That’s right folks, the wait is over! Field of Streams is back! Not gonna lie, but it feels great to be back and streaming. Since we have no streaming choices from last week to praise or bemoan, might as well dive on in to the good stuff, right?
Cody Anderson, Indians (@ White Sox) – Last season Anderson posted a nice little 3.05 ERA in 15 starts, which is nice, but a quick glance at his 2015 FIP numbers in the fours points towards at least a modicum of good luck for Cody. First and foremost, we really only care about the actual ERA for fantasy purposes, right? How Cody obtains good starts is generally not important. Sometime it’s better to be lucky than good, right? My job here though is to see if the numbers are sustainable, and based on last season’s advanced numbers, one would not expect Cody to carry such a low ERA through 2016.
That being said, his FIP and xFIP at least point to an ERA which is around what a starting pitcher would post, by throwing the exact definition of a quality start each time out. That means they hover around 4.50. In my humble opinion, for streaming, that is certainly playable. Here’s the thing; I think Cody may exceed the projected ERA in the mid-fours. Anderson had an above average ground ball rate, but a very low K/9 in 2015, so why am I so high on Cody right now? Well, because of something the numbers cannot quite tell us, like an increase of around four mph on his fastball.
Anderson did some offseason conditioning and came to camp throwing some fire. The increase in fastball velocity is not gonna turn Cody into a Cy Young pitcher or anything, but generally a pitcher who does this experiences improved ERA and K numbers. Anderson adds a decent changeup that seems to be getting better, and he already took a step forward locating pitches last year. The matchup and venue for Anderson’s first 2016 start is not ideal, but I am gonna stay with Cody for a bit regardless of the outcome of this one. This one may be my biggest reach of the week, but for now, I am going with Cody 2.0 against the Pale Hose, come Friday.
3.2% owned in ESPN, 6% owned in Yahoo!
Scott Feldman, Astros (@ Brewers) – If you look at Friday’s slate of games, you quickly realize that pickings are slim — enter Scotty Feldman. Feldman posted a respectable 3.90 ERA in 2015, relying mostly on the ability to induce grounders at a rate of almost 50%. Feldman is something of a solid pitcher in the right spots, as two-thirds of his 2015 starts were quality and only twice did he not go at least five innings. Something can be said for that, right? Feldman allowed four or more earned runs in just four of his 18 starts last season, so he carries a somewhat low implodability factor with him which is quite nice for streaming. While Milwaukee is not the safest place for pitching, I am not (at this time) too scared of the Brew Crew’s lineup. Plus, most of the current Brewers have either not seen or not hit Feldman in their careers, which I will throw in the pro-Feldman column. It’s gutsy call, for sure, but if your back is against the wall, I say go for it!
.5% owned in ESPN, 1% owned in Yahoo!
Chris Tillman, Orioles (vs. Rays) – Yes, we’ve been down this path before. Tillman has been a super frustrating pitcher for anyone who has had the “privilege” of owning him in fantasy. It was almost a crapshoot last year when Tillman took the hill, but if you could figure out when his fantasy goodness was gonna show up, you’d be swimming in butter. Yeah, I don’t know what that means, either, but it’s good. Tillman has the ability to post the goodest of fantasy goodness but he doesn’t; at least not consistently. Weather delays cut Tillman’s first start short, but in two innings he retired all six batters he faced and five them via the strikeout. The sample size can’t get much smaller for a starting pitcher, but this feels like a good jumping off points as the Twins are not exactly an offensive juggernaut. You know Tillman will be well rested for this start as well, so that’s nice. I don’t really know what to expect from the Rays offense this season, but it doesn’t jump out at me as a potent one. I think you get at least a QS from Tillman in this matchup.
10.2% owned in ESPN, 14% owned in Yahoo!
Joe Ross, Nationals (vs. Marlins) – Okay, so technically Joe is owned in slightly more than half of Yahoo! leagues, but the judges are gonna allow it! Ross is a youngster I am pretty big on this season, and if you read my Field of Streams primer you would already know that Ross had FIP rates around 3.50 in his 13 starts last season while striking out more than eight batters per nine. Ross does a good job of keeping the balls that are put in play on the ground with a ground ball rate close to 50%. Another key note is that Ross is good at missing bats. Last season his whiff rate ranked among the top 20 for pitchers who threw at least 70 innings. All of this coming from a kid that is only 22-years old as I type this. I don’t plan on having the opportunity to place Joe Ross in Field of Streams after this week, and would recommend you jump on him while you can.
45.5% owned in ESPN, 52% owned in Yahoo!
Jeremy Hellickson, Phillies (@ Mets) – Yeah, yeah, I know, don’t get sucked in by one start. Truth be told, I have been a fan of Hellboy for quite sometime (for whatever reason) so this is not me completely relying on his Opening Day start. But I would be remiss if I did not talk a bit about his first outing of the season. Six innings, one unearned run, three hits, no walks and six strikeouts. Not bad for a day’s work, huh? Of course, I am not expecting those kind of numbers every, or even any, other time on the mound for Hellboy, but I like the promise. Hellickson had the Reds hitting grounders at a 46.2% rate, and in general Cincy’s contact was weak against Hellboy all afternoon. Of course, facing the defending National League pennant winner may not be an ideal follow-up, but in this young season the Metropolitans are 27th in ISO. Yes, the sample size is nowhere near enough to judge, but I think it makes Hellboy worth a flier on Sunday.
7.0% owned in ESPN, 11% owned in Yahoo!
Jeff Locke, Pirates (@ Reds) – This one is a bit of a 50-50 split between the Reds offense being not so good, Al, and Locke actually being a worthwhile streamer. Locke is not flashy = low Ks, lots of grounders, but the Pirates certainly know how to work with that skill set just fine. Locke went at least five innings in 25 of his 30 2015 starts however, while tossing up a quality start in only ten of those starts. Locke is not ownable long-term, or short-term really, but the Reds offense is not supposed to be very good and that it what I am mostly banking on here. Locke projects around a four ERA, and inducing lots of grounders in Cincy is very beneficial to his survival. Also, other than Billy Hamilton and Joey Votto, current Reds have not experienced overwhelming success at the plate against Locke. The ceiling is probably a six inning, three run, quality start, and despite his name, I would count this as a…lock, but I am somewhat liking Jeff’s odds against the Redlegs.
1.9% owned in ESPN, 1% owned in Yahoo!
Alright, that’s all I got for ya. Seriously, that’s it. Go on, get outta here, go stream!
Need more streamer options, waiver wire recommendations, and general fantasy baseball goodness, head on over to Fantasy Rundown.