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Field Of Streams: Fantasy Baseball Pitching Options

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Field Of Streams: Fantasy Baseball Pitching Options

Posted on 23 September 2012 by Will Emerson

Welcome to the season finale of Field of Streams! One final  in depth look at some viable, and some not so viable, fantasy streaming options for the upcoming fantasy week. The major league, and thus fantasy, baseball season is winding down so there will be no need to stream pitchers, unless you are in some fantasy baseball league for the major league playoffs, after this week. I know, I’m sad as well folks, but I promised myself I wouldn’t cry. And this is by no means good-bye! Oh no, I will continue to give you something to read on Sundays, so you’ll still have that! Now, as I get into this week’s pitching options, I just want to say this this was one of the most difficult weeks for this. Not a lot of great options jumped out at me and if you are streaming this week, you are most likely in your fantasy championships, so good streaming is important now, more than ever. That’s quite a bit of pressure! Nevertheless, I will press on and 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 9/24-9/30 (all stats and information are prior to Saturday’s games):

Jake Odorizzi (KC)- One of the many talents in the Royals system, Odorizzi is getting his call up and will make his first start Sunday. So as a streaming option next weekend he is a bit of a wild card. One, because I have no major league appearance to evaluate and two, because you never know exactly who the Tribe will have in their lineup as the season winds down and neither team has much to play for ‘cept maybe their pride. Odorizzi has torn up the minors, most recently at triple-A where he had a 2.93 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. Now while I would like to have a look at his first start before getting into what to expect from him against Cleveland, I do like him as a wild card starter. His K/9 went down about four when he made the jump from double to triple -A and his triple-A FIP is over four, so there will be a struggle or two in the majors. However I like him alright enough starting against Cleveland. I feel like he may benefit from not a lot of Indians batters having faced him. Now I cannot give him full fledged stream endorsement, based on the no stats at the major league level, but watch his Sunday start closely and see what you think. He could be the wild card that helps you close the door on that fantasy title. (.2% owned in ESPN and 1% in Yahoo!)

Alex Cobb (TB)- Okay, so Cobber has been up and  down lately, lasting only 4.2 innings against the Os, but then baffling the Red Sox batters over six innings in his next start. To be fair though, his xFIP in that Os start was below two and he did only allow two earned runs in each  of those starts. The fact that he is keeping the ball on the ground, with a rate above 60% in both starts, is good and bad. Good, because those worm burners do not often end up as home runs, but bad because it does put more pressure on your defense and seeing eye singles can hurt him at any time. But he has a good defense behind him, so generally he is in good shape and I am sticking with him this week against the White Sox. (14% owned in ESPN and 22% in Yahoo!)

Lucas Harrell and Bud Norris (HOU)- If you’ve had a heaping helping of Field of Streams in your diet, it should be not be new knowledge that both Budrick and Lucas  have been studs at home this season. Well, if it is new info, then, hey, welcome to the party! These two fellas have been greatastic at home. Yes, they have been so good at home, that I went ahead and created an adjective to describe this goodness. Well both pitchers start the week with a home start, so go ahead and pounce if they are available in your league. Now Norris is only scheduled for the one start, but young Lucas has a second start on the docket, on the road, at Milwaukee (which means land of the good). But what many have not noticed is Harrell is actually pitching fairly decently outside of the Juice Box as well. In his last three road starts he has thrown 18. 2 innings and allowed seven earned runs. Not too shabby, right? And two of those starts were at St.Louis and Cincy. Two good hitting teams. While I would say the second start against the Brew Crew is still not a huge lock, it will be the end of your week and season and with his 19 strikeouts over those 18.2 road innings, he may me nice stream option to finish off your season. (Norris is 24.4% owned in ESPN and 30% in Yahoo! Harrell is 2.8% in ESPN and 11% in Yahoo!)

Marco Estrada (MIL)- The ownership numbers for Ponch are rising, so I am not riding this bandwagon alone, but he is still widely available in ESPN and Yahoo! He did not end up with a two start week last week as expected, so he looks to have two starts on the docket this week. The first start on the road against the Nationals could be bit tougher than other starts, but it could all depend on when the Nats will start resting folks for their playoff run too. I still recommend him and his lovely K/9 over nine in this matchup and for his second start? Well that will be at home against the Disastros, who admittedly are winning at a very high pace (for them anyways) in September, but still…a good matchup for Ponch. (25.6% owned in ESPN and 30% in Yahoo!)

