Well, the 2013 season is just about two weeks complete which means it’s time for the inaugural Field of Streams post! That’s right folks, you can tune in right here each week for a look at some viable, and even some not so viable, fantasy baseball streaming options for the upcoming week. Now, it is still a little tough early in the season to sort out what we can believe statistics wise, since the current sample size is rather miniscule. Nevertheless, I will press on to give you my, sometimes very sound, fantasy pitching advice. So now a look at some streaming options for the week of April 15th-April 21st!
Bud Norris, Astros- Yes, yes. If you have been following me at all, you probably know I have a soft spot for this big lug. Norris’ home numbers last season have been well documented by, well, me. This week he has two starts, one of which is at the Juice Box. Norris is already off to a very solid start this season, posting a sub two ERA through three starts. Of course his Ks/9 are down, sitting below seven and his BABIP is .231, so he has not been as lights out as the low ERA may indicate, but still, not a terrible start. Norris has a home start next weekend against the Tribe, which I have no problem green-lighting. Start number one of the week however is against Oakland, and the Athletics have been red hot at the plate, leading the majors in OPS. Norris did start one game against Oakland already and did not go so great. Now while only two of the five runs Norris gave up in that start were earned, his FIP for the game was up over six. So tread with extreme caution for that start but be ready to start him against Cleveland.
Erik Bedard, Astros- Yep, another Astro. Bedard is an intriguing case as we all know he still has some good stuff left that he shows every now and again. Bedard pitched four scoreless innings against Seattle which is promising, especially when his FIP for the game was only 2.15. The thing here though, is, he is facing the A’s this week and they have been hitting pretty darned well (see above), so I would recommend steering clear of Bedard for this week.
Jhoulys Chacin, Rockies- Chacin has had some good moments in his young MLB career and has stayed on my radar for spot starts for a good amount of time now. Jhoulys is sporting a 1.35 in this young season, but I’m sure he won’t continue that pace. Chacin’s 5.40 K/9, 3.75 xFIP and .216 BABIP thus far, certainly point in that direction. The K-rate is pretty much what can be expected, but what is promising this season thus far is his ability to keep the ball on the ground. So far in 2013 Chacin has managed a 54.8% ground ball rate, which is up almost 20% over last season. This could account for the much better xFIP, but the ERA should still hover closer to the high threes, low fours as the season progresses. This week Cahcin matches up against the Mets and Matt Harvey at Silver Bullet Stadium. Harvey has been fairly dazzling thus far and for reasons I cannot explain, the Metropolitans have been knocking the covers off of baseballs thus far in ’13. While I am sure this is by no means Jhoulys Chacin’s last appearance in Field of Streams, I would hold off on streaming him in the upcoming week.
Travis Wood, Cubs- It’s the wood that makes it good! I like Travis Wood fine, but as far as a fantasy pitching go-to guy, well he has never really had much of an impact. The brief numbers in ’13 are very promising. Wood has a 1.46 ERA, a 1.05 WHIP and a 7.30 K/9 which is quite good, wouldn’t ya say? But this is not completely out of nowhere. Since August 1st Wood has had a 3.34 ERA, which falls right in line with when the Cubs staff taught him a nifty little cut fastball. But before I make it seem like Woodsy is rosterable there are some flags here. Wood’s xFIP right now is 4.43 and his ground ball rate is at 35.3%, which is not great when you pitch about half of your games in a hitter friendly park like Wrigley. Since those numbers are similar to what he put up last season, it feels like that ERA is about to skyrocket at any time. Now he could still prove a viable streaming option throughout the season, but he has the Rangers this week and while many of them have not seen much of Wood, I would still say avoid him this week
Jeremy Guthrie, Royals- Guthrie has never been lights out, that is for darned sure, but he has, for the most part, been a very solid and consistent pitcher. Guthrie is off to one of those solid starts with KC this season, posting a 3.55 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP with a nice little 7.82 number in the K/9 column. An xFIP of 3.54 shows that the ERA is probably where is should be, but based on career numbers the Ks will fall off a bit. Guthrie should be good for a spot start here and there, but this week he draws the Bravos, who are playing some good baseball right now, so actually, not here. So as far as Guthrie is concerned this week, I would say hands off, boys and girls.
Ervin Santana, Royals- Could this be the return of Big Erv? Santana has looked good in his first two starts of 2013. Obviously a small sample size, but you have to like the 3.21 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 9.64 K/9 Big Erv is sporting in the early goings, but can we believe his turnaround? Well, his xFIP is 3.23, so what Santana’s doing right now, just may be legit. Ervin’s groundball rate is just a hair under 35%, but if he can manage to keep that K-rate he can get away with this. Problem is, only once in his big league career has Big Erv posted a K/9 over eight, so it is tough to say whether or not the strikeouts are for real. I would definitely keep an eye on Santana, but he heads to Fenway this week and that could spell trouble. I would watch Big Erv closely, but would be wary of starting him against the BoSox.
Jake Westbrook, Cardinals- Probably not a name you expected to see on here, but what you may not have noticed is, good ol’ Jake has thrown 15 and two-thirds scoreless innings to starts this season. Now that is the kind of number that will jump right out at you when you’re hunting for streaming options, but you may want to hold up on pulling the trigger here. Westbrook has posted an xFIP of 5.52, a WHIP of 1.34, a 2.30 K/9 and a .212 BABIP. Not one of those numbers points to Westbrook being a viable fantasy pitching option, even if he does draw the Pirates this week. While only the Marlins have scored fewer runs than the Buccos and no team in the majors has a worse OPS, they have started to show signs of life on offense. So while a guy with a 0.00 ERA against a team who has not scored many runs this season seems appetizing and all, I would recommend staying away from this trap game.
Eric Stults, Padres- I immediately think of Eric Stoltz every time I hear or read the name, Eric Stults, which is obviously a major plus for him. Add in the fact he has a 9.90 K/9 and an xFIP of 2.79 thus far and my curiosity is heightened. The K/9 is way above what is expected from Stults and will most likely fall, but that sub three ERA last season and a ground ball rate around 60% should not make that too much of a concern. Stults sgould get two starts this week, against division foes Los Angeles and San Francisco, but away from Petco. Luckily neither one of these parks is all that hitter friendly, so Stults could do alright. My one concern is that the Dodgers have been quiet on the run scoring front thus far and with the collection of hitters they have, they are due for a breakout. Plus, Stults already gave up four earned runs in five innings this season against the Dodgers. That aside, I am giving the nod to stream Stults this week, but not as wholeheartedly for that Dodgers game.
Garrett Richards, Angels- Young Mister Richards has looked fantastic out of the gate. A 2.08 ERA, .92 WHIP and 10.38 K/9 are ace numbers for sure. A 1.81 xFIP and 58.3% GB rate point to the digits he’s posting thus far being, well, the real deal. Richards has been lights out and it looks like, for now at least, he can keep it up. Richards starts this week against the Tigers and Justin Verlander. A tough matchup for sure, but I like his chances this week. I say stream away on Richards. In fact, you may just want to keep him on your roster for awhile.
So there you have it, your first Field of Streams of 2013. Now, as I said it is tough this early in the season to get a great read on what numbers to believe, but you can start to formulate some opinions. Tune in next week when, hopefully, I have more viable than non-viable streaming options. Well keep, keep on truckin’, I guess.