What a difference a day makes. Despite a slate of only eight games Monday, seven starters would have been good enough to rank in the top five on Sunday, with three projecting better than Sunday’s top option. That doesn’t leave many choices for streaming purposes, but there are a couple of candidates to help get a jump on Week 13. Even with the abbreviated schedule, there are plenty of hitters to fill your open roster spots, in large part due to some minor league call-ups seeing significant action.
Pitchers to stream
Rich Hill (L), 53 percent ownership in ESPN leagues, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Los Angeles Angels: Pardon me for taking a little poetic license, featuring an option over the 50 percent threshold we use to identify streamers. There’s a reason why Hill is available in so many leagues; he’s pitched poorly since getting over his issues with recurring blisters. Most notable is a marked lack of control. There’s been no report of Hill using a different grip to help keep his fingers clear, but it wouldn’t be surprising if that’s the case. The lefty looked better last time out, so he’s worth the risk, facing a weak Angels club at Dodger Stadium, where the Halos will be without their designated hitter.
Michael Wacha (R), 37 percent, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Cincinnati Reds: Wacha is frustrating from a fantasy sense, since his issue, unlike most struggling hurlers, isn’t related to the long ball. While his walk rate is a little high, the real culprit is a bloated batting average on balls in play (BABIP). The problem is his hard-hit rate and line drive rate against are fine. It’s cliché, but Wacha has been pitching into some poor batted-ball luck. At home in comfortable Busch Stadium, it’s worth hoping regression begins.
Brandon Finnegan (L), 6 percent, Cincinnati Reds at St. Louis Cardinals: It may seem risky to rely on Finnegan without seeing what he looks like coming off the disabled list. And to be honest, it is. But, the young southpaw draws a Redbird lineup sporting the sixth lowest weighted on-base average versus left-handers. Note, the Cardinals have recalled Randall Grichuk, ostensibly to help with this.
Nick Pivetta (R), 4 percent, Philadelphia Phillies at Arizona Diamondbacks: Here’s another risky, pick but beggars can’t be choosers. Pivetta is coming off a couple of strong efforts, fanning 19 with only three walks in 13 innings. The Diamondbacks are dangerous, especially at home. However, part of Pivetta’s success is deception, so he should have an edge until teams start to see him multiple times.
Pitchers to avoid
Cole Hamels (L), 83 percent, Texas Rangers at Cleveland Indians: Don’t be fooled by Hamels’ tidy 3.13 ERA recorded prior to hitting the disabled list with a sore oblique in April. His strikeout rate was a meager 4.1 K/9. There was impending correction, as suggested by a 5.28 FIP and 5.45 xFIP. Reportedly, Hamels felt tightness warming up for what would become a scratched start, so the low punch-outs weren’t related to the injury. Perhaps if the opponent were different, Hamels would be worth the chance, but facing the Tribe in their home digs is too risky.
Sticking with the Rangers, closer Matt Bush has been shaky lately, blowing a pair of saves last week, after going through a rough stretch earlier in the month. There’s been no talk of a change, but it’s worth monitoring the usage of Keone Kela and Jose Leclerc, in a dead heat trying to figure out who would take over ninth inning duties in the event Bush continues to slide.
Here’s one other quick note: The Twins called up Trevor Hildenberger, their closer at Triple-A Rochester. He’s going to be working in low-leverage situations for now, but keep an eye on him, as he could work himself into more meaningful innings.
Projected game scores
GS is the projected game score for the pitcher. A “*” means that the pitcher lacks requisite career major league data to produce an accurate rating; these are the author’s ratings.
Yan Gomes (R), 3 percent, Cleveland Indians vs. Texas Rangers (LHP Cole Hamels): As implied earlier, don’t be scared to spot-start against Hamels. Gomes has always hit southpaws well, and until he demonstrates otherwise, Hamels isn’t to be feared.
Tyler Austin (R), 2 percent, New York Yankees at Chicago White Sox (LHP David Holmberg): Chris Carter‘s replacement enjoys the platoon edge on a pedestrian lefty in a park good for righty power. At Triple-A Scranton, Austin registered a .580 slugging percentage, so he can take advantage.
Ian Happ (R), 34 percent, Chicago Cubs at Washington Nationals (LHP Gio Gonzalez): Early in what looks to be a promising career, Happ has excelled versus southpaws. Gonzalez has allowed 28 extra-base hits this season, 25 off a right-handed swing.
Matt Davidson (R), 25 percent, Chicago White Sox vs. New York Yankees (LHP Jordan Montgomery): The White Sox are quietly the top offense in the league against left-handers. Davidson is a key cog in their attack, enjoying the platoon bump in a hitter-friendly venue.
Brandon Crawford (L), 46 percent, San Francisco Giants vs. Colorado Rockies (RHP German Marquez): Never a star, Crawford evolved into a very good hitter with a seemingly solid floor. Things haven’t gone as planned for the 30-year old veteran. However, Crawford’s hard hit rate is above average — around his career mark — so expect a more productive second half.
Ryder Jones (L), less than 1 percent, San Francisco Giants vs. Colorado Rockies (RHP German Marquez): Joining Crawford on the left side of the Giants’ infield is Jones, filling in for Eduardo Nunez, who finally tapped out to an inflamed hamstring and is on the disabled list. Jones was slugging .553 at Triple-A Sacramento; it will be interesting to see how his power plays in AT&T Park.
Scooter Gennett (L), 15 percent, Cincinnati Reds at St. Louis Cardinals (RHP Michael Wacha): Every season, there are some performances that can’t be anticipated or explained. All you can do is hop on and enjoy the ride. Gennett’s ownership will likely spike after Sunday’s 4-for-5 effort, including his 11th homer, so hurry if you want to join the bandwagon.
Alen Hanson (B), less than 1 percent, Chicago White Sox vs. New York Yankees (LHP Jordan Montgomery): Hanson recently joined the White Sox from the Pirates organization. A middle infielder by trade, Hanson’s been dabbling in the outfield for his new club. He’s also been hitting from the leadoff spot, which is a great place to be, considering the White Sox’s aforementioned prowess facing lefties.
Brian Goodwin (L), 1 percent, Washington Nationals vs. Chicago Cubs (RHP Eddie Butler): Goodwin is displaying surprising pop from the two-hole, slugging a robust .575. Also, take note in points leagues that Goodwin’s eye has improved, as he’s walking at a 10 percent clip. Getting on base in front of Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman seems like a good idea.
Hitter matchup ratings
Notes: Hitter ratings account for the opposing starting pitcher’s history (three years’ worth, as well as the past 21 days) and ballpark factors. “LH” and “RH” ratings account only for left- and right-handed batters, respectively. Weighted on-base average (wOBA) is the primary statistic used in the calculation. Ratings range from 1 to 10, with 10 representing the best possible matchup, statistically speaking, and 1 representing the worst. So, for example, a 10 is a must-start rating, whereas a 1 should be avoided (if possible); a 1-2 is poor, 3-4 is fair, 5-6 is average, 7-8 is very good and 9-10 is excellent.