Ross Detwiler (WSH)- Detwiler continues to be more than solid for the Nationals down the stretch. In his last outing against the Dodgers, he tossed six innings and allowed only one measly run. He also struck out five, which is not spectacular, but for Ross Detwiler, he of the 5.68 K/9, this is a good number. In fact he has a rate of 7.5 K/9 over his last two starts, so that is promising, especially if you combine that with his ground ball rate over 50! Now I’m not saying he’s working his way towards a future strikeout crown or anything, but this definitely makes him more appealing as a fantasy option. He faces Tyler Cloyd and the Phils this week, which is not a great matchup, but Mr. Detwiler has been pitching well enough that I would not expect him to get knocked around too much and hurt your pitching numbers by any means. (37.1% owned in ESPN and 39% in Yahoo!)

So there you have it, another season of Field Of Streams in the books! So what did we learn this season, children? 1) Lucas Harrell and Bud Norris have been must starts at home  B) Ks/9 are  the bomb diggity 4) “Ponch” Estrada is more solid than you know and plenty of spots on his bandwagon are still available and F) Alex Cobb and his sexy ground ball rate can be a good get for your fantasy squads. Good day and godspeed!

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Field Of Streams: Fantasy Baseball Pitching Options

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Field Of Streams: Fantasy Baseball Pitching Options

Posted on 16 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. I do apologize, I seemed to forget about rotisserie players last week, as they are still looking for pitching options down the stretch if they have innings to spare. 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 9/17-9/23 (all stats and information are prior to Saturday’s games):

Jose Quintana (CWS)- Since Quintana burst onto the scene this year, I have found him intriguing, yet overrated. His 6-4 record with a 3.52 ERA and 1.26 WHIP, is eye catching sure, but the 5.28 K/9, .291 BABIP and 4.03 FIP have pointed to a bit of a regression. A regression like the 8.00 ERA and 1.78 WHIP he is sporting this month. Ironically, his BABIP is .444 this month and his xFIP is 3.41, which means he is actually now pitching better, but posting worse fantasy numbers. Weird, right? He has the Tigers and Angels this week, no easy matchups by any stretch of the imagination. His last start was against the Tigers and he pitched fairly well. Quintana tossed 7.2 innings with an earned run, seven strikeouts, seven hits and two walks in a winning effort. Quintana is still a mystery to me at this point, and I just am not completely sold on him. The two starts are enticing, but I am very hesitant to recommend him this week against the Tigers and Angels. I still say steer clear of JQ. (14.6% owned in ESPN and 19% in Yahoo!)

Alex Cobb (TB)- Still sticking with Cobb, although on the surface his last start against the Orioles was not great. Overall Cobb has been solid and although he did not make it out of the 5th against the Os, he did not end up with the worst line imaginable. He threw 4.2 innings, giving up seven hits and two earned runs, two walks and six strikeouts. Alex also managed to have a 64.3% ground ball rate, an xFIP of 1.81 and a BABIP of .500 in that start, so he may have been just a tad bit unlucky. He looks to have the Jays and Red Sox at home this week. Both of those offenses have been up and down as of late and according to Bobby Valentine the Red Sox are also throwing out the weakest September lineup in their history, or something to that extent. I say go with Cobb to help capture you that elusive fantasy championship! (11.5% owned in ESPN and 18% in Yahoo!)

Kevin Correia (PIT)- There is not a lot that points to Correia being a great fantasy option at this point, this is for sure. A 4.29 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and a K/9 around four is not great. He is on the road twice this week and his road numbers are even worse. Correia’s road ERA is 4.75 and his WHIP is 1.47 and that is with a .266 BABIP. So why is he even in this article, you may ask? Well his two starts this week are against the Cubs and Astros, two of the worst hitting teams in the National League. This is no lock however, as these are still road starts in parks that are not pitcher friendly. There is a decent shot at wins, so this is really the wild card pick of the week. If you are close in the pitching categories, it is still a shaky, or turbulent, stream, but if you are just looking to chase wins or literally a few strikeouts, that second start may be worth a shot. (1.3% owned in ESPN and 3% in Yahoo!)

