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Fantasy Baseball: Two-start pitcher analysis for the week ahead

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Fantasy staple Charlie Morton had a particularly poor start after his off-season was cut short by a broken leg suffered in the previous year’s playoffs. There were clear fears of damage due to age (38 years), but the radar did not really reflect these concerns.

Yet in April, something went wrong. Morton had a 7.00 ERA in four starts with 11 walks in 18 innings. At the time, the culprit was clear based on sightings or digging into the numbers as Morton struggled to handle his crooked ball. Slowly but surely, the curve changed, as did Morton’s efficiency.

Charlie Morton #50 of the Atlanta Braves returns his fantastic value
Charlie Morton could make $180 in his fantastic fortune in 2022. (Photo by Kevin K. Cox/Getty Images)

Results started to straighten out in May with a 4.60 ERA and 31/11 K/BB in 31.1 innings. However, he did turn it on this month with a remarkable 40 strikeouts and four walks in 25 innings, resulting in a 3.60 ERA over four starts. Morton’s home runs are still slightly higher this season, but his K/9 (10.4) and BB/9 (3.1) are close to his recent history.

Patience is paying off for fantasy managers who didn’t panic when things looked bleak for Morton at the start of the year as his numbers and performance are finally starting to return to average. Thanks to his recent streak, there are few pitchers in the game right now who look more attractive at the moment.

– Regression manifests itself in good ways, like what we saw with Morton, but obviously it can also go in a negative direction. Somehow Michael Wacha So far, he has managed to overcome the laws of space and time with a 2.34 ERA in 12 starts, despite a very mediocre 6.6 K/9, 3.97 FIP and 4.39 SIERA. That’s not to say Vacha can’t be an effective pitcher, as he showed similar improvement late last season at Tampa Bay after smashing his cutter. However, his current BABIP of 0.227 is simply not sustainable. As we saw with early top performers such as Eric Lauer, Underwater thrustas well as Zach GallenWacha’s time to blast will probably come sooner or later, and a tough matchup in Toronto early next week is one of many risky matches on the horizon.

Martin Perez is in the same situation as Vacha, although his breakthrough seems even more remarkable given his lack of historical success. The left-hander is Cy Young’s legitimate candidate with less than a 2.00 ERA and is only allowed two home runs in 87.1 innings. To Perez’s credit, there is some clear skill improvement here with a career-best 2.2BB/9, as well as a significant increase in players on the ground (53%). However, Perez’s 2.6% HR/FB is nearly a full 10% below his career norm. With more weights and better control, Perez has finally become a solid starter, but it’s clear he’s not as good as the ERA shows this season. He remains ready to go with two starting weeks ahead in KC and the Mets, but you shouldn’t take the ERA for granted.

– With Hyun-Jin Ryu for the season, Ross Stripling here to stay in the Blue Jays starting rotation. The dehydrated ball is really in his favor this year after a terrible home run problem over the past two seasons. Dividing the time between the bullpen and the start of the rotation, Stripling has a 3.08 ERA and 1.06 WHIP, with a BB/9 under 2.0. Throwing in more sliders and changes, Stripling quietly noticed his ground ball rating skyrocketed (53%), which may be the reason for the improvement in home run speed as much as the ball itself. We can’t expect Stripling to continue as an ace in the brutal AL East, but elite control will play any part. He’s back as a viable fantasy pitcher, especially if you need WHIP help.

I go twice…

Note: Probable pitchers as of Friday, June 24 and subject to change.

