Fantasy baseball Pitcher Streaming Options: Gonzalez, Arroyo

Friday May 23rd, 2014

Orioles right-hander Miguel Gonzalez has struck out at least six batters in five of his last seven starts.
Justin K. Aller/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.

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• Miguel Gonzalez, Baltimore Orioles -- Gonzalez is not the kind of pitcher you want to keep on your roster for more than a spot start, even in most deep leagues. His performance is simply too uneven to trust him as a guy you run out in every outing. However, he has the sort of strikeout upside that can be appealing in the right matchup, and he gets just such a matchup this weekend.

The streaming pile is thin this week, as we'll see in the rest of the column, and Gonzalez is probably your best bet if you're chasing strikeouts. He starts on Sunday against the Indians, a team with a few big swing-and-miss guys in Carlos Santana and Nick Swisher. On the whole, the Indians do a good job of putting the ball in play, but if Gonzalez can take advantage of Santana and Swisher, he can have a big day in the strikeout department. The soon-to-be 30-year-old righty has 42 strikeouts in 45 2/3 innings this year, thanks in large part to a curveball that has been very good. He's available in nearly every fantasy league on the planet, making him an easy-to-get, attractive option this weekend.

• Bronson Arroyo, Arizona Diamondbacks -- Arroyo makes his second appearance in the Weekend Stream, though this time it has a lot to do with his opponent. The Mets, whom Arroyo will face Sunday, have been a very bad offensive team all year. They're hitting .234/.305/.351 with a 22.9-percent strikeout rate. They rank 29th in baseball with a .293 wOBA and 26th with 86 weighted runs created plus. Their 32 homers are the fourth fewest in the majors. No matter how you slice it, this is not a good hitting team.

Arroyo has been his usual, unimposing self this year. He's not really striking anyone out, but he isn't giving up homers or free passes, either. That makes the Mets, a punchless outfit whose best offensive quality might be their team-wide ability to take walks, a particularly good matchup for the veteran. Even though the Mets have a proclivity to swing and miss, Arroyo is unlikely to help you much in strikeouts. If you need help in the rate categories, however, Arroyo might be your best bet among pitchers readily available in most leagues.

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Donn Roach, San Diego Padres -- As I said earlier, this is not the greatest weekend to stream pitchers. A lot of widely owned pitchers are taking the mound on Saturday and Sunday, and most of those that aren't don't bring much to table. What exactly does Roach, he of the 4.9 K/9, offer fantasy owners? Like Arroyo, a great matchup.

Roach starts on Saturday in San Diego against the Cubs. No team in baseball has struck out more frequently than the Cubs, and when they have put wood on the ball, they haven't done a whole lot of damage. They're hitting .236/.301/.369 with a .297 wOBA and 81 wRC+. Each and every one of those numbers ranks 25th or worse in the league.

On his own merits, Roach really should not be considered in fantasy leagues. He's only in the rotation because of Andrew Cashner's elbow injury, and will be shunted right back to the bullpen once the ace of the staff returns. However, he has an intriguing matchup this weekend that he just might be able to exploit. If you're desperate, give Roach some consideration.

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