Best Streaming Options: Thin Pickings in the Championship Round
If you read any of the other articles in the streaming series, you can skip the first section of this post and start to read where I go over the best streaming options.
From now till the end of the season, I will go over the best streaming options available for the upcoming week; Monday’s post will have the best options for Monday through Wednesday, and Thursday’s post will have the best options for Thursday through Sunday.
To make your options realistic and reach a wider range of players, we will keep the pool of players eligible to be streamed to those pitchers that are owned in 50% or less of ESPN leagues.
Here are the best streaming options for Thursday through Sunday:
Michael Wacha vs. Colorado (At Colorado) IF YOU ARE DESPERATE
ESPN Ownership: 44.5%
Opponent’s wRC+: 91 vs. RHPs (21st in MLB)
Thursday is a day where there is little to be said when it comes to streaming options. Michael Wacha versus the Rockies, who walk 6.9% of the time against RHPs (27th in MLB), and have an 85 wRC+ in the second half of the season against all pitchers (26th in baseball), would be a good matchup in 29 other MLB ballparks, but not in Coors Field. Rarely do you find a stream that is so good that Coors Field’s zany park factors do not come into play, and this situation is no different; start Wacha if you are desperate for a start.
Zach McAllister vs. Houston (In Cleveland) IF YOU ARE DESPERATE
ESPN Ownership: 7.2%
Opponent’s wRC+: 86 vs. RHPs (28th in MLB)
In 2012, McAllister finished the season with a 4.11 xFIP, and gave up 1.36 HR/9. This year McAllister has reduced his HR/9 to .86, but his xFIP has risen to 4.53. Why you may ask? McAllister has received some luck from batted balls this year with a 7.4% HR/FB rate, while he was unlucky in 2012 with a 12.1% HR/FB rate. This year may be an over regression to the mean, or it could have something to do with McAllister’s increased usage of his two-seam fastball (22.6% in 2013, compared with 11.6% in 2012). The truth is probably somewhere in between, but the start against the Astros is good enough for me to recommend McAllister “if you are desperate.”
Dillon Gee vs. Philadelphia (At Philadelphia)
ESPN Ownership: 26.9%
Opponent’s wRC+: 92 vs. RHPs (19th in MLB)
As little as the Rockies take free passes, the Phillies are worse, and only walk in 6.7% of their plate appearances: 29th in MLB. And while strikeouts do not matter when it comes to winning baseball games, they do matter when it comes to selecting streaming options; the Phillies are 11th in the MLB with a 19.8% strikeout percentage against RHPs.
Corey Kluber vs. Houston (In Cleveland)
ESPN Ownership: 10.6%
Opponent’s wRC+: 86 vs. RHPs (30th in MLB)
Kluber struggled with long balls in 2012, and gave up 1.29 HR/9, but has managed to suppress homeruns this year and decrease his HR/9 to .86. As with Zach McAllister, this improvement against home runs is either a regression to the mean, a result of Kluber’s inclusion of a sinker as a prominent pitch into his repertoire, or a combination of both.
Sonny Gray vs. Minnesota (In Oakland)
ESPN Ownership: 49.9% (Still Counts)
Opponent’s wRC+: 91 vs. RHPs (22nd MLB)
Enough said. Gray versus the Twins is a slam-dunk stream, and it is a shame that Gray is still not owned in over fifty percent of leagues. Gray has thrown 48.1% of his pitches in the strike zone, which ranks as 20th in MLB, and has managed to amass a 9.33 K/9 to go along with that great control.
Devon Jordan is obsessed with statistical analysis, non-fiction literature, and electronic music. If you enjoyed reading about pitcher value in Fantasy Baseball, follow him on Twitter @devinjjordan.