Brad Johnson

Streaming Away

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Merrifield For Steals

Sunday, July 16, 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 17

 

Welcome back to the struggle and grind of the MLB fantasy season. How did you enjoy your break? We have 13 games on the agenda tomorrow, leaving us with nearly a full slate of action. Weather could interfere in Cincinnati and Atlanta.

 

Pitchers to Use

 

The pitcher pool is extremely thin this Monday. While you could give some consideration to Josh Tomlin visiting AT&T Park or German Marquez hosting the Padres at Coors Field, I prefer targeting hitters in those matchups.

 

Eduardo Rodriguez's return from the disabled list is obviously the top pick. Unfortunately, he's already exactly 50 percent owned. By the time you read this, he'll probably be over the 50 percent threshold. E-Rod was in the midst of a breakout season before knee subluxation sidelined him. He's made a speedy return. If you don't necessarily need the innings, consider stashing him for his first start back. The Red Sox are hosting the Blue Jays. Rodriguez should be owned in nearly all formats.

 

By comparison, Brent Suter is high risk, low reward. The soft tossing southpaw is visiting the Pirates at PNC Park. The Pittsburgh offense is decent but unimpressive. Suter's combination of command and control could lead to plenty of soft contact. Don't expect him to maintain his 8.23 K/9 or 2.96 ERA. He simply doesn't have the required stuff. The upside is something like a better, left-handed version of Tomlin.

 

Pitchers to Abuse

 

With so few usable pitchers, it follows that there are plenty of exploitable arms. In addition to Tomlin and Marquez, Ariel Miranda is probably the closest to startable. However, I'd steer well clear of his outing against the Astros. Miranda has had some success inducing soft contact this season, although I'm not yet convinced it's a repeatable skill.

 

Chris Tillman can't do anything right this season. He's coughing up all kinds of hits and home runs due to a dramatic loss of command. He's opposed by Andrew Cashner and the Rangers. Interestingly, Cashner has pitched almost as poorly as Tillman, except he's managed a ridiculously lucky 3.54 ERA. This should be a high scoring game.

 

You know it's a weird season when a guy like Chad Kuhl is a league average starting pitcher. He has a 4.90 ERA to go with decent command and control. If he can sequence a little better, he may grow into a streamable fantasy asset. The Brewers make for a volatile matchup, offering plenty of risk and reward.

 

Adam Wainwright has solid peripherals mixed with a far-too-hittable fastball. He's struggled to hold base runners. A hot streak is possible. The Mets have a deep lineup. He's opposed by Zack Wheeler. He has similar peripherals to Wainwright except with shakier command.

 

Other exploitable pitchers include Tom Koehler hosting Jerad Eickhoff, Adalberto Mejia versus the Yankees, Jordan Zimmermann opposite the Royals, Luis Perdomo at Coors Field, Odorizzi visiting Daniel Gossett, and Tomlin at Matt Moore. As I said, it's a rough pool for arms.

 

Hitters: Power

 

Catcher tends to be the one position everybody fails to max out. Streaming catchers can help. James McCann is poised to start against southpaw Jason Vargas. McCann is having another ridiculous season versus lefties with a .265/.357/.694 triple slash. Vargas can be tough on right-handed hitters due to his plus changeup.

 

Bruce Maxwell has emerged as the Athletics starting catcher versus right-handed pitching. He'll face homer prone Jake Odorizzi. Maxwell is having a solid season with a .294/.400/.397 line in 80 plate appearances. The walk rate will decline. Other Athletics to consider include Yonder Alonso (56 percent owned), Matt Joyce, Jed Lowrie, Matt Chapman, and Marcus Semien.

 

Lucas Duda is a fastball hound, and he'll have a chance to hammer a few versus Wainwright. Speaking of hammers, Duda struggles against breaking balls. Expect Waino to feed him a steady diet of curve balls.

 

Koehler has an 8.00 ERA in 10 starts, although he does have a decent history when pitching at home. Whether or not you believe the solid-at-home narrative, it's worth grabbing a couple Phillies versus this homer prone righty. Nick Williams, Odubel Herrera, Freddy Galvis, Tommy Joseph, and Daniel Nava give you a wide range of options.

 

The Cardinals continue to offer a slew of streamable hitters. Luke Voit is the latest guy to jump to the fore. He's taking most of the starts at first base, although Kolten Wong's return will eat into his playing time by forcing Matt Carpenter back to first. Tommy Pham and Paul DeJong are also on the wire.

 

If you're targeting Tillman, then Carlos Gomez and Shin-Soo Choo are your guys. Seth Smith is on the opposite end of the matchup. Jose Pirela has been batting cleanup for the Padres. A visit to Coors Field is attractive.

 

Other power bats include Steve Pearce and Mitch Moreland.

 

Hitters: Speed

 

Whit Merrifield is my top target for steals this Monday. He's facing Zimmermann with James McCann scheduled to catch. McCann is one of the most stolen base prone catchers in the league. While Merrifield isn't a Billy Hamilton, he's on pace for roughly 25 steals.

 

It's always a good day to own Mallex Smith – at least so long as you only need steals and runs. He's basically a young Jarrod Dyson. Smith has a decent matchup versus Gossett and Maxwell.

 

Over the last 30 days, Denard Span is slashing .320/.371/.515 with four steals. Prior to the hot streak, he had zero steals. It's good to see him feeling frisky.

 

Manuel Margot may enjoy playing at Coors Field where the spacious outfield will give him more room to lob a single or three. Once on base, he could try to prey upon Tom Murphy.

 

Also consider Delino DeShields if you think he'll start versus Tillman. Gomez and Choo have speed as well.



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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