Marco Estrada (MIL)- It’s as if no one is taking me seriously, that spots on the “Ponch” Estrada bandwagon will be filling up fast! Estrada has been solid since entering the Brewers rotation and his last outing was no different. Against the Bravos, he tossed 6.2 scoreless innings, allowing just four hits, walking one and striking out six. This week is a two start week for “Ponch” so go ahead and grab him, as he could be a big difference maker for you. (19.2% owned in ESPN and 20% in Yahoo!)

John Lannan (WAS)- Good ol’ John Lannan is back in the rotation with Stephen Strasburg shut down for the regular season. Lannan has never been flashy, but can tend to get the job done and could provide a much needed solid start for you. His last start, albeit against the Mets, was darned decent! Johnboy threw 5.2 scoreless innings allowing only five hits and one free pass. Now he is not gonna provide a ton of strikeouts, but he could get a quality start against the Dodgers this week. (1.6% owned in ESPN and 3% in Yahoo!)

Ross Detwiler (WAS)- Another appearance in Field of Streams for Detwiler. Ross continues to get things done for the Nationals. His xFIP and low K-rate do seem to point to some regression, but against the Dodgers in this upcoming week, I would expect a start similar to his last outing against the Braves. In that outing he threw six strong innings, allowing only one earned run, allowing seven hits and one free pass, while striking out five. Go ahead and stream him this week, I say! (37.8% owned in ESPN and 38% in Yahoo!)

Andrew Cashner (SD)- Now I recommended Andrew Cashner last week and the Rockies knocked him around pretty good. Nevertheless, I still stand by Cash Money at the Giants next week. As a starter he still has a K/9 over ten, and his WHIP is 1.14, with an xFIP of 2.41. So that clunker against Rockies should be an anomaly and throwing in San Fran against an inconsistent Giants lineup should be good for him. Cash in on Cashner (sorry, could not help myself) this week and if he throws another clunker I will not recommend him again this season. (10.6% owned in ESPN and 13% in Yahoo!)

Andrew Werner (SD)- Apparently any Andrew in the Padres rotation makes it into Field of Streams. But with Werner, why would he not be on your radar? Four starts, and in each he has gone at least six innings, exactly six in three of those starts, and allowed no more than two earned or unearned runs in any of those starts. He is rocking a 8.51 K/9 and his xFIP is 3.41 so while a modest regression is on the horizon I still feel safe recommending the kid at the Giants this week. (7.5% owned in ESPN and 11% in Yahoo!)

Joe Kelly (STL)- I am not completely sold on Kelly’s overall value now or for the future, but he has that Cardinals pitching magic working for him. The 3.60 ERA looks good, but with a FIP over four, a K/9 of 6.21, a WHIP of 1.41 and a BB/9 over three his ERA will rise at some point, but not this week friends! This week he has the Astros and unless you live under a rock or don’t follow baseball, which would make it weird that you are reading this, you know Houston does not have anything close to a good offense. Stream Kelly this week and take advantage of this matchup. (4% owned in ESPN and 6% 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) Andrews in the Padres rotation are good to go B) Ks/9 are the bee’s knees 4) “Ponch” Estrada is still the cat’s pajamas; spots on his bandwagon will be going fast and F) there is still time to cash in on Cashner while you can! Good day and godspeed!

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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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Field Of Streams: Fantasy Baseball Pitching Options

Posted on 04 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. At this point your fantasy baseball playoffs are probably either under way or just about to get under way, so now, more than at any other time during the season, it is extremely important to stream wisely and get whatever edge you can to help you inch closer to that fantasy baseball championship. 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 9/3-9/9 (all stats and information are prior to Saturday’s games):

Ross Detwiler (WAS)- It looks to be a two start week for Mr. Detwiler, with both starts being at home. At home this season Detwiler is 4-1 with a 2.74 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP, which I don’t have to tell you, although I guess I am anyways, is pretty darned good. Of course his 3.92 xFIP and .284 BABIP at home does point to some regression, but a regression you can live with for a streaming spot starter. Now his strikeout numbers are extremely low, home and away, so if it’s Ks or K/9 you are looking for then, well, Detwiler is not your man. But with home starts against the Cubs and Marlins this week you have to like the chances for a W and help in your other peripherals, so stream away!  (27.1% owned in ESPN and 33% in Yahoo!)

