Field of Streams Primer Part Deux

Field of Streams logoWell, so, I don’t think much streaming generally happens in baseball’s opening week, hence why I am still in “primer” mode. I also think olden time (you know olden time, like the early 90s) spoofs are hilarious, hence why I am ripping off the Hot Shots! sequel in today’s title. Everyone got all that? Good, moving on. I guess the main point here is that by primer, I am not actually recommending streamers for the upcoming week just yet, but am more in the predicting “down the road” streamers mode. As I prepared to right this, though, I realized it may end up being a general hodgepodge (one of my favorite Jeopardy categories) of both. Last week in Field of Streams Primer: The Great UNDRAFTED, I looked at three pitchers I think will be worth streaming early on, but shouldn’t be available too long for such things. In this week’s part deux; I will point out some starting pitchers who I think will be the league leaders in appearances on Field of Streams in 2015. So grab a beverage and a snack and strap yourself in for some streamer priming fun!

Clay Buchholz, Red Sox – No, no, the Red Sox did not sign another Clay Buchholz in the offseason, this is that Clay Buchholz. Yes That Clay Buchholz who sported an ERA over five (yes, five) just last season for the last place Boston Red Sox. I will say that I am not a big fan Mr. Buchholz as a pitcher (much bigger fan of his wife). Now, this is not to say he has not had his moments.
Here are his ERAs in the past five seasons in chronological order

2010  2011 2012  2013  2014 
2.33 3.48 4.56 1.74 5.34

All over the place, making him tough to own, I would say. But something interesting about those five seasons is his SIERA.
Look at the SIERA numbers for those same seasons in that same chronological order.

2010  2011 2012  2013  2014 
4.27 4.22 4.46 3.59 4.02

Much more consistent; not particularly spectacular, but consistent.

Clay is working back from injury, but a quick glance at those SIERA’s makes Clay a good candidate to get some quality spot starts in 2015, since those numbers also make him someone who should not be readily owned in shallower leagues. Streaming Opening Day is not recommended, but Clay does get the Phillies, who project to be one of the worst teams in baseball this season – so there is that. Now, don’t misread that to say I am in any way shape or form telling you to stream Clay Buchholz on Opening Day. I am simply stating things I think are worth noting.
26.5% owned in ESPN, 20% owned in Yahoo!

Jorge de la Rosa, Rockies – Kind of speaks volumes about the Rockies pitching staff, that there “ace” is owned in less than 10% of fantasy leagues at this point, does it not? The thing about Rockies pitchers is, well, quite simply, they pitch at Coors Field quite a bit. For those who are unaware, Coors Field is a hitter’s haven (like that quick alliteration?). The thing about Jorge de la Rosa is, he has sort of figured out how to pitch at Coors. Jorge’s home ERA last year was 3.08 as opposed to up over five on the road. Splits like that make for some good streaming value, although I could understand still being hesitant there since mistakes at Coors get amplified. But that home ERA does not look to be too much of a fluke as his home FIP was 2.77. Two years ago, de la Rosa posted a 3.49 ERA over 167.2 innings and he had an ERA of 3.51 in 2011 before Tommy John surgery, so ya know, the numbers can be there. The ERA should hover around four, but there will be plenty of good matchups and streaming opportunities for de la Rosa.
Owned .4% in ESPN, 6% owned in Yahoo!

Bartolo Colon, Mets – It’s hard to not love a rotund pitcher like Bartolo (in my mind, anyways). Somehow he defies well, most reason and logic. Colon is a widely (pun intended) out of shape guy in his early 40s; he should, by no means, be an effective major league pitcher. But yet, here he is, still pitching away, and doing it with a modicum of success. Now his 2013 is still an anomaly in my book, so don’t look for that type of performance, but right now Colon is chugging along just fine with an ERA around four still within reach. Colon doesn’t strike out a ton of guys though, so more than likely you are gonna try and just stream a W or QS, and hope he doesn’t wreck your ratios.

He walks very few batters which is a good place to start, but he doesn’t induce a ton of grounders or, as mentioned, strikeout a bunch of guys. I can see Colon being in Field of Streams a bit in 2015, but I do have some slight hesitancy just because, well, the age and, um, body type, have to catch up with him at some point, don’t they? You would have to be in a very deep league to roster Colon full time, but there will be a few times where he will serve up some streaming goodness and lucky for you, my loyal reader, I will be right here to let you know when that is happening.
2.4% owned in ESPN, 14% owned in Yahoo!

Jon Niese, Mets – Yep, another New York Met makes the list. Jonny has long been a streaming favorite of yours truly. In fact, Niese was among the leaders in Field of Streams appearances in 2014 and I don’t think that will change a great deal in 2015. Niese is not flashy, but he is very solid. Last season, Niese threw a quality start in 21 of his 30 appearances (that’s a double dip stream dream right there) and of those 21 quality starts he was better than the 4.50 ERA an exact QS gets ya, 16 times. In other words, in those starts Niese was better than just three earned runs in six innings pitched. If you take out the game where he was injured in the first inning and the tough four starts after he returned from the DL, Niese actually threw a QS in 21 out of 25 starts, which is about as stream dreamy as it gets.

Now for some cold hard numbers. Niese managed a 3.40 ERA with a 1.27 WHIP. Those are numbers for a widely owned pitcher right there, right? Sure, but I am not one to just give you WHIP and ERA then leave the table, am I? Of course I’m not! The advanced fielding independent numbers point to an ERA more in the range of 3.65-3.75, which is fairly consistent over Jon-Boy’s career. What’s that? The strikeouts? Okay, well yeah, like the pair of names ahead of him on this list, Niese is not a strikeout machine by any stretch of the imagination, but doesn’t mean he never get’s Ks. There was at least a handful (seven to be exact) of starts where Niese K-ed at least a batter per inning last season, so in the right matchups Niese can be a highly useful piece of fantasy goodness. Now if only there was a place on the internet (now on computers) where you could find those “right matchups”. I’ll keep my ear to the grindstone for any hot leads on that front.
4.4% owned in ESPN,  7% owned in Yahoo!

Well, I hope this has whetted the ol’ appetite. Just think, next time we see each other, there will be actual real live statistics next to your players’ names! I can’t speak for all of you, but to me that thought is quite exciting. Until that day comes, help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed and neutered.

Will Emerson

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Affectionately know by close friends as Willie Moe, Will is back living in Boston after brief, 11 year stint, in upstate New York. Will loves numbers and baseball, so it is no surprise that he has been addicted to fantasy baseball for over two decades. That’s right, Will was playing fantasy baseball since before the internet was providing up to the minute stats and standings, and you had to get your hands inky checking box scores in the newspaper.