|Name||Position||Team||ESPN Own %|
|Shane McClanahan||SP||Tampa Bay Rays||63.4|
|Tanner Houck||SP||Boston Red Sox||19.6|
|Carlos Hernandez||SP||Kansas City Royals||16.8|
|Chris Flexen||SP||Seattle Mariners||56.8|
|Nestor Cortes Jr.||SP||New York Yankees||25.3|
1. Shane McClanahan | SP | Tampa Bay Rays
It’s impossible to have been an avid fantasy baseball player this year without becoming familiar with Shane McClanahan. While he initially debuted with a strict pitch count that capped his value, the need for more length out of starting pitching in Tampa Bay has lengthened his leash a bit and he’s since become a much more valuable fantasy asset. The 24-year-old has great stuff and has managed a mid-3s ERA through almost 100 career innings. Going back to the beginning of July, over his last eight starts, McClanahan has maintained a 3.09 ERA with 52 strikeouts and 15 walks in 43.2 innings pitched. Over that stretch, he’s also picked up five wins. Needless to say, he’s been pretty good. Going forward, he absolutely must be rostered considering how well he’s been pitching and how often Tampa Bay is cranking out wins.
2. Tanner Houck | SP | Boston Red Sox
Here’s a flyer pick for the week. Only in deeper leagues, consider Tanner Houck. His apparent pitch count seems to be a possible issue, as he’s yet to throw over 90 pitches in one outing in the majors this year. Most recently, he was pulled through 4.2 innings pitched against the Twins earlier this week. It goes without saying that this is a detriment to one’s fantasy value. Regardless, he has some promising metrics, could see an extended leash down the stretch, and gets the benefit of the awesome Red Sox starting pitching scheduling for the rest of the season. Here are the remaining series matchups for the Red Sox in the regular season: Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Cleveland, Tampa Bay, the White Sox, Seattle, Baltimore, the Mets, the Yankees, Baltimore, and Washington.
3. Carlos Hernandez | SP | Kansas City Royals
On the season, Hernandez has a 3.97 ERA in 59 innings pitched. He started the season pitching out of the bullpen, sporting a 4.98 ERA through 12 appearances and 21.2 innings pitched. Since moving to the rotation, Hernandez has made 12 starts, pitched 37.1 innings, seen his pitch count limit rise, and has maintained a 3.38 ERA with 30 strikeouts and 13 walks. Considering how good his stuff is, it sure seems as if his strikeout numbers should look better and they likely will sooner rather than later. Regardless, he’s been getting the job done. Most recently, he allowed just one earned run while striking out eight in seven innings against the Cubs. Much like Houck, the appeal in rostering Hernandez is more about his remaining schedule than anything. Here are Kansas City’s remaining series matchups: Seattle, Cleveland, the White Sox, Baltimore, Minnesota, Oakland, Seattle, Cleveland, Detroit, Cleveland, and Minnesota.
4. Chris Flexen | SP | Seattle Mariners
Chris Flexen is quietly putting together a solid breakout season at the age of 27. He’s remained more available in leagues despite this, probably in part due to a handful of really bad outings that have ballooned up his numbers just a bit. Regardless, here are the last two months (10 starts) for Flexen between July and August: 60.2 innings pitched, 43 strikeouts, 11 walks, a 2.97 ERA, and a 5-2 record. This includes one seven earned run clunker against Houston on July 27th. Here are Seattle’s remaining matchups: Kansas City, Houston, Arizona, Houston, Arizona, Boston, Kansas City, Oakland, The Angels, Oakland, and the Angels. Not particularly great, but there’s a handful of great matchups in there down the stretch.
5. Nestor Cortes Jr. | SP | New York Yankees
Much like Carlos Hernandez, Cortes Jr. has seen success transitioning to the starting rotation out of the bullpen. Through July 23rd, Cortes has a 1.95 ERA in 27.2 innings pitched out of the bullpen with 34 strikeouts and 10 walks. Not bad at all. Since joining the rotation on the 28th of July, he owns a 3.14 ERA with 26 strikeouts and six walks in 28.2 innings pitched. The strikeout rate has taken a bit of a hit in this transition, but he’s otherwise been pretty darn good. He’s managed at least five innings pitched in all five starts and most recently completed seven innings on 104 pitches against the Twins. Here are the Yankees’ remaining matchups: Oakland, the Angels, Baltimore, Toronto, the Mets, one game against Minnesota, Baltimore, Cleveland, Texas, Boston, Toronto, and the Rays.