Collin McHugh (NYM)- McHugh is getting called back up and getting the nod for the Metropolitans on Monday. McHugh’s lone major league start was masterful and brilliant to say the least. Against the Rockies, he twirled seven shutout innings, while fanning nine and walking only one. Oh yeah, and he allowed only two hits to boot! Now the Rockies are not the best hitting team in the league, but are decent enough that this is still impressive. Now should we start annointing young Colin as the second comng of Ron Darling? Probably not. Let him get his feet wet and see what happens. His fastballs did not have a great deal of movement, but he was able to mix in a slow curveball ranging from 68-73 MPH that really kept the left handed batters he faced, off-balance. His 8.55 K/9 and 3.42FIP down at AAA, is very promising. Obviously I don’t think he’ll keep a K/9 over eleven, but I do like what I see so far. Now his start Monday does come against the Cardinals in St. Louis and the Cards can certainly hit, so it could be a growing experience for McHugh. Having not seen him before though, the Cards could just as easily struggle a bit. So clearly I have a firm grasp on what to expect from McHugh this week. I say live on the edge and throw him out there! Hey, if it’s a clunker, at least you have the rest of the week to make up for it, right? (.4% owned in ESPN and 1% in Yahoo!)

Patrick Corbin (ARI)-  Corbs has become quite the mainstay here on Field Of Streams and really I am not confident enough in him yet to make him a regular must start fantasy pitcher. I was iffy on him this past week against the Reds, and he turned in a solid quality start. This week he looks to have two starts and they are on the road against the Giants and Padres. So that’s two starts against teams that tend to not knock the ball around the park too much, in pitcher friendly parks. If he keeps up his 4.26 K/BB and 3.30 xFIP that he is rocking for August, he should continue to improve the rest of his numbers along the way as well. The good recent numbers should stay in place, especially against the Giants and Padres this week. (6.6% owned in ESPN and 10% in Yahoo!)

Andrew Werner (SD)- It is that time of year folks! Time for call-ups! Some call-ups have been highly touted and others have been barely touted at all, but the bottom line is fantasy owners are looking to catch lighting in a bottle with one of these said call-ups. Enter Andrew Werner. Since his call-up Werner has had two starts, both of the quality persuasion, going six innings and giving up two earned runs in each start. He is 1-1, with an ERA of 3.00 and a WHIP of 1.00. So is Werner a good bet for fantasy owners down the stretch? Well his xFIP thus far is 3.95, his BABIP is .194 and his SIERA is 3.53, so there should be a slight regression forth coming. He could be a solid 4th or 5th fantasy starter down the road, but I am not all the way sold on him just yet. He does, however, have the Dodgers and Diamondbacks this week, and neither team has been racking up the runs lately, so Werner could be a decent spot starter. I would say stream Werner, but with caution for now. (.3% owned in ESPN and 0% in Yahoo!)

Alex Cobb (TB)- Although my Cobb recommendation last week did not pan out so well last week (4.2 IP, 4R, 3 ER) I still like his moxie! That was, after all, only his second start since July 1st where he allowed more than three runs. In fact in eight of his last ten outings he has allowed 3 runs or less! But he does have the Yankees this week and that could spell trouble for A.C. He did have one start against the Bombers already this season, back at the beginning of June and he allowed four earned runs over seven innings in that outing. He only gave up five hits and one walk in that outing though, but was hurt by the long ball twice. That start was in New York, whereas this week he gets them at home and like most pitchers he is much better at home. While at the Trop he is striking out batters at almost double his road rate, for crying out loud! I still like Cobb, but I am hesitant to stream him this week against the Yankees. (11.1% owned in ESPN and 19% in Yahoo!)

Jeff Karstens (PIT)- Do not adjust your monitors, you read correctly, Jeff Karstens.  In case you haven’t noticed, and judging by his ownership you haven’t,  he has been quite solid at home. At PNC Park, Karstens has a 1.76 ERA, with a 1.00 WHIP , baffling visiting batters game in and game out. Now while his 3.68 xFIP, 5.49 K/9, .272 BABIP and 39% ground ball rate at home does point to a hefty regression, he is pitching against Houston this week and well, need I say more? (4.8% owned in ESPN and 11% in Yahoo!)

Marco Estrada (MIL)- Ponch’s ownership has skyrocketed in both ESPN and Yahoo! leagues, which can obviously only be attributed to the high praise he has received here week after week. Or, I guess, there’s a chance it could be due to his August numbers. In August he has a 3.12 ERA, a 1.46 WHIP, a 7.96 K/9, a 2.77 BB/9 and a 2.26 FIP. Sure there is that whole pesky 3.95 xFIP, but that is by no means atrocious, per se. But that 3.12 ERA is with a ridiculously high .361 BABIP as well, which I feel, really says something. Additionally, in his last two starts albeit they were against the Cubs, he allowed no earned runs and also struck out 17 batters over 11 innings. This week Ponch has the floundering Marlins in Miami, a perfect spot for Estrada to shine! (11.5% owned in ESPN and 12% in Yahoo!)

