Field of Streams: 2016 Primer Part Two

Field of Streams logoI’m sure you all read last week’s Field of Streams Primer which means you should be up to speed on the drill, here. If not, let me give ya the quick run down.

Basically I am about talk up some pitchers that are currently somewhat readily available to stream whom I don’t expect to finish the season as readily available to stream. Got it? Good, now let’s get on with this already…

Joe Ross: Nationals (owned in 49.2% of ESPN & 48% of Yahoo leagues)

Okay, not one of my bolder prognostications since Ross is already extremely close to being owned in half of ESPN and Yahoo! leagues, but it is what it is, right now. In 13 starts for the Nationals last season, Ross posted a highly respectable 3.79 ERA with a 1.11 WHIP and an 8.31 K/9. Oh, and I should probably mentioned he had a ground ball rate of just under 50% in those starts. Strikeouts and grounders? Hot diggity, you’re speaking my language!

The 3.79 ERA is not necessarily spectacular, but having that number under four is a fine start. Plus Joe’s FIP and xFIP are close to 3.50, which adds even more promise for the young hurler. Ross throws a heavy ball that misses bats as he sported a swing and miss rate of 12% in his short stint last season — top 20 among starting pitchers who threw 70 or more innings in 2015. That’s grade-A top choice potential sitting there in the later rounds of your draft.

Based on all this above information and factoring in his young age, I like Ross to exceed his current 2016 projections.

Wade Miley: Mariners (owned in 13.1% of ESPN & 15% of Yahoo leagues)

Here we go, getting a bit bolder with Mr. Miley. His overall numbers last year don’t exactly show promise, do they? Miley posted an ERA of 4.46 a WHIP just under 1.40 and had a K/9 of 6.83. Nothing there that points to him being highly draftable this season. However Miley did continue to keep the ball on the ground with a 48.8% ground ball, plus, his FIP was only 3.81 last season. But if you really want some silver linings, how about a FIP of 2.98 in August and 3.71 in September.  Obviously, that 2.98 number is much better than the 3.71, but a 3.71 is far better than hovering around 4.50, right?

Now, in Miley’s last season with Arizona he inexplicably struck out over eight batters per nine innings, but I am not predicting that to happen again. Strikeouts won’t be there for Miley, but I think the heavy amount of ground balls and the move to a somewhat pitcher friendly Safeco Field will help keep that ERA down. Miley is a solid innings eater, and that in itself can be worth a roster spot.

I feel like the ERA will hover in the 3.75 area, and Miley will be rattling off quality starts left and right by season’s end.

Aaron Nola: Phillies (owned in 37.2 of ESPN & 28% of Yahoo leagues)

While his 2015 starts were kind of up and down, Nola still posted a 3.59 ERA, which his 3.58xFIP and 3.66 SIERA indicates was somewhat valid. The 4.04 FIP says there may have been some luck involved as well, but he allowed three or fewer runs in six of last eight starts, so there’s that. Nola has a strong young arm and good stuff who exhibits some good command to boot. Command can sometimes take a bit to come along, so I am liking Nola’s above average walk rate. In fact, that above average walk rate pairs quite nicely with a somewhat average strikeout rate and healthy 47.6% ground ball rate.

There will be some growing pains for Nola, for sure, so that ERA may be a bit higher towards the beginning of the season. Even so, Nola should come into his own and will be a strong piece on many fantasy teams for their playoff run come August.

Eduardo Rodriguez: Red Sox (owned in 29.1% of ESPN & 45% of Yahoo leagues)

Okay, first and foremost: E-Rod is out probably until May, but that will only make him that much cheaper in the seasons first couple of months. The overall 2015 numbers were not overwhelmingly spectacular; that 3.85 ERA is a tad bit closer to four than one might like, but Eddie was certainly serviceable in most of his starts. 13 of Rodriguez’s 21 starts were quality, and he went five innings in all but three starts and allowed more than three earned runs in just four games. Again, not ace like or anything, but Rodriguez finished the season strong, throwing a quality start in five of his last seven starts and allowing more than two earned runs in just one of those final seven starts.

The projections expect similar numbers to what he put up in 2015, despite the FIP data pointing to some slight regression. The slider is top-notch, but the fastball does induce as many whiffs as one (namely me) might like. I think that could change a bit once he returns from the DL. I am not talking elite K numbers, but I don’t think a K/9 in the low eights is out of the question. When he comes back from the injury I don’t expect him cruise or anything, but come July/August, I think he will be a guy you’ll want on your roster… assuming (like I am) that those offspeed pitches improve.

We are only a few days away from actual streaming, and quite frankly, that makes me as giddy as a schoolgirl! Now remember: if my tips pay off and help you garner some prize money, I am entitled to a portion of them winnings (you just tacitly agreed by reading this). If they don’t pay off — well, nobody’s perfect. Enjoy the start of the season, kids!


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Will Emerson

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Affectionately know by close friends as Willie Moe, Will is back living in Boston after brief, 11 year stint, in upstate New York. Will loves numbers and baseball, so it is no surprise that he has been addicted to fantasy baseball for over two decades. That’s right, Will was playing fantasy baseball since before the internet was providing up to the minute stats and standings, and you had to get your hands inky checking box scores in the newspaper.