It has been almost two years since the great Will Emerson stepped down, and with him went the heart and soul of the streaming community. Well, I’ve decided to revive his lost column and am bringing back, and I’ll quote Will on this – “your best source of streaming options and the number one rated streaming column on the web”. It has to be, Will wouldn’t lie… would he? Nahh!
Field of Streams is back, and just in time for teams looking to make a playoff run or make up those needed points in roto leagues. Hopefully we can live up to Will’s standards, although I did fill in for him from time to time so I feel pretty good at kicking things off.
Since this is the first article of the year there are no Ins, Outs, and What Have Yous (more on that next week for you newbies) to review so let’s dive right into this weeks starters.
*Ownership rates under 50% in Yahoo and ESPN
Reynaldo Lopez @Detroit
Lopez doesn’t possess ideal numbers for a starter (4.30 ERA, 1.35 WHIP), hasn’t had a lot of success on the road (4.95 ERA, 1.60 WHIP), and his ERA in May (5.61) and struggles in July (7.39 ERA, 1.79 WHIP) do not inspire confidence. However, he is facing the Tigers – a team he has had some success against this year. In three starts (20 innings) Lopez is sporting a 2.25 ERA, a 1.20 WHIP, and a .232 BAA. You will not get many strikeouts, but he should go at least six innings (quality start), give you a serviceable WHIP, and put you in line for the win.
The other reason to start Lopez is the Tigers. They rank 25th in batting average and dead last in OBP for the season, and their average was even worse in July and August showing their downward trend. They are also dead last in home runs which is a big help as Lopez has struggled this year with walks and home runs. I’ll be picking on the Tigers a lot for the rest of the season, starting today.
German Marquez @Houston
His season totals are skewed by two big months, April and July (8.18 ERA, 1.46 WHIP). The other three months Marquez has posted streamer worthy numbers (3.54 ERA, 1.28 WHIP). His numbers outside Colorado have been even better (3.09 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, .206 BAA). Finally, Marquez has quality starts in six of his last seven starts – five of those high quality (2 or fewer runs), and he has 8 or more strikeouts in five of those seven.
The Astros can be a scary team, but they are without their three biggest weapons (Altuve, Correa, Springer). This has caused a team which sits in the top-10 in batting average, runs and home runs to slip outside the top-half of the league in July and August. Given the injuries and the number for Marquez I’m confident you’ll get a quality start and a handful of strikeouts at the very least – maybe even a win. Matt Bishop is equally confident and profiled Marquez if you need more convincing.
Ryan Borucki @Kansas City
Last year across three levels Borucki posted a 2.93 ERA and 1.12 WHIP over 150 innings. This year prior to his promotion he had a 3.27 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in Triple-A, and while he has been a little more hittable in the majors Borucki has a 2.81 ERA and 1.38 WHIP through his first eight starts. Six of those starts were high quality starts – the two non-quality starts were against the Red Sox (we’ll forgive him for those). With a solid walk rate (2.63 BB/9) and none existent home run rate (0.42 HR/9 last year, 0.19 in the majors) I like his chances.
The Royals are 23rd in batting average, 26th in OBP and dead last in runs scored for the season. They have shown improvements in August but still rank in the bottom 10 for all three categories, and they are also in the bottom 10 against lefties – another point for Borucki. I’d probably gamble on him over Marquez, but if I had the room I’d start both.
Both Carlos Rodon (@Det) and Keven Gausman (vs Mia) are bordering on that 50% ownership levels so I can’t officially recommend them. However, if either is available on waivers you’d be silly not to stream them. Rodon is more than a streamer and should be owned.
Derek Holland @Los Angeles Dodgers
His numbers against the Dodgers are sketchy, but I’ll overlook the since he faced them early in the season. Since the calendar turned to June Holland has been a different pitcher. In June and July he had an ERA below 3.00, a 1.21 WHIP, and he somehow managed to strikeout over a batter an inning (66 K’s over 54.2 innings). He did just give up 4 runs to Pittsburgh on Friday, but that was the first time since July 5 that he turned in a poor performance.