Francisco Liriano (CWS)- Francisco, that’s fun to say! Liriano had another solid start in Baltimore, which was his third start in a row where he allowed only two earned runs. In fact, in his six starts with the White Sox he has allowed more than two earned just once.  Over the last three starts he has an ERA of 3.11, a WHIP of  1.32 and a 8.31 K/9 and for the most part has been almost like the Francisco Liriano of old. This week he draws the Royals, and that should be a good matchup for Liriano and the White Sox, so go ahead and do it to it ! (23.6% owned in ESPN and 43% in Yahoo!)

Tyler Skaggs (ARI)- There’s been a fair amount of hype surrounding Skaggs and thus far, on paper, he has looked solid. Skaggs is 1-1, with a 2.52 ERA and a WHIP of  1.22 thus far in his major league career. See? Solid on paper. You know what else looked solid on paper? The Titanic. Okay, that may be a bit of a harsh metaphor. What Iam getting at is the traditional numbers are, at the moment, a bit misleading. His xFIP is 5.98, his BABIP is .182, and he has a BB/9 of 5.22. So although this is all in a tiny sample size it would seem that a big time regression is forthcoming for Skaggs. He does draw the Padres at Petco this week, so he could continue to be lucky, but right now, to me, he is only a borderline stream option. (3.6% owned in ESPN and 10% in Yahoo!)

Casey Kelly (SD)- As a big chip in the Adrian Gonzalez deal, Kelly has had some hype attached to him and now here he is, up in the majors. In his debut against the Braves he pitched six shutout innings. He allowed just three hits and two free passes, while striking out four. Seems like a decent enough debut, but his BABIP was .200 with a SIERA of 4.33 and a ground ball rate of 40%. It does not appear that Kelly will be striking out a ton of hitters, so that ground ball rate is something of a concern. Granted, it is only one start, so still tough to get a great read on Kelly, but he tore through the Padres farm system this season and could be a decent enough starter for the Padres down the stretch. As far as his current fantasy value, I am not quite sold on him just yet, but he has a chance at a good start this week, at home against the Diamondbacks who struggled to put runs on the board in August. I am still cautious to recommend Kelly even if he does post a good start against Arizona, but I would go ahead keep an eye on his progress. (1.7% owned in ESPN and 5% 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) Casey Kelly and Tyler Skaggs are to be streamed with caution)   B) Ks/9 as always, are your BFFs, but if you don’t need ‘em in your fantasy league, Ross Detwiler is worth a stream 4)  There’s still plenty of room on Marco “Ponch” Estrada bandwagon and F) Francisco Liriano is darned good with the White Sox. Good day and godspeed!

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Field Of Streams: Fantasy Baseball Pitching Options

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Field Of Streams: Fantasy Baseball Pitching Options

Posted on 12 August 2012 by Will Emerson

Welcome to another edition of Field Of Streams, a weekly look at some viable and, possibly, some non-viable, streaming options for your fantasy team(s) in the upcoming week. Fantasy leagues are in the home stretch and if you’re in the playoff hunt, it is time to be savvy, get crafty and stream away! All of these pitchers are owned by less than half of ESPN and Yahoo fantasy owners, meaning there is a good chance you will be able to snag ‘em. So without further ado, here’s a look at your streaming options for the week of 8/13-8/19:

 Jeff Samardzija (CHC)- This upcoming week is Shark Week, so naturally we have to start with the Shark himself. Clearly my praise for Samardzija in last week’s Field of Streams has not had people jumping the Shark’s bandwagon as he is actually now owned in fewer fantasy leagues than last week. Huh?! Remember Samardzija’s July numbers? 1.91 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and a 9.82 K/9? Those are great numbers, people!  His last start, while it was at Petco, was impressive as well: 7 IP, 6K, 4H, 2BB, ER, sporting a 2.86 xFIP and 58.8% of batted balls were worm burners. Shark has a two start week this week, that starts with the Astros at Wrigley. The Astronomicals are not slugging by any means, so you should already generally stream against them as much as possible, and Shark Ks almost 10 batters per nine at home. The second start agains the Reds in Cincy though, could be a slight cause for concern, but I have faith and highly recommend fully embracing Shark Week and grabbing Smardzija!  (40.0% owned in ESPN and 43% in Yahoo!)

