I am back from a brief hiatus and looking to redeem myself from last week’s picks. Before that, let us go ahead and look back on last weekend’s streamers and see how bad it was.
Five streamers ended up taking the hill and they went 2-2, with an ERA of 6.83, a 1.55 WHIP and a 5.59 K/9. Yeah, not one of my better weekends, but it wasn’t necessarily all bad. There are still Ins, Outs and What Have Yous…
|What have you|
Alright, there’s the appetizers; now onto the main course…
Mike Fiers, Astros (@ Athletics) – Let me start by saying that Friday streaming is fairly bleak. Enter Mike Fiers. On the surface, Fiers doesn’t look like someone you would throw into one of your SP slots (what with that ERA over five and all), but there is the potential for a nice stream in this game. First, let’s take a look at the SIERA (3.81), almost two full runs lower than his current ERA. The FIP tells another story, as that number sits at 5.51, meaning, to some degree, Fiers has not been getting ridiculously unlucky thus far. Other than in the first start of the season, he has kept the ball on the ground while producing middling and inconsistent strikeout numbers. Really selling you on this, ain’t I? Well the striking out of batters has increased in his last two starts which is promising, and in his last start (against the Red Sox) he had a FIP of 1.97. You’re gonna see flashes of fantasy goodness with Fiers, but that’s about all you will get. What makes me lean towards this being a start with some fantasy goodness, is Mikey’s opponent, the Oakland Athletics.
On the season the A’s are hanging out towards the bottom of the barrel, offensively. Sure, they have been at least a middling offense over the last week or so, but I am still not sold on their bats. Plus, looking at the numbers the A’s have against Fiers, there has not been a ton of success. In fact, the Athletic hitter that seems to hit Fiers the best is Danny Valencia, who is currently on the list of the disabled. I wouldn’t say go all in on Fiers here, but if you’re desperate, he may be your guy!
54.3% owned in ESPN, 47% owned in Yahoo!
Robbie Ray, Diamondbacks (vs. Rockies) – A 3.80 ERA and a K/9 over nine is very, very serviceable for streaming, but the main reason Ray is not more widely owned probably has a lot to do with that 1.59 WHIP which is greatly aided by his BB/9 over five. Yeah that is certainly a red flag. Putting guys on base is something pitchers tend to want to avoid, right? Of course it is. But Ray has managed to kind of work around those for the most part, as evidenced by his three quality starts in four appearances.
As I have mentioned before, in fantasy we are not so concerned with what a pitcher should have done, but what they have actually done, and Ray has done well outside of his last start against the Buccos. Even in that short outing against Pittsburgh, Ray sported a 1.77 FIP, so maybe he was a bit unlucky? Ray does a decent job of keeping the ball on the ground, and other than that start against Pittsburgh he has limited the number of hard hit balls. In fact, even after the Pirates put up a 46.2% hard hit rate against Ray, he is still only allowing hard contact about a quarter of the time. Only 23 qualified starting pitchers have allowed a lower percentage of hard contact thus far this year. As long as Ray can minimize the free passes, I like him for a solid start here.
12.9% owned in ESPN, 17% owned in Yahoo!
J.A. Happ, Blue Jays (@ Rays) – I believe I may have already mentioned at some point that I am not buying into Happ’s 2.42 ERA, but just in case I have not, let me just say, “I am not buying into Happ’s 2.42 ERA”. I guess, judging by his ownership numbers, I didn’t really have to specify that fact, but I did anyways, so deal with it and move on. Happ has thrown a quality start every time he has taken the hill in 2016, and although both his FIP and xFIP are in the four’s, I expect that streak to continue against the Rays, and I will tell you why! After all, isn’t that why you are here?
