Welcome back to the Weekend Stream, everyone's favorite advice column for manipulating fantasy baseball rosters over a few short days to try to steal some category wins.
Just like last year, we’ll use this column to highlight available pitchers with favorable matchups who could help move the needle in your direction as weekly matchups draw to a close. We’ve widened its reach this season, however, looking to appeal to as many people in as many different formats as possible. Every week, we’ll have stream candidates for shallow, normal and deep leagues. Pitchers with an availability rate between 50% and 70% will be considered streamable in shallow leagues. Anywhere between 71% and 89% will be classified as streamers in typical leagues (think 12- or 14-team mixed), while pitchers under the deep heading will be available in 90% of leagues or more, and generally apply to those of you in NL- or AL-only leagues, or mixed leagues with 16 or more teams.
Derek Holland, Texas Rangers (Friday vs. Astros)
Holland missed essentially the entire 2014 season after falling in his home in January and suffering a knee injury that required microfracture surgery. He returned at the end of the year and made five starts, but the fantasy community shouldn’t really try to glean anything from that sample. He dealt with shoulder soreness in the spring, but looked good when he did pitch, and didn’t report any issues with the shoulder as March wound to a close. He draws the Astros on Friday, and while the team is trending in the right direction, it still features a lot of boom or bust bats. If Holland is available in your league, he could be a huge asset this week in the strikeout category.
Jesse Hahn, Oakland A’s (Sunday vs. Mariners)
Unlike most pitchers in this week’s column, we’ve already seen Hahn this year. He allowed three runs on seven hits while striking out three in a loss to the Rangers earlier in the week. Hahn impressed in a 73 1/3-inning audition with the Padres last year, posting a 3.07 ERA, 3.40 FIP and 70 strikeouts. While he was eminently hittable in his first start of the season, he didn’t issue a walk, and that’s great news for a pitcher who had a 10.5% walk rate a season ago. Hahn was fastball heavy in that loss to the Rangers, and you can bet on him using his sinker and curveball a bit more against the Mariners on Sunday. Their lineup is much improved from last year, but this recommendation is more about Hahn being an attractive pitcher in his own right.
Drew Pomeranz, Oakland A’s (Friday vs. Mariners)
Pomeranz just barely makes the shallow category, so those of you in typical 12-team mixed leagues may want to check on him, as well. No one really expects Pomeranz to approach last year’s 2.35 ERA. First of all, he did that in just 69 innings. Secondly, his FIP was nearly 1.5 runs higher, registering at 3.77. What Pomeranz can do, however, is miss bats. He has a career strikeout rate of 20%, and that ticked up to 23% last season. Pomeranz is a nice target if you’re chasing strikeouts this weekend, though Holland is a better one. Make sure you first look for the Rangers starter before adding Pomeranz.
Archie Bradley, Arizona Diamondbacks (Saturday vs. Dodgers)
We’ve talked about Bradley first in our prospect pitchers to know column, and then pumping him up again in our first Pitching Report of the season, published earlier this week. You can read much of the case for Bradley as a potential breakout pitcher this season in both of those pieces. The angle for adding him this weekend is two-pronged. First, if you need to stream someone on Saturday, he’s going to be one of your few options. Given that most rotations are in their natural order during the first week of the season, a lot of the starters going on Saturday are widely owned. Secondly, he’s the sort of guy who can easily go from being a stream option in April to a universally owned pitcher in May. Buy in on the ground floor, kick the tires for a bit, spout off another few clichés, and see how Bradley pitches these next few weeks. If you’re looking for help in wins this week, understand that he’ll be opposing Clayton Kershaw.
Aaron Sanchez, Toronto Blue Jays (Saturday @ Orioles)
Sanchez made 24 appearances for the Blue Jays out of the bullpen last year, but he’ll make his first career start on Saturday with Toronto visiting Baltimore. Had Marcus Stroman not suffered a torn ACL in spring training, Sanchez would likely be in the bullpen, threatening to take over the closer’s job. As it stands, he’s a starter with some nice upside who you can still get on the cheap. This admittedly is not a great matchup, as the Orioles have a strong offense and Camden Yards is a hitter’s haven, but, as previously stated with Bradley, the pickings for Saturday are slim. Sanchez can help you across the board, though don’t expect him to work too deep into this game.
Dan Haren, Miami Marlins (Friday vs. Rays)
On Wednesday, the Rays used a lineup that included David DeJesus as the DH, Asdrubal Cabrera hitting third, Desmond Jennings hitting fifth and Kevin Kiermaier hitting sixth. Brandon Guyer and John Jaso have also been used as the DH in Tampa Bay’s first three games. It’s still early, but this is likely going to be a lineup fantasy owners can exploit all season. Haren’s widely available for a spot start this weekend.
Hector Noesi, Chicago White Sox (Friday vs. Twins)
This follows the same logic as the Haren recommendation. The Twins have had a ton of trouble scoring already this season, and while Noesi may not be David Price or Anibal Sanchez (who led the Tigers to shutouts of the Twins to start the season), he doesn’t have to be to help fantasy owners looking in need of some help this weekend. Noesi is never going to be the type of pitcher who can stick on a fantasy roster, but he can take advantage of a Twins lineup that could end up being one of the worst in the majors.
Dillon Gee, New York Mets (Saturday @ Braves)
This is yet another matchup play, which we’re going to see a lot of all season when digging this deep. The Braves may have knocked around Mat Latos on Tuesday and notched a three-game sweep of the Marlins, but this is not an offense that is going to intimidate very many pitchers. Outside of Freddie Freeman, there isn’t a hitter in the everyday lineup who’s a regular fantasy starter, a benchmark that’s worth considering since even the shallowest fantasy leagues have 90 starting offensive spots. Gee isn’t going to blow anyone away, but he can be a really tough matchup when his changeup is working. That has always been his best pitch, and gives him a boost against lefties. The best hitters in Atlanta’s lineup are Freeman and Nick Markakis, who just happen to hit from the left side of the plate.