Alex Cobb (TB)-  Now Cobb is not the flashiest of guys by any stretch of the imagination and may never post those high K/9 numbers he was posting in the minors, but he has definitely been more than serviceable for the Rays.  Now the 4.32 ERA and 6-8 record, has managed to steer many fantasy owners clear of Cobb, making him readily available. What most don’t see is his 3.61 xFIP, 3.59 SIERA and a nice 57.9 ground ball rate, which is really enhanced when the mad genius Joe Maddon is aligning the defense behind him. Oh, did I neglect to mention that his first start of the week is against the Mariners at Safeco? The same Ms that have the worst wOBA and second fewest runs scored in the majors this season, which should be a gimme for Cobb. His second start of the week, however, will be against the Angels and they have scored more runs and posted a higher wOBA than any other team in the majors over the last month. So he’s a safe bet in Safeco, but I’d recommend sitting him against the Halos. (4.0% owned in ESPN and 5% Yahoo!)

Jeff Karstens (PIT)- Do not adjust your monitor, you read right! Jeff Karstens as a stream option this week. Karstens starts the week off at PNC, against the Dodgers. Karstens has been highly above average at home this season, with a 1.33 ERA and a .96 WHIP. Of course the .263 BABIP means these unworldy numbers with regress a tad, but the 3.69 xFIP is still promising. Plus, only the Cubs and Astros have been less effective offensively than the Dodgers over the last month. Start him against the Dodgers, but hold off against the Cardinals at Busch.  (5.0% owned in ESPN and 10% Yahoo!)

Patrick Corbin (ARI)- The youngster has put together back-to-back solid starts at the Dodgers and at the Pirates. Striking out 12 batters in 12 innnings while only two earned runs, eight hits and five free passes. He also put up a sub-three FIPs in both of those starts. Now, as I mentioned the Dodgers bats have not exactly been striking fear into opposing pitchers of late, but Corbin has the Astros this week and they have not been striking fear into opposing pitchers most of the season. So it is a thumbs up for Patty Corbin against the ‘Stros this week! (2.5% owned in ESPN and 4% Yahoo!)

Jarrod Parker (OAK)- If you have not been living under a rock for the past couple of, I dunno, decades or so, you know that the Athletics always seem to have young pitchers that can, quite simply, get the job done.  Parker is no different, with a very decent 3.55 ERA,  1.29 WHIP and a 7.10 K/9. Now his .291 BABIP and 4.02 xFIP points to a bit of a regression, but he’ll still be very solid. He draws the Tribe at the Coliseum, where he has has a 2.75 ERA and an xFIP of 3.09, making him a highly viable stream option this week. (40.3% owned in ESPN and 45% Yahoo!)

Bartolo Colon (OAK)- Big ol’ Bartolo has found nice little home in Oakland this year, right now posting his lowest ERA since 2002 and over a half a run better than his career ERA. The K/9 numbers will not get much higher than they are, maybe slightly above six, nothing off the charts, but with a K/BB rate over four, a ground ball rate cl0se to 50% and a prime chunk of real estate behind him in the Coliseum, the quality starts should continue to flow like wine. With his first start of the week coming on the road against the Royals, who are not exactly crushing the ball, and his second start of the week coming at home against the Indians, I would fully recommend freshening the air around your fantasy team with a spritz of Colon! (21.5% owned in ESPN and 29% Yahoo!)

Scott Diamond (MIN)- On the surface, yes, he appears to be a diamond in the rough, and yes, I am sure I am the first one to use that, but he is not as ace like as he seems. So far this season Diamond is 10-5, with a 2.91 ERA and 1.17 WHIP, but with a .290 BABIP and a 3.70 xFIP there is a regression storm a comin’! He Ks less than five batters per nine, but with a ground ball rate just over 55% he can probably manage to get away with the low K-rate more often than not. But Scotty is pitching in Seattle this week and until the Mariners prove other wise, it is generally a good idea to stream against them. You may want to avoid him though, if you are in a K/9 league or in search of Ks. With all that being said, I am not entirely sold on his overall fantasy value and so, whilst I recommend him this week, for the future I would say sell high if you can. (46.6% owned in ESPN and 49% Yahoo!)

