The beginning of any season can be a little tricky to figure out. We do not have any sample size to help make early season decisions. As the year goes on and on, we get more and more information to help us figure out which pitching streamers are favorable to stream and which matchups we should look to avoid.
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Early Season Pitching Streamers
While offseason moves will certainly impact these stats, we do have access to 2018 trends to help us make early season decisions. Looking at team-specific stats against lefties and righties can both help you make some tough lineup decisions and assist you in finding some sneaky pitching streamers. The best stat to use here is wOBA, which stands for weighted on-base average. wOBA is a stat that weighs all the aspects of hitting, such as singles, doubles, triples, homers, walks, etc, on a weighted scale. The algorithm rates offensive value, with the higher the wOBA, the better the player or team is offensively. It’s a better tool to judge offense than any stand-alone stat such as avg, OBP, ISO, etc.
Target these teams with LHP
First, let’s see the teams to stream left-handed pitchers against and those where we should avoid the matchup. There were eight teams that had a wOBA below .300 against southpaws:
|Team||wOBA vs LHP|
The Marlins, Giants, Orioles, and Royals are all teams that you should know to target when looking to stream a pitcher. However, the other four may not have come to mind. The Angels, while they still have the GOAT in Mike Trout, have a very similar lineup to last season. Their big acquisitions were Justin Bour, who struggles against lefties, and Jonathan Lucroy, who will not help make things better. While the Mets added offense this offseason, they still sport a very lefty-heavy lineup. The Padres and Phillies are the two that I am most hesitant to stack against out of these teams.
Avoid these teams with LHP
In 2018, there were 10 teams that posted a wOBA of .320 or higher against lefties. These are the teams you would want to avoid using lefties against, at least early in the season:
|Team||wOBA vs LHP|
Many of these teams have strong offenses, which is obviously not ideal when looking to stream a pitcher. However, there are some that stand out. The big ones that you may have considered streaming against, but should avoid using a lefty against are the Athletics, Rays, and Reds. If you have a Top-30 starting pitcher who is a lefty, then you can still start them against these teams. However, anything outside of that I would look to find a different option.
Target these teams with RHP
The stats work the same way with right-handed pitchers. In 2018, there were only five teams that had a wOBA of .300 or lower.
|Team||wOBA vs RHP|
The Padres are no longer the same team to pick on, now adding Manny Machado and having a ton of young talent. The Tigers, Marlins, and Giants are all among the worst lineups in the MLB and fantasy owners should continue to take advantage of them. The Diamondbacks are now without Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock and just sadly lost Steven Souza for the season. Continue streaming righties against them.
Avoid these teams with RHP
Now, as for the teams that you should look to avoid streaming righties against. There were 11 teams that had a wOBA greater than .320 against right-handed pitchers in 2018.
|Team||wOBA vs RHP|
There are some obvious teams there that you would not try to stream against