The Dodgers may rank near the top for home runs and know how to get on base, but that’s overall. Against lefties they are 28th in batting average and sit behind only the Giants and Diamondbacks for strikeouts. They still do a good job getting on base and hitting homers, but Holland has been pretty good at limiting both this year – OK average, but much better than past years. You’ve only got a 50/50 chance he goes six innings so quality start leagues may want to pass, but I like the chances for solid ratios with a half-dozen K’s.
Robbie Erlin vs Los Angeles Angels
This one is more about the opponent and venue than it is the pitcher. The Angels are 26th in runs, 28th in OBP and 29th in batting average against lefties. They now get to play a road game without Mike Trout, and with no DH you can cross Ohtani off your list too. That leaves three hot players to fear, but none of them are hitting lefties this year (Calhoun .184, Upton .220, Pujols .198). Put this game in Petco and things look good for any lefty, even Erlin.
Not knocking Erlin, but he hasn’t had the best of luck in the majors and put up atrocious numbers in Triple-A which is part of the reason why the Padres moved him to the pen this year. The move did help turn him into a quite useful reliever (3.36 ERA, 0.99 WHIP). It also added a little velocity to all his pitchers – maybe the Tommy John surgery helped with that as well. Whatever the reason, Erlin has found success this year, and both his FIP and xFIP agree with his ERA (bonus points). Oh, and did I mention his numbers have been even better at home (2.37 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, .206 BAA). This is one of the more sneaky streams this week.
Clay Buchholz @San Diego
Jordan Lyn profiled Buchholz earlier this month, and everything he said still applies today. His ownership is at the 50% mark so he may not be available, but if he is I highly recommend him (even though I hate him). In addition to his recent success, he now gets to face the Padres who rank near the bottom of the league in batting average, OBP, home runs and runs scored. They do rank 1st and 5th in average and OBP respectively this month, but this game is in San Diego where, just like their season totals, they rank near the bottom.
Jacob Nix vs Arizona
If Buchholz is not available you may want to turn to his opponent, Jacob Nix. Nix made his major league debut on Friday, throwing six shutout innings against the Phillies. Prior to 2018 the only thing Nix did well in the minors was limit free passes (1.78 BB/9) and home runs (0.45 HR/9). This year, for whatever reason, the former third round pick has found his grove, posting a 1.84 ERA and 0.90 WHIP over 10 starts. Despite being labeled a strike thrower his strikeout total is rather pedestrian. Over 10 starts (58.2 innings) he walks just 8 batters and allowed 3 home runs.
The reason to target him, other than hoping his minor league numbers continue to translate, is his opponent. The Diamondbacks rank just a few spots above the Padres in batting average and OBP, and on the road they are just as poor as the Padres are playing at home. Both the average and OBP are improved in August, but the run total which was one area they were better at than San Diego, has decline and they are 18 runs behind the Padres this month. And while Nix isn’t a big strikeout pitcher, the Diamondbacks do strikeout a lot – as do the Padres. Expect a close low scoring game.
Ervin Santana vs Detroit
OK, I’m going out on a limb here since Santana has only four starts since coming off the DL and he hasn’t looked good in any of them. I’m going with Santana first and foremost because he is facing the Tigers, and as I outlined above under Reynaldo Lopez, the Tigers are just a bad hitting team. While Santana has been just as bad he does have a solid track record, posting an ERA below 3.50 the past two seasons covering 392 innings and his career ERA and WHIP fall within streaming range.
I am willing to write off his first four games the same way I would any pitcher in April. He had his spring training in the minors and posted a 3.72 ERA and 0.83 WHIP. Yes, he did allow five runs to the Tigers in his last start – a big red flag, but I’m putting my money and his minor league warmup stats, extensive track record, and most importantly a poor hitting Tigers squad. It’s a week argument, but I’m sticking with it.
That’s all I got… go on, get out of here… go stream!
Need more streamer options or potential two-start pitchers, head on over to Fantasy Rundown