Fantasy baseball Pitcher Streaming Options: Mejia, Koehler

Friday April 25th, 2014

Tom Koehler, who faces the Mets Sunday, has hurled 18 strikeouts and has an ERA of 2.13 this year.
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Streaming is a time-tested approach prized by fantasy owners of all stripes. Categories in head-to-head leagues can often come down to the thinnest of margins, making the weekend a crucial time to think about streaming pitchers. Below are this weekend's best options -- all owned in 30 percent or less in either Yahoo!, CBSSports or ESPN leagues as of Thursday night.

FANTASY BASEBALL WEEK 4: Weekly planner | Power rankings | Hitting report | Pitching report | Closer rankings | Prospect watch | April 24 news

Jenrry Mejia, New York Mets -- I'm strongly on the record as a Mejia supporter. In my opinion, he should be owned in standard-sized mixed leagues. My proselytizing and -- more importantly -- his performance might one day get him on more rosters, but it hasn't happened yet, which means he's widely available for his Saturday start against the Marlins. He was brilliant in his last outing, shutting out the Cardinals and fanning seven in 6 2/3 innings. He has a 1.99 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and 25 strikeouts in 22 2/3 innings this year, and should be able to take advantage of the Marlins over the weekend. Their 24.4-percent strikeout rate is the third-highest in the league, and a pitcher with Mejia's stuff should be able to get plenty of empty swings. If he can stay in the game long enough, he could reach double-digit strikeouts in a game for the first time this season.

Tom Koehler, Miami Marlins -- Koehler has been quietly effective in four outings this season, going at least six innings and allowing two or fewer runs in each of his starts. His last time out, he gave up two runs and struck out eight in 6 1/3 innings, earning a no-decision against the Braves. He's not known as a strikeout pitcher, though he has fanned at least six batters in two of his starts this year. Koehler takes the mound on Sunday against the Mets, who have the second-highest strikeout rate as a team at 24.7 percent. They've also managed just a .217/.295/.310 slash line, all of which rank in the bottom five in the league (their .310 slugging percentage is worst). That makes Koehler a great stream option this weekend, regardless of what stats you're chasing.

Edinson Volquez, Pittsburgh Pirates -- Volquez's surprising competence -- nay, resurgence -- this year probably deserves a column of its own. For now, he'll have to settle for being a great stream option this weekend. He's scheduled to start Sunday in St. Louis, and despite what is always a tough matchup, Volquez should be trusted. He has been a completely different pitcher this year, posting a 1.93 ERA, 2.99 FIP and 0.93 WHIP in 28 innings. His strikeouts are way down, and his velocity has taken a slight dip (though it's small enough that it could be chalked up to the usual early-season decline pitchers experience), but the real takeaway here is that he has issued just five unintentional walks. He has never had a walk rate lower than 9.9 percent for a full season, and so far this year, it's 4.6 percent. The Cardinals don't strike out much, so Volquez may not be of much help in the strikeout category, but he can provide a boost to your rates.

Dan Straily, Oakland A's -- Straily is a bit more of a stretch, given that he's more regularly owned than Mejia, Koehler and Volquez, but those of you in shallower leagues should consider him when he takes the ball on Saturday against the Astros. While Straily is a fine pitcher worth rostering beyond this weekend, much of this recommendation has to do with the opponent. The Astros are hitting .199/.274/.357 as a team this year, and both the batting average and OBP rank last in the majors. Straily has a 5.40 ERA in 21 2/3 innings, but his xFIP is 3.79, and he has 21 strikeouts. If he's available in your league, he can help you out across the board this weekend.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.