It's once again time for what I know has become one of your favorite parts of the week: my latest position player streamer article. Some of these players can be sleepers off the waiver wire, depending on your league format and depth, including AL-Only and NL-Only leagues. As always, each player mentioned will have an ownership percentage of less than 50% at the time of writing, and I'll try to highlight a couple of different positions in the hopes of helping as many owners as possible. I know you all have been waiting with bated breath for this article all week, so let's get started, shall we?
Fantasy Baseball Hitting Streamers - Week 5
1) Andre Ethier (OF)
2014 Line: .220 BA, 4 R, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 1 SB
Opponents: (at) Twins, (at) Marlins
Games Scheduled: 6
When Andre Ethier was at his peak, he was the type of player who drove me mad. People would talk about him as if he were a foundational cornerstone of the Dodgers franchise, a player you built a team around. What I saw was an overhyped platoon player. For his career, Andre Ethier has admittedly absolutely destroyed righties, slashing .308/.387/.516 with a home run every 27.4 plate appearances. The issue was (and still is) that against left-handed pitchers, he hits like a backup catcher. He's only managed a .234/.293/.348 line with a home run per every 29.1 plate appearances against southpaws.
So, why is he on this list? Next week, Ethier will face the Twins and the Marlins, and guess what? Neither team has a single left-handed starter in the rotation. Moreover, the Twins have the third-highest team ERA in baseball right now (4.90), and the non-Jose Fernandez Marlins are nothing much to be particularly afraid of. The Dodgers outfield might be crowded, but with Matt Kemp struggling early and Ethier able to play all three outfield positions, I'm confident he'll get a full week's worth of playing time against these two bad teams. Grab him now.
2) Marcell Ozuna (OF)
2014 Line: .329 BA, 12 Runs, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 0 SB
Opponents: Braves, Dodgers
Games Scheduled: 6
So yes, technically including Ozuna on this list violates my 50% ownership restriction, but considering he's only a tenth of a percent over the limit, I hope you'll forgive me. This will be his third consecutive week on my streamers list, and for good reason, because he's hitting the teeth off the baseball right now. I'm not thrilled about the two rotations he'll be facing, which is the only reason Ozuna isn't atop on this list, but the fact of the matter is that when you're able to add one of the hottest hitters in the game, a hitter who reliably hit for power throughout the minors and who will enjoy a six-game home stretch in Week 5... well, you have to pull the trigger. Even better, due to his hot bat, he's been hitting second in the order recently, improving both his at-bats and run-scoring scored opportunities, not to mention the lineup protection Giancarlo Stanton provides. If you're missing Michael Cuddyer's bat right now, I'd grab Ozuna while he's still available.
3) James Loney (1B)
2014 Line: .271 BA, 7 R, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 1 SB
Opponents: (at) White Sox, (at) Red Sox, (at) Yankees
Games Scheduled: 7
While he started the season off quite slowly, Loney has heated up considerably since then, going 2-for-4 in each of his last four starts. His value is very dependent on his ability to hit for average , but considering that he'll get a full week of at-bats in three of the more hitter-friendly parks in baseball, he's a name I'd look to while he's hot if you're looking for batting average, RBI and R help at 1B this next week.
4) Corey Dickerson (OF)
2014 Line: .375 BA, 5 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 SB
Opponents: (at) Diamondbacks, Mets
Games Scheduled: 7
If you were looking to stream an outfielder for next week, Michael Cuddyer's injury could not have come at a better time for you. Cuddyer won't be eligible to return until the weekend of Week 5, and considering the difficulty of returning quickly from a hamstring injury for an almost 36-year-old outfielder, I wouldn't be surprised to see his return date pushed back a bit. In the meantime, the Rockies hitters will enjoy one of the best weekly matchups in baseball. The Arizona Diamondbacks play in one of the better hitters parks in the majors and are sporting an MLB-worst team ERA of 5.69. The Mets have a team ERA of 3.99 themselves, 19th in baseball, despite playing in a very pitcher-friendly home ballpark. Moving from that environment to Coors Field, the most hitter-friendly park in the game, is going to be a very very rough transition for those starters. I expect Dickerson to get the lion's share of Cuddyer's at-bats next week, and given the hitting environments he'll be playing in and the strength of the lineup around him, I expect him to make the most of that opportunity.
5) Danny Espinosa (2B)
2014 Line: .288 BA, 5 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 SB
Opponents: (at) Astros, (at) Phillies
Games Scheduled: 5
As long as Ryan Zimmerman is hurt, Espinosa is a great name to keep in mind if you need a fill-in at second base. While his stock has fallen considerably over the last two years, he still has the skillset that made him a 20/20 threat. Especially while he's batting second in a very good lineup as he has been since Zimmerman's injury, Espinosa is one of those true five-category threat players, something rare to find on the wire. He's limited this week because the Nats only have five games on the schedule, but against two rather poor teams ranked 26th and 27th in team ERA, I think Espinosa's opportunities will be good enough that he'll still be worth the roster spot. If you need help at 2B, this is the man for the job.