Fantasy Baseball: 5 Streaming Options for Week 2
If you are unaware with the term "streaming" when it comes to fantasy sports, the idea is to rotate players at a position based on who has the best matchup for that particular game, to give yourself an edge over your opponent. For example, in fantasy football, it is most common to stream defenses, but some also choose to stream quarterbacks due to the depth of the position.
When it comes to fantasy baseball, some stream hitters, but streaming starting pitchers is a much more common practice. Depending on what type of league you are in, you may be able to stream a different pitcher each day, or you may just be able to stream a pitcher for the entire week, in which case finding two-start pitchers is essential.
It's very important when considering streaming that you understand your league rules. Does it allow weekly lineup changes, or daily? Is there a weekly or season-long acquisition limit? These factors must all be taken into consideration if you choose to stream pitchers.
The purpose of this article will be to bring you the five best streaming options for each week that are under 50 percent owned in ESPN fantasy baseball leagues. Often times, they'll be two-start pitchers, but sometimes it will just be a pitcher in an exceptional spot that particular week.
Let's get started!
Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies, 47.5 percent owned
Monday 4/11 against San Diego
Saturday 4/16 against Washington
Aaron Nola turned in an impressive debut, going seven strong innings against Cincinnati last Wednesday, which is never an easy task at Great American Ballpark. He allowed one run on four hits, while striking out eight and walking none. The youngster showcased his pinpoint control, by throwing 73 of his 95 pitches for strikes.
Nola draws two starts this week, with the first coming against a light-hitting Padres team that ranked 28th in wOBA against righties last year, while posting the fifth highest strikeout rate and fifth lowest walk rate agianst righties. His second start will come against Washington, who was middle of the pack against righties, ranking 18th in wOBA, but posted the third highest strikeout rate against right-handed pitching.
Nola is an exciting young prospect that should be owned in all but the shallowest of leagues going forward, so if you are in one of the 52.5 percent of leagues in which he is still available, stop reading and pick him up now! The fact that he's an excellent streaming option this week is just a bonus.
Joe Ross, Washington Nationals, 46.9 percent owned
Friday 4/15 at Philadelphia
Joe Ross' debut was pushed back to Sunday due to inclement weather, but it was worth the wait. He limited the Marlins to one run on five hits and two walks, while collecting five strikeouts in seven innings and picking up the win.
His next chance to shine will come Friday against Philadelphia, who is even more inept against right-handed pitching that Miami. The Phillies posted a league-worst wOBA and wRC+ against righties last year, along with the third lowest hard hit rate against righties.
Ross should be able to continue to build off of his impressive numbers from his rookie campaign (3.64 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 22 percent strikeout rate, 6.7 percent walk rate) in this matchup, and should be owned in a lot more than the 46.9 percent of leagues he is currently owned in. Add him to your roster while you still have the chance!
Vince Velasquez, Philadelphia Phillies, 30.6 percent owned
Thursday 4/14 against San Diego
Vincent Velasquez displayed the potential that has had baseball pundits talking about him all off-season, picking up the win in his first start against a tough Mets lineup. Velasquez pitched six shutout innings, allowing three hits and three walks, while racking up nine punchouts. He was able to stay ahead of batters by posting a 70.8 percent first-pitch strike rate, and kept them off guard by mixing in his power curve and changeup liberally with his 94 mile per hour rising fastball. He kept the Mets guessing all day long, which is evidenced by the anemic 8.3 percent hard hit rate they managed against him.
His next start comes against San Diego, who is not nearly as intimidating of a matchup. As mentioned previously with Nola, the Padres ranked 28th in wOBA against righties last year, while posting the fifth highest strikeout rate and fifth lowest walk rate agianst righties.
Velasquez should have no problem with this matchup, and he is someone that should be owned in more than the 30.6 percent he's in, regardless of his attractive matchup this week. The kid has impressive stuff, and is eligible at relief pitcher, which is an added bonus if you're playing in head to head points leagues. Scoop him up now, before your opponent does!
Andrew Cashner, San Diego Padres, 14.4 percent owned
Monday 4/11 at Philadelphia
Sunday 4/17 against Arizona
Andrew Cashner predictably struggled against a lefty-heavy Dodgers lineup that posted the fourth highest wRC+ against right-handed pitching last season in his debut, but he is a two start pitcher this week, and should fare much better in these two games.
His first start will be against the Phillies, who ranked dead last in wOBA and wRC+ against righties last year, while also posting the tenth highest strikeout rate and third lowest walk rate against righties. Next, Cashner will take on the Diamondbacks at Petco Park.
Cashner posted a 2.98 xFIP with a 25.3 strikeout rate and 6.1 walk rate at home last year, as opposed to a 4.55 xFIP, 16.7 strikeout rate, and 9.9 walk rate outside of Petco. He was especially dominant against righties at Petco, putting up a 2.28 xFIP, which is good news considering Arizona's regular starting lineup includes six righties.
Arizona had the ninth highest wOBA against righties last year, but a lot of that is due to playing half of their games at Chase Field, which was home to the fifth highest park factor last year. Their wRC+ against righties, which neautralizes park factor, was just 20th. Cashner makes for a very strong two-start option this week, and is likely available in your league.
Hector Santiago, Los Angeles Angels, 10.7 percent owned
Tuesday 4/12 at Oakland
Hector Santiago is the weakest of the five options, but is worth a look for those in leagues in which you can stream each day. In his first start of the season, he gave up just two runs on four hits and two walks, while picking up seven strikeouts in six innings against a decent Rangers lineup.
This week, he'll draw one matchup against Oakland, who ranked 17th in wOBA against lefties last year. Santiago has done well in this matchup historically, posting a 2.67 ERA and 8.56 strikeouts per nine innings in eight games against Oakland over the past two seasons.
Hopefully he's not someone you have to rely on in weekly formats, but he is an appealing option as a spot-starter on Tuesday in daily formats.