Streaming pitchers is a practice that is hated by many fantasy baseball managers and is often used to exploit a hole in your league's settings and configuration. If there is no cap on innings pitched, a "streamer" can attempt to chase Wins at the expense of categories such as ERA and WHIP. Personally, I stream pitchers in every league and every format because on draft day I usually go after several front-of-the-rotation pitchers and then use my late round picks to fill holes I may have with my hitters. Usually only one or two of those players will pan out, so I'll start using those other roster positions to stream pitchers with favorable match ups and obviously available on waivers.
Here are my Stream-Worthy Starting Pitchers for games to be played on Friday, 04/16/2010 and the level of RISK associated with streaming:
- Wade Davis, TB (53% E; 15% Y!) @ BOS vs. Josh Beckett - Pitching in the potent AL East is always risky and opening the season against the NY Yankees proved that point (6 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, L). Matching up versus Josh Beckett in Boston and the potent Boston lineup could make the start of the 2010 season a forgettable one for Davis. RISK: EXTREMELY HIGH
- Derek Lowe. ATL (47% E; 65% Y!) @ home vs. COL - Lowe has won his first two decisions of 2010 but not in pretty fashion (6:10 K:BB, 6 ER, 12 IP). Colorado's lineup has some injuries (Hawpe, CarGo) but their replacements (Spilborghs, Fowler, Seth Smith) can still do damage in a hitters park. RISK: MODERATE
- Dallas Braden, OAK (38% E; 47% Y!) @ home vs. BAL - Braden should be a definite own after starting the season with 12 K, 2 BB, 9 H, 4 ER in 13 IP. Baltimore should be an easy mark for this up-and-coming pitcher. RISK: LOW
- Shaun Marcum, TOR (35% E; 46% Y!) @ home vs. LAA - Marcum has already flirted with a no-hitter and has posted two strong outings so far, amassing 11 K versus 2 BB and 10 H in 13 IP. The Angels have a lineup that can do a lot of damage on any given day. Another strong outing by Marcum could solidify him as a must-own pitcher in all formats. RISK: SLIGHT
- Zack Duke, PIT (5% E; 12% Y!) @ home vs. CIN - Duke has 2 wins already in 2010 and I wouldn't be surprised if those were his only two wins this year. I've been burned way too many times by streaming a Pittsburgh starting pitcher and can't bring myself to recommending anyone but the loyal or foolish to stream him. RISK: DANGER!
- Mike Leake, CIN (3% E; 8% Y!) @ PIT - Streaming against Pittsburgh usually has its benefits and Leake didn't fair as poorly as his numbers might suggest in his debut (6.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 7 BB, 5 K, just 57 of 107 pitches for strikes). Not a game for the faint of heart. RISK: HIGH
- Jeremy Bonderman, DET (2% E; 6% Y!) @ SEA vs. Felix Hernandez - This game has the feeling of a 3-2 outcome and can go either way. Seattle is not scoring runs and Bonderman is still regaining his strength but his first outing was encouraging (5 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, W). RISK: MODERATE
- Carlos Silva, CHC (0.4% E; 1% Y!) @ home vs. HOU - The Astros look hapless so far and are a good team to stream against. Silva had a nice debut at CIN (6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K) and could be a steal in virtually all leagues. Just remember that he still is Carlos Silva. RISK: SLIGHT
- Todd Wellemeyer, SF (0.2% E; 1% Y!) @ LAD - Sometimes streaming isn't about how well a pitcher is pitching (6.1 IP, 5.68 ERA, .387 OBA, 1.74 WHIP) but about how poorly his opponent (Padilla - 8.2 IP, 14 H, 11 ER, 2.08 WHIP) pitching. The Dodgers lineup is capable of putting up a lot of runs, so tread lightly. RISK: HIGH
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?