Now that the stupid spring training is nearly over, we can focus on some real baseball. No more gas can pitchers or football players like Tim Tebow dropping fly balls. We get real baseball and more importantly, real statistics!
In my first season with Razzball, I’m going to release a streaming article every weekend for the coming week. Seeing as how I play in numerous Yahoo Pro Leagues, we will focus on Yahoo ownership percentages. Our baseline in these articles is going to be 50 percent ownership or lower. While we will include two-start pitchers, the goal here is to find guys who are going to help your ratios. Streaming on Yahoo is critical and hopefully, this article will help lighten the load from the bums that blow up your ERA and WHIP. This opening weekend will be a bit tricky in terms of guessing who will start but we have a good idea of who should be on the mound and who they’ll be facing. So, with that in mind, let’s get started with some pitchers in San Diego.
Matt Strahm, SD vs. SF (46 Percent Owned)
Strahm is easily the best streamer we have, as he’ll likely be above 50 percent ownership after the opening week. What we really like about Strahm is breakout in spring training. While he’s only thrown 17 innings, Strahm is posting a 2.65 ERA and 1.00 WHIP while striking out 19 hitters. That’s pretty close to what he did out of the bullpen last season, with Strahm recording a 2.05 ERA and 0.98 WHIP across 61.1 innings.
Getting a talented arm like that out of the bullpen and into the rotation is a huge boost for the Padres, particularly in a matchup like this. Not only did San Francisco rank 29th in total runs last season, their lineup actually got worse this year. Pitching in San Diego is always a treat too, with Petco Park ranking as one of the best pitcher’s parks in the league. Eric Lauer is a sneaky option on the Padres as well, as he too has been spectacular in spring training and get the benefit of this tasty matchup against the Giants.
Dereck Rodriguez, SF at SD (28 Percent Owned)
Rodriguez got a lot of slack last season for his poor peripherals but good numbers are good numbers. In fact, Rodriguez led the Giants with a 2.81 ERA and 1.13 WHIP last season. That would make one believe his ownership would be higher this year but people still don’t believe in Pudge’s kid, for whatever reason. Striking out 89 batters in 118 innings is probably why but these impressive ratios are hard to overlook.
His numbers against San Diego were even better, with Rodriguez posting a 1.29 ERA and 0.79 WHIP in two starts against them last season. He also struck out 13 batters in those 14 innings and that’s no surprise when you consider the fact that San Diego finished 28th in scoring last season. While that’s likely to improve some this year, it’s not enough to scare me off of Rodriguez here. Depending on what the rotation looks like, Jeff Samardzija, Derek Holland and Chris Stratton are great options in this matchup and ballpark too.
Trevor Richards, MIA vs. COL (12 Percent Owned)
Richards is someone who’s typically only on people’s radars in deeper leagues but he should be looked at in all formats with his high upside. What’s most exciting about the righty is his preseason form, with Richards posting a 1.86 ERA and 0.62 WHIP in five spring training starts. He’s also recorded 20 strikeouts in 19.1 innings and he’s truly a breakout candidate.
Facing the Rockies on the road is always intriguing too, as they ranked 27th in the majors last season with a .665 road OPS. That’s particularly worrisome in Miami, with Marlins Park surrendering the second-fewest runs last season and fewest homers. That was evident when Richards struck out eight Rockies across six one-run innings in his one start against them last season. Caleb Smith is a sneaky bet for strikeouts in this matchup too, as he too has been one of the best pitchers in spring training.
Jakob Junis, CWS vs. KC (11 Percent Owned)
Junis showed some serious signs of promise last season and he could be a sneaky play against the White Sox. One of the major reasons why is because of Chicago’s lack of discipline, as their 1,594 K’s last season led the majors. That wasn’t their only issue either, with the White Sox sitting 24th in scoring as well. Chicago lives or dies off of the long-ball and the fact that Kauffman Stadium ranked 21st in total homers last season has to hurt their chances.
Junis’ last two starts against the White Sox were impressive last season, as he provided a 3.44 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP while striking out 10 batters across 13.1 innings. While that’s a small sample size, his 3.35 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 8.6 K/9 rates across his final 13 starts last season is not. Brad Keller and Jorge Lopez are also worth shots in this great matchup.
Deep League Throw-Ins:
Tyler Anderson is a sneaky start in Miami, as he gets the benefit of facing one of the worst lineups in one of the best ballparks possible. Remember that guy Michael Pineda? Yeah, the one with the goop on his neck. He’s also a sneaky deep league streamer with his incredible strikeout rate and friendly matchup against a shallow Indians lineup without Francisco Lindor.
If you have any comments or questions, comment me here or reach me on Twitter @BartilottaJoel