Streaming Wars: Waiver Wire Targets for May 1

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Welcome back to Streaming Wars, your one-stop guide for streaming and waiver wire advice. Use this column to address your problem categories.

Below are your pitcher and hitter streaming targets for Monday, May 1st.

Let's get to it.

Editor's Note: Our friends at Fantrax have even more fantasy baseball advice columns and videos to help improve your teams. Be sure to also check them out!

 

Agenda

  1. A Reminder of FIP
  2. Today's Weather and Updates
  3. Tomorrow's Picks

 

1. A Reminder of FIP

I'm going to assume you're familiar with Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP). This is meant simply as a reminder that strikeout, walk, and home run rates are a quick and dirty way of estimating how a pitcher should have performed. You'll notice I recommend using several pitchers with bad ERAs and vice versa. That's because their run totals don't quite match the peripherals.

Remember, FIP focuses on the past. It does nothing to predict if a pitcher can maintain his current strikeout, walk, and home run rates. If you expect those to change, then your estimation of future ERA should change accordingly.

Here's an example: a pitcher has a 3.00 FIP, 4.00 ERA, 9.00 K/9, 3.00 BB/9, and 1.00 HR/9. However, the pitcher doesn't induce many swinging strikes so his future strikeout rate may be closer to 7.00 K/9. While he was apparently unfortunate to this point, he'll probably have something like a 4.00 FIP and 4.00 ERA going forward.

 

2. Today's Weather and Updates

Detroit, Cleveland, and St. Louis are all rain risks on Sunday. There's no sign of impending weather conflicts on Monday.

 

3. Tomorrow's Picks - Monday, May 1st

We've yet to have one of those painful four game slates. Tomorrow is another 11-game Meager Monday. A little streaming should help you to start a full lineup.

Pitchers to Use

You'll need antacids if you want to stream a pitcher tomorrow...

Amir Garrett began his major league career on a high note, tossing three straight solid outings. He even struck out 12 Orioles over seven innings in his third start. The fourth start though, that ruined everything. He was helpless against the Brewers. Garrett allowed 10 runs (nine earned), on eight hits, four walks, and three home runs in 3.1 innings. The strikeout prone Brewers went down swinging just once. Garrett's ability to rebound will be tested against a diminished Pirates offense. Most of their hitters aren't very threatening versus southpaws.

Mets starter Robert Gsellman was a trendy sleeper pick entering the season. A 6.23 ERA has kicked him back to the waiver wire. Despite a 1.5 mph loss of velocity, Gsellman still has a solid 9.14 K/9, 3.74 BB/9, and a 3.69 FIP. He's a ground ball pitcher who should develop into a quality start machine going forward. The strikeout rate will probably decline, although the walks may too. He'll face an unintimidating Braves offense.

Over the offseason, Zach Davies showed up on a Statcast spin rate leaderboard. It helped to explain his sub-4.00 ERA despite visually mediocre stuff and a hitter friendly home park. Davies hasn't really discovered how to best use his high spin rates, but he has improved in each outing this season. If you can overlook a 6.57 ERA, there's a decent chance he'll go six innings with three or fewer runs allowed at St. Louis.

Other Targets: n/a

 

Pitchers to Exploit

I've been recommending Daniel Norris based on gains he made in the second half of 2016. Unfortunately, those seem to have vanished. The southpaw isn't getting the most out of his command, and it's hurting both his strikeout and walk totals. Norris has one option left and could benefit from a quick confidence boost at Triple-A. He has a tough matchup versus the Indians. The other side of this one features homer prone Trevor Bauer. The righty has 10.96 K/9. It'll regress. His stuff and usage are the same as past seasons.

Dylan Covey is pitching like a Rule 5 pick. Probably because he's a Rule 5 pick. Through three starts, he's posted a luck neutral 6.91 ERA with 3.77 K/9 and 5.02 BB/9. If the Sox even want to bother keeping him, he desperately needs a switch to mop up relief.

Andrew Cashner has a solid 2.93 ERA. Look past the surface. His velocity is down another two mph from the career low he posted last season. He has 4.70 K/9, 7.63 BB/9, and a 6.19 FIP. The luck will end - probably tomorrow versus the Astros.

Other Targets: Nope

 

Homers on the Wire

The Phillies face Brett Anderson. His ground ball tendencies are perfect for Tommy Joseph. The righty mashes low pitches. Even with the slow start to the season, I'd strongly consider using him on Monday. Aaron Altherr still isn't quite playing every day despite doing just about everything possible to earn a regular job. He hits too many ground balls to be a good play against Anderson.

Michael Conforto remains under 50 percent owned even though he bats leadoff for the Mets. With Yoenis Cespedes and Lucas Duda sidelined, Conforto is in for plenty of playing time. He'll face Julio Teheran. Try Neil Walker too while you're at it.

With the Pirates lineup falling apart, Josh Bell has a chance to earn a steady role in the middle of the order. Bell has enough power and plate discipline to be interesting with the right job. The club has been using him more and more as the second hitter. A switch-hitter, Bell hasn't experienced much success against southpaws in a tiny sample.

Other Targets: Jedd Gyorko, Domingo Santana, Brandon Moss, Alex Gordon, Matt Davidson, Josh Reddick, Rickie Weeks, Scott Schebler, Brandon Guyer, Seth Smith, Hyun-Soo Kim

 

Steals on the Wire

People still say it's easy to find stolen bases on the waiver wire. It's been awhile since that was true.

Hernan Perez is playing every day in a utility role for the Brewers. And he's finally starting to hit too. He'll face Michael Wacha. Yadier Molina throws a wrench into the running game. Keon Broxton is also a stolen base threat, but some of Perez's playing time is at Broxton's expense.

Speaking of hitters finally hitting, Jose Reyes is alive. Over the last four days, he's 7-for-17 with two home runs, a double, and two stolen bases. A few more days like that and he'll return to the top of the order. He's suffering from a .190 BABIP on the season.

Inciarte remains the most talented rabbit on the wire. The early season power numbers will melt into distant memory. He's likely to readopt the habits that made him a solid core asset in past years.

Other Targets: Kolten Wong, Alcides Escobar, Ender Inciarte, Peter Bourjos

 

Skill Positions

My best guess is that Jett Bandy will start on Sunday. That probably puts Manny Pina behind the dish on Monday. They're both hitting like top 12 catchers.

 

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