Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:

NFL    NBA    MLB

Already have an account? Log in here.

[X]

Forgot Password


[X]

Head-to-Head Hitter Streamers and Starts - Week 3


Welcome to the hitting streamers column for the week of 4/15 - 4/21. Whether you're looking to maximize the number of games played, exploit favorable matchups, or fill in for injured players, streaming hitters can be a fruitful strategy for those willing to put in a little work every week.

Keep in mind that this column highlights players owned in fewer than 50% of Yahoo leagues who could present nice streaming options for the upcoming week. This applies to any league but specifically is geared toward head-to-head weekly leagues where matchups are more critical.

If the following names aren't available, don't hesitate to check our famous waiver wire pickups list to find some appealing alternatives. Let's get to it.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off. Exclusive access to our Draft Kit, premium rankings, projections, player outlooks, top prospects, dynasty rankings, 15 in-season lineup tools, and over 200 days of expert DFS research. Sign Up Now!

 

Bats to Stream and Start in Week 3

Seven-Game Weeks: Baltimore, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Kansas City Royals, Los Angels Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, Philadelphia Phillies, Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays

 

Streamer of the Week

Joc Pederson (OF, LAD) - 53% Owned

Pederson is just above the 50% cutoff line, but he’s available in enough leagues that it’s worth checking waivers to see if he’s available considering the upside here. Pederson is off to a great start thus far, with four home runs and a .990 OPS through 48 PA, and perhaps most encouraging is his 14.6% strikeout rate. While his strikeout rate probably won’t be that low over a longer period of time, Pederson also has an 84% contact rate and 90.5% zone contact rate on the season and has been cutting down on strikeouts over the past few years.  Again, it’s early, but metrics like strikeout rate and contact rate can be big indicators of legitimate improvements at the plate.

Numbers aside, what makes Pederson so intriguing is that the Dodgers are slated to take on seven right-handed starters this upcoming week. That means plenty of games in the leadoff spot for Pederson, who has an .848 OPS and .252 ISO against righties all time. The icing on the cake is a four-game series in Milwaukee, where Pederson should benefit from a positive park shift. This upcoming week is just about ideal for Pederson’s skillset.

 

Behind the Plate

Welington Castillo (C, CWS) - 48% Owned

Castillo is just 2-for-21 to start the season, but the veteran backstop has a career .742 OPS and .167 ISO, which is more than serviceable for a streaming catcher. He also hits relatively high in the order, usually around sixth or seventh, and hits cleanup against left-handed starters. The White Sox have three games at home against the Royals and four games in Detroit this week, which means they will be facing low-quality pitching. Chicago also gets two games against lefties, and Castillo has an .834 OPS and .194 ISO against southpaws all time. This week could be a nice slump-buster for Beef Welington.

Omar Narvaez (C, SEA) -  33% Owned

It’s rare to find a catcher on waivers who won’t annihilate your batting average, but Narvaez has shown a solid hit tool over the course of his big league career. He owns a .275 AVG and .362 OBP over 783 career PA. Even though he wields virtually no power, Narvaez is still a positive bat behind the plate. The Mariners are also scheduled to face seven righties this week, and Narvaez has been much better against right-handed pitching, owning a career .760 OPS and .111 ISO against righties for his career. A three-game series against Cleveland is a little rough matchup-wise, but a four-game series in Anaheim offers matchups against rather weak pitching outside of Trevor Cahill, and even Cahill has proven inconsistent over his career.

Also Consider: Jonathan Lucroy (C, LAA) - 16% Owned

 

At the Corners

C.J. Cron (1B, MIN) - 28% Owned

It hasn’t been a great start to the season for Cron, who has just a .577 OPS and 7:1 K:BB ratio in 30 PA thus far. What’s most concerning is his .069 ISO and just two extra-base hits, since Cron’s only positive attribute is power. Cron is known for his streakiness, but he’s still crushing the ball, as Cron has a 90.6 MPH average exit velocity on the year. This might be a good week for Cron to break the slump, as Minnesota has seven games against Toronto and Baltimore pitching. Toronto has had a few surprises in the rotation, but they are still relatively weak and unproven compared to the rest of the league. Cron could provide some decent power production this week if his bat heats up a bit.

