by Ken Balderston
Streaming pitchers off the waiver wire can be a very effective way to add innings to your staff. Maybe you missed out on some of your end game pitchers, have run into a string of injuries to your staff or just want to take advantage of some matchups. Here’s a look at some options owned in less than 50% of CBS leagues to help you gain an advantage for the coming week
No A grade starts this week. It’s difficult to give such a high grade early in the season as we don’t know fully what to expect from opposing offenses.
Jamie Garcia – Blue Jays (vs. White Sox, 11% owned)
Many owners have been weary to draft Garcia this year, questioning how he’ll fair in the offensive powerhouse AL East. This assignment is against the White Sox, who have some sock but also some holes in their lineup. Early in the year you’re 99.9% guaranteed the Rogers Centre roof will be closed and the ball historically does not fly out at the same rate as when it’s open (Garcia has a career 1.91 GO/AO, 0.83 HR/9). He will look to build on a strong spring (2.63 ERA 0.88 WHIP) and owners can look to capitalize on a start that doesn’t appear to have a high ‘blowup’ risk.
Bryan Mitchell – Padres (vs. Rockies, 11% owned)
Mitchell is moving from an extreme hitter’s park (Yankee Stadium) to possibly the best pitchers park in baseball (Petco Park). This week he’ll be facing off against an offense that was in the bottom 25% of the league in road OPS in 2017 at .703, and you’d expect them to struggle in Petco. Mitchell is a former reliever and does not have a history of pitching deep into games in the minors, but this is a matchup that should be considered.
Kendal Graveman – Athletics (vs. Rangers, 39% owned)
Much better at home (3.57 ERA) than on the road (4.43) in 2017, Graveman will be facing a team that was not very effective on the road (.694 road OPS in 2017, 26th in MLB) in 2017. While he is not a strikeout pitcher (career 5.63 K/9), the Rangers led MLB last season with 797 road strikeouts and were 4th in overall strikeouts. Graveman might have been given a higher grade for this matchup, but as a sinkerball pitcher the Rangers have two hitters who are pretty good against his favorite pitch (Adrian Beltre .588 wOBA & Rougned Odor 0.548 wOBA against the sinker in 2017). There are no guarantees, but if you’re willing to accept some risk Graveman could deliver a productive start.
Jake Junis – Royals (at Tigers, 32% owned)
Another pitcher hoping to carry a solid spring (1.88 ERA) into the regular season facing off against a team that’s not expected to be very good. The problem here is the Royals are also not expected to be very good themselves, and Junis will be starting on the road where history shows it’s harder to win a ball game. Owners would be assuming the risk him being blown up by a lineup that can still put up some runs, and the chances of putting up a remarkable start seem to be quite low. The risk just doesn’t justify the perceived reward. Stream only if you’re the riverboat gambler type.
Jordan Zimmermann – Tigers (vs. Royals, 22% owned)
Zimmermann put up a respectable start to open the year, 6 IP, 4 ER, 8 K and a 1.17 WHIP against the Pirates, so owners might feel like rolling the dice against an offense that lost Eric Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain over the offseason and is missing Salvador Perez. Let’s not forget however the Royals did add Lucas Duda (30 HR in 2017) and brought back Mike Moustakas, who some thought had played his last game in Kansas City. Even at home I’ll need to see Zimmermann put up several more respectful starts before being able to recommend him to be streamed. He’s proven over the past 2 years to be unusable, and we’ll need to see a larger sample size of success before trusting him.
Sources – Fangraphs, MLB.com, CBSsports.com, baseballsavant.mlb.com
Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Preseason Rankings:
|Starting Pitchers||1-20: 03/24/18|