Week 11 Stream Team

The Stream Team feature is designed to help you identify the best pitching matchups for each week of the fantasy baseball season.  All pitchers with an average ownership below 40% in Yahoo! and ESPN Leagues are assigned a Matchup Score (MS), a score that weighs multiple factors in an effort to quantify how successful any pitcher will be on any given night.  You can learn more about how Matchup Scores are calculated by scrolling to the bottom of the page. If you’re looking for a breakdown of two-start pitchers for week eleven, including a breakdown of whether or not it’s time to cut ties with Justin Masterson, Tommy Landseadel has you covered here.

After two great weeks of streaming, the past seven days have been rather abysmal. If there’s a silver lining, it’s that pitchers on the Stream Team went 2-1 with a 3.63 ERA.   Of course, that silver lining looks a bit tarnished when you see their 1.63 WHIP.

Travis Wood escaped his Stream Team start with just two earned runs despite walking five. He’s officially shaken my confidence in him, but he still finds himself on this week’s Stream Team when he faces the Pirates on Tuesday. Bartolo Colon, who is also making a repeat Stream Team appearance, performed much better going seven strong innings and picking up his third consecutive win. We’ll hope for more of the same when Colon faces the Padres on Friday. The entire Week 11 Stream Team is as follows:

 

Monday – Josh Collmenter vs Astros (6.9 MS, Yahoo! 8%, ESPN 4%)

Tuesday – Travis Wood at Pirates (6.4 MS, Yahoo! 35%, ESPN 22%)

Wednesday – Brandon McCarthy at Astros (7.0 MS, Yahoo! 5%, ESPN 1%)

Thursday – David Phelps at Mariners (6.6 MS, Yahoo! 4%, ESPN 1%)

Friday – Bartolo Colon vs Padres (7.8 MS, Yahoo! 29%, ESPN 33%)

Saturday – Joe Saunders at Mariners (6.3 MS, Yahoo! 1%, ESPN 0%)

Sunday – Henderson Alvarez vs Pirates (5.9 MS, Yahoo! 21%, ESPN 1%)

 

In-Depth Analysis of Streamer Options

Monday

MS Pitcher Opp Team Park Factor Yahoo!% ESPN%
6.9 Josh Collmenter vs HOU 1.01 8 4
6.1 Jason Vargas vs NYY 0.99 29 29
5.5 Ryan Vogelsong vs WAS 0.97 31 33
5.3 Edwin Jackson at PIT 0.93 4 1

Josh Collmenter is the best option on Monday, and if you think Collmenter is overachieving this season, you’d be mistaken. His 3.63 ERA is actually two tenths of a run higher than his career average, and his 1.16 WHIP is the same as his career mark. Collmenter’s fantasy value will always be limited due to his low strikeout numbers, but you can count on an extra strike out or two from the Astros lineup on Monday.

Jason Vargas is another option I will use on Monday. If you’re worried about starting him versus the Yankees, consider that in his past three starts Vargas has shut down the Angels, the Blue Jays, and the Cardinals (20.1 IP, 4 ER, 16 K). On top of that, the Yankees’ offense won’t be as potent at Kauffman Stadium as they are at Yankee Stadium. Will I be nervous using Vargas, sure. But if he implodes on Monday, you can always punt ERA and WHIP and just target strikeouts and wins the rest of the week.

 

Tuesday

MS Pitcher Opp Team Park Factor Yahoo!% ESPN%
6.4 Travis Wood at PIT 0.94 35 22
6.1 Bronson Arroyo vs HOU 1.01 16 6
5.8 Colby Lewis vs MIA 1.00 2 1
5.6 J.A. Happ vs MIN 1.08 3 2
5.3 Tyler Skaggs vs OAK 1.02 20 17
4.7 Daisuke Matsuzaka vs MIL 0.92 6 3

Despite hanging me out to dry in his past two starts, I’ll continue to recommend Travis Wood. Over the course of the entire season, I still believe Wood has been unlucky. Unfortunately, either Wood’s command or his confidence escaped him in his last start. I look for him to bounce back in this neutral matchup versus the Pirates, but if you decided to pass, I wouldn’t argue with you.

Bronson Arroyo presents another potential option on Tuesday . Arroyo struggles mightily versus left-handed hitters, but outside of Jason Castro (.212 avg vs LHP), Jon Singleton (5 Ks in first 11 AB), and the switch-hitting Dexter Fowler (.258 avg vs LHP), Arroyo doesn’t figure to face southpaws. Recommending Bronson Arroyo isn’t something I do often, but I’ll give him a shot in this particular matchup.

