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Pitching Primer: Week 9

Fri May 17 11:54am ET
By MIKE BARNER
Contributing Writer

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Stroman gets two starts this week


There won’t be many off days in Week 9, leaving a lot of projected two-start pitchers. Some of them could be rather valuable, while others might be best to avoid in fantasy baseball. Let’s highlight five pitchers and what to expect from them based on their respective matchups.

Jose Berrios, Toronto Blue Jays: vs. CWS, at DET

Berrios couldn’t have been much better out of the gate, giving up two or fewer runs in each of his first seven starts. He also logged at least six innings in six of those outings. He was then lit up by the Phillies, allowing eight runs across 3 2/3 innings. The good news is, he quickly bounced back by limiting the Orioles to two runs over seven innings in his last start.

Berrios has a great opportunity to keep things rolling with matchups against the White Sox and Tigers. The White Sox have scored the fewest runs in baseball, while the Tigers have scored the eighth-fewest. They also both rank inside the bottom-five in baseball in OPS. Deploy Berrios with confidence.

Reese Olson, Detroit Tigers: at KC, vs. TOR

Olson showed promise last season, posting a 3.99 ERA and 4.01 FIP over 103 2/3 innings with the Dodgers. He started 18 of his 21 appearances, giving up just 1.2 HR/9. He has been even better this year with his 2.09 ERA and 2.52 FIP over eight starts. Not only does he have a 0.99 WHIP, but he has yet to allow a home run.

The Royals aren’t the easiest of foes, given that they have scored the 11th-most runs in baseball. However, they do have the eighth-worst OBP. The Blue Jays lineup has been dreadful, leaving them to score the second-fewest runs in baseball. Olson only has a 21.7 percent strikeout rate this season, but these two matchups could see him help fantasy managers with their ERA and WHIP.

Marcus Stroman, New York Yankees: vs. SEA, at SD

The good news for the Yankees is that Stroman has a 3.33 ERA over his first nine starts. However, his underlying stats are concerning. His FIP is ugly at 4.92. He also has an 11.8 percent walk rate that has contributed to his 1.42 WHIP. After allowing nine home runs over 136 2/3 innings last year, he has already been taken deep seven times over 48 2/3 innings this year.

While some regression could be coming for Stroman’s ERA, he’s still worth starting in Week 9 with two outings upcoming. His best stat line could come against the Mariners, who have scored the sixth-fewest runs and struck out the most times in baseball. The Padres are a more daunting foe, but they have had their issues at home, where they have a .684 OPS.

Michael Wacha, Kansas City Royals: vs. DET, at TB

Looking at Wacha’s 4.71 ERA doesn’t exactly make him someone appealing in fantasy. However, his 3.79 FIP indicates that he has pitched better than that. He has been a bit unlucky, allowing a .315 BABIP despite hitters only having a 33.8 percent hard-hit rate against him.

With his career 21.0 percent strikeout rate, Wacha is better viewed as a streaming option to only take a chance on when he has favorable matchups. We already discussed the struggles of the Tigers’ lineup. The Rays have plenty of their own issues, including striking out the seventh-most times in baseball. This is the week to take a chance on streaming Wacha.

Mitchell Parker, Washington Nationals: vs. MIN, vs. SEA

Prior to this season, Parker had logged a total of 10 1/3 career innings at Triple-A. He missed a lot of bats coming up through the minors, including posting a 27.2 percent strikeout rate at Double-A in 2023. Now a member of the Nationals’ starting rotation, he only has a 19.5 percent strikeout rate through six starts. Still, he has recorded a 3.09 ERA that is supported by a 3.42 FIP. He did not allow many home runs in the minors and that has carried over into the majors with him giving up just three of them over 32 innings.

The Twins are not the easiest of opponents, considering that they have scored the 13th-most runs in baseball. His second start will come against the Mariners and their aforementioned struggling lineup. For those in deeper leagues desperate for a streaming option, Parker is worth taking a chance on because of his start against the Mariners alone.

Mike Barner has been covering fantasy sports since 2007. His work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Yahoo, SportsLine and RotoWire. Mike was also a finalist for the 2018 FSWA Basketball Writer of the Year award. Follow Mike on Twitter @rotomikebarner.

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