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.
(If you don’t know what wRC+ is, this is a link to the FanGraphs library definition)
Here are the best streaming options for Monday through Wednesday:
Andrew Cashner vs. Pittsburgh (At Pittsburg)
ESPN Ownership: 11.8%
Opponent’s wRC+: 95 vs. RHPs (17th in MLB)
There was a brief moment of hesitation when it came to the recommendation of Cashner as a stream this week. Cashner, a player who was know for his bat missing abilities and his fastball that can touch triple digits, posted unimpressive K/9s of 5.54 in May, 5.05 in June, 7.58 in July, and 6.53 in August. However, Cashner has struck out seven batters in four of his last five starts, while he has also kept his walk totals to a minimum. Cashner has averaged a 7.9% swinging strike rate over the course of 2013—he posted SwStr% of 10.1% in 2010, 10.2% in 2011, and 11.6% in 2012 during his brief appearances at the major league level, most of which were spent as a reliever—but has posted SwStr% of 9.4%, 10.1%, 14.8%, 11.8%, and 12.4% in his last five starts. Albeit, five starts is a small sample size to judge any pitcher’s improvement, but most pitchers do not have the raw stuff that Cashner possesses. From a look at Cashner’s Pitchf/x numbers from his last five starts, compared to his season totals, it looks like he has relied more heavily on his two seam fastball and slider.
Yusmeiro Petit vs. New York Mets (At New York)
ESPN Ownership: 28.5%
Opponent’s wRC+: 91 vs. RHPs (21st in MLB)
My analysis of Petit has been that of a skeptic until proven otherwise, and my inclusion of Petit as a stream this week must mean that I have finally come around. Pettit’s ERA matches his peripherals in 2013, but what has changed for the 28 year old who has played with four organizations over the course of his eight year career, and never amounted to much until now? For starters, Petit has relied more on his off-speed pitches and deviated away from his reliance on his four-seem fastball—he previously threw his four seem over 50% of the time in years past, and has only thrown it 35.1% this year—and doubled the usage of his curveball—the most he has ever thrown his curveball in a season was 11.3%, and he has thrown it 19.9% of the time this year.
Corey Kluber vs. Kansas City (At Kansas City)
ESPN Ownership: 10.6%
Opponent’s wRC+: 89 vs. RHPs (25th in MLB)
While much has been made of the improvement the Royals have made on offense, in the second half of the season they still rank as the 18th best lineup by wRC+, when they supposedly turned into a different lineup. Over that time they are 28th in baseball in walk percentage (6.9%), and are 16th in OPS.
Jose Quintana vs. Minnesota (In Chicago)
ESPN Ownership: 10.2%
Opponent’s wRC+: 94 vs. LHPs (15th in MLB)
While the White Sox have had a year to forget, one of the only bright spots on their roster has been Jose Quintana. Quintana has put up peripherals to match his ERA, and has increased his K/9 from 5.35 in 2012 to 7.46 in 2013. Chalk that up to an increased usage of his changeup, which has allowed him to neutralize platoon splits against righties, and go from a .336 wOBA against right-handed batters in 2012 to a .296 wOBA in 2013.
Charlie Morton vs. San Diego (In Pittsburgh)
ESPN Ownership: 10.2%
Opponent’s wRC+: 89 vs. RHPs (26th in MLB)
Wednesday is filled with a lot of streams that you look at and you’re not too crazy about. And, while I am not too crazy about Charlie Morton, he did rebound from an injury to his foot, and preformed well in his last start against the Cubs. Combined with a poor offensive performance in 2013, the Padres have also managed to strike out 20.9% of the time against RHPs (8th in MLB) in 2013. The combination of the Padres’ lackluster offense, and Morton’s steady performance this year should combine for a solid Fantasy outing, and be one of the best streaming options.
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.