It’s another call to the bullpen as your Field of Streams ring leader is again on hiatus. Fortunately I’ve had plenty of time to warm up in the bullpen and am ready to step in and fulfill all of your streaming needs.
Before we get to this week’s pitchers, we need to turn back the clock and check in on how last week’s streamers did. Due to circumstances beyond our control, two recommended pitchers did not take the hill so we only have six streamers to review. Those six went 2-2 with a 4.78 ERA, a 1.43 WHIP and a 7.59 K/9. Well, at least the strikeouts look pretty. Of course, not every stream was a clunker. There were still Ins, Outs and What Have Yous
|What have you|
Enough of the past, let’s move on to the future.
Jerad Eickhoff, Philadelphia (vs Miami) – He has had a few rough games, but overall Eickhoff has been solid and delivers quality starts more often than not. Though it is only a small six start sample between this year and last, Eickhoff has been much better at home than away. His K/9 is 7.97, but that number is over 9.0 at home. There have been more ground balls this year (44%) which plays well at home, and the BB% is under two which will potentially limit the damage from any home runs allowed.
The Marlins do a good job hitting the ball and getting on base, but they are below average when it comes to hitting for power and scoring runs. They’re good, but nothing to be afraid of. Eickhoff is a good enough pitcher to handle this one. Start him with confidence.
18% owned in ESPN, 38% owned in Yahoo!
Adam Conley, Miami (@ Philadelphia) – Normally I like to avoid playing pitchers against each other, but in this case I can’t help it. The Phillies are in the bottom five for batting average, OBP and home runs versus lefties, and are near or at the bottom in every offensive category overall. If Conley were a stronger or more seasoned pitcher I’d say this was a slam dunk, but Conley has had his struggles this year.
Like Eickhoff above, there have been a few rough four-inning games mixed in with those quality starts. Conley walks a few too many batters, and with a FB% of 36.2 – one untimely walk coupled with a home run is all it will take to undo things (something Conley knows all too well). His strikeout rate (9.41 K/9) has been great this year so you will get K’s regardless of what happens here. And since you’re doubling down with both pitchers (presumably) the odds of a win increase greatly. Just like Eickhoff, start Conley with confidence as this game should be close.
31% owned in ESPN, 34% owned in Yahoo!
Tyler Wilson, Baltimore (vs Seattle) – Wilson has made a seamless transition to the starting rotation and has posted back to back quality starts allowing only two earned runs in each contest. He’s a groundball pitcher – 47.1% this season and 52% last season. His fly ball rate is 31.4, but his IFFB% is 12.5; that should keep the home run total down, and a 2.05% walk rate should help keep the runs to a minimum. The limited track record seems to favor Camden Yards: 2.33 ERA and 1.19 WHIP over 27 innings compared to a 3.86 ERA and 1.29 WHIP over 39.2 innings on the road. You won’t get many strikeouts here, and honestly you should be happy with whatever he will give you.
The Mariners are an average middle of the road team offensively. On the road they have been much better, especially in the power department – ranking 2nd. Against righties, however, that power is less prevalent, the batting average is back towards the middle of the pack, and the run production is ranked in the bottom third of the league. Seattle is capable of putting up big numbers, but I think Wilson’s luck continues here and he keeps the Mariners in check.
5% owned in ESPN, 4% owned in Yahoo!
Colin Rea, San Diego (vs San Francisco) – Like many of you, I have a soft spot for players who pitch at Petco – Rea is no exception. Like every pitcher recommended so far, small sample size rules apply. To date Rea has a 3.55 ERA, a 1.20 WHIP and a .238 BAA at home. His career 46% groundball rate works in his favor here, as does a FB% below 30. Rea does walk a few too many batters (4.02 BB/9), but the bright side is his IFFB% is 18.9. In turn he has never had a HR/FB% over 10.0 so he can get away with a few extra walks right now.
The Giants are a strong hitting team that knows how to score runs, but they are not the best team for home runs. On the road the team goes from the top to the middle offensively. Looking at the current starters only Buster Posey with a .318 average and seven home runs at Petco is a threat. Pence (.211 in 190 AB), Crawford (.202 in 129 AB), Pagan (.253 w/2 HR in 154 AB) and Belt (.266 w/4 HR in 124 AB) have had limited to little success in San Diego. Rea may not get a win here, and he may only get you three to five strikeouts at best, but he should give you a stream worthy ERA and WHIP over six or more innings. This one is all about ratio and quality start help.
6% owned in ESPN, 5% owned in Yahoo!
Bartolo Colon, New York (vs Washington) – As long as owners refuse to roster old man river more, I’m going to keep recommending him as a streamer. Following that four run first inning against the Dodgers on Thursday, Colon pitched four innings allowing one run on three hits with zero walks and three strikeouts. Prior to this start he had not allowed more than three runs in a game. He had a bad game, or should I say a bad inning – it happens. Colon is a better pitcher at home (this year and last); his K/9 is 7.48 so you’ll get some strikeouts; the BB/9 is below 1.0 so the Nationals will have to earn their way on base, and his xFIP and SIERA are on good terms with his ERA so he is what he is, a solid pitcher.
