Field Of Streams: Fantasy Baseball Pitching Options

Posted on 09 September 2012 by Will Emerson

Welcome back to another edition of Field of Streams, your in depth look at some viable, and some not so viable, fantasy streaming options for the upcoming fantasy week. Judging from my many fantasy leagues, if you are not already entrenched in your fantasy baseball playoffs, you will be this week. Or if not, your season is over and Field of Streams is probably not super relevant to you, so you are probably just reading this because you enjoy my wit and analysis and for that I thank you. So without further ado, on with the show! Here comes your look at your fantasy streaming options, owned in less than 50% in ESPN and Yahoo! leagues, for the week of 9/10-9/16 (all stats and information are prior to Saturday’s games):

Joe Kelly (STL)- Kelly ain’t flashy for sure, but the Cardinals seem to always have a way to throw pitchers on the hill that I don’t think much of, who somehow still seem to produce (see Lohse, Kyle). Kelly is 5-6 with a 3.54 ERA and a 1.44 ERA. Hardly numbers his mom would put up on the fridge. Although he does have a BABIP of .318, his 6.27 K/9, 4.15 xFIP and 4.24 SIERA do point to a regression, but not a huge one. Basically, he is good for a quality start each-ish time out. He is pitching in Chavez Ravine against the Dodgers this week. Despite all of their flashy moves, the Dodgers have not been making much of a move in the standings and their bats were not producing for a stretch. They have been 12th in the NL in runs scored over the past couple of weeks, but other than that their numbers have been decent. So, while I feel like Kelly is a quality start waiting to happen, against Dodger Blue this week he is an iffy stream. It is an end of the week start, but I would predict a 5 or 6 inning start with three or four earned runs, maybe three or four Ks, so I’d say stream with caution here.  (2.3% owned in ESPN and 5% in Yahoo!)

Andrew Cashner (SD)- Insert “cashing in” joke here. First thing’s first, his K/9 is 10.80. Now this is mostly as a reliever so, sure, this will come down a bit, but thus far this season as a starter, in four starts, he has a K/9 as 12.06 K/9. 12.06 people! Outstanding! Also, as a starter this season he has an ERA of 2.87 and a WHIP of .77. While it is a small sample size as a starter, he is still rocking an xFIP of 1.94 which is darned impressive! Now his .235 BABIP as starter does point to some sort of regression, but with a 47.1% ground ball rate and a 7.00 K/BB, you can still expect great things from Cashner. Cash Money has the Rockies this week and over the last seven days they have struck out more than any other team in the NL and generally hover around a K% of 20. If you ask the Magic 8 ball if Andrew Cashner is a good start this week, all signs will point to yes! (3.8% owned in ESPN and 12% in Yahoo!)

Tyler Cloyd (PHI)- TC is off to a good start with the Phils. Over two starts he is 1-1 with an ERA of 2.77, a WHIP of 1.00 and a K/9 of 9.69. There is nothing wrong with those numbers, but are they sustainable? Well if I were  a wagerin’ man, and I certainly am from time to time, I would put my money on “no”. Do I have anything but my gut instinct to back this up? I sure do valued readers! The first thing I see is a BABIP of .265, which is quite low and a good deal below the league average. What makes the BABIP number even more of a red flag for Cloyd is that he has a paltry ground ball rate of 20%. Even in a small sample size of two games, this is not what one would call “good”. A 60% fly ball rate is not good for most pitchers, but when you are pitching in a band box, this is a very scary number. The conundrum here is that he is pitching in the Juice Box this week which is a good hitters park, but he is facing the Astros, who are not a good hitting team. Using my gut instinct I would say give Cloyd a nod this week against the Astros, since no team in the majors has scored fewer runs and well, the Disastros win very rarely. A stream for this week, but keep an eye out for an impending regression. (.5% owned in ESPN and 4% in Yahoo!)

Hector Santiago (CWS)- Hector, Hector, Hector. As my fantasy closer on several teams at the beginning of the season, Santiago was a bit of a roller coaster ride. He has a nice screwball and K-rate, which sounds great. In his first start, he pitched against the Twinkies and looked solid enough. Five innings, one earned run, three hits, three walks and six strikeouts. He also induced a lot of ground balls. A 58.3% rate to be exact. His FIP of 5.11 and .182 BABIP however make it seem like he wasn’t quite as effective as the other numbers would make it seem. If you take his season numbers, the xFIP of 4.63 and the SIERA of 3.84 for example, you can see that this one start may be not be the norm for Hector as a starter. I like him and I am pulling for him, I mean he throws a screwgie for crying out loud, but I am not convinced he is an ace fantasy starter. He has the Twins again this week, and I feel like you should stay away from that start, unless you need to stream Ks towards the end of your week and are not too worried about the ERA and WHIP. (5.1% owned in ESPN and 6% in Yahoo!)

