Brad Johnson

Streaming Away

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Grab a Scoop of Arcia

Sunday, July 2, 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: Introducing FanDuel Mixup, the newest way to play FanDuel Baseball. Smaller lineups, so you can draft your team on the go, plus fun themes every week! Play now.

 

Monday, July 3

 

We'll have 10 games with which to work on Monday. The forecast calls for clear skies across most of the country.

 

Pitchers to Use

 

Some days just aren't designed for streaming pitchers. Monday is one of those. My best advice is to stash Trevor Cahill for his return from the disabled list on Tuesday or grab a reliever like Keone Kela, Jose Leclerc, or David Hernandez.

 

If you're dead set on using a starter, then Alex Meyer is the “safest” option. I used the quotation marks because, obviously, he's not a safe pick. The hard-throwing righty is having a solid season, mixing two types of 96 mph fastball with a frequently used curve ball. I believe he's a future high quality reliever, but he'll struggle to provide fantasy value as a starter. Real teams need pitchers of Meyer's caliber even if they're usually a headache for fantasy purposes. He's set to oppose a high octane, slumpy Twins offense.

 

Beyond Meyer, you're left with a series of dice rolls. Choose your own adventure when Ian Kennedy visits Andrew Moore at Safeco Field. Moore has solid minor league numbers, including over 8.00 K/9 and below 2.00 BB/9. He's a fly ball pitcher with a big infield fly rate. He could be sneaky decent in the future. In the near term, expect roughly 6.00 K/9, 3.00 BB/9, and a 5.00 ERA while he adapts to the majors. I mention him here because there's also a chance for a quality start.

 

If Moore crumbles, then Kennedy is in a good spot for a quality start. The Mariners offense may be down a Nelson Cruz. Kennedy is homer prone (1.94 HR/9) and he won't continue holding opponents to a .201 BABIP. His 4.72 ERA doesn't look destined to improve.

 

Jharel Cotton thrived in 2016 mostly due to plus command. This year, the command has declined. As a result, he's more frequently falling behind hitters. He's earned his 5.02 ERA. However, this is effectively the same pitcher who posted a 2.15 ERA in a brief sample last year. There's a chance he'll eventually flip the switch. A matchup against the terrible White Sox offense is a good place to start.

 

Pitchers to Abuse

 

As has been the case pretty much every day since April 4, there are plenty of lousy pitchers to target with impunity. Luis Castillo might have appeared in the “to use” section if not for a visit to Coors Field. While I'm not entirely convinced the hard throwing righty is ready for prime time, his mix of 98 mph fastballs, changeups, and sliders lends him some upside. Alas, Coors Field is not the place to jump on the bandwagon.

 

Those of you clamoring to see top Brewers pitching prospects like Josh Hader will have to wait a little longer (technically, you can watch Hader in relief). Paolo Espino will get another look in the rotation. The soft-tossing righty is the definition of a replacement level hurler. Expect a short outing with poor results.

 

Espino is opposed by Wade Miley. He has a volatile matchup against the Brewers. On the one hand, Milwaukee strikes out at a high rate. They also tend to score a lot of runs. Miley has particularly struggled against right-handed hitters this season, allowing a robust .298/.378/.454 batting line.

 

Jeff Locke and the Marlins are visiting Adam Wainwright and the Cardinals. This has the makings of a 10 run game – not that 10 combined runs are an impressive total in today's homer happy environment. Over his career, Locke doesn't have notable platoon splits. However, he's just a hair below a 5.50 ERA since the start of 2016 (157.2 innings). Wainwright is sitting on a 4.80 ERA in the same period (284 innings).

 

For additional exploits, consider Martin Perez hosting the Red Sox or Adalberto Mejia at home against the Angels.

 

Hitters: Power

 

Although the Cardinals very right-handed offense won't benefit from Locke's neutral platoon splits, it's still good that they'll face him. You have a wide range of options on the wire beginning with Tommy Pham. The ground ball hitter has enough power and speed to offer five category value while batting first or second. Randal Grichuk is back too, and he always comes equipped with multi-homer potential. While possessing less upside, Jose Martinez, Paul DeJong, and Luke Voit all have enough power to help fantasy owners. And they're available in nearly all leagues.

 

Most Brewers hitters are over 50 percent owned. At just nine percent owned, Orlando Arcia is the exception, and he's red hot. Since homering on June 16, he batting over .400 with a trio of home runs. Arcia hasn't magically morphed into a star, but he may be figuring a few things out at the plate. His hard hit rate is up as part of the hot streak. He also has a fluky .469 BABIP. Regression need not kick in tomorrow versus Miley. If he does cool off, I blame the ice cream.

 

Across the aisle, Seth Smith will probably lead off against Espino. It's a great opportunity for him to do some damage at Miller Park.

 

With the Red Sox facing a southpaw, it's time to dust off Chris Young. He's an old standby for waiver wire streaming. This year, he actually has reverse platoon splits. Don't worry about the 58 plate appearance sample against lefties. He'll return to his mashing ways. Look for Sam Travis too.

 

A couple Rangers may be of interest versus a scuffling Rick Porcello – namely Carlos Gomez and Shin-Soo Choo. They offer a mix of power and speed.

 

You could also try a share of Max Kepler or Robbie Grossman against Meyer. Scooter Gennett at Coors Field and Jed Lowrie versus Carlos Rodon round out the best power threats.

 

Hitters: Speed

 

Jarrod Dyson may be a tad more restrained than usual. His matchup versus Ian Kennedy is great for his odds to reach base, but Salvador Perez is one of the best at gunning down base thieves. Speaking of shutting down the running game, Whit Merrifield would be a steal threat too if not for the presence of Mike Zunino.

 

With Rodon on the bump for Chicago, it's a Rajai Davis day. Davis continues to perform better versus left-handed pitchers, and he's never hesitated to steal against any opponent. Kevan Smith is one of the worst in the league at catching runners. If he starts, look for Davis to get aggressive.

 

Raimel Tapia's starts aren't easily predicted, but he plays more often than he sits. The young speedster may not feel confident running against Castillo and his 98 mph fastball. It just depends how slow he is to the plate.

 

Eric Young Jr. is having a career season, albeit with very few signs of actual improvement. The switch-hitter will certainly start against Mejia, and he may even swipe a bag.

 

Adam Engel is available in nearly all formats. He's even hitting for a touch of power. The righty strikes out too often for his profile, but there's nobody to challenge him for playing time. This year, he's only stolen eight bases in 255 combined plate appearances (Triple-A and majors). In 2016, he swiped 45 in 582 combined plate appearances (Single, Double, and Triple-A).  



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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