This is the first article in what will be a weekly two-part series highlighting some of the best starting pitcher streamers for the week. Part 1 each week will focus on Monday to Wednesday games. Part 2 (to be published Thursday) will focus on Thursday to Sunday games.
From late January to early March this year, Arthur Chu dominated everyone's favorite quiz show Jeopardy! with an aggressive play style and unforgiving wagers. It wasn't long before he was at the epicenter of criticism from fans who thought his play unsportsmanlike and was dubbed the "Jeopardy! Villain." Chu knew that he didn't have to be liked to win so he embraced his nickname. When his 11-game winning streak ended, he walked away with nearly $300,000 and finished third on the all-time winnings list. By bulking up your offensive lineup and stacking relief pitchers, you can be aggressive in employing the streamers strategy on a day-to-day basis and "Chu" the competition in your league. Just don't expect to win a popularity contest. There are some excellent matchups in the early week that allow you to take advantage of the streamers strategy.
Top Starting Pitcher Streamers for Week 6
1. Nathan Eovaldi - Miami Marlins
Monday vs. New York Mets
Somehow Eovaldi, who has a 2.58 ERA and 1.02 WHIP, is only owned in 44% of both ESPN and Yahoo! leagues. Monday's start at home against the Mets makes him a prime streaming candidate. Eovaldi has been terrific this year with a 7.00 K/BB ratio while allowing only 1 HR in 38.1 innings. The right hander is better at home as opponents have a .227 AVG and a .265 OBP, leading to a 2.42 ERA for Eovaldi.
Meanwhile the Mets' woes against righties this year are well documented. In 828 plate appearances, they have a 0.42 BB/K ratio, .218 AVG and a .297 OBP while scoring only 15 runs. Expect Eovaldi to give you a nice boost in ERA, WHIP, K and even a W to start the week.
2. Travis Wood - Chicago Cubs
Wednesday at Chicago White Sox
Wood is amongst the best strikeout options available this week and he's only owned in 49% and 14% of Yahoo! and ESPN leagues, respectively. The White Sox are sixth worst in the majors with a 0.33 BB/K ratio while Wood has a 22.7% K rate and a 4.3% BB rate. With a 40% GB rate, Wood is on pace to allow the most ground balls in his major league career. His 2.93 FIP should tell his owners- as well as you streaming owners- that the Cubs defense will get it on the same page as him and properly shift to his strengths. Of course it is the Cubs and there's no telling what they are (or are not) capable of. At the very least you can still expect a boost in ERA and K if needed for Wednesday.
3. Drew Hutchinson - Toronto Blue Jays
Tuesday at Philadelphia Phillies
Owned in 18% of Yahoo! and 3.8% of ESPN leagues, Hutchison is poised to give you a lead in K for the week. He's struggled this year at home but has been sensational on the road with 23 K in 23.2 innings and a giddy 2.28 ERA. Perhaps most telling of Hutchison's success on the road is his ridiculous 4% HR/FB rate which shows how's stingy he's being with the longball. Toronto's defense has a league best .991 FP with a 4.4 UZR, so look for Hutchinson to get some help behind him because we all know there's nothing worse than seeing your starting pitcher's WHIP go up after a two-out error by your shortstop followed by a single. Philadelphia's lowly 8% HR/FB vs. right handers should play right into Hutchison and the defense's hands.
Deeper League Starting Pitcher Streamers
4. Samuel Deduno - Minnesota Twins
Tuesday at Cleveland Indians
Fantasy baseball owners don't have much faith in Deduno- he's owned in 1% of Yahoo! and 0% of ESPN leagues- but he has a favorable matchup against the Indians. The righty has a low 2.00 K/BB ratio but he can help your K totals as he's fanned 18 in 18.2 IP. Though Cleveland's 18.2 K% against right handers is in the lower third of the league, they haven't had success when connecting as their .283 BABIP is good enough for 24th. Have faith in the Twins ground ball defense and Deduno will lead you to the low ERA promise land in those H2H leagues.
5. Mike Leake - Cincinnati Reds
Wednesday at Boston Red Sox
Leake, owned in 32% of Yahoo! and 14% of ESPN leagues, will not have large strikeout numbers. He is an innings guy. He's averaging over 7 IP per start and there's no reason he can't reach that on Wednesday. He's pitching to contact on the road as his strikeout efficiency goes down to 3.77 K/9 while inducing a 57 GB%. The Reds defense is obviously picking him up as he's only allowing opponents a .218 BABIP. These numbers may raise some eyebrows as this would normally suggest he should give up a lot of runs to Boston, but the Red Sox have a 7.9% HR/FB rate against right handers- good for only 23rd in the league. Expect Leake to go deep into the game without allowing too many runs.
6. Josh Collmenter - Arizona Diamondbacks
Tuesday at Milwaukee
With a 25.6% K rate, a .222 AVG against, a 52% FB rate and a ridiculously-frustrating-for-a-batter 23.1% pop-up rate, a team like the Brewers could fall into a Collmenter web of disgruntlement. The Brewers have been in the middle of the pack offensively against right handers throughout the year, but they've seen a considerable drop off in the last seven days- a 0.24 BB/K rate and .204 AVG with just a 6.6% HR/FB. Look for Collmenter to take advantage of a Ryan Braun-less lineup. At 0.3% in ESPN and 2% in Yahoo! leagues, Collmenter is hardly owned and is a good streamer for deep leagues.