Field of Streams: Week 20 Weekend Streamers

It’s your weekend version of Field of Streams. I have not gone back to look at how I did for the weekday streamers, but fear not. I will hold myself accountable and have the results for you Monday when the weekday streamers go to press. I know you are all interested in the Ins, Outs, and What Have Yous – as am I. But since we have no recap we’ll just jump right into things.

*Ownership rates under 50% in Yahoo and ESPN

Friday

Anthony DeSclafani vs San Francisco

First his season was put on hold until June because of injury, and when he returned there were times we all wished DeSclafani would go back on the DL. We’ve seen some signs of life, though, over his last two starts with 14 innings and only one earned run. They say good things come in threes so DeSclafani should be in line for a win, right? Yea, if it were only that easy.

While I’m not 100% in on DeSclafani I do like his chances against the Giants. They are an average hitting team but rank in the bottom third in runs, home runs and OBP. And their one highlight – batting average – even that has dropped in to the bottom third this month. I don’t expect another lights out performance from DeSclafani, but I can easily envision a game with two or fewer runs, a handful of strikeouts, a quality start, and maybe even a win.

Kyle Gibson vs Detroit Tigers

Gibson comes in just under the 50% threshold so he may not be available for everyone. If he is there is little reason not to trust him against the Tigers. As I said in Monday’s installment, the Tigers are just BAD and are a team I will be picking on for the remainder of the season. How bad? Batting average (25th), runs & RBI (28th), OBP (30th), home runs (30th). They have added a few points to batting average in August, but everything else is the same… bad.

Outside of a few too many walks Gibson has been doing everything right this year. His ERA has been at or below 3.75 since May 1 and he’s averaging close to a strikeout an inning. He has quality starts in 14 of his 24 starts and has allowed more than 4 runs in a game just three times since May 18 – a span of 15 games – and more than four runs only three times this year. As a Gibson hater I get it, but if he is still available on waivers even I would suck it up and put him on my team.

Trevor Williams vs Chicago Cubs

I am having a tough time buying into Williams, yet he has continue to exceed expectations and defy the odds. For the season Williams carries a 3.66 ERA and 1.24 WHIP – well within streaming limits. There’s not much difference in his home/away splits, but he does generate more strikeouts and fewer walks at home. After a stealer start he posted an ERA above 5.00 in May and June, but that was down to 2.33 in July and sits at 1.50 in August thanks to five starts with only two earned runs (both to St Louis). He has even four-hit the Cubs this year over six innings with five K’s.

The Cubs are one of the top teams in the league when it comes to runs, batting average and OBP, but this month they have only been average which gives Williams a fighting chance. It’s a risk as Williams batted ball profile is fairly ordinary and he does give up a lot of contact. Of the three recommendations today I would prefer either of the men above, but in larger leagues with little on waivers, this is the arm I would gamble on.

Saturday

Alex Cobb @Cleveland Indians

A pitcher with a 5.31 ERA and 1.49 WHIP isn’t where most owners would turn when streaming. However, over the last 30 days (5 starts) Cobb has 4 quality starts and missed the fifth by an inning. Yes, two were against the Rays, but he held the Red Sox, Blue Jays, and Yankees (on the road) to one run each. Cobb keeps the ball on the ground (50.4%), limits free passes (6%), and has above average soft and hard contact totals. Is the recent hot streak and underlying metrics enough to hold off the tribe?

Like the Cubs, the Indians rank near the top of the league in runs, batting average and OBP, but they do a much better job with the long ball than the Cubs. And just like the Cubs their average has slipped some in August, and that #3 slot they hold for home runs sits at 18th this month. That may not seem like a lot, but the Yankees and Red Sox rank one and two for both runs and home runs and he held both their offenses in check. A few years ago most of us thought the world of Cobb. Maybe he is finally getting back on track.

