offense that will be facing Yovani Gallardo, so his win probability is high.
Derek Holland (L), 14 percent, San Francisco Giants at New York Mets: Before this season began, Holland spent his career in the American League in two of the worst pitching venues. The move to the Senior Circuit into the best pitching park has gone swimmingly, and the southpaw's strikeout rate has especially benefitted, to the tune of over a batter an inning. While they've been more productive of late, for the season the Mets have been the second-poorest lineup with a southpaw on the hill.
Hunter Wood is slated to open for the Tampa Bay Rays as they embark on a series with the Kansas City Royals. In line to pitch the bulk of the middle innings is lefty Ryan Yarbrough. If Yarbrough were starting, he'd be featured as a streaming option, as the Royals are weak versus left-handers.
Projected game scores
Danny Jansen (R), 6 percent, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Baltimore Orioles (RHP Andrew Cashner): So far, so good for the rookie as Jansen has hit safely in each of his first four games, going 6-for-14 with his first career homer. Cashner is coming off a pair of seven inning outings, though with only five whiffs and four walks in those 14 frames. He's still the hittable hurler, as suggested by his projected game score of 43 in Monday's ratings.
Eric Thames (L), 40 percent, Milwaukee Brewers vs. Cincinnati Reds (RHP Homer Bailey): Thames hasn't started since hurting his knee in a collision with Lorenzo Cain on Friday night. However, he has been available for pinch-hitting duties and is expected back Monday. A date with Bailey can have wonderful healing powers, so there's a good chance Thames will be back in the lineup. Bailey has served up 18 homers in just 85.1 innings while Thames has swatted 11-of-12 long balls off right-handers.
Logan Forsythe (R), 3 percent, Minnesota Twins vs. Chicago White Sox (RHP Lucas Giolito): Forsythe is a tidy 22-for-58 since joining the Twins as part of the Brian Dozier deal. Giolito has been missing bats lately, fanning 20 in 18 frames. That said, until he displays more consistency, Giolito is someone to pick on, as he's sporting a 6.15 ERA and 1.50 WHIP.
Enrique Hernandez (R), 12 percent, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. St. Louis Cardinals (LHP Austin Gomber): On a larger slate, I would have avoided featuring Hernandez since he's basically been getting his mail delivered to this space. However, with limited options, once again taking advantage of his track record versus left-handers is the call.
Adalberto Mondesi (B), 12 percent, Kansas City Royals at Tampa Bay Rays (Bullpen game): With 11 steals in the past month, Mondesi has the speed to be a difference-maker down the stretch in all formats. Not only that, his power/speed combo makes him an attractive freeze for those playing in keeper and dynasty formats.
Ronald Guzman (L), 5 percent, Texas Rangers at Oakland Athletics (RHP Mike Fiers): As discussed earlier, Fiers has pitched well since the trade. However, if he has a vulnerability, it's the longball. He's served up 22 HR in his 130.1 stanzas this season. Meanwhile, Guzman has swatted 13 homers in what amounts to half a season.
Joey Wendle (L), 17 percent, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Kansas City Royals (RHP Jorge Lopez): The Rays are known for finding pitching gems, but they also seem to unearth hitters, too. Wendle is taking advantage of Daniel Robertson's injury, slashing .340/.393/.546 over the past month. For the season, all six of Wendle's homers have come with a righty on the hill.
Stephen Piscotty (R), 36 percent, Oakland Athletics vs. Texas Rangers (RHP Bartolo Colon): Throw platoon advantage out the window when facing Colon as he's been equally philanthropic to both sides of the dish. While one season is not enough to declare outright that a hitter owns his reverse splits, it's fair to say Piscotty is comfortable against righties, with 11 of his 15 homers coming against them.
Josh Reddick (L), 29 percent, Houston Astros at Seattle Mariners (RHP Felix Hernandez): James Paxton's injury has thrust Hernandez back into the rotation. One of the primary reasons for his demotion was the damage done to him by left-handed swingers. The Houston offense has been in a tailspin, but based on his career numbers against righties, Reddick is almost always in play when enjoying the platoon advantage.
Cedric Mullins (B), 5 percent, Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays (RHP Marco Estrada): Mullins is getting the opportunity many felt was earmarked for either Austin Hays or Anthony Santander. So far, he's making the Orioles look prescient with a 1.026 OPS since his recall. Estrada has posted a 5.48 ERA since the break, fanning only 13 batters in those 23 frames, and allowing 5 HR in that span.
Hitter matchup ratings
Hitter ratings account for the opposing starting pitcher's history (three years' worth), as well as ballpark factors. "LH" and "RH" ratings account only for left- and right-handed batters, respectively.
Weighted on-base average (wOBA) is the primary statistic used in the calculation. Ratings range from 1 to 10, with 10 representing the best possible matchup, statistically speaking, and 1 representing the worst. For example, a 10 is a must-start rating, while a 1 should be avoided (if possible); a 1-2 is poor, 3-4 is fair, 5-6 is average, 7-8 is very good and 9-10 is excellent.