Week 5 is already a tough one for fantasy baseball’s pitching streamers. There are a lot of off days for several teams during the week, and it’s tough to find two-start pitchers, and lower owned pitchers in favorable matchups.
Pitchers to stream will be listed with their team, their probable opponent(s) for the week, and their ownership percentages on ESPN and Yahoo.
Trevor Williams – Pittsburgh Pirates
5/5 vs. OAK
ESPN: 50%, Yahoo; 59%
I wanted to mention Williams for the Week 4 Pitching Primer, but I thought he would get a more significant bump in ownership than a few percentage points, making him more of a staple on rosters, rather than a streamer. I was wrong. Since Williams’ ownership didn’t skyrocket, half of leagues don’t feel that owning him is a necessity – and maybe so in 10-team, mixed leagues. But for larger leagues and NL only, he should be owned. If you only need to stream him, you could do so and use him as trade bait if he pitches another steady game against the A’s, at home. Williams’ 1-1 record doesn’t look like much, but all five starts have been quality starts. Home runs and walks aren’t usually an issue. Strikeouts are a bit low, but you incur that for an overall, solid performance.
Sonny Gray – Cincinnati Reds
5/3 vs. SFG
ESPN: 30%, Yahoo: 54%
There are certain things that you just can’t quit, and Sonny Gray is one of them (at least he is for me if it’s favorable). What kind of numbers would you expect Gray to have if you’re told his record to start the season is 0-3? Probably an extremely high ERA, a lot of walks and home runs, and not many strikeouts. Well, that’s not the case. Gray’s issued zero walks in three, given up just one home run, and has a K/9 of 11.31 through five starts. Run support has been fairly low, with the Reds scoring just 2.93 runs in his starts. All but one of Gray’s pitch types are showing increases in velocity (see graphics below).
Take a look at this graph from Brooks Baseball:
Early signs are pointing to Gray improving from his short stint as a Yankee, but the Reds’ offense will need to help contribute to that success because wins are a thing. With Gray’s next start against the Giants, who are one of the weakest offenses in the league, you can use him as a streamer.
Aaron Sanchez – Toronto Blue Jays
5/2 @ LAA
ESPN: 20%, Yahoo: 31%
Sanchez has had too many finger problems for us to worry about, with his recent cracked fingernail being one of them. He didn’t need a trip to the IL, and had a fine start on Saturday, against the A’s. The potential for strikeouts is there, and has kept home run damage to a minimum by avoiding giving up the long ball in five out of six starts. The issues are with walks. Sanchez has given up 21 hits in 31 innings pitched, but has also allowed 20 bases on balls. Despite the walks, he’s been rather efficient by pitching five innings or more in six starts. Not counting the game where Sanchez left with the broken finger nail, he’s averaging 90 pitches per start. Week 5’s start comes against the Angels, in Anaheim. With good starts being par for the course to start 2019, Sanchez should be fine as a streamer.
Mike Soroka – Atlanta Braves
4/29 vs. SDP, 5/4 @ MIA
ESPN: 17%, Yahoo: 40%
This suggestion comes with the thought that you will probably want to find a way to keep him around if you can. Soroka is one of the best prospects in the Braves’ system. He’s impressed in this two starts this season, and he goes into Week 5 as a two-start pitcher. The first being against the Padres, at home, and against the Marlins in Miami. The Padres added Manny Machado’s bat, but as a team, they’ve scored the fifth least runs out of 30 MLB teams. Soroka’s currently at 11 K/9, which would make him the 13th best in that category if he had enough innings pitched. We may see an increase in that number, as the Padres have a K-rate of 26.7%, and that’ ties the Indians for the highest in MLB. It’s been hard to find two-start pitchers that are available, and Soroka looks like gem this week.