 

Wednesday

MS Pitcher Opp Team Park Factor Yahoo!% ESPN%
7.1 Drew Smyly at CHW 0.99 24 45
7.0 Brandon McCarthy vs HOU 1.03 5 1
6.6 Tanner Roark at SF 0.97 34 18
6.5 Chase Whitley at SEA 0.96 4 3
6.3 Kyle Kendrick vs SD 0.98 2 1
6.0 Trevor Bauer at KC 0.99 32 16
5.9 Jacob deGrom vs MIL 0.93 14 13
5.2 Jeremy Guthrie vs CLE 0.99 4 2
5.0 Tommy Milone at LAA 1.02 14 10

Wednesday is the strongest day for streaming in week 11. Smyly earns the top matchup score, but his struggles versus right-handed hitting force us to look deeper into the matchup. Gordon Beckham, Alexei Ramirez, Dayan Viciedo, Tyler Flowers, Paul Konerko, and most notoriously, Jose Abreu are all right-handed bats that Smyly figures to face. I think that’s reason enough to downgrade Smyly.

If you read this column, you know I believe in Brandon McCarthy despite his poor start. He is throwing his splitter nearly 60% of the time, inducing a groundball rate well over 50%, and pitching with increased velocity. Sure, he’s given up ten runs in his last two starts, but I don’t care. McCarthy’s thrown a number of gems this year, and I like his odds to pitch another versus an Astros team that struggles versus right-handed pitching.

When deciding who to name to the Stream Team, Tanner Roark came in a close second to McCarthy. Roark has been fantastic this season. He’s not walked more than three batters in any start this year, and he carries a terrific 2.20 ERA over his last five starts (which includes starts versus the Rangers, Athletics, and Reds, by the way). Throw in that the Giants have the sixth highest strikeout rate versus right-handed pitching this season, and I can easily make the argument to use Roark over McCarthy. I chose McCarthy, but take your pick.

After those two, I think Smyly is the best option, and I would even consider using Trevor Bauer, Chase Whitley, Jacob de Grom, and Kyle Kendrick (in that order).

 

Thursday

MS Pitcher Opp Team Park Factor Yahoo!% ESPN%
6.9 David Phelps at SEA 0.96 4 1
6.6 Jon Niese vs MIL 0.93 38 41
6.0 Roenis Elias vs NYY 0.96 18 6
5.9 Wade Miley at HOU 1.03 15 11
5.8 Edinson Volquez vs CHC 0.93 5 3
5.8 Josh Tomlin at BOS 1.05 9 7

The last two weeks, I’ve written about Phelps’ upside as well as his risks. His control is questionable, and as an extreme fly ball pitcher he is prone to home runs. Safeco Field will help neutralize the home runs, but you’ll just have to roll the dice on whether or not Phelps will be able to locate his pitches. The Mariners’ struggles versus southpaws (they have the fifth worst wOBA versus LHP this season, and their active roster has the lowest wOBA versus LHP since 2013) makes this a gamble I’m willing to take.

The Brewers’ right-handed heavy lineup, on the other hand, makes Jonathan Niese’s matchup much less intriguing. The Brewers .341 wOBA versus southpaws is ninth best in the majors this season, and their active roster has the highest wOBA versus LHP of any major league team since last season. I will use Niese, but I’m nervous about the start.

Of the other options, I’d steer clear of Wade Miley. The Astros’ hit lefties well, and the addition of George Springer only improves their ability to do so. You can’t trust Edinson Volquez and he no longer has high strikeout upside, so there’s no reason to start him. Tomlin has been fantastic this season, but I can’t recommend using him at Fenway. That leaves us with Roenis Elias whose home start versus the Yankees is at least worth a gamble.

 

Friday

MS Pitcher Opp Team Park Factor Yahoo!% ESPN%
7.8 Bartolo Colon vs SD 0.92 29 33
6.7 Charlie Morton at MIA 0.94 8 3
6.5 Collin McHugh vs TB 1.03 39 37
6.2 Jorge De La Rosa at SF 0.97 35 32
6.0 Danny Duffy at CHW 1.00 10 2
5.9 Drew Huthison at BAL 1.04 31 14
5.8 Jose Quintana vs KC 1.00 37 10
5.6 Roberto Hernandez vs CHC 1.03 2 1
5.6 Jake Arrieta at PHI 1.03 3 1
5.5 nick Tepesch at SEA 0.96 3 1

While Travis Wood hasn’t lived up to the hype that I placed on him the past several weeks, Bartolo Colon has.   Therefore, let’s build the Bartolo hype a little more. Consider the following stats:

  • Colon’s ERA over the prior two seasons was 3.00
  • He’s gone at least seven innings in his last three starts
  • He’s gone at least seven innings seven times in eleven tries this season
  • His strikeout rate is currently the second highest it has been in the last 13 seasons
  • His walk rate sits at a career best
  • His BABIP is at a career high
  • His strand rate is 3% worse than his career average despite moving the National League for the first time in his career

If I had to bet on a pitcher that is owned in less than 70% of leagues who would have a sub-three ERA for the rest of the season, I would bet on Colon.  I will certainly bet on him to shut down the Padres.