The Rays do not have a potent offense, folks. Don’t worry, I have some data coming. The Rays place 23rd in the majors in wOBA, but even more key is the fact only the Phillies and Braves have scored fewer runs than the Rays. The Rays have the 3rd highest strikeout rate in the bigs and the 5th lowest walk rate. Starting to see why they don’t score that often? While the Rays have been hitting the ball better lately, Happ has pitched well against the Rays and at the Trop. Happ’s first start of 2016 was in this very same place and he allowed just two runs on seven hits and one walk over six innings. Happ’s last five starts against the Rays, dating back to 2013, have been quality, and Happ was two outs shy of making that five a six. So, yeah, I like the quality start streak to continue against the Rays.
35.4% owned in ESPN, 43% owned in Yahoo!
Kevin Gausman, Orioles (vs. White Sox) – Anytime a young fella who came up through the minors with a modicum of hype starts pitching well, people will take notice. Well, the somewhat forgotten Kevin Gausman did just that on Monday. On that fateful night in Tampa (St. Petersburg, really) Gausman went five innings, allowing just one run on three hits, walking two and striking out seven. It was very solid, even if you, like myself, don’t think too highly of the Rays offense. The FIP points to Gausman pitching fairly well in this one which keeps the glimmer of hope alive. His opponent today, the White Sox, are 26th in road ISO and 24th in road wOBA. Their ranks are also somewhat similar against right-handed pitching, for what that’s worth. I am trusting my gut here in thinking Gausman will throw out some fantasy goodness once again.
30.2% owned in ESPN, 35% owned in Yahoo!
Ross Stripling, Dodgers (vs. Padres) – No hitting the Giants through seven and one-third innings in his first start of the season certainly opened some eyes. Strip’s follow-up performance was a quality start against the D-backs – more eyes started opening. Then I hopped on and streamed him against Atlanta, one of, if not the, worst hitting teams in the majors. Being recommended by yours truly was the only jinx Strip needed as he didn’t make it out of the fourth inning. The thing of it is, in that start Strip had a 2.55 FIP and a 2.97 xFIP, so maybe he didn’t actually pitch all that badly? The FIP and xFIP still point to Strip deserving an ERA in the high three’s, low four’s, but that’s neither here nor there right now – he’s pitching against the Padres in this one.
The Friars are second to last in the majors in both wOBA and ISO. Over the past week they are merely like the fifth worst offensive team in baseball, so they are not exactly striking fear into the hearts of pitchers. I realize that this was partly why I recommended Strip against the Bravos not too long ago, but what are the odds of that sort of bad juju happening again?
21.7% owned in ESPN, 20% owned in Yahoo!
Rich Hill, Athletics (vs. Astros) – Come on kids, drink the Rich Hill Kool-aid with me. It’s safe to say I am somewhat high on Rich Hill, and as long as he is available to stream, I’m gonna go ahead and pull the trigger and recommend him. The ownership numbers are slowly rising, but not as much as I would have thought. I mean, you know Hill has a 2.42 ERA, right? And you know his K/9 is over 12, right? Oh, and you also know his ground ball rate is over 50%, right? The FIP and xFIP are also in the two’s, folks! Throw out the first start of the season (because I want to) and Hill has thrown a quality start in three of four starts. Hill has been pitching well, and very few people have seemed to notice (or care). Well, I have and do, and the rest of you best do the same.
26.4% owned in ESPN, 42% owned in Yahoo!
Jimmy Nelson, Brewers (vs. Marlins) – On the plus side, Nelson has a very respectable 3.16 ERA, but on the negative side his xFIP points to him deserving an ERA in the low fours, and the FIP say over five. That aside, Nelson has a workable strikeout rate and his ground ball rate is over 50%. He has gone at least five innings in all five of his starts this season, allowing more than two earned runs in just one of those starts. The stuff can be there with Nelson, and it helps here that the Marlins are not exactly crushing the ball, right now. Over the last two weeks the Marlins are sitting in the bottom third of the majors in both ISO and wOBA. I like Nelson to twirl a quality start against the light hitting Fish.
25.7% owned in ESPN, 60% owned in Yahoo!
That’s it. That’s all I got for ya. Go on, get outta here, go stream!
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