Joe Musgrove vs Chicago Cubs

To be honest I had forgotten about Musgrove until I saw him on waivers recently in one of my leagues. I did snatch him up when he successfully returned in May, but I quickly tossed him back in June after posting a 5.47 ERA. Somehow I managed to overlook his July showing (3.38 ERA, 1.13 WHIP) and he was still available after two solid August starts. He now has four consecutive quality starts with three of them going seven innings with two or fewer runs. Pretty good considering one was against Cleveland and the other at Colorado.

I discussed the Cubs under Williams, but I have a little more confidence in Musgrove. His control is better, give up less contact, the batted ball profile leans towards grounders, and he’ll get a few more strikeouts. Nothing is a given when it comes to the Cubs, but Musgrove is pitching well enough to give you at least a quality start at a minimum. It’s a coin toss, though, on who I would go with between Musgrove and Cobb.

Tommy Milone vs Miami Marlins

Milone is for those dumpster divers with limited resources and waiver options. I’ll start with his opponent so we can get things off on the right foot. The Marlins are not the worst hitting team in the majors, but they are consistently bad from month to month which makes them an easy target to stream against. The are my National League version of the Tigers.

As for Milone: he does have some positive attributes. He doesn’t walk many batters, plays in a nice park with a strong offense behind him (good for wins), and the past few years he has even been a solid source for strikeouts – something that was lacking early in his career. Milone is a fly ball pitcher and so far this year he is giving up a lot of hard contact. The flip side is the Marlins are no threat for homers and have issues hitting out of a paper bag.  Do I trust Milone? Not really, but I’m rolling with him (even picked him up to put my money where my mouth is).

Sunday

German Marquez @Atlanta Braves
Nick Pivetta vs New York Mets

Both Pivetta and Marquez were weekday streaming options – hopefully you held on to them for their second start – and everything I said about them Monday applies today. These two pitchers should not be available for streaming, but they are so pick them up and hold them; don’t leave them for your opponent.

The Mets are actually worse than the Marlins in batting average. They are better at getting on base and scoring runs, but who isn’t. Surprisingly they have been making some noise this month (especially yesterday – yikes!), but they are also striking out a lot – point for Pivetta. A win is in question because the Phillies are the only team below the Mets in batting average and are below average in scoring, but the Mets will send Jason Vargas to the hill so it’s not out of the question. Even without the win, Pivetta will give you everything else. Brush off the Mets recent success – even a blind squirrel finds the occasional nut.

As for Marquez: he draws a tougher opponent, but he gets them on the road where he owns a 2.92 ERA. Even if the game were in Colorado I would still start Marquez with the way he is pitching now. With four consecutive quality starts and seven in his last eight (with six being 2 or fewer runs) there is little reason not to own Marquez full-time.

Andrew Suarez @Cincinnati Reds

Suarez finally got back on track Tuesday holding the Dodgers scoreless through six frames. The five games prior are ones we’d like to forget. Prior to that bad stretch he had a respectable 3.75 ERA thanks in part to a seven game stretch where he allowed two or fewer runs per game. He has a nice five pitch mix which he uses to keep hitters off-balance. He induces a lot of ground balls (50.3%), limits walks (6%), and he is not a complete bust in the strikeout department (7.71 K/9). The danger with Suarez is he is a contact pitcher, doesn’t get a lot of swings outside the zone, and gives up a lot of hard contact. That can get him in trouble from time to time.

He gets the Reds at home, and in past years this might have been a concern, but not this year. This year they are average at best at home, overall, and against lefties. In August their run production has taken a big hit with only the Marlins and Tigers behind them, and with the exception of Eugenio Suarez Peraza and Hamilton are their only regulars hitting over .250 this month. That drop might be all the edge Suarez needs to turn in a quality start, but a win will be a challenge with Luis Castillo opposing him (and having a fine second half).

Take advantage of as many streaming options as you can prior to Sunday so you’re not put in a position to make this call.

*****

That’s all I got… go on, get out of here… go stream!

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Jim Finch

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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. You can also find me at FanRagSports.com