Ryan O'Hearn (1B, KC) - 5% Owned

O'Hearn is another player off to an underwhelming start on the surface, but his underlying numbers show promise of better days ahead. O’Hearn is only hitting .240 with a .787 OPS, but he has a 93.4 MPH average exit velocity and .505 xSLG along with an unreal 60% hard-hit rate. This is a small sample size, obviously, but these StatCast numbers are juicy. O’Hearn also has a 5:6 K:BB ratio thus far and has shown great plate discipline throughout his minor league career. Now he gets a seven-game week, with all on the road in good hitters’ parks. He gets three games against the White Sox in Chicago, and a four-game set against the Yankees in New York. This bat was built for Yankee Stadium. The Royals also face just two lefties this week, which means O’Hearn should be in the starting lineup at least five times.

Also Consider: Yonder Alonso (1B, CWS) - 18% Owned

 

Up the Middle

Jorge Polanco (SS, MIN) - 27% Owned

Polanco’s bat has been smoking to start the year, and he owns a .375 AVG and 1.182 OPS in 44 PA going into play Thursday. The nice thing about Polanco, from a streaming perspective, is that he should provide plenty of volume this week. Minnesota has a seven-game week ahead, and Polanco plays virtually every day and hits second for the Twins. That’s the type of player Polanco is from a season-long standpoint, an accumulator, but with four games against Toronto and three in Baltimore, the Twins should put some runs on the board this week. Expect a good batting average and a solid amount of run production this week from Polanco.

Garrett Hampson (2B/SS, COL) - 28% Owned

Hampson was my stream of the week last week, and while in hindsight that seems a little aggressive, it’s hard not to be enticed by Hampson’s skill set, especially given his home ballpark. There’s no hiding the fact that Hampson has been atrocious at the plate thus far. He has a .197 OPS and 29% strikeout rate with zero walks in 31 PA this season. With those numbers out of the way, it’s worth noting that with Daniel Murphy and Ryan McMahon both out of the picture, Pat Valaika is Hampson’s only threat for playing time. Valaika posted a .460 OPS and a wRC+ of 9 (league average is 100, so 9 is really, really bad) in 133 PA last year. It’s sink-or-swim time for Hampson, and with a four-game series at home against the Phillies, he should be able to do some damage this week. For speed, there aren’t many better options on waivers right now.

Also Consider: Andrelton Simmons (SS, LAA) - 43% Owned, Orlando Arcia (SS, MIL) - 2% Owned

 

In the Outfield

Jay Bruce (OF/1B, SEA) - 43% Owned

If batting average wasn’t a category then Bruce would be a fantasy monster. Despite his .204 AVG, Bruce already has seven home runs on the year along with a .972 OPS and .469 ISO in 57 PA thus far. Bruce hit a total of nine home runs in 361 PA last season. We’re just two weeks in, and Bruce is ready to eclipse last year’s home run total. He could do it next week, as he gets seven games and not one against a left-handed starter. Bruce did leave Wednesday’s game early with Achilles tightness, so it’s worth watching the injury report with him. Assuming this is just a day-to-day thing, Bruce should be locked and loaded for next week as one of the best power options out there.

Jorge Soler (OF, KC) - 26% Owned

Soler has clobbered the ball thus far, when he actually hits it. He has a .233 ISO and 90.0 MPH average exit velocity, but also has a 37% strikeout rate and 66.3% contact rate on the year. The ballpark upgrades Soler is getting, three games at the White Sox and four at the Yankees, should be enough to help his power potential when he does make contact. In leagues where Jay Bruce is unavailable Soler is a fine alternative.

Also Consider: Alex Gordon (OF, KC) - 19% Owned, Leury Garcia (OF/MI, CWS) - 4% Owned

More Streamers and Head-to-Head League Columns




More Recent Articles

 

Using Sabermetrics for Fantasy Baseball: Spin Rate

Spin rate has become one of the most recognizable Statcast metrics, with supporters of a given pitcher highlighting his spin rates to make their case. Unfortunately, the baseball world has done a lousy job conveying what spin rate really means. The result has been a ton of owners who know that spin rate exists, but... Read More


2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers - Khris Davis

The Oakland Athletics finished 2019 with a record of 97-65, which was good for a second-place finish in the AL West and a second-consecutive wildcard birth. They did this despite a statistically down season from their superstar, Khris Davis. Davis struggled mightily in 2019 by slashing .220/.293/.387 with 23 HR, 73 RBI, 61 R, and... Read More


