Fantasy Baseball

Pitch Count: Week 11 Waiver Wire Streamer Options

Our resident streaming and waiver wire pitcher expect, Marc Goldstein, was placed on the 10-Day DL retroactive to April 5. He should be able to return as soon as eligible which means he will be back here next week.

I’ve been summoned from the bullpen to make the spot start today. Unlike other bullpen arms, I’ve been warming up all season for this chance preparing my two-start pitcher articles over at FanRag (posted every Sunday).

I’ll keep the format the same, though, looking for pitchers owned in 50% or less of Yahoo and ESPN leagues to roster for this week, and some for the long haul.

Mike Foltynewicz – Braves

  • Ownership: 22% Yahoo, 19% ESPN
  • Upcoming opponent: @WASH, vs. MIA

This seems t be a broken record and reoccurring theme here, but until Folty’s ownership rate reaches a respectable mark it warrants repeating. He has quality starts in seven of his last 10 games, and one of those three non-quality starts was a one-run five inning game. The other two starts he allowed 12 earned runs over eight innings to the Giants and Cardinals. This is what people are (sadly) focused on.

As stated in previous articles, the batted ball profile is solid, the walks good, the strikeout rate is better than average. This week he draws a Marlins team that is hitting well but having issues scoring consistently. He also gets the Nationals who started strong in April but were only average in May.

Foltynewicz is more than a one week two-start stream and should be owned more. Hopefully after this week that will change.

C.C. Sabathia- Yankees

  • Ownership: 50% Yahoo, 51% ESPN
  • Upcoming opponent: @LAA, @OAK

That’s now five consecutive games with two or fewer runs scored. I honestly don’t know how he is doing it; there is nothing in the underlying metrics that say he should be doing this well. Sometimes, when it comes to hot players like Jason Vargas, or strong, steady performances like Bartolo Colon from 2013 to 2016, you just accept things at face value and enjoy the ride.

I have no clue how long this will last, but I’m confident based on this week’s opponents this streak will survive a little longer. He has already beaten the A’s in New York, so a game in the Colosseum should not be a challenge. The same goes for the Angels in their spacious park who are far less threatening without Mike Trout. An ERA under 3.00 on the road this year is the final selling point.

Jimmy Nelson – Brewers

  • Ownership: 52% Yahoo, 48% ESPN
  • Upcoming opponent: @STL, vs SD

I’ll admit to being a Nelson hater coming into the season, but as he has come around recently, so have I. Let’s look at the positive aspects. He is posting career numbers in walks (2.18 BB/9) and strikeouts (9.09 K/9). The velocity is up on all his pitches, and his fastball is registering as a positive pitch after being a negative since his arrival. The swing rate is up and batters are chasing more outside the zone, but with less contact.

Nelson does give up a little too much hard contact, and even with an acceptable fly ball rate he tends to fall victim to the long-ball. The lower walks this year have limited the damage, though. His one flaw should not be a factor this week as the Cardinals and Padres are not known for their power prowess. Nelson also draws the Braves the following week making him more than a one week add. I don’t like Nelson, but I no longer hate him.

Jaime Garcia – Braves

  • Ownership: 31% on both Yahoo and ESPN
  • Upcoming opponents: vs MIA – next week vs SF

You would think a 3.21 ERA over 70 innings would garner a little more consideration. Over Garcia’s last five starts (all quality) he has allowed a total of six earned runs and totaled 28 strikeouts over 36.1 innings. His ERA and WHIP at home is 2.45 and 1.05, and on the road it is a respectable 3.56 and 1.31 – well within streaming limits.

The ground ball rate is terrific (57%), the hard hit rate is low (25.7%), he induces a lot of soft contact (23.9%) – all positive factors. Some of the negatives are an elevated walk rate, low strikeouts, a lucky BABIP and the lack of wins. The strikeouts have come up recently, he did post a similarly low BABIP in 2015 with great success, and while the wins aren’t there the quality starts have been.

Maybe the luck will eventually run out and the ERA will equal the FIP and xFIP just over 4.00. Until then, Garcia is pitching well and is a worthy back-end starter. He is more than a streaming option.

Home Bodies
Don’t event think about starting them on the road.

Jhoulys Chacin – Padres

  • Ownership: 3% Yahoo and ESPN
  • Upcoming Opponent: vs CIN

Hear me out before you skip to the next player. When it comes to Chacin you need to ignore the season numbers. In six home starts (40 innings) he has a remarkable 1.58 ERA, a 0.83 WHIP, a 1.52 BAA, and 34 strikeouts. Do I have your attention? I though so – I was surprised as you were. The walk rate and hard hit rate are lower at home, and the ground ball rate is just under 57%.

Chacin has had some luck at home in the form of BABIP and strand rate. However, the home FIP and xFIP put his ERA in the low three’s – still solid and streamable. The major league track record gives us no reason for optimism, but Petco seems to agree quite favorably with him. Stream him at home and frustrate the hell out of your opponent.

Michael Wacha – Cardinals

  • Ownership: 47% Yahoo, 50% ESPN
  • Upcoming Opponents: vs MIL – next week @PHIL

Current owners are looking for a reason to cut him, while prospective buyers are looking for a reason to roster him. Well, here you go. On the road Wacha has an abysmal 7.52 ERA, a 1.82 WHIP, and a .325 BAA. At home over seven starts he has a 2.95 ERA, a 1.16 WHIP, and a .232 BAA. In seven starts (39.2 innings) he has 31 strikeouts, just two home runs allowed, and has gone at least six innings in six of seven.

The BB/9 is below 3.00, the FIP is 3.24 showing this is sustainable, the hard hit rate (22.8%) is lower than his soft contact (23.7%), and the ground ball rate is close to 50%. If Wacha is available he is worth rostering. If he is owned you can probably acquire him for cheap. He did do well against the Braves on the road so there is also some road potential against weaker opponents, but don’t hold me to that.

Road Warriors
The phrase “there’s no place like home” does not apply here

Tyler Chatwood – Rockies

  • Ownership: 15% Yahoo, 14% ESPN
  • Upcoming Opponents: @PIT, vs SF – next week @LAD

There is no need to discuss home numbers when it comes to Colorado pitchers. On the road Chatwood has a 2.53 ERA, a 0.97 WHIP, and a .171 BAA over seven starts (46.1 innings). The walk rate is lower, strikeout percentage is higher, the GB% is 62, the hard hit rate (24%) is lower than his elite soft contact (29.8%).

If you need additional reassurance: last year in 13 road starts (80 innings) Chatwood had a 1.69 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP, and a .190 BAA. Only two of those 13 were non-quality starts. We fear Rockies pitchers – we’ve been bred to do so, but we need to start accepting the fact they can be an asset on the road.


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By Jim Finch

The self proclaimed Grand High Exhausted Mystic Ruler of Fantasy Baseball. While I am not related to Jennie or Sidd Finch, I will attempt to uphold the integrity of the Finch family name as it relates to baseball.