It’s a slow Tuesday afternoon and you’re thinking about a pitcher streamer. You play in a competitive league, so you need to look an extra day ahead, consider the Thursday schedule.
You see Mark Leiter of the Phillies.
He’s carrying an ERA just under 5 and he’s up against the Dodgers, that’s bad. But it’s a home game for Philly and he’s matched against Kenta Maeda (a good pitcher but not LA’s ace or No. 2); that’s good.
And let’s look a little deeper at Leiter’s performance numbers. He’s posted a 1.29 WHIP, which is solid — and when an ERA and WHIP conflict, I tend to trust the WHIP. He’s striking out just under a batter per inning, and he’s getting almost three whiffs for every walk. His last two turns have been ordinary (12 IP, 8 ER), but he did collect 18 strikeouts in those appearances.
Keeping the ball in the park has been Leiter’s biggest bugaboo, and maybe the Dodgers will get him there — although LA’s offense has come back down from its summer peak. But if you’re chasing strikeouts in a deeper league, Leiter misses enough bats to push onto your page. Leiter is widely available, owned in just five percent of Yahoo leagues.
• It’s hard to find a large bank of data that will support Clayton Richard, but he’s been solid of late. If you aggregate his last eight turns, you get a 3.31 ERA and 1.28 WHIP, playable for most mixed leagues. And that run has come against some tricky competition; two LA starts, a trip to Colorado and Miami, five road starts in all.
Richard’s Thursday start is a home date with the Rockies — and we know how Colorado tends to struggle away from home. When you get the Colorado offense at normal sea level, they’re the 22nd-best scoring offense in the league. Richard won’t fit the profile for someone playing in a shallow league, but these are the kinds of pitchers you have to consider in the deeper pools. He’s owned in 10 percent of the Y.
• It’s always a funny thing when a prospect comes to the majors and maintains his Triple-A production, or improves on it. But sometimes we see exactly that — nice run, Rhys Hoskins. And maybe it’s happening, on a much smaller scale, with Jeimer Candelario in Detroit.
Candelario, a third baseman, was a key piece in the Justin Wilson/Alex Avila trade package with the Cubs. Candelario was respectable with his two Triple-A clubs, posting a .265/.343/.484 slash with 15 homers in 110 games. The Tigers called him up in September.
All The Candy Man has done over the last three weeks is mash — 20-for-57, two homers, 11 walks against nine strikeouts, 1.000 OPS. He’s become the team’s dedicated No. 2 hitter. And yet, he’s oddly available in 89 percent of Yahoo leagues.
No one suggests Candelario’s true talent level is anything like what he’s done in Detroit, but let’s stick with what’s working. He’s going to play, and be locked into a decent lineup slot. He wasn’t a blue-chip prospect before 2017, but the 23-year-old did sneak onto a Top 100 list. I’ll make some room for him. Candy Man, tell ’em the truth.