Joe Saunders (ARI)- With a career K/9 of 5.14 and ERA over four, I’ve never really seen Joe Saunders as much of fantasy pitcher. This season he has a K/9 over a K higher than his career average and his 3.52 ERA is his lowest ERA since 2008 with the Angels, but this still does not have me sold on his fantasy merits. Mainly because the Ks/9 are only now only slightly over six, his xFIP is 4.20 and that ground ball rate below 45% does not instill me with a lot of confidence. Combine all this with the fact that he is pitching against the Cardinals who have the highest wOBA of any team in baseball this season. So disregard that nice little ERA and do not stream Joe Saunders against the Cards. (8.6% owned in ESPN and 14% Yahoo!)

Marco Estrada (MIL)- I am absolutely loving the young patchwork rotation the Brewers are throwing out there these days, especially Marco “Ponch” Estrada! With a 9.26 K/9, 1.79 BB/9, 1.14 WHIP and a 3.45 xFIP, what is not to love, am I right? And you know what is even more lovely?  His home numbers, that’s what! At home his K/9 is 10.17, his BB/9 is .78, his WHIP is .93 and his xFIP is 2.97! Amazingly he is winless at home, and for that matter, everywhere. Yes folks, he is 0-5 on the season and 0-2 in his eight starts at Miller Park. Well, although he’s got Cliff Lee and the Phillies in town this week and I have a sneaking suspicion that this when he breaks into the win column. Not only should you stream him, but if you can buy low for the rest of the season, he is most likely worth the stash! (8.6% owned in ESPN and 11% Yahoo!)

Carlos Villanueva (TOR)- Villanueva has been money since being put in the Jays rotation and it could be for real, but he has not generally been a big success as a starter in the past. Just last season he had 13 starts with the Jays and, well, it was not so stellar. In only three of those starts did he have a K/9 over seven and only two starts with an xFIP of below 3.65. In fact, in six of those starts he had an xFIP over 4.89. Nothing impressive to say the least. However, this season he has only had one start with an xFIP of over four, so maybe, quite possibly, there’s a chance he has made a turnaround. I mean his K/9 over nine as a starter this season is  somewhat encouraging, but I am still not sold as he faces the White Sox and Rangers this week at home. With his 12.9% HR/FB I would advise against streaming him.  (8.8% owned in ESPN and 23% Yahoo!)

Aaron Harang (LAD)- Harang has two starts this week and generally if you need some innings and a quality start or two, Harangutang is your man. However this week he draws the Pirates and the Braves on the road and while these two teams are not crushing the ball right now, the Dodgers are crushing the ball even less and I don’t see a lot of run support coming Harang’s way. So do not count on “W”s from Harangutang this week and in general take a pass on streaming him. (9.3% owned in ESPN and 19% Yahoo!)

Jose Quintana (CWS)- The 4-2 record, 2.78 ERA, and 1.09 WHIP all look like fairly sexy numbers and word on the street is Q is in line to stay in the White Sox rotation for the stretch run. All this information has fantasy owners slowly, but surely, adding him to their rotations. But with a 4.86 K/9, .263 BABIP and a 4.09 xFIP those sexy looking ERA and WHIP numbers are bound to rise and become, well, less sexy looking. So while you should steer clear of Quintana against the Blue Jays early in the week, he could grab you a “W” against the Royals in his second start of the week, just don’t expect the Ks or an ace-like outing. (19.7% owned in ESPN and 27% Yahoo!)

Franklin Morales (BOS)- While I do love me some Franky M as a starter, it looks like he will draw the Yankees this upcoming week and thus far, the biggest, and really only, blip as a starter has been against the Yankees. In that one start he lasted only 3.1 innings, allowing six earned runs on  four home runs. Now while this does not mean a similar outing is in store, you should probably avoid Franky at the Stadium this week. But, if you have him, I would keep him and the great K-rate down the stretch. (13.2% owned in ESPN and 16% Yahoo!)

So there you have it, another edition of  Field Of Streams in the books! So what did we learn this week, children? 1) Stream against the Astros and the Mariners when possible, B) Ks/9 are still your best friends, 4) If you see the Jose Quintana bandwagon rolling by, stay grounded, do NOT hop on and F) Marco, is the coolest Estrada since Erik! Good day and godspeed! 

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