The first part of Week 2 streamers is here, and shouts to Merrill Kelly for the strong turn. Unfortunately, we lost Pablo Lopez at home against the Orioles…lame! Honestly, I don’t know why I need to link the first article. Those days are gone now. Anyway, moving on.
I’m gonna chill on the crazy streaming criteria right now. I need to figure out something that’s actually doable and spits out names. In general, know that I prefer guys who can generate ground balls and get strikeouts at at least an above-average rate. That’s the goal, along with (hopefully) being in a pitcher-friendly park. Streaming is a dangerous game in general, so I’d really prefer the park environment to work in our favor.
Thursday, July 30
LHP Steven Matz (61% owned) vs. Boston Red Sox
Matz has a career 48.3% ground ball rate, 22.2% strikeout rate, and 7.2% walk rate. His 16.1% HR/FB rate is a little worse than average, but he generates plenty of grounders and the K% and BB% are the definition of average. The Red Sox were a top 10 squad against lefties last year, but Mookie Betts ain’t walking back through that door and the Sox bats have been pretty vanilla to begin the year.
Brady Singer (32% owned) at Detroit Tigers
The 23-year-old right-hander had solid ground ball rates (53.7%, 49.2%) across two minor league levels last year, as well as low walk rates (5.7%, 6.8%). His strikeout rates were right at average (23.3%, 22.1%) and he fared better than average in suppressing homers (3.6% and 13.3% HR/FB rates). In his debut against Cleveland, he featured a slider-heavy approach and kept his changeup on the sidelines. Here’s a great read from Pitcher List on his performance. For giggles, I checked out the two most powerful hitters in this lineup and their performance against sliders. C.J. Cron has a career .256 wOBA, 31.2% strikeout rate, and 70 wRC+ against the pitch. Jonathan Schoop has a career .289 wOBA, 29.5% strikeout rate, and 89 wRC+ on the pitch. Pretty encouraging for one start if Singer can keep his slider magic working.
Overall, the Tigers were the second-weakest team in the league against righty pitching last year, with a .149 ISO (Marlins were at .133). They had the worst K-rate in the league against righties, at 26.6%. They ranked dead last in wOBA (.286) and wRC+ (74). Yes, they’ve added C.J. Cron, Jonathan Scoop, and Cameron Maybin. And yes, they are fourth in the league with 10 homers as a team already. But that comes alongside a crippling .198 batting average, and the worst K-rate in the MLB, at 33.5%. Against right-handers specifically, it’s even worse. Though the Tigers have nine homers in this split already, they also have the worst strikeout rate in the league, at 35.2%. It reads like a nice setup for Singer to keep it going today, even on the road. He’s my preferred guy here, even over the more highly-owned Matz.
Friday July 31
Spencer Turnbull (13% owned) vs. Cincinnati Reds
I don’t love picking against the Reds, but I can’t consider Garrett Richards at Coors Field. I’ve liked Turnbull all offseason, and he pitched five quality innings in his first turn against these same Reds–only that one was at the Great American Ball Park. Now in his home park, I don’t think I can go away from him for Friday’s slate of games. It’s a pretty barren place to find a quality streamer.
I was going to consider the lefty Sean Newcomb against the Mets as another play, but the Mets were a top 10 team in wOBA and wRC+ against lefties last year and they’ve shown well so far this year. That, coupled with Newcomb’s poor command against this same team to begin the year have me far away from the embattled Braves reliever turned starter. If I had to bet, I’d lean more towards Newcomb struggling in this matchup. So it’s Turnbull at home for me, matchup against the Reds be damned.
Overall, this is a day I’d try to skip if I could. Even though I like Turnbull the best, the Reds are essentially a top 5 squad in every offensive mark against righties so far, and it’s possible they remain that way. But I have to make a call, so it’s Turnbull over Richards, and I’m not really considering low-strikeout guys like Brett Anderson or Trevor Williams.
RHP Tony Gonsolin (6% owned) at Arizona Diamondbacks
Gonsolin is kind of the forgotten guy in L.A., what with all the chatter surrounding Ross Stripling and Dustin May. But he gets a spot-start here against one of the coldest teams in the majors, and I think you have to take advantage. Here’s some propaganda:
Saturday, August 1
Jordan Lyles (3% owned) at SFG
The Giants walked it off against the Padres last night, with leadoff man Mike Yastrzemski blasting a pair of homers. In fact, the Giants popped four homers last night, but they have only six total on the young MLB season. Despite last night’s performance, the Giants are still bottom third of the league in wOBA and wRC+ against right-handers. The 24.5% K-rate (18th) is middling, but the 2.8% walk rate is the lowest in the league against righties. The team .124 ISO ranks 22nd. For reference, in 2019 the Giants were a bottom 5 team against righties in ISO, wOBA, and wRC+…and they were bottom third in strikeout rate.
The Rangers skipped Lyles’ first turn in the rotation, opting instead to give Lance Lynn a second start. But they did pay Lyles $16 million this offseason to help give depth to this rotation. Lyles got into the Arizona game on July 28th and fired a pair of scoreless innings, also generating two strikeouts. He’s got a career 48.0% ground ball rate, but last year that dropped to only 40.3%. Not all bad, though, as his 24.4% strikeout rate was the best mark of his career. His 15.5% HR/FB rate was pretty much league average, and his 9.2% walk rate was worse than average. In short, we are streaming so we have to take the bad with the good. But the park is advantageous here, and the lineup isn’t threatening despite last night’s barrage. Lyles is a pretty average pitcher, but this is a pretty prime matchup if you’re streaming.
Sunday, August 2
It’s probably too soon to call this one, as a lot of starters aren’t yet defined. Tyler Mahle at Detroit might be an option, and we’ll have to labor over whether or not to give Dylan Cease (at KC) another shot. Right now, my lean is “no.” Aaron Civale (52% owned) was stellar in his first one against the White Sox, but the matchup on the road to Minnesota is the exact opposite of what we want. Right now the jury’s out, but feel free to circle back around come Saturday…