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Streaming Wars: Waiver Wire Targets for May 23

Welcome to Streaming Wars, your one-stop resource for streaming the waiver wire. Use this column to improve upon your neediest categories. We're back after taking an extra day off last Thursday.

Below are your pitcher and hitter streaming targets for Tuesday, May 23rd.

Let's get to it.

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  1. Dumb Veto Poop
  2. Today's Weather and Updates
  3. Tomorrow's Picks


1. Dumb Veto Poop

Vetoes are dumb. Simply by virtue of allowing vetoes in a league, unnecessary drama is created. A longtime reader of mine shared this story with me yesterday. Up until this weekend, he co-commissioned a league. He's won the last two seasons and was kind enough to give me a share of the spoils last year for my contributions. Here's what happened.

Joked to co-LM [League Manager] I would approve any trade he offered to a particular person.  He gets a trade accepted of Travis Shaw for Chase Headley and Jeremy Hellickson.  I approve it (because it looked fair also) and told him “I told you”.  He cries to the league that I am colluding and has me removed as LM.

This was a fair trade. Talent-wise, Shaw is in the same asset class as Headley. I think we'd all prefer to roster Shaw - as a cleanup hitter, his lineup role is more valuable than Headley's. However, a desperate owner could look at Hellickson and expect the strikeouts to revert to his career norms. And that would easily cover the difference between Shaw and Headley. It's not much of a stretch. In this case, a non-veto of a completely fair trade has gone a long way towards ruining a league.

On the topic of Hellickson's strikeouts, he's complete unrosterable so long as he continues to induce 3.62 K/9. To my eyes, I think the issue is a combination of lost velocity and a decline in his changeup. The pitch used to have a 10 mph differential from his fastball, but now it's down to only eight mph. He's throwing the changeup more than ever - mostly at the expense of his curve ball.


2. Today's Weather and Updates

Today's nine game slate has to contend with rain in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Atlanta, and New York. I've listed those in order of risk. The first two may be delayed. I'm pretty confident they'll play. Atlanta always has patchy storms. Either they'll get soaked for awhile or they won't. Getting hit by a storm doesn't guarantee a postponement either. New York has the most rain on the docket, but even they should play with a late start. Check reports again later.

The same northeast venue plus Chicago are at risk tomorrow.


3. Tomorrow's Picks - Tuesday, May 23rd

Pitchers to Use

There are quite a few names to try on Tuesday, but they all come with their share of risk.

Amir Garrett may be my favorite option. Hopefully you had the sense to dodge his start last week. Anytime you see Wrigley winds pushing 20 mph to dead center, it's time to sit your pitchers. Hell, I'd consider sitting Clayton Kershaw under such circumstances. Anyway, Garrett got bombed, but that hasn't turned me off him in the short or long term. His biggest issue is with command - it can get away from him at times. When it does, he usually misses off the plate, leading to walks. Better that than throwing cookies. The skill set reminds me of Cole Hamels with a breaking ball. I think he'll have a great career despite a lousy home ballpark.

My other favorite is another lefty, Jordan Montgomery. My rosy comp for him is Rich Hill with a full repertoire. He absolutely must abandon his sinker. It's his second most used pitch, and it just doesn't fit with anything he does. He needs to mix something like 30 percent high four seamers with a barrage of curves, sliders, and changeups.

If you just want volume, R.A. Dickey, Jimmy Nelson, and Pat Corbin offer different forms. Dickey occasionally chips in with quality starts, and there's a good chance the Braves will defeat Tyler Glasnow. Similarly, Corbin should earn a victory opposite Covey. One of those pitchers is OK and the other is dreadfully bad. Nelson has the toughest match of this trio opposite Joe Biagini. It's a no-DH game for the fractured Toronto offense.

Other Targets: German Marquez, Jesse Hahn


Pitchers to Exploit

At one time, Jacob Turner was one of my favorite breakout candidates. This was circa 2013 before injuries prevented him from accomplishing much in the majors. In retrospect, I have no idea why I was bullish about Turner. His numbers were always awful. Turner remains fully exploitable in 2017. He's a low strikeout guy who allows plenty of contact. On the plus side, he does fire 94 mph fastballs. He's opposed by Christian Bergman, a mediocre soft-tossy spot starter.

After a surprisingly effective start to the 2017 season - nine runs in 32 innings (five starts) - Zach Eflin had a regression game last week. Now his 4.25 ERA is up around where it should be for a pure pitch-to-contact, no walks guy who can avoid home runs. As for that latter bullet point, there's no guarantee he'll continue to limit the dongers. He's opposed by the Rockies.

Eflin had his regression game, but we're still somehow waiting for Andrew Cashner to crack. Every year, there's one or two guys who get away with being bad for a couple months. Then *poof* he's a pumpkin after all. Cashner has cut down on the walks in his last two outings. He also isn't inducing any strikeouts. The .242 BABIP will regress.

Other Targets: Jhoulys Chacin, Matt Harvey, Tyler Glasnow, Jordan Zimmermann, Dylan Covey


Homers on the Wire

I'm just going to note that Yonder Alonso's mini-injury has him back down to 55 percent owned. Fools! Matt Joyce and Jed Lowrie are the more widely available Athletics. Ryon Healy is down to 53 percent owned. They're all a great option versus Jose Urena.

I never talk about Nick Markakis because he doesn't hit for power OR steal bases. However, he is a high average/OBP guy with plenty of run production. He'll find his way on base versus Glasnow. Matt Adams and Rio Ruiz could reach base too. Too bad the Braves only have one stolen base threat - Ender Inciarte - and he's 61 percent owned.

This might be my last chance to discuss Justin Smoak. He's at 47 percent owned. Smoak has trimmed his typical 30 percent strikeout rate by 10 points with the help of more in-zone contact. Whether or not he can maintain the contact is an open question. So long as he does, he's a top 150 player. He'll face Nelson.

Justin Bour is woke. Since a four hit day on April 30, he's slashing .348/.438/.739 with eight of his 11 home runs in 80 plate appearances. While he won't continue to hit for this much power or average, he has a decent matchup tomorrow versus Hahn.

Other Targets: Derek Dietrich, Chris Taylor, David Peralta, Brandon Drury, Josh Reddick, Yuli Gutierrez, Josh Bell, Logan Morrison, Colby Rasmus, Lucas Duda, Neil Walker, Ryan Schimpf, Hunter Renfroe, Yangervis Solarte, Bradley Zimmer, Mitch Moreland, Tommy Joseph


Steals on the Wire

Kevin Kiermaier may finally be awakening. The lefty is hitting .324/.378/.559 over his last 38 plate appearances with a couple home runs and a stolen base. It's the speed we're looking to exploit tomorrow versus splitter specialist Matt Shoemaker. Splitters can be a challenge for catchers hoping to limit the running game.

Adam Frazier is back in the Pirates leadoff spot. He's a left-handed DJ LeMahieu, complete with the terrible stolen base success rate. He's tried five times and come away with one swipe. Unless you're in a net steals league, the only thing we really care about are the attempts. He reaches base often via a decent walk rate and high BABIP.

Other Targets: Jose Reyes, Manuel Margot, Freddy Galvis, Jarrod Dyson, Ben Gamel, Taylor Motter


Skill Positions

Austin Hedges is your best option for a catcher streamer. Chase that all or nothing home run.


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