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Two-Start Pitchers: Week 8 (5/20 – 5/26)

STREAMER OF THE WEEK

FELIX PENA, SP LAA (25% CBS, 3% ESPN, 8% Yahoo)
(2 -1) 3.49 ERA 0.96 WHIP 38.2 IP 37 K

GAME ONE: 5/20 MIN (1st in AL Central 30-16)

GAME TWO: 5/26 TEX (3rd in AL West 21-23)


Felix Peña has been a nice surprise for the Angels this season, but still not on most fantasy owners’ radar yet. Currently pitching to a 3.49 ERA 0.96 WHIP and 8.61 K/9 line, Pena has limited free passes (1.86 BB/9), but is giving up way too many home runs (1.63 HR/9). However, he currently boosts a 13.1% swinging strike rate on the season, which is the 18th best rate in baseball among pitchers with at least 30 IP. Pena appears to be pitching pretty close to his peripherals (3.49 ERA 4.48 FIP 4.05 xFIP), but it is his slider that is catching everyone’s attention.

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Technically, his slider doesn’t exist. Some sites categorize it as a curveball, while most have it as a slider. Let’s call it a slurve. No matter how you look at it, it’s nasty. Opposing batters are currently hitting .130 against his slider, resulting in a 23.0% swinging strike rate and a 40.9% O-Swing. He is also carrying a 41.5% whiff/swing on the pitch, which is the 15th best mark in baseball. Fangraphs shows this pitch as a slider in the pitch splits, but as a curveball in the pVAL. In fact, Fangraphs doesn’t even have a registered pVAL for his slider, only his curve. But it still ranks as the 8th best curveball in the league according to pVAL:

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FELIX PENA LAST 4 STARTS:

(2-0) 2.95 ERA 0.80 WHIP 21.1 IP 23 K 1 BB
27.7% K 1.2% BB 46.6% GB 29.3% FB
3.06 FIP 2.72 xFIP

In his last 4 starts, Pena allowed 3 home runs while walking only 1 batter. He is carrying a 15% overall swinging strike rate. This includes a 26.5% swinging strike rate and a 51.4% whiff rate on the slider. What’s more impressive is that opposing batters were hitting .412 against his fastball in his first 4 starts, versus a respectable .297 in his last 4 outings. If he can continue to develop the slider, while sharpening the command of his fastball and eliminate home runs, he could become viable in all fantasy circles.

WEEK 7 RESULTS:

Reynaldo Lopez, SP CHW:

Game One: 7.2 IP 2 H 1 ER 2 BB 6 K (WIN)
Game Two: 6.0 IP 4 H 1 ER 2 BB 1 K (ND)

MUST START
Carlos Carrasco, SP CLE (OAK, TB)
Justin Verlander, SP HOU (CHW, BOS)
Trevor Bauer, SP CLE (OAK, TB)
Patrick Corbin, SP WAS (@NYM, MIA)
Clayton Kershaw, SP LAD (@TB, @PIT)
Chris Paddack, SP SD (ARI, @TOR)
Domingo German, SP NYY (@BAL, @KC)
Caleb Smith, SP MIA (@DET, @WAS)
Zack Wheeler, SP NYM (WAS, DET)

SAFE START
German Marquez, SP COL (@PIT, BAL)
Mike Soroka, SP ATL (@SF, @STL)
Luke Weaver, SP ARI (@SD, @SF)
Jake Odorizzi, SP MIN (@LAA, CHW)
Jose Quintana, SP CHC (PHI, CIN)
Zach Eflin, SP PHI (@CHC, @MIL)
J.A. Happ, SP NYY (@BAL, @KC)
Eduardo Rodriguez, SP BOS (@TOR, @HOU)
Jake Arrieta, SP PHI (@CHC, @MIL)
Mike Minor, SP TEX (SEA, @LAA)

RISKY START
David Price, SP BOS (@TOR, @HOU)
Brad Peacock, SP HOU (CHW, BOS)
Julio Teheran, SP ATL (@SF, @STL)
Yu Darvish, SP CHC (PHI, CIN)
Marcus Stroman, SP TOR (BOS, SD)
Chris Archer, SP PIT (COL, LAD)
Spencer Turnbull, SP DET (MIA, @NYM)

DON’T START
Mike Leake, SP SEA (@TEX, @OAK)
Brett Anderson, SP OAK (@CLE, SEA)
Andrew Cashner, SP BAL (NYY, @COL)
Shaun Anderson, SP SF (ATL, ARI)
Homer Bailey, SP KC (@STL, NYY)
David Hess, SP BAL (NYY, @COL)
Shelby Miller, SP TEX (SEA, @LAA)
Edwin Jackson, SP TOR (BOS, SD)
Dylan Covey, SP CHW (@HOU, @MIN)
Erick Fedde, SP WAS (@NYM, MIA)
Andrew Suarez, SP SF (ATL, ARI)

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