The early picks for this week have delivered in a massive way. We’ve had great efforts from Alec Mills, Cristian Javier, and Randy Dobnak. Adam Wainwright was in consideration, but was lost to us due to a cancellation.
Speaking of cancellations and age of 2020 postponements, make sure to follow along on Twitter at @roto_ranks for any daily changes. That’s where I had to pivot from my Wednesday pick (Javier) because he pitched on Tuesday–and gave you some Dobnak propaganda:
I’m starting to think streaming is more viable than ever this year, given that hitters seem to be behind pitchers so far due to the COVID-19 layoff. Peep this:
Consequently, picking good matchups in good parks has so far felt like low-hanging fruit. Maybe that’s arrogant and my “fall” is coming, but hitters being behind pitchers right now probably plays a part–and I just thought it was worth noting, anyway.
That said, picking a streaming for today was tough, given that two games in pitcher-friendly parks (with mostly bad offenses) are not at our disposal due to cancellations. So get ready to get crazy…
Thursday, August 6
LHP Wade LeBlanc (3% owned) at Miami Marlins
Look, I know it’s not “sexy.” But LeBlanc has less blow-up potential than Touki Toussaint (in my humble, Braves fan opinion) and he’s likely stretched out more than his opposing pitcher, Jordan Yamamoto–who is making his 2020 debut. I think if you’re looking for a guy who can go five innings and potentially snag a win today, LeBlanc is your guy.
Through two starts he’s allowing the least amount of contact (73.4%) of his career, and that coincides with a career-high swinging strike rate (10.7%). The current MLB average is 11.4%, so I’m not suggesting he’s suddenly morphed into Randy Johnson. I’m just trying to find anything different and tangible to lean on. Problem is the small sample size, of course. For instance, decreased fastball usage and increased curveball usage could be a matchup thing or a “feel” thing this early. Or it could be something that lasts moving forward, given LeBlanc’s 86 MPH average on the heater.
At any rate, so far in 2020 LeBlanc is inducing weak contact, ranking inside the top 10% of the league with a .218 xWOBA and .248 XWOBACON. There just simply aren’t tons of options at our disposal under the 50% owned threshold today. So LeBlanc it is.
The Marlins had a league-worst .136 ISO against southpaws in 2019, as well as a .289 wOBA (29th) and 79 wRC+. Essentially, they were a frazz better than the Pirates were, which isn’t saying much. I can’t imagine that this year’s Marlins squad will fare much better, not with luminaries such as Logan Forsythe, Lewis Brinson, and Monte Harrison featuring in the lineup. And look, I like Francisco Cervelli in real life as much as the next guy, but this just isn’t a threatening lineup.
Mostly we are here because I can’t bring myself to start Touki Toussaint versus Toronto. Yes, the stuff is attractive. But I’ve been burned too many times.
You’re welcome for any Marlins stacks going off today. I’ll take all the credit if this goes poorly. But I made the call so I’ll stick by it–who is dying to start a 35-year-old journeyman pitcher who throws 86 MPH?!?