American League

Strong plays

George Kirby: BAL, OAK

Robbie Ray: BAL, OAK

Kevin Gausman: LS, TB

Sonny Gray: @CLE, BAL

Shane Baz: MIL, @THOR

Jordan Montgomery: OAK, @CLE

Martin Perez: @KC, @NYM

Worthy plays

Luis Garcia: @NYM, LAA

Jameson Tylon: OAK, @CLE

Frankie Montaz: @NYY, @SEA

Michael Wacha: @TOR, @CHK

Tyler Wells: @SEA, @MIN

Paul Blackburn: @NYY, @SEA

Triston Mackenzie: MIN, NYY

Ross Stripling: LS, TB

Devin Smeltzer: @CLE, BAL

Jonathan Heasley: TEX, @DET

At one’s own risk

Lucas Giolito: @LAA, @SF

Zak Plesak: MIN, NYY

Dean Kremer: @SEA, @MIN

National League

Strong plays

Zach Wheeler: ATL, STL

Charlie Morton: @PHI, @CIN

Pablo Lopez: @STL, @YOU

Worthy plays

Luis Castillo: @CHC, ATL

Clayton Kershaw: @COL, SD

Adam Wainwright: HIA, @PHI

Eric Lauer: @TB, @PIT

Keegan Thompson: CIN, BOS

Joseph Quintana: @WAS, MIL

Tyler Anderson: @COL, SD

At one’s own risk

Eric Fedde: PIT, MIA

Chad Cool: LAD, ARI

Jerad Eickhoff: @WAS, MIL

Streamer City

The following pitchers are typically available in over 50 percent of the fantasy leagues and have favorable matchups this week:

American League

Wednesday, June 29: Chris Flexen against BAL

Flexen began to turn things around after a slow start to the season, allowing three or fewer earned runs in five consecutive starts. Next week’s matchup against Baltimore looks like another great chance to save his streak, facing a .675 OPS lineup against righties.

Wednesday, June 29: Dane Dunning @ cop

Dunning’s peripherals far exceed his second consecutive season of erratic results. He’s been struggling against some mediocre opponents lately, but there’s another easy matchup ahead against KC (0.662 OPS vs. RHP) with no Salvador Perez.

Friday, July 1: Brad Keller @ DET

Keller has cooled off as expected from his hot start, but he wins against Oakland. The Detroit roster has been similarly useless this season, with a .586 OPS against right-handers.

National League

Wednesday, June 29: André Pallante against the Interior Ministry

Pallante has been quietly one of the best pitchers in MLB this season, with an elite rate of 63% helping him post a sub-2.00 ERA. It’s probably regressing, especially with his poor strikeout rate (6.1K/9), but he’ll have another good match against Miami next week.

Friday, July 1: Adrian Houser @ PIT

Houser has been fickle lately, but his matchup in Pittsburgh next week is unlikely to improve. He has yet to face the Pirates this season, who have a .652 OPS against right-handers.

Sunday, July 3: Anthony DeSclafani compared to CHW

DeSclafani’s first exit due to an ankle injury was not successful, but overall peripheral performance remains positive. He faces a White Sox lineup that hit and was surprisingly anemic against right pitching, with a .657 OPS.

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Total games

American League





National League





Here are some standout injuries from the past week, as well as other players to keep an eye on next week. You can get a full list of injured players on the NBCSports Edge website. Injury Page.

Aaron Ashby: Installed on the IL (forearm)

Mookie Betts: Installed on the IL (forearm)

Byron Buxton: day to day (knee)

Carlos Carrasco: from day to day (back)

Harold Castro: day by day (calf)

Brandon Crawford: day to day (knee)

Zach Eflin: day to day (knee)

male barrier: Posted on IL (hamstring)

Thai France: day by day (elbow)

Luis Gonzalez: transferred to IL (back)

Ke’Bryan Hayes: Day to Day (shoulder)

Danny Jimenez: Installed on IL (shoulder)

Buddy Kennedy: Status indeterminate (wrist)

Kevin Kiermeier: Installed on IL (thigh)

Manny Machado: Casual (ankle)

Manuel Margot: At least two months (knee)

Jeff McNeil: day to day (hamstring)

Austin Meadows: Posted on IL (COVID-19)

Tylor Megill: Shutdown after four weeks (shoulder)

Danny Mendik: Out for the season (knee)

Yadier Molina: Placed on IL (knee)

Yoan Moncada: Posted on IL (hamstring)

Tyler O’Neal: placed in IL (hamstring)

David Peralta: from day to day (back)

Salvador Perez: Indefinitely (thumb)

Louis Robert: day to day (foot)

Tony Santillan: Placed on the IL (rear)

George Springer: day by day (elbow)

Zach Thompson: Installed on the IL (forearm)

Luke you: day to day (hamstring)


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