|Name||Position||Team||ESPN Own %|
|Tarik Skubal||SP||Detroit Tigers||11.4|
|Jesus Luzardo||SP/RP||Oakland Athletics||63.3|
|Alex Cobb||SP||Los Angeles Angels||6.4|
|Shane McClanahan||SP||Tampa Bay Rays||23.2|
|Vince Velasquez||SP||Philadelphia Phillies||14.9|
1. Tarik Skubal | SP | Detroit Tigers
Skubal has quietly emerged as another solid young pitcher out of Detroit. Mostly recently, he blanked the Yankees over six innings on just three hits and eight strikeouts. On the year, he has a 4.59 ERA over 49 innings pitched with 57 strikeouts and 23 walks. Sure, he’s giving up some loud contact and walking too many hitters, but his ability to generate swings and misses with his enticing pitch mix have gotten the fantasy juices flowing around Tarik Skubal. I’m not without skepticism with Skubal, as his schedule in the near future does not look fantastic. He might have a few starts against the White Sox and either the Cardinals or Astros in the next few weeks. This is more of a flyer pick than anything, hoping that a 24-year-old rookie with his ability to generate MLB-level hitters to swing and miss as much as he has been can take a step forward during his rookie season.
2. Jesús Luzardo | RP, SP | Oakland A’s
Luzardo has returned from the injured list and pitched a perfect inning in relief in his first appearance back. He followed that up with three scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and one walk while striking out six. While he will begin pitching out of the bullpen, he will in all likelihood find himself back into the rotation at some point. Overall, he has a 5.06 ERA in 32 innings pitched with 37 strikeouts and 13 walks. However, there is too much arm talent there to not roster him to wait and see what happens. If he’s available in your league now, a few more appearances out of the bullpen and he’ll likely get snatched up by someone else.
3. Alex Cobb | SP | Los Angeles Angels
I know what you’re thinking. Alex Cobb? Hear me out, though. Over his last three starts (against the Rays, Twins, and Athletics), Cobb is 2-1 with a 0.53 ERA and a 20-to-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 17 innings of work. It gets even better as two of his next three starts should come against the Royals and the Tigers. Once again, a pitcher pitching at least decently in great matchups is the key to streaming starting pitching, and this is what you have with Alex Cobb. Keep in mind, his Average Exit Velocity, HardHit%, Expected ERA, K%, and B% are all above league average. Relative to himself, this is arguably the best he has ever pitched. I’m not counting on it lasting all season, but I’ll certainly take my chances against bad offenses.
4. Shane McClanahan | SP | Tampa Bay Rays
The only thing holding McClanahan back from being a must-add is his pitch limit. Thus far in six starts, the most pitches McClanahan has thrown is 80. With the Tampa Bay Rays not shy about limiting his pitch count, making it through five to qualify for the win requires an incredibly efficient outing. That being said, McClanahan has been doing just that. He has finished at least five in each of his last three starts, two of which he picked up the win. He’s been really good though, posting a 3.29 ERA with 32 strikeouts and seven walks in 27.1 innings pitched. While he does give up some hard contact, it doesn’t happen frequently enough for his expected statistic to be alarming in any way. His Expected ERA and Expected Slugging are in the 78th and 68th-percentiles respectively. He also has a tremendous ability to generate swings and misses and he’s limiting his walks. You may end up dropping him if he continues to be limited to 80 pitches or so, but he’s well worth the add right now on the off chance that his leash gets extended just a bit.
5. Vince Velasquez | SP | Philadelphia Phillies
I’m not sure I can recall a pitcher that has found themselves on fantasy waiver wire lists more over the last four years or so than Vince Velasquez. Here we are, once again, deciding if we should spot start Vince Velasquez. I say yes. He’s been okay thus far, and he has a few decent matchups coming up. On the season, Velasquez has a 4.08 ERA over 39.2 innings pitched with 48 strikeouts and 25 walks. While the strikeout numbers are encouraging, little else indicates he’ll be a season long fantasy addition. His batted ball statistics are not pretty, and he’s walking way too many hitters. That being said, he’s pitching well enough right now to warrant spot starts against bad teams. If things line up perfectly, Velasquez’s following starts could be the following: vs WSN, vs NYY, @SFG, @NYM, vs MIA. In a deeper league, if you’re fishing for solid matchups from decent pitchers, Velasquez is your guy.