That’s right folks, Field of Streams is back! New location same great wit and streamers! Some of my puns and nicknames may still need to be unpacked here at the new digs, but I think I have enough locked and loaded for my beloved readers. So what the dickens are we waiting for?! Oh, me? That’s fair. Well, wait no longer…away we go!
Travis Wood, Cubs (@ Mets) – I have long been a champion of Travis Wood, but I didn’t necessarily ever see him stunning the fantasy baseball world, as he did last season. This year’s numbers are about what I expect from Wood. In fact, here is a fun fact: Travis Wood’s xFIP last season was 4.50, which is exactly what his xFIP is thus far this season, yet his 2014 ERA is currently 1.75 higher than it was at 2013’s end! Well, okay, I’ll admit, the funness of the fact may have been slightly overstated, but it is a fact. It’s amazing what a few good bounces here and there can do to affect the numbers. Kind of reminds me of Crash Davis explaining the difference between hitting .250 and .300. “…just one extra flare a week, a gork, you get a ground ball, you get a ground ball with eyes, you get a dying quail, just one more dying quail a week….” Sure, Crash is talking about hitting, but the reverse is somewhat true, right? After all, those gorks, ground balls with eyes and quails have to come off someone, right? Point is, Travis Wood is pitching about the same as he was last season at this time when he was universally owned, but regression has come a callin’ and maybe a few of those balls that weren’t dropping in last season are dropping in this time around. That certainly was a lot of words to simply say, start Travis Wood because the Mets are, well…the Mets are the Mets. Mets have the second lowest wOBA over the past two weeks and that is not an anomaly for the season, that is right on par, folks. (3.2% owned in ESPN, 25% owned in Yahoo!)
Brandon McCarthy, Yankees (@ Rays) – You can call this a Brandon McCarthy resurgence, call it whatever you’d like to call it, just don’t call it a surprise or Yankee magic. McCarthy was one those pitcher’s who had numbers that were far worse than how he was pitching. McCarthy’s xFIP on the season is 2.84. That is a darned good number, kids. A darned good number that is not solely the result of McCarthy adding more pinstripes to his wardrobe. In 18 starts with Arizona, McCarthy only had an xFIP over 3.52 in six of them. So, perhaps some luck has shifted in McCarthy’s favor and maybe, just maybe it has been helped by the Yankees letting McCarthy loose with his cutter. The D-backs steered McCarthy away from the cutter and so far, looks like they were silly to do so. The Rays are not lightweights at the plate these days, they are middle of the pack, so I think you can keep riding the McCarthy train for now. (44.8% owned in ESPN, 39% owned in Yahoo!)
Henderson Alvarez, Marlins (vs. Diamondbacks) – Okay, so Henderson doesn’t strikeout a lot of batters, but that 2.48 ERA is just too darned good to ignore. Sure the peripherals point to regression, but one that you can live with. Plus, Alvarez induces enough grounders to counterbalance the low strikeout totals. I have rarely been wrong when recommending Henderson and I am once again feeling confident that he will turn in a good start this week, especially against the D-backs, who have been among the bottom third of the league offensively. I think you can count on a high quality start from young Mr. Alvarez, come Saturday. (31.4% owned in ESPN, 43% owned in Yahoo!)
Shane Greene, Yankees (@ Rays) – Well, I touched upon the Rays offense when addressing Brandon McCarthy’s streaming benefits, so no need to visit that again here. Look, Greene has looked good since joining the Yanks’ rotation. In six starts, Green is 3-1 with a 2.92 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. Are those numbers good? Most definitely. Are those numbers sustainable? Probably not. That being said, I think Greene is good for an ERA in the mid threes and I’d take that for the backend of my fantasy rotation most days. Last week, Greene also shut down the Tigers. Yes, those Tigers. Miggy, Kinsler, V-Mart, etc. Greene threw eight, count ’em eight, scoreless frames against those Tigers. The Rays are not the Tigers, so I’d look for another quality start. (4.7% owned in ESPN, 8% owned in Yahoo!)
Jon Niese, Mets (vs. Cubs) – Well we talked about the Mets lack of offense, but let us not forget about the Cubs. The Cubbies called up hot prospect Javier Baez, which mildly covered up their lacking offense, but the offense is still lacking. Mr. Niese (I know how it is pronounced, it’s a play on words) Guy was a regular in Field of Streams before he hit the DL. After Niese hit the DL, he, like Stella, had to get his groove back. In Jonboy’s last start he allowed only two runs in seven innings pitched. Sure, that was against the Phillies, but so what, this start is against the Cubs! Look for the Niese to start rolling out quality starts once again. (12.5% owned in ESPN, 22% owned in Yahoo!)
Tom Koehler, Marlins (vs. Diamondbacks) – The Diamondbacks offense, as discussed, is not spectacular. While, Koehler is not exactly spectacular either, I am thinking that Koehler will be slightly more spectacular than the Diamondbacks come Sunday. Koehler has not allowed more than three runs only once in his last six starts, although only three of those were quality starts. So, there is a bit of going with the gut here, but let me feed you some numbers to ease your mind a bit about this stream. At home this season, Koehler has a 2.66 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP, so TK can get it done in Miami. Make you feel a bit better about this stream? Well, I hope it did, because that’s all I got. (5.1% owned in ESPN, 17% owned in Yahoo!)
Drew Hutchison, Blue Jays (vs. White Sox) – Hutch is matched up against Chris Sale, so the W may not be in the books, but regardless of that aspect, I like him against the ChiSox. Drew’s numbers are not consistently solid, I will admit, but I constantly think there is a great outing lurking inside of him. Yes, that sounds a bit creep and gross and could have been worded better but we’re moving on. Right now Hutch is alternating between great and lousy starts and his last start? Lousy. Sold, yet? Okay, look, the streamers are light, come Sunday, but the xFIP is juuuusssttt over four on the season and Hutch can K some fellas, so I like at least a QS in this one. (4.8% owned in ESPN, 16% owned in Yahoo!)
Alright, well there you have it, folks, another edition of Field of Streams. I hope you enjoyed and until we meet again, keep, keep on, keep on truckin’, I guess?