Brad Johnson

Streaming Away

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Mr. Volatility and Friends

Sunday, June 18, 2017


Welcome back to Streaming Away, a twice weekly column serving all your fantasy streaming needs. I'll be using DFS techniques to help you select players for your normal fantasy leagues. With careful execution, you'll be one step closer to a fantasy championship. As always, the column will run on Sundays and Wednesdays to better prepare you for the thin Monday and Thursday schedules.

 

For more info about how and why to stream, check out the first edition of Streaming Away.

 

Editor’s Note: This is the perfect week to try out FanDuel Golf and find out why it makes the majors even more exciting. First Place in FanDuel's $250,000 PGA Golden Eagle contest wins $50,000! Play now for $4. 

 

Monday, June 19

 

With 11 games on the docket tomorrow, you hopefully need only stream a couple spots to produce a full roster. Pay attention to weather reports for Chicago, Baltimore, and Atlanta. Storms may interrupt or postpone the action.

 

Pitchers to Use

 

While you'll hopefully be able to fill out your lineup card, finding a worthy pitcher to stream may be a challenge. Brad Peacock is the best positioned to provide multi-category support. He's visiting the Athletics. Oakland has an inconsistent offense. They're quickly gaining a reputation for all or nothing outcomes. Peacock mirrors that volatility. Of his five starts, only once has he pitched beyond the fifth inning. Despite that, only one of his starts can be described as unhelpful. Most were similar to his most recent appearance where he allowed two hits, four walks, one run and 10 strikeouts in just 4.2 innings. If you're behind on strikeouts, Peacock is a great way to climb back into the race.

 

Beyond Mr. Volatility, a couple volume veterans remain widely available. Edinson Volquez's hot streak officially ended last week at the hands of the Athletics. Prior to that four inning flub, Volquez had allowed just six hits, six walks, and one strikeout in his previous 22 innings. It's proof he's still capable of solid production. I see much more downside than upside in a matchup against the Nationals.

 

Last and least is Scott Feldman. The soft tossing righty is visiting Tropicana Field. His specialty is inducing soft contact, and he'll need to be on top of his game to conquer a difficult Rays lineup. They have four left-handed weapons ranging from the frisky Mallex Smith to down-ballot MVP candidate Corey Dickerson. Feldman has some trouble with southpaw swingers. That said, there's always a decent chance he'll scrape together a quality start. He has six in 14 outings.

 

Pitchers to Abuse

 

Exploit targets are split between new guys and veterans. Of the older folk, Matt Garza is the closest to joining the “to use” section. The righty hasn't put together a complete outing since mid-May. His last four starts include a 6.75 ERA and a short stint on the disabled list. I'd rather let someone else try him versus the Pirates at Miller Park.

 

Jason Hammel has scuffled away from the elite defense of the 2016 Cubs. His stuff is also slightly diminished which has contributed to his 5.05 ERA, 6.94 K/9 and 3.03 BB/9. Until a recent three start hot streak, things looked a lot worse. I don't see any proof that anything has changed, although his latest start did include a season best velocity.

 

Hammel is opposite the Red Sox. They're calling upon Hector Velazquez. The former Mexican League star is a great Triple-A starter, but his stuff is maladapted to life in the majors. He relies on an 89 mph fastball which he complements with a plus changeup and a couple merely adequate breaking balls. He throws the fastball far too often.

 

Winner of the most unique last name in baseball – mostly because I've never seen a 'k' adjacent to an 'x' – Austin Bibens-Dirkx is set to make his third major league start. He's also been used in relief a few times. Bibens-Dirkx is coming off an improbable outing against the Nationals. He held them to one solo home run in seven innings. It was one of those days when everything was put in play right at a fielder. Bibens-Dirkx is a 32-year-old journeyman who does nothing to limit hard contact. He'll melt most days. Gather any available Blue Jays.

 

Other pitchers to exploit include R.A. Dickey hosting the Giants, Jordan Zimmermann at Sam Gaviglio, and Daniel Gossett opposite the Astros.

 

Hitters: Power

 

There is a slight lull in the available power hitters today, but you should still have plenty of options. Do note, some of the guys listed in the speed section also have pop.

 

Although I recommended using Feldman, I think we can agree it was a rather grudging recommendation. In fact, if I have a choice, I'd much rather gather those aforementioned left-handed hitters. Logan Morrison remains below 50 percent ownership despite a real adjustment at the plate. He's a legit 30 home run presence with 40 homer upside. For deeper formats, Colby Rasmus can be found in 98 percent of leagues. He's popped nine home runs in 117 plate appearances – a pace of 50 over 650 plate appearances.

 

On the surface, Mitch Moreland looks like a must-start versus Hammel. While he's certainly a usable streamer, it should be noted that he's playing through a cracked big toe. That has to affect his hitting. Expect to see his career best hard hit rate to plummet in the coming weeks.

 

A trio of Pirates are of interest at tiny Miller Park. Josh Harrison and John Jaso have trouble escaping PNC Park, but they're decent homer threats at the smaller venue. Both Harrison and Jaso have adapted to hit more fly balls. Their hard contact rates are up too. Their teammate, Josh Bell, remains a ground ball hitter with an interesting mix of discipline and hard contact. He reminds a bit of Kendrys Morales.

 

Since the start of June, Marco Estrada has allowed 28 hits and 17 runs in 12.2 innings. If something is wrong – and I can't find any real proof that there is – then a couple Rangers may join the hit parade. Carlos Gomez recently returned from the disabled list. He was barely scraping by before hitting the skids. Shin-Soo Choo is raking to the tune of .261/.380/.431. He has 10 home runs and six steals.

 

Other power options include Jed Lowrie, Tyler Flowers, Jorge Bonifacio, Chase Utley, and Derek Dietrich.

 

Hitters: Speed

 

The speed list has grown recently. Kevin Pillar has returned to the waiver wire. A recent cold snap is to blame. Pillar credits better selectivity with his rebound at the plate. He's already hit more home runs than last season in just half the plate appearances. He's also stolen 10 bases. Pillar has an outside shot at a 20-20 season, albeit with a mediocre average and OBP. He'll see Bibens-Dirkx.

 

Jose Pirela has turned into one of my favorite targets. It should be noted that he's in the midst of an 0-for-15 slump after beginning his Padres tenure on a ludicrous hot streak. Even with the trio of bad games, he's slashing .341/.420/.568 with plenty of hard, line drive contact.

 

Whit Merrifield has emerged as a legitimate leadoff man for the Royals, saving their fanbase from the horrors of Alcides Escobar. Merrifield's success can be pinned upon a halving of his strikeout rate. He's now slashing .288/.330/.455 with six home runs and seven stolen bases.

 

Gerrit Cole is one of the most exploitable pitchers when it comes to targeting steals. Assuming Eric Sogard, Keon Broxton, and Lewis Brinson can reach base, there's a goodly chance they'll run for second. Although Cole has struggled at times this season, he remains a difficult opponent.

 

The aforementioned Mallex Smith is always an elite stolen base pick against virtually any opponent. Treat him as you would Jose Peraza or Jarrod Dyson. Speaking of Dyson, he joins Ben Gamel and Taylor Motter as stolen base threats versus Zimmermann. If Alex Avila is starting at catcher, then only Dyson is likely to test his arm. If James McCann is starting, target any and all Mariners with a hint of speed.

 

Also consider Delino DeShields, Adam Frazier, and Michael Taylor.



Brad Johnson is a baseball writer for Rotoworld, FanGraphs, The Hardball Times, MLBTradeRumors and The Fake Baseball. He can be found on Twitter @BaseballATeam.
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