The race to the finish line is on.
The following two months are all about category management for those involved in season long roto leagues. Overall value does not mean as much this time of year, you need to target specific categories and the statistical skill sets of certain players.
One trick ponies will have greater value to some owners due to their place in the overall standings. Players who provide production in multiple categories, but do not excel in any one specific category, may hold a lower value now than they do at the start of the year. With this in mind, let’s dig into the pitching side of things.
In this week’s Fantasy Lookout, we will take a look at a few under appreciated starters who will help you with your pitching ratios through the remainder of the season. These three hurlers will provide you with decent strikeout numbers along with serviceable totals for either wins or quality starts, but they will not be elite.
Let’s see who these under the radar pitchers are.
The Fantasy Lookout
Matt Shoemaker, SP, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Matt Shoemaker came out of nowhere last year to post a stellar rookie campaign, finishing second in AL Rookie of the Year voting. Many were doubting his ability to repeat his effort of last year and a slow start to 2015 did not quell any of those fears. As the year has gone on, for the most part, he has improved every month. Check out his line drive and hard hit rates allowed by month.
He is coming off a superb month of July where he did an excellent job of limiting hard contact. For the year, Shoemaker has the fourth lowest line drive rate allowed among starters with a minimum of 100 innings pitched; while for the month of July, Shoemaker ranked second in terms of line drive rate allowed. When comparing his month of July to what he has done year to date, he has been quite consistent in all of his other metrics. Nothing stands out in terms of the luck factors, except for his LOB% in July, but that is not a big deal considering no one expects that his sub 2.00 ERA for the month would be sustainable.
With a near 50% ownership rate in Yahoo leagues, Shoemaker may not be on waivers, but acquiring him via trade should not be too difficult.
For the rest of the season, I expect an ERA around 3.25 with a WHIP close to 1.15. Not quite what he did last year, but better than what he has done so far in 2015 as a whole.
Erasmo Ramirez, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
Since coming over in a trade with Seattle earlier in the year, Erasmo Ramirez has cemented his role as a starting pitcher with the Rays. Overall in 2015 he has been incredibly consistent after a slow start out of the gates. Since April, Ramirez has recorded an ERA under 3.00 and a WHIP under 1.05 for each month. Among starters with a minimum of 90 innings pitched, Ramirez ranks in the Top 10 in terms of both swinging strike rate and contact rate allowed.
In July, Ramirez was aided by a low BABIP; however, that was a result of an equally low line drive rate and hard hit rate allowed.
Despite his solid performance in 2015, Ramirez’s ownership rate on Yahoo is still under 30%. Scoop him up off waivers if possible and enjoy the ratio protection for the remainder of the year.
For the rest of the season, I expect an ERA close to 3.00 coupled with a WHIP around 1.00. Numbers basically equal to what he has done since April.
Kyle Hendricks, SP, Chicago Cubs
Kyle Hendricks has been good so far in 2015. He ranks inside the Top 30 in terms of groundball rate, hard hit rate, and K-BB%; all important peripherals that should lead to a solid ERA and WHIP. As good as Hendricks has been in 2015, he was even better in July.
Hendricks’ numbers would look even better if not for his struggles with runners in scoring position. He has allowed a batting average of .247 with the bases empty, .249 with men on base, and .310 with runners in scoring position. With his ability to keep the ball on the ground and limiting hard contact, I think Hendricks will improve on this over the next two months.
With Hendricks available in nearly 75% of Yahoo leagues, he is probably on the waiver wire in your league.
For the rest of the season, I expect an ERA of roughly 3.25 paired with a WHIP around 1.15.
Matt Shoemaker, Erasmo Ramirez, and Kyle Hendricks are all under appreciated starters. They should be considered more than just a streaming option over the stretch run. Targeting these players via trade or possibly even waivers will solidify your ERA and WHIP and allow you to focus your attention on the other pressing needs for your Fantasy team. Until next week’s Fantasy Lookout, enjoy the games!
Data courtesy of www.fangraphs.com
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