Charlie Morton is another option to consider on Thursday. As always, if you decide to use Morton, you must take note of the left-handed hitters you need to worry about given Morton’s extreme lefty-righty splits. The Marlins’ southpaws include Christian Yelich, Derek Dietrich, Garrett Jones, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Of course, you always have to worry about Giancarlo Stanton regardless of who is pitching. I’ll use Morton, but I don’t trust him.

Speaking of trust, last week I confirmed myself a Collin McHugh believer. Despite my claim that Colon could maintain a sub-three ERA the rest of the season, I believe Collin McHugh will provide more fantasy value. McHugh’s strikeout rate is currently the thirteenth best of all pitchers who have thrown at least forty innings this season, and his 7.0% walk rate is better than the league average (7.4%). The Rays are good, and to be honest, McHugh shouldn’t be available in your league at this point, but if he is, not only would I use him over Morton, I would also find a way to stash him on my roster.

 

Saturday

MS Pitcher Opp Team Park Factor Yahoo!% ESPN%
6.3 Joe Saunders at SEA 0.97 1 0
5.8 Gavin Floyd vs LAA 0.98 8 6
5.7 David Buchanan vs CHC 1.02 0 0
5.4 Edwin Jackson at PHI 1.03 4 1
5.1 Ryan Vogelsong vs COL 0.97 31 3
5.0 Josh Collmenter at LAD 0.96 8 4

 I don’t like saying things like Joe Saunders isn’t a very good pitcher, because Joe Saunders is a great pitcher. When it comes to throwing a baseball, he is easily in the top percent of the top percentile of the entire world. But when it comes to being a Major League Baseball player, Joe Saunders simply isn’t very good. Fortunately for him, neither are the players who create the Seattle Mariner’s starting roster. If you can avoid streaming someone on Saturday, do it. If you’re in a bind, I’d recommend betting against the Mariners. If you are in a terrible bind and need two starters, Gavin Floyd and Josh Collmenter are worth a shot.

 

Sunday

MS Pitcher Opp Team Park Factor Yahoo!% ESPN%
6.7 Jason Vargas at CHW 1.00 29 29
6.2 Jaime Garcia vs WAS 0.97 19 19
6.2 Daisuke Matsuzaka vs SD 0.92 6 3
6.0 Tyler Skaggs at ATL 0.97 20 17
5.9 Travis Wood at PHI 1.02 35 22
5.9 Henderson Alvarez vs PIT 0.94 21 11
5.5 Juan Nicasio at SF 0.97 4 3
4.9 Nick Martinez at SEA 0.96 1 0
4.9 John Danks vs KC 1.00 3 1
4.7 Brandon Workman vs CLE 1.05 1 0

If I’m going to suggest it is okay to use Jason Vargas against the Yankees, it’s hard not to recommend him against the White Sox as well. Assuming Jaime Garcia pitches passably well at the Rogers Centre on Sunday, I also like him against the Nationals. Daisuke Matsuzaka draws a favorable matchup, but unless his control is improved in his next start, I don’t see how you can trust him (he is walking nearly seven batters per nine).

If I need to stream someone on Sunday and strikeouts aren’t my primary concern, my first choice will be Henderson Alvarez. Alvarez now has four shutouts in his last thirteen starts. Last year, three shut outs got you a share of the major league lead. Alvarez throws hard, strikes no one out, and keeps people from scoring. It’s not perfect, but you could do a lot worse.

 

How Matchup Scores are Calculated

When evaluating pitcher matchups, there are a number of important factors to consider, including

  • A pitcher’s strikeout and walk percentages
  • A pitcher’s batted ball profile
  • A pitcher’s wOBA
  • The opposing team’s wOBA vs either LHP or RHP
  • The opposing team’s K% vs LHP or RHP
  • The likelihood that a pitcher earns a win in the contest
  • The effect that the ball park will have upon the pitcher’s performance

Matchup Scores attempt to take all of these factors into consideration, assigning a weight to each factor that is proportional to each factor’s impact and predictive power. Perhaps the easiest way to think of a Matchup Score is as a rating for how well a pitcher is expected to perform against a specific opponent, in a specific park, at a specific time.

While I have been evaluating pitcher matchups based on these factors for some time, I only began the process of quantifying these factors into a single score in April of 2014. This is an ongoing process and changes to the formula are continually being considered and implemented in an effort to make Matchup Scores more predictive.

Matchup Score Ratings

Matchup Score Rating
12.0 Excellent
10.0 Great
8.0 Very Good
7.0 Good
6.0 Average
5.0 Poor
4.0 Awful

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