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Streaming Away

Spam For Pham

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.

 

Monday, June 5

 

We have seven games on the docket for Meager Monday and two of them come fully equipped with thunderstorm risks. Watch out in Cincinnati and Atlanta.

 

Pitchers to Use

 

Even though over half the league is off tomorrow, you can still trawl the wire for spot starts. Three names rise to the surface, although none of them can be described as “safe.”

 

Hyun-Jin Ryu is available to most owners. He's just nine percent owned on Yahoo. Ryu is tasked with out-pitching Tanner Roark and the potent Nationals lineup. In many ways, the southpaw mostly looks like his old self. Despite missing all of 2015 and most of 2016, he's posted a 3.91 ERA with 8.22 K/9 and 3.33 BB/9. The command used to be a full grade better. I have to imagine he's still shaking off some rust. If the command returns, we could see his career worst home run rate decline sharply. Don't plan to hold onto Ryu, he'll probably head to the bullpen for a spell when Alex Wood returns from his shoulder injury.

 

Dan Straily is worth rostering on a permanent basis even if tomorrow's outing is extremely risky. He's visiting Wrigley Field. While I fully recommend picking him up, check the wind patterns before putting him in your lineup. Straily is a fly ball pitcher which is no bueno when the wind is blowing out in Chicago. If there's very little wind or it's blowing in, go ahead and roll the dice. Straily has a 3.56 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, and 9.49 K/9 this season. It all passes a smell test too. He's not immune to meltdown outings.

 

Junior Guerra is the name that will attract the most attention from would-be streamers. He also has the friendliest matchup of the bunch versus a battered Giants lineup at Miller Park. Guerra's 1.84 ERA will draw comment, but it's worth noting his .158 BABIP. His velocity is down two mph. I expect a 4.00 ERA going forward with roughly 7.50 K/9. That's perfectly playable as a waiver wire streamer, especially in a favorable matchup. Unfortunately, facing Jeff Samardzija isn't very favorable.

 

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Pitchers to Abuse

 

Rather than spill a few hundred words about Bartolo Colon, Mike Fiers, and Ian Kennedy, I'll just note that none of the three vets are pitching well. I'd take a flier on Kennedy if he weren't facing the Astros. I almost thought about trying Fiers versus the Royals, but he's pitched way too poorly. Colon is similarly cold despite a solid matchup against the Phillies.

 

Eddie Butler's miracle run ended in San Diego last week. He was battered for six runs in 4.1 innings. I've kept saying it was going to happen. Ironically, it was only the second time he struck out more than he walked in four starts. If the Padres can beat you up, so to can the Marlins.

 

Asher Wojciechowski is an extreme fly ball pitcher. Any ground ball oriented Cardinal is a must-play. Go ahead and use fly ball hitters too. The Red Birds are probably going to crack into the Cincinnati bullpen around the fourth or fifth inning. Great American Ballpark is exactly the wrong venue for a pitcher like Wojciechowski.

 

In a purely statistical sense, Phillies starter Nick Pivetta reminds me of Jose Berrios. Pivetta dominated Triple-A hitters through five starts, posting 10.41 K/9 and 0.56 BB/9. In the majors, he's kept the whiffs (9.78 K/9). Unfortunately, a 4.19 BB/9, .389 BABIP, and 2.33 HR/9 speak of minus command. His velocity and offspeed stuff is capable of overwhelming minor leaguers. He needs to discover command to complement his control. The Braves should enjoy this matchup.

 

Hitters: Power

 

Yesterday, three streamable hitters bashed grand slams – Mike Zunino, Matt Adams, and Chris Taylor. There's always plenty of power on the waiver wire. Adams is once again among the top options. Since joining the Braves on May 21, he's slashing .255/.283/.588 with four home runs, three doubles, and a triple in 53 plate appearances. He remains impatient and strikeout prone – a poor set of traits versus Pivetta.

 

Tommy Pham has the best matchup of any player on the waiver wire. Shockingly, he's only nine percent owned too. Pham is hammering the ball. His tendency to produce optimal launch angles is perfect for facing Wojciechowski and the Reds bullpen. Multiple home runs are possible. Paul DeJong is available in 99 percent of leagues. As a fly ball hitter, he'll probably pop out versus Wojciechowski. However, he's likely to see the soft underbelly of the Reds' bullpen.

 

George Springer is 98 percent owned. Domingo Santana is 45 percent owned. Otherwise, they're very similar hitters. Springer's stat line – especially the run production – benefits from his surrounding cast and leadoff role. Santana has only recently played himself into the two-hole. As long as nothing changes in his profile, he's a slightly poorer man's Springer. He should be rostered in 90 to 95 percent of leagues. Santana faces Samardzija tomorrow. It's not ideal, but you don't have much time left to grab him.

 

Jed Lowrie is still floating around in 81 percent of leagues. He has a valuable role in the Athletics lineup, and he's adopted the popular power approach. Lowrie has buffed his fly ball and hard contact rates while maintaining a high average and OBP. He does everything except steal bases. He'll see southpaw J.A. Happ.

 

Howie Kendrick isn't actually a power threat, but he does bat third for the Phillies. Of course, I'm much more interested in cleanup man Tommy Joseph. They'll see Colon.

 

Royals outfielder Jorge Bonifacio deserves a mention. He's locked in at the plate, slashing .288/.341/.508 with seven home runs in 129 plate appearances. Bonifacio struggles to make contact, but he punishes the ball when he does connect. His current 31.8 percent line drive rate is simply unsustainable. It will be interesting to see if those turn into flies or grounders. History says he'll morph back into a middling-powered fly ball hitter.

 

Iffier home run threats include Brandon Moss, Ian Happ, Derek Dietrich, Josh Reddick, and Austin Slater. Should you want to plug and play a catcher, Tyler Flowers and Josh Phegley are your top options.

 

Hitters: Speed

 

Those targeting steals on the waiver wire have one big target – Rajai Davis versus Happ. Davis usually bats leadoff against southpaws, and he has strong career numbers versus opposite-handed foes. While lefties can hold base runners better than righties, Davis has shown no platoon splits on the bases. He's an equal opportunity thief.

 

Alcides Escobar may be your next best pick for swipes. He's opposed by a very hittable Mike Fiers. Escobar undeservedly bats leadoff for the Royals. Notably, he's yet to steal a base this season. He's batting .183/.207/.231. Not the best recommendation, huh?

 

Players like Hernan Perez, Brandon Phillips, Michael Taylor, and Freddy Galvis are much more likely to hit than Escobar. However, they aren't stealing very often.  

Brad Johnson

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