The Nationals are an average hitting team with some decent power regardless of the venue (for the most part). They only faced Colon once last season (as a starter) and he dispatched them quite easily. While I don’t see another six inning-three hit shutout happening, I don’t see Colon giving up more than three runs and going less than six innings. That’s his floor for this game, a standard boring quality start – expect more than that from the big man.
37% owned in ESPN, 36% owned in Yahoo!
R.A. Dickey (vs Tampa Bay) – This one has more to do with how bad the Rays are than how good or bad Dickey has been. They are last in team batting average, tied with the Phillies at next to last in runs scored, 25th in OBP, and they are the sixth worth team when it comes to strikeouts. Surprisingly they are fifth in home runs so there is some power here if they ever figure out how to string some hits together. The Rays may put up the occasional big game, but overall they are the Braves of the American League.
Now Dickey’s season totals aren’t pretty, but they have been trending in the right direction since his meltdown against the White Sox. In the three games since he has gone 6.1, 7 and 8 innings, allowing a total of three earned runs over that span. In each of his past two games he has issued only one walk after giving up two to four in five of his previous six starts. His GB% and FB% are the best we’ve seen from him since he pitched for the Mets. Finally his strand rate (63.2%) is ten percentage points below his career average so expect some better luck here.
Dickey is available on waivers for the same reason Bartolo Colon is; he’s old. Old guys can’t be trusted; old guys don’t have any upside; old guys are bound to regress. True, true and true, but every once in a while an old guy comes along and performs beyond expectations and you have to throw the age card out the window. Knuckleball pitchers age differently than everyone else; remember Phil Niekro and what he did at age 45? Dickey is not only a worthy streamer, he needs to be owned outright in more leagues.
24% owned in ESPN, 12% owned in Yahoo!
Ross Stripling, Los Angeles (@ Los Angeles-AL) – The rookie has done an admirable job so far this season. His GB% (47.8) and FB% (27.8) both play well. His LD% (24.3) is a little high, and while it hasn’t affected his BABIP (.284) it has affected his strand rate (65.7). His hard hit rate is higher than league average (33.1) which explains both the LD% and lack of infield fly balls. Tack on a BB/9 above 3.0 and it’s no wonder he has issues going deeper into games on some nights. Stripling has some work to do, but overall he has been better than average.
That’s more than I can say for the Angles offense. The team is tied with the Twins (25th overall) for home runs, are 23rd in the league in runs scored, and thanks to a few hitters picking it up lately they are now in the middle of the road when it comes to batting average and OBP. Pujols is back above .200 but hasn’t been above .216 since the start of the season. Kole Calhoun and Yunel Escobar moved their averages above .300, but only have six home runs combined. If it wasn’t for Mike Trout, the team would have zero identity and pitchers would have no reason to fear them.
That’s basically what this comes down to, Trout versus Stripling. If Stripling can keep Trout in check he should have a solid game. He one-hit the Blue Jays in Toronto last Sunday; that right there should inspire some confidence if you have some doubt.
11% owned in ESPN, 12% owned in Yahoo!
Josh Tomlin, Cleveland (@ Cincinnati) – Tomlin doesn’t walk many batters (1.02 K/9, 1.10 last season). That basically ends my endorsements on Tomlin’s skills as a pitcher. His FB% is too high (40.7); the GB% is average (39.8); he gives up too much hard contact (37.4%); not enough soft contact (13%); doesn’t get enough strikeouts (5.86 K/9), and he has the 14th worst contact rate among qualified starters.
Not much of an endorsement, but here’s the thing. Somehow, for whatever reason, Tomlin has been able to pitch beyond what the numbers say. He has quality starts in half his games this year, and allowed one run over five innings in a non-quality start. It was the same story last year – you would look at his numbers and wonder how he was doing it. I can’t explain it, it’s just something that happens occasionally.
The good news is he’s facing the Reds who are 27th in batting average and 29th in OBP. They can hit for power, and fortunately for them there have been runners on base when they do so they’re not horrible at scoring runs. The bad news is this game is in Cincinnati where the Reds hit for a little bit better for average and lead the league in home runs and are 4th in runs scored. Votto (.212) and Bruce (.214) aren’t hitting well in May which puts the pressure on Brandon Phillips who is cooling off and a hot hitting Adam Duvall. I’d say it’s a coin flip, but I’m assuming those would go Tomlin’s way as well.
31% owned in ESPN, 39% owned in Yahoo!
Realistically there are no good streaming options for Thursday. Most of the worthy pitchers are owned, and the ones that are on waivers should stay there. You have my permission to take the day off from streaming. Go play with the kids; take the dog for a walk; go do something non-baseball related. Most fantasy teams will have some holes due to the number of games today so no need to rush to your computer before game time. Just set it and forget it; your team will still be there in the morning – I promise.
As Will would say, that’s all I got, go on, get out of here, go stream!
Need more streamer options, waiver wire recommendations, and general fantasy baseball goodness, head on over to Fantasy Rundown