The opening week always scares me, but we got off to an incredible start with our streamers. James Paxton, Sean Manaea, Javier Assad, Tanner Houck and MJ Melendez all performed beautifully last week, and it has me ready to keep rolling. This is one of the best times to capitalize on the waiver wire, and you should have plenty of opportunities to add streamers with nearly half the league on the IL! With that in mind, let’s get started by looking at the favorable matchups for this week.

Favorable Team Matchups

7 Games

Cincinnati Reds (vs. MIL, at CWS)

Houston Astros (at KC, vs. TEX)

Milwaukee Brewers (at CIN, at BAL)

Philadelphia Phillies (at STL, vs. PIT)

6 Games

Arizona Diamondbacks (at COL, vs. STL)

Boston Red Sox (vs. BAL, vs. LAA)

Cleveland Guardians (vs. CWS, vs. NYY)

Oakland A’s (at TEX, vs. WAS)

Pitching Streamers

Bowden Francis, TOR (vs. COL)

I wasn’t even considering recommending Francis this week, but it’s hard to overlook The Streamonator’s evaluation. The Blue Jays righty is the highest-projected option among all of the streamers, and it’s easy to see what when looking at his competition. Bowden gets a home matchup with the Rockies, who rank at the bottom of nearly every offensive category on the road year after year. A shelling in his first outing is a bit offputting, but Francis finished with a 1.73 ERA and 0.83 WHIP in the pen last season. He’s also likely going to be a -200 favorite in this game and should clobber this terrible Colorado lineup.

Streamonator Valuation: $38.3

Reese Olson, DET (at PIT)

I was a bit surprised to see that the projection wasn’t higher for Olson because he’s one of my favorite streamers of the season. The Tigers righty kickstarted the season with 5.2 scoreless innings in his debut, which is right on par with what he did in the final month of last season. In fact, Reese registered a 1.51 ERA and 0.87 WHIP across his final six starts last year. This is one of the most improved rotations in baseball, and we expect them to have a big week against Pittsburgh. Not only is PNC Park one of the most pitcher-friendly parks around, but the Pirates were 24th in xwOBA last season and are only projected to score 3.5 runs in this game.

Streamonator Valuation: $10.5

Sean Manaea, NYM (vs. KC)

We had Manaea as one of our streamers last week, and we’re going right back to the well. The talented lefty struck out eight batters across six scoreless innings in his Mets debut and finished last season with a 2.61 ERA and 1.03 WHIP over the final two months. We’ve always seen the potential from this guy, and throwing in Citi Field could be just what the doctor ordered for a career revival. Citi Field has been Top 5 in park factors over the last few years, while Kansas City was 26th in wOBA and 28th in OBP last season.

Streamonator Valuation: $21.6

Jon Gray, TEX (vs. OAK)

This one scares me to death, but we’re willing to use any talented pitcher against the A’s. Gray didn’t show that talent in his debut but he’s got the capability to mow down a lineup like this. Gray has a 4.05 ERA and 1.22 WHIP over the last two years, throwing at least seven scoreless innings in two of his last four meetings with Oakland. That success is no surprise since the A’s were 29th or 30th in runs scored, OBP, OPS and xwOBA last season. That will also likely make Gray a -250 favorite at home in this matchup, with a quality start and win seeming likely against the worst team in baseball.

Streamonator Valuation: $21.9

Streamers Jon Gray

Logan Allen, CLE (vs. CWS)

The Guardians just lost Shane Bieber for the season, so, they’ll need Logan to step up. He’s already been doing that, providing a 2.31 ERA and 1.11 WHIP through his first two starts. Cleveland is notorious for churning out great starters year after year, and it looks like they’ve found another with Allen. Our favorite part about using him is the home matchup with the White Sox. Chicago was already one of the worst offenses in baseball before they lost Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez this weekend. That’s why they’re only projected to score three runs in this spot, ranked 29th in runs scored and last in wOBA last year.

Streamonator Valuation: $20.4

Streamers Logan

Hitting Streamers

Eugenio Suarez, ARI (at COL, vs. STL)

Arizona has the best matchups of the week, so, we needed to get one of our streamers from their lineup. Suarez is the only one who’s widely available that we’re willing to trust, with the slugger batting fifth and sixth every day. The power isn’t what it used to be for Suarez, but this guy has been prolific throughout his career. Geno has at least 21 homers in seven of his last eight years, providing a .472 SLG and .810 OPS in that span. We love that when examining his hot start, tallying a .355 AVG, .516 SLG and .898 OPS though the opening week.

The matchups couldn’t be much better either, because the Rockies have the worst ERA in baseball while the Cards are sending out journeymen in their rotation. He’ll face Steven Matz, Kyle Gibson, Miles Mikolas, Kyle Freeland, Cal Quantrill and Austin Gomber in this six-game week. Three of those are lefties as well, with Suarez sporting a .863 OPS against southpaws over the last three years.

Will Benson, CIN (vs. MIL, at CWS)

Benson has been one of the best bats in this Cincy lineup since the start of last season, providing a .365 OBP, .498 SLG and .863 OPS last year. He carried that over in the opening week, hitting a double in four of his first five games. He also had 19 steals in 108 games last year and could be a 25-25 player near the bottom of this lineup. All of that looks great since Benson gets seven games, with six of them against right-handers. Benson has an OPS above .900 against righties since the start of last year, recording all but one of his steals against them. This is far from a scary group of righties, facing guys like Joe Ross, Chris Flexen, Erick Fedde, Jakob Junis and a Triple-A arm that hasn’t even been announced!

SAGNOF (Saves/Steals Ain’t Got No Face)

Steals Specialists

Johan Rojas (PHI)

Rojas has developed into an everyday player for the Phils near the bottom of their lineup but he should be a solid source of steals. He had 14 in just 59 games last year and had 30 across 76 games in Triple-A.

Victor Scott (STL)

Some people consider this the fastest player in baseball, with Scott swiping nearly 100 bags in the minors last year. This might be the final week he gets everyday at-bats with Lars Nootbaar returning, but it’s a great chance to steal a few steals!

Saves Specialists

Chad Green (TOR)

Most closers have been picked up already, but Green might get some chances this week. He picked up the first save for Toronto because Jordan Romano and Erik Swanson are expected to miss another week. They get six home games this week and you’d have to imagine he’ll get at least one or two save chances.

James McArthur (KC)

Will Smith has been horrid in his first week with KC, allowing McArthur to pick up the most recent save. We still believe Smith is the closer, but McArthur could run away with this gig if Smith struggles continue.

Feel free to comment here or reach me on Twitter @Bartilottajoel if you have any questions!