Good morning, good afternoon, or good evening -whichever is applicable to you. During my 11 years of marriage I have pushed my wife to the edge on multiple occasions. I have been the recipient of emasculating insults, been serenaded by vulgarity, and have been given a dose of Honey Nut Cheerios with Milk right on the old noggin. Even though I provided the source of her frustrations I don’t feel they have ever caused her to doubt our relationship. This is not to say there have never been any doubts. Trust me, my all-consuming behavior, when dealing with Fantasy Baseball, has left her wondering just who the hell this loser is who shares the same address.
Streaming could be the most polarizing strategy in Fantasy Baseball. I have heard non-stop complaints by those who loathe the practice. For every complaint there is a supporter who thoroughly enjoys the task and the highs and lows associated with it. In its simplest form, streaming is the attempt to get plus production at a discount price. Your goal on draft day is to obtain the most talented starting pitchers possible. You’re not concerned who his 30 starts are against, you just know you’re getting a talented player. When you are streaming, the talent level of the pitcher in many ways is less important than who the opposition will be.
The key to successful streaming is knowing not only the player pool, but the offensive prowess of each team around the majors. In the early goings of the season you’re often going in blind. You have no current statistical base to go by. With little options you likely revert to last season’s numbers, adjust according to roster changes, and hope for the best. Having recently passed a third of the season, 2016 is beginning to write its own script as to how this season is going to play out. At this point we have a good idea of who’s good, who isn’t, and what preconceived notions that we need to move on from.
When ranking offenses there are numerous statistics you can place value on. Personally I filter everything via OPS. I feel the combination of OBP and Slugging offers a good run expectancy tool, and in addition the lone statistic eliminates the likelihood of contradicting results. With that in mind I looked at the 2016 OPS in addition to teams OPS vs. LH, OPS vs. RH, OPS at Home and OPS on the Road. Here are some of the findings:
It’s not 2015 anymore.
- The Blue Jays (1), Yankees (5), Dodgers (7) and Royals (10) all finished among the Top 10 Offensive teams last season.
- Thus far in 2016 the Blue Jays rank 18th overall. If you’re looking for a bright spot you’ll miss it. The Jays rank 18th overall, 17th vs. LHP, 19th vs. RHP, their home park is only producing the 13th best OPS and the Jays Road OPS is good for 22nd.
- The Yankees rank 24th overall. Excluding a respectable 9th rated OPS in home games this is among the worst teams in baseball. The Yankees rank 25th vs. LHP, 24th vs. RHP and 30th in Away games.
- The Dodgers rank 27th overall featuring a 28th place ranking vs. LHP, 25th vs. RHP, 27th at Home and 18th in Away games.
- The Royals rank 22nd overall with a 24th rank vs. LHP, a 20th ranking vs. RHP, the 14th best Home OPS and the 25th worst Road OPS.
- Another team who you could throw in this underperforming group is the Astros whose .752 mark last season was 2nd best in baseball. The Astros currently rank 15th overall with a matching number vs. LHP. The Astros Rank 18th in both vs. RHP and Home games. In away games the Astros rank 14th.
It’s not 2015 anymore but the results sure are familiar.
- 6 of the 10 worst OPS from last season have had similar results thus far in 2016. The Braves, Phillies, Padres, and White Sox finished with the four worst OPS last season. This season they rank 30th, 29th, 28th and 25th respectively. Naturally these squads make good targets to play against when streaming. However use caution with the Padres. While overall their ineptitude is impressive, vs. LHP they rank 12th best in MLB.
Teams to avoid when streaming.
- The Red Sox (1st), Cardinals (2nd), Rockies (3rd), Orioles (4th) and Pirates (5th) round out the top 5. However the Mariners (6th), Cubs (7th) and Tigers (8th) all feature OPS greater than .750 and none are worse than league average in any split. As for the Top 5 there are opportunities to exploit matchups. The Cardinals Rank 18th vs. LHP and in more shocking news the Orioles 26th rank vs. LHP is certainly a number I wouldn’t have known.
Situations to Avoid among the middle of the pack.
- Overall the Rays have the 10th Highest OPS in MLB. While that is a respectable number it isn’t likely to scare you off opposing them. However if the matchup isn’t ideal you may want to reconsider. They Rays have the 3rd best OPS in both facing LHP and Away games.
- Similar to the Rays the Nats rank 11th overall however they are a top 10 team when facing LHP (3rd) and Away games (8th).
- The Indians (13th Overall) have fared much better vs. RHP (9th, vs. LHP 22) and at Home (4th, 28th in Away games).
- The Marlins rank 7th in road OPS. Given their LH leaning middle of the order, the Reds would seem to be good targets for LHP, statistically however the Reds rank 7th in OPS vs. LHP thus far.
Notes from the bottom 3rd.
- US Cellular is known as a hitter’s park, it may be for visitors but the White Sox currently rank 23rd in home OPS.
- As mentioned earlier the Padres have performed well vs. LHP posting the 12th best OPS.
- The Braves Overall OPS is nearly 40 pts below the Phillies. The Braves rank 30th, 30th, 30th, and 29th respectively in Handedness Splits and Home and Road OPS.
As an owner, I love streaming. While true streaming is relegated to daily transaction leagues, the same research can be put into weekly leagues as well. You study the matchups, take in the data, and make the best decision for your team that week. In a game where the parameters are equal for everyone the ability to stream can provide you the opportunity to differentiate yourself from the competition. From a competitive standpoint, I’m completely fine losing to someone who worked harder at it than I did.
In September of 2010 my marriage was tested, not because of dangerous affairs or dark secrets being revealed. It was tested because my wife asked herself, “Is this the type of idiot I want to spend my life with?’ Each night I would set my alarm for 1:55 AM; I would walk into the computer room and prepare for the mad dash to obtain the most desirable streaming option available on the wire. The internet is often faceless, but I knew at 2 AM I would be adding arms for that Championship run, and I knew that my nemesis was doing the exact same thing. At 2:05 I would return to bed, sometimes in victory, sometimes in defeat, but always to the chagrin of my wife.
My wife is still by my side to this very day, and that Championship Trophy sits proudly on display. Streaming is not for the weak of heart, but for those who embrace it – the victories are that much sweeter.
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