Brad Johnson

Streaming Away

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The Lone Base Thief

Sunday, September 10, 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: Win a FREE trip to the World Series plus cash prizes!

 

Monday, September 11

 

There are eight games to sort through this Monday. Do note, the Yankees-Rays series has been moved to Citi Field due to the hurricane. All eight games should be dry.

 

Pitchers to Use

 

Five pitchers pass a smell test as streamable assets, but only one of them appears to have high upside. Brandon Woodruff is hosting the middling Pirates lineup at homer happy Miller Park. Woodruff has thrived through four starts, although he's benefited from some good fortune. He's posted a 1.52 ERA, 7.61 K/9, and 3.42 BB/9 in 23.2 innings. ERA estimators are less enthused with his work – 3.40 FIP and 4.44 xFIP. In the minors, Woodruff has a long history of avoiding line drives. So far, that trait has carried over to the majors. He's also induced a healthy 51.6 percent ground ball rate.

 

CC Sabathia is set to face a heavily left-handed Rays offense. Although Sabathia doesn't have big platoon splits, he's certainly stingier against fellow lefties. The big southpaw is having a quietly effective season. He's posted a 3.91 ERA, 7.03 K/9, 3.27 BB/9, and a 50.9 percent ground ball rate. He's shown a penchant for avoiding hard contact too. The Rays are 13 percent below league average against left-handed pitching.

 

Ariel Miranda also draws a lefty-prone opponent. The Rangers are six percent below league average against southpaws. Miranda is a fly ball pitcher with a home run problem (2.01 HR/9), making him considerably riskier than Sabathia. The Rangers will be without one of their lefty mashers tomorrow – Carlos Gomez sprained an ankle.

 

Reynaldo Lopez is visiting Jason Hammel for a matchup of two low-scoring offenses at a pitcher friendly park. Lopez, a hard throwing righty, probably needs an extended opportunity to adjust to the majors. His fastball can flatten out at times. He likely needs to learn how to work in the upper quadrants of the strike zone. He throws a curve and changeup. Both pitches flash plus potential. Hammel has quietly turned in a useful season for the Royals by throwing a lot of innings. His fantasy owners probably aren't enthused by his 4.73 ERA, 6.96 K/9, and 1.34 WHIP. The White Sox offense is dreadful against right-handed pitching.

 

Pitchers to Abuse

 

Steven Brault has some long term potential, but I'm not holding out hope for him tomorrow. He's visiting the Brewers at Miller Park. The Milwaukee offense has several prominent lefty mashers. They always make for a volatile opponent due to their high strikeout and home run rates. Brault relies too heavily on his 91 mph fastball and sinker. His rarely used offspeed stuff hasn't performed well either.

 

There were times this season when I hoped Matt Boyd was turning a corner. Alas, he remains far too hittable. He's allowed a .354 BABIP due to an elevated line drive and hard contact rate. Boyd went into the season trying to induce more ground balls. Instead, he's shifted fly balls to line drives – hardly an ideal outcome. The Indians should enjoy this matchup.

 

Other exploitable pitchers include Chris Stratton hosting a slumpy Dodgers offense and Ubaldo Jimenez opposite the Blue Jays.

 

Hitters: Power

 

Austin Jackson has been batting second for the Indians when they face left-handed pitchers. He's having a superb season with the platoon advantage, batting .339/.419/.578 with four home runs in 124 plate appearances. While he shouldn't be treated as a big home run threat, he has enough potential to try him for a day. You should be happy with the average and run production too. Third baseman Yandy Diaz is also of interest versus Boyd. Diaz hits too many hard ground balls to be a regular fantasy asset. Catcher Yan Gomes is batting .255/.348/.510 with seven home runs in 113 plate appearances versus lefties.

 

The Orioles are getting a look at their future this September. They summoned top minor leaguer Austin Hays directly from Double-A. The 2016 third-round pick popped 32 home runs combined in High- and Double-A. Hays has the potential to deliver a September similar to 2016 Hunter Renfroe. Beware of strikeouts. Although Hays avoided punchouts in the minors, he always carried high swinging strike rates. Hays and Seth Smith are set to face Marco Estrada.

 

Keon Broxton and Hernan Perez will have the platoon advantage against Brault. Perez in particular is thriving versus southpaws this year - .344/.371/.505. He also usually bats leadoff. Broxton tends to bat seventh. He'll always post a low average, but he's already popped 20 home runs with 19 steals.

 

With Carlos Gomez and Adrian Beltre sidelined, Drew Robinson is likely to take on a larger role in the Rangers offense. The utility man profiles as a Mike Cameron-like hitter. He has slightly above average power and speed to go with quality plate discipline. Since he's a high whiff hitter who works deep counts, he'll always suffer from a high strikeout rate. He'll have the platoon advantage against Miranda.

 

Other potential home run threats include Joc Pederson, Steve Pearce, and Kevin Pillar.

 

Hitters: Speed

 

The speed category can be reduced to one lonely name – Delino DeShields. The Rangers leadoff man will play every day while Gomez is on the shelf. He's particularly adept at reaching base versus southpaws (.368 OBP). He'll run against lefties too. DeShields is a ground ball hitter. Miranda is a fly ball pitcher. That means DeShields is more likely to produce hard contact tomorrow.



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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