Last minute streamingby Paul Singman
September 20, 2008
We are finally here. There is only one week left in the regular season. There is a fair chance your fate has already been determined, and by that I mean you don't really have a chance to move up or down in the standings. However there are still some of you that do. Hitting stats are harder to actively acquire—you are basically stuck with the players you have now, although an add like Nelson Cruz, Taylor Teagarden, Ryan Shealy, or Kelly Johnson could make some sense.
For pitching it is a different story. I'm sure everyone is aware of the term "streaming", where you essentially just add a pitcher for his start and consequently drop him. It is a high risk/reward type strategy, but with one week left, what do you got to lose? A lot, actually. If you are currently tied with another team in ERA or WHIP, then streaming is not for you. If you're in the midst of a close wins or strikeout race, then, you really do have nothing to lose. So let's start going over some viable options for you to stream over the last week of competition.
Kevin Millwood vs. A's — Yes, Millwood does have a 5.15 ERA this season and a xFIP that is not much better. But what Millwood can offer are decent strikeout totals and a great start now and then. Facing the A's, this could be one of those starts. He doesn't walk many with a 2.72 BB/9, so you know he's going to challenge the A"s hitters and force them to hit the ball—something they are usually not very good at.
Todd Wellemeyer vs D-backs — I'll admit, Wellemeyer is a bit on the heavily owned side at about 60 percent, but I figured I'd just throw out the name of the Cards pitcher with a 2.67 Aug./Sept. ERA facing a sub-par offensive unit. If he is not owned, make him!
Gil Meche vs Tigers — Obviously this is not the greatest match up in terms of opponent, but Meche (45.2 percent owned) has been great for solid stretch of time now. Since the All-Star break he has 3.12 ERA with 84 strikeouts in 74 innings. Definitely worth a shot.
Freddy Garcia vs. Royals — In his first start of the entire season, Garcia threw five innings without giving up a run; an impressive feat against the potent Rangers offense. In his next scheduled start he will face a less daunting lineup: the Royals'. Garcia has not been good in something like three years and is making his second start since Tommy John surgery, but remember, you have nothing to lose.
Ubaldo Jiminez vs Giants — The Rockies young flamethrower has put together a respectable year in his first full season as a major league starter. If he could just curb his walk totals, I think he would become a slightly-less-than-elite pitcher, although that is a big "if." Jiminez is facing a light-hitting Giants lineup that is second to last in the NL in runs per game at 3.96, so the match up is favorable. The game is not in Colorado, and I originally thought that was a good thing until I checked and found out that Ubaldo's away ERA is 1.83 points higher than his home one. Go figure.
Dave Bush vs Pirates — Bush is one of those pitchers who in the preseason always appears primed for his breakout season... and it never comes. Although he is not having what you would normally call a "breakout season," I'd call his 4.22 ERA satisfying to an extent. With his K/9 rate dropping the way it has (from 7.11 in 2006, to 6.47 in '07, and settling at 5.39 in 2008) he's never going to become the elite pitcher I once thought he could be, but he could still have value in that Paul Byrd type of way. That's for the next few years though. Right now Bush is quietly riding high, having allowed no more than three runs in 10 of his last 12 starts, averaging almost seven innings a start over that span. The Pirates line up is far from it once was, before the midseason trades of Nady and Bay.
Clayton Kershaw vs Padres — I'm positive everyone knows who Kershaw is even though he is only owned in slightly over 50 percent of leagues. He's looked impressive in two of his last three outings, and he's facing the NL worst San Diego lineup. Snatch him up if you can.
Scott Lewis vs. Twins - Lewis, in what will be his fourth career MLB start (he's making his third on Sunday), is a good option going against the Red Sox, regardless of their offensive potency. Lewis has been dominant in the minors since being drafted in the 3rd round of the 2004 draft by the Indians, displaying amazing control. He started 2008 in Double-A where he posted a 2.33 ERA in 73 innings, issuing just nine walks. In 24 innings at Triple-A, Lewis compiled a 2.63 ERA with 21 strikeouts and just four walks. On Sept. 10 Lewis made his first major league start, throwing eight scoreless innings. In is next start, against the Twins, he threw six more scoreless. That makes Lewis perfect in his first 14 career innings pitched, so he certainly has stuff going for him. I'm writing this prior to Sunday so I can't use the information from his third start, but you can. Keep an eye on this guy.
I was planning on listing some good streamers for the weekend, but honestly it is too difficult to predict who will start in games a week away. Too many teams will start messing with their rotations so it is not worth it to try and guess now. If later in the week you would like to see the scheduled pitchers for each team, head on over to this page to get all that info.
Remember before I said everyone should know about streaming ... well that means everyone will be trying to do it. All of the best options could get scooped up if you don't act fast. If you find yourself unable to compete with some ridiculous person in your league who wakes up at 3:15 AM, exactly when the league jumps to the next day, to add the "streambles", then consider on Monday adding pitchers for Wednesday. And then Wednesday for Friday, and Friday for Sunday. Most likely that will not happen and you will just have your pickings, but if it does, consider yourself prepared.
Paul has been managing fantasy baseball teams for many seasons and writing for THT Fantasy over the past three years. He is currently a student at UPenn welcomes readers' thoughts at his email here or in the comments below.
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