ADP Cost Analysis: Trey Mancini vs. Christian Walker

One of the most important skills in a fantasy draft is the ability to identify a player with similar value at a lower ADP. When you're able to find similar production at a lower cost, this allows you to use an earlier pick to fill out other areas of your roster, resulting in a stronger... Read More


MLB Closers and Saves: Fantasy Baseball Depth Charts

Saves are an important component for many fantasy baseball leagues. Closers are one of the most volatile positions in fantasy baseball, and one of the highest turnover positions in MLB. Each year, closers drop like flies and many MLB teams make in-season changes due to injuries or poor performance. Stay on top of all closer depth... Read More


Bases Loaded Podcast - Relief Pitchers Preview

Mike Kurland (@Mike_Kurland) is joined by Jorge Montanez, Zach Braff and Mike Simione as they jump into their relief pitcher preview! Subscribe to the Bases Loaded podcast, part of RotoBaller Radio's Podcast Network. Like and Subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us on iTunes and BlogTalkRadio as well!... Read More


2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers - Jose Urquidy

It's been a tumultuous winter for the Houston Astros. Not only were they embroiled in a sign-stealing scandal (which has, naturally, progressed apace to unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about ever more sophisticated methods of cheating), but they watched staff ace Gerrit Cole sign a mammoth free-agent deal with the Yankees. Plenty of virtual ink has been... Read More


2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers - Mark Canha

Mark Canha had a solid 2019 campaign and is one player that probably deserves more attention heading into 2020 than he is currently receiving. He finished the season hitting .273/.396/.517 with 26 HR, 58 RBI, 80 R, and 67 BB in 410 at-bats. It was a very productive line for a guy that played in... Read More


Four Prospect Sleepers for 2020 Redraft Leagues

Recently, Rotoballer launched a list of the Top 50 MLB prospects for the coming year. The top of the list was populated by names such as Gavin Lux, Luis Robert, and Brendan McKay. These players, among others, feature a promising combination of talent and favorable playing time projections to suggest they’ll be the cream-of-the-crop among... Read More


ADP Cost Analysis – Robbie Ray vs Trevor Bauer

With fantasy baseball draft season in full swing, those of us who partake in this joyous game are now looking through as much draft data as possible in a bid to find players we love who have lower average draft positions (ADP) than we believe they should. All this to eke out as much draft... Read More


2020 Keeper Value Rankings - Second Base

Keeper Value Rankings are intended for Keeper Leagues in which a fantasy owner must forfeit a designated draft pick in order to keep a player into the upcoming season. These rankings are based on Keeper "Values". In the marketing world, Value can be defined as "the extent to which a good or service (player) is... Read More


2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers – C.J. Cron

As another fantasy baseball season approaches, we once again have the chance to discuss C.J. Cron as a fantasy sleeper. Cron will be playing for his third team in three seasons. It is tough to wrap one's head around the idea that a player of Cron's talent continues to be undervalued by professional and fantasy... Read More


2020 Starting Pitcher Rankings - H2H Points Leagues

Points leagues may seem like a slight variation from traditional 5x5 category scoring leagues but you must approach draft day with a very different strategy if you wish to truly compete. All preseason long, RotoBaller has you covered with the latest rankings for all fantasy baseball league types. Here we present our points league rankings... Read More


Second-Half Improvements: Buy Into These Starting Pitchers

The second half of the season is always put under a microscope for starting pitchers. Fantasy players have a love for the second half of the season, as the belief is that pitchers who take a step forward could carry over that success the next season and perhaps even build upon it. But, as we... Read More


How to Attack RP in SV+HLD Leagues

No position has seen as much evolution in recent seasons as the relief pitcher. Gone are the days where starters were expected to go seven innings as most teams have embraced the idea of "super-bullpening" and try to fit as many pitchers that can throw 95+ MPH into their bullpen as they can. Many fantasy... Read More


Using Sabermetrics for Fantasy Baseball: Pitch Info

One of the most fundamental questions in fantasy sports is if a player's current performance is sustainable. More than any other sport, baseball has a slew of statistical measures that can be dissected in numerous ways to analyze player performance. Pitch Info is a publicly-available pitch tracking system that provides a lot of different data to... Read More