Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Steady Stream

During these last few weeks of the fantasy baseball season and the beginning of the playoffs for most, I'd like to take a shot at a regular column geared towards streaming pitchers. Streaming pitchers is a strategy that gets some people pretty fired up. So let's get something straight: "My name is Daniel and I stream pitchers in all of my fantasy baseball leagues." I don't believe you get the type of return on your dollar that one would hope from the draft position required to get an ace or two. It is a very high risk/high reward game that I prefer to not to be a part of each year.

Taking chances on guys like this season's Josh Beckett (ADP: 42.31), Erik Bedard (43.34), Aaron Harang (72.13), and "King" Felix (80.72) are just not worth it to me when the chance of finding cheap gems like Cliff Lee (398.32), Ervin Santana (362.98), Ricky Nolasco (400+), and Mike Mussina (375.67) have the potential for success with much less investment. I'd rather use those early round picks on hitters like Justin Morneau (38.12), Adam Dunn (42,31), Brian Roberts (43.03), Adrian Gonzalex (75.31), and Jason Bay (91.02) while applying some principles of a LIMA Plan to fill out my rotations on draft day.

So back to my idea for a regular column. I'd like to identify some stream-worthy pitchers (owned in less than 50% of ESPN leagues) each day and then revisit the picks the following day to see how it went. Here we go.

Thursday's schedule only offers a couple of stream-worthy pitchers:
  • Jesse Litsch (8.5% owned) at home versus the Twins. Justification: Litsch is 5-2 at home this year with a 3.18 ERA and a .255 BAA; was 1-1, 1.37 ERA and .233 BAA in August; and 1-0, 3.18 ERA, .190 BAA vs. MIN this season.
  • Jeff Suppan (4.6%) at home versus San Diego. Justification: Over the last 30 days, Suppan is 4-0 in 35 IPs with four quality starts, a 3.60 ERA and 1.06 WHIP but his 3.86 K/9 could be cause for concern. He's also facing Shawn Estes (fresh off the DL).
I'm looking forward to seeing how these picks pan out and to hear other opinions on the pros and cons of the streaming strategy. What policies have been put in place in your leagues to curtail such practices?


Scandalous Bob said...

First of all, great idea for an article. Second, as far as streaming goes, I'm usually not a huge fan of it personally, but I do it when I have to. And as long as it's done within the rules of the league, no one has any room to complain.

alfonso said...

I think streaming is a great idea. I keep 2 spots open on all of my teams for streamers. And on off days I fill those spots with bats to keep my counting stats up. It's worked out well this year.

Another advantage to streaming is that you're likely to pick up players like Cliff Lee and Justin Duchscherer early on.

Daniel Aubain said...

As of this AM, Suppan is now 33.6% owned and Litsch is 24.1% owned. So streaming is alive and well.

Red Sox Talk said...

Daniel, I agree with your point in general, but I do think there is something to be said for drafting an ace or two for your team.

You could use a similar argument for highly-drafted hitters who haven't produced as expected this year:
Jimmy Rollins, 1st rounder, ranked 104th on Yahoo
Carl Crawford, 2nd rounder, ranked 141st
David Ortiz, 1-2nd rounder, ranked 192nd
Magglio Ordonez, 2-3rd rounder, ranked 92nd
Russell Martin, 3rd rounder, ranked 138th
Carlos Guillen, 3-4th rounder, ranked 193rd

There are plenty of hitters who have come out of (fantasy) nowhere and been quite valuable as well:
Dustin Pedroia, ranked 6th
Carlos Quentin, ranked 11th
Aubrey Huff, ranked 16th
Ryan Ludwick, ranked 17th
Kevin Youkilis, ranked 27th

I guess my point is that while pitchers are probably easier to replace, you take a risk with hitters as well and it's best in my mind to diversify your portfolio and spread out your risk. I have no problem with drafting a couple pitchers relatively high, and my fantasy teams have done pretty well with that strategy.

Bob Taylor said...

Good call on Litsch. He would have been awarded LotD honors if he only could have struck anyone out.

Daniel Aubain said...

Lisch's performance (9IP 4H 0ER 2BB 3K W CG SHO QS) is the Holy Grail of why streamers stream. If you are in a league with expanded scoring categories, a gem like this at this time of the year is priceless.

Suppan's less than stellar performance (5.1IP 7H 4ER 4BB 3K L) probably hurts more in H2H playoff matchups than in Rotisserie scoring formats.

Daniel Aubain said...

@ red sox talk

I agree that there are under performing hitters that can ruin a season too but, in my opinion, the ace or even the closer that fails seems to impact a team more.

I'll stick to not overpaying for aces or closers and take my chances that the Carl Crawfords and Prince Fielders perform closer to expectations.