I know, I know…The title is an awfully long stretch. I just wanted to pay tribute to one of my favorite Tribe albums. I’m referring of course to the legendary hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest for all of you young hipsters who might not be familiar. “Midnight Marauders” was a pivotal release for the group as their lyrics shifted to more of a community concern and focused on stories about their everyday lives. Great stuff and you should definitely check it out. In fact, I challenge you to listen to the entire album and not have “Award Tour” and “Oh My God” stuck in your head for the next week. So, where am I going with this and what does Joe Mauer have to do with it? Could it be that Marauders was released in 1993 and that happens to be the last time Mauer was fantasy relevant? Just kidding. I’m here to sell you on the idea of streaming Joe Mauer for your hitting pleasure this week. Sounds crazy, right? Well, the Twins are scheduled to play seven games this week and all of them line up against right-handed starters. That’s important because Mauer has been a career .318 hitter against righties while slugging 101 of his 132 career home runs against RHP as well. That’s cool. Better yet is the fact that he owns a .378 wOBA, 136 wRC+ .882 OPS against right-handers. Sign me up! He’s also just 3% owned, so yeah…you could say he’s available everywhere.
Like always, I’ll be suggesting a few of my favorite plays with the assistance of the Stream-o-Nator and Hitter-Tron. All of the players mentioned below will be available in at least 50% of standard ESPN leagues, so stream away if you’re so inclined. Without further delay, I bring you the Week 8 streaming suggestions. Enjoy!
Tyler Glasnow @ ATL – This might be the closest I’ve ever been to being too scared to suggest a pitcher that the Stream-o-Nator really likes. It’s just that Glasnow has been awful this year. But…the skillset is there and I still have a bit of a prospect hangover with this kid. The Braves have been below average this season when facing right-handers, so maybe that’s what the bot is clinging to with this start. Atlanta owns a .137 ISO, .732 OPS and a .311 wOBA vs RHP in 2017. Those numbers all rank in the bottom half of the league plus his 9.70 K/9 will play in most formats. Also, if we’re being honest, he’s been extremely unlucky thus far as his .382 BABIP suggests.
Zach Davies vs TOR – I’m warming up to the idea of Davies becoming a reliable streamer from week to week. His April was an abomination as he posted a 6.57 ERA and 1.86 WHIP. Since then he’s won five of his last six decisions, while allowing two or fewer runs in those five victories. Toronto has been anything but spectacular when it comes to facing right-handers this year, racking up a .698 OPS and .298 OBP.
Zack Wheeler vs SD – Wheeler has been solid over his last four starts allowing just five earned runs, while racking up 19 Ks in 21 2/3 innings. There seems to be a little debate as to whether this start will come against the Padres or Pirates, either way he should be a solid stream. Both teams rank at the bottom of nearly every offensive category, most notably San Diego’s 24.2% strikeout rate and Pittsburgh’s 141 ISO.
Matt Andriese vs LAA – From a standard statistical outlook, Andriese has all the makings of a solid streamer each week. He boasts an impressive 3.18 ERA and his 8.34 K/9 is nothing short of solid. He’s allowed two runs or fewer in five of his eight starts and inducing groundballs at a 50% clip. Not too shabby for a pitcher available in over 90% of ESPN leagues.
Ty Blach vs ATL – If you’re chasing Ks, this isn’t the stream for you, as evidenced by Blach’s pathetic 2.86 K/9. What we’re doing here is going after a quality start and Blach could very well deliver. He’s turned in three QS in his last four outings and he’s keeping the ball in the park as his 0.8 HR/9 would suggest. The Braves .152 ISO ranks 21st in the league and with no Freddie Freeman the Atlanta long ball threat is no more. Furthermore, Blach has yielded more than two earned runs just once over his last five starts so if you’re searching for pitching options this week, this might be a temporary fix.
Josh Bell – Flounder from Delta Tau Chi Fraternity once exclaimed: “Oh boy is this great!” That perfectly sums up my feelings on Bell this week. He’s launched four home runs during his six game hitting streak and he’s poised to face right-handed starters in six of Pittsburgh’s upcoming seven games. Why is this significant you might ask? Well, the handsome 6’4″ switch-hitter owns a .380 wOBA and 136 wRC+ when facing RHP this season. It’s insane that he’s available in 57% of leagues this late in May. In fact, the only thing “insaner” might be his .271 ISO and .870 OPS this season. Wait…Did I mention his 11% walk rate thus far? Swoon!
Lonnie Chisenhall – This is more of a deep league play only because the Chis has been receiving part-time at-bats as of late. Cleveland will play seven games this week, six of which will come against right-handed starters. This is a berry good thing for those looking to stream here; as 81 of his 95 plate appearances in 2017 have come vs RHP. To date, Chisenhall owns a .250/.528/.836 slash line vs RHP, along with blasting all 5 of his home runs as well. One more tidbit of info: His 102 wRC+ against righties bodes well for the coming week…If you needed some reassurance.
Tim Anderson – What should get you excited about this suggestion is the fact that Anderson has hit safely in 7 of his last 8 games. That qualifies as hot in my book. Obviously my book is the be-all and end-all of books. Why? Because it’s leather-bound, of course. I have many of those, in case you’re interested. I’m important. Anyway, another bonus here is that Anderson has found himself at the top of the White Sox order, at least until Leury Garcia’s elbow feels better. They’re also slated for a double-header on Friday, in case your league has daily moves. I’m always a big fan of the hot bat, so let’s ride his .367 wOBA & 133 wRC+ for the month of May into some points this week.