Marco Estrada (MIL)- Clearly not enough fantasy owners are taking my advice on Ponch (nickname still pending?) since he still only owned around 20% in all ESPN and Yahoo! leagues. Okay, okay, his last start was not great. He threw five innings, giving up four earned runs on seven hits. Now sure, looks bad, but he had a .412 BABIP and his FIP was 1.11 and he still struck out five and walked no one, so still some good takeaways. He draws the Bravos this week and they have the fourth highest K% over the past 30 days, so the strikeouts should still be there. Also, the Braves have scored the third fewest runs in NL over the past 30 days. I love Ponch and at home against the Braves, I am still drinking the Kool-Aid, and say go ahead and stream him! (21.5% owned in ESPN and 18% in Yahoo!)

Lucas Harrell (HOU)- Well, since this is not young Lucas’ first appearance in Field of Streams, you should all know by now, that the kid gets the job done at home. He has yet to give up more than three earned runs in a start at the Juice Box this season. And in only three of those eleven home starts did he allow more than three runs, period. He is 6-2, with an ERA  of 2.06 and a WHIP of 1.21. His 3.18 FIP and .276 WHIP say these numbers are a bit better than they should be, but hard to argue with the results. Plus, he has the Cubs at home this week. So Harrell’s home numbers combined with the Cubs being second to last in the majors in runs, fifth to last in the majors in batting average and third to last in the majors in OPS gives you a great stream option for this week. (6.0% owned in ESPN and 13% in Yahoo!)

Bud Norris (HOU)- Take the general information from the Lucas Harrell section above, minus the exact numbers and insert them here for Bud. Norris has been nothing short of dominant at home this season. A 1.90 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and a 10.18 K/9 are evidence of that. There’s not much more I can say about Bud, that has not already been said, by me, in previous Field of Streams pieces. He has the Phillies this week at home and they are hitting, but you know what, I say you still have to go with Bud at the Juice Box until he proves this to be an unwise decision. (26.6% owned in ESPN and 33% in Yahoo!)

Andrew Werner (SD)- Still sticking with Werner after he tossed his third straight quality start. All three of his starts have been six innings and in each one he has given up exactly two runs. In the last two starts he struck out 15 batters over the 12 innings while walking just one. A sub three xFIP in both of those starts make it seem like Werner could keep this up. The .222 BABIP however points the other way. In the direction of a tiny regression. He is drawing the Cardinals and the Rockies at Petco Park this week. Neither one of these is a gimmie matchup for Werner, and he is due for a clunker, but I say ride the hot streak out while you can. I would recommend him in deeper leagues for a good chance at a quality start or two. (.6% owned in ESPN and 3% in Yahoo!)

Alex Cobb (TB)- Corn Cobb has two starts this upcoming week against the top of the division, the Orioles and the Yankees. Now both the Orioles and Yankees can hit, or at least, in the Orioles’ case, are hitting, so this looks like a classic week to stay away from Cobb, right? Well, maybe. I was hesitant recommending him last week against the Yankees but he came out and showed me what’s what. Against the Yankees he tossed seven innings, allowing only two earned runs. He did this in large part by inducing ground balls at a 73.7% rate in that outing which is partly the key to Cobb’s success. A ground ball rate of 57.9% on the season shows he has consistently been able to keep the ball down, which is huge against teams like the Os and Yanks, who are 1-2 in the majors in home runs this year. Maybe my wildest recommendation this week, but even against these hot bats, I say go with Cobb! (10.9% owned in ESPN and 19% in Yahoo!)

So there you have it, another edition of Field Of Streams in the books! So what did we learn this week, children? 1) Bud Norris and Lucas Harrell might as well be Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax when they pitch at the Juice Box B) Ks/9 are the bee’s knees 4)  “Ponch” Estrada is the cat’s pajamas and F) Cash in on Cashner while you can!  Good day and godspeed!

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  1. Bud Norris Is My Home Boy | Full Spectrum Baseball Says:

    [...] on 12 September 2012 by Will Emerson If you are an avid reader of Field of Streams here at Full Spectrum, and you really should be, you have probably read just how ridiculously [...]

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