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Streaming Away

Bauer or Bats

by Brad Johnson
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

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, August 14


A slew of injuries have crippled some fantasy owners for the stretch run. While a few may have the depth to absorb the loss of a Bryce Harper, James Paxton, or Willson Contreras, most will need to desperately scour the waiver wire for a solution. Good news! You're in the right place.


Eleven games are scheduled for Monday with only one looking like a weather risk. Unfortunately, that's the Braves-Rockies matchup at Coors Field. The pool lacks quality pitchers, but there are plenty of bats to employ. And if you happen to need a new catcher, we have some great options from which to choose.


Pitchers to Use


At 49 percent owned, Trevor Bauer isn't actually available to many of you. If he's on your waiver wire, I strongly recommend picking him up, even if you skip a challenging start against the Red Sox. Bauer has pitched well since the end of June – 3.23 ERA, 9.23 K/9, and 3.00 BB/9. His three most recent starts were even better. Reassuringly, he's overcome the home run problems that plagued him earlier in the season. However, let's not forget about whom we're speaking. Trevor Bauer is the epitome of volatility.


Asher Wojciechowski is also very volatile, and he has much less upside than Bauer. The Reds righty is visiting Wrigley Field. He has a strong 9.27 K/9 and 1.81 BB/9, but they're offset by 1.81 HR/9. He's an extreme fly ball pitcher which exacerbates the homeritis. Keep an eye on the prevailing winds tomorrow. He's startable if they're blowing in.


That's it for streamable starters. However, the truly desperate can roll the dice with some of the exploitable arms. Some of them will pitch decently.


Pitchers to Abuse


Opposite Bauer, you'll find Doug Fister. Like his opponent, Fister is on a mini-hot streak. However, it's less clear that any actual improvement or adjustment has occurred. He remains a meltdown risk.


Jerad Eickhoff is having a rough season, mostly because he's posted 3.56 BB/9. In the past, he worked around 2.00 BB/9. Free passes have remained an issue in his most recent outings. He's also struggled to induce soft contact. On the plus side, his luck neutral 4.45 ERA isn't ruinous in the current environment. He's set to face a weak Padres offense. He has a good chance to earn a victory against Travis Wood. Since joining the Friars, Wood has a 6.19 ERA in three starts, although his 10.69 K/9 and 3.94 BB/9 hint at improvement.


Chad Bettis is scheduled to make his season debut. The cancer survivor doesn't induce many strikeouts despite occasionally streamable ability. Personally, I leaned on Bettis for quality starts last August and September – even at Coors Field. However, since it's his first start of the season, I suggest a cautious approach. He'll see the Braves and Julio Teheran. I foresee a terrible outing for Teheran.


Ty Blach is visiting Adam Conley at Derek Jeter's Stadium. Neither pitcher is particularly exciting, although both are good enough to turn in quality starts. Much the same can be said about Jake Junis and Jharel Cotton at the Coliseum. Junis pitched well at Triple-A this season, although his major league numbers leave plenty to be desired. Cotton's command and control has declined in 2017.


Other exploits include Rafael Montero versus an unknown Yankees starter, Nick Tepesch hosting the Rays, Martin Perez against the Tigers, and Yovani Gallardo opposite the Orioles.


Hitters: Power


I promised some quality catcher options to replace Contreras – at least for a day. Let's talk about them. James McCann tops the list if you're looking for a one day solution. He's batting .324/.390/.649 versus left-handed pitchers. Another lefty masher, Cameron Rupp, also has the platoon advantage against a bad southpaw.


For more permanent options, look to Alex Avila or Miguel Montero. It's a good thing the Cubs acquired Avila when they did. Among catchers, he has a top five offensive ceiling. However, I'm not confident he can handle a starting workload. The same is true of Montero, and his bat is much less potent. Even so, he's a solid if unspectacular solution. Last but not least, Tyler Flowers and Kurt Suzuki are visiting Coors Field.


The Phillies continue to have one of the most widely available offenses. They've been a top five unit over the last 40 days. Rhys Hoskins was recently promoted. His Triple-A numbers were superb - .284/.385/.581 with 29 home runs, 13.5 percent walk rate, and 15.8 percent strikeout rate. That's basically vintage Joey Votto. Hoskins does have some red flags including a high infield fly. He's 0-for-12 since joining the majors. Freddy Galvis, Tommy Joseph, and Maikel Franco share a friendly matchup against Wood.


A few Braves are available at Coors Field. We've already touched upon the catchers. Matt Adams is the other obvious addition. If you're scrapping the bottom of the barrel, then Brandon Phillips and Nick Markakis are worth a try too.


Like the Phillies, the Athletics always have a few players to try. Matt Chapman is a powerful rookie. Since late-July, nine of his 14 hits have been for extra bases. He's slashing .298/.393/.574 over the 56 plate appearance sample. Strikeouts remain an issue for him. Old standbys like Jed Lowrie and Matt Joyce are also of interest.


Consider Ryan McMahon if you think he'll start. He's initially expected to serve as a utility fielder. I could see him ousting Mark Reynolds or Carlos Gonzalez if he hits well enough. McMahon slashed .375/.409/.625 at Triple-A.


Other targets include Jose Pirela, Seth Smith, Brandon Moss, Mikie Mahtook, Lucas Duda, Domonic Smith, Amed Rosario, and Mitch Moreland. Whew. That's quite the list.


Hitters: Speed


Mallex Smith is a must-play opposite Tepesch and Montero. Expect all Rays with any speed to run indiscriminately. Smith is the likeliest Ray to take a base. He's probably the likeliest player in all of baseball to swipe more than one base tomorrow.


Bradley Zimmer is a nice alternative to the pure burners like Smith. Zimmer is a five-category contributor, although stolen bases are his best category. That's a rare skill set shared by only a few players in the league – A.J. Pollock and Whit Merrifield come to mind. The Red Sox aren't exactly stolen base prone, but there's always a chance he gets a good jump.


If Raimel Tapia starts, he may take a base. Teheran is one of the most stolen base prone pitchers in the league. However, Tapia starts infrequently.


Other options include Cesar Hernandez and Manuel Margot.

Brad Johnson

You can read more from Brad Johnson on NBC Sports Edge, FanGraphs, and RotoFanatic. Find him on Patreon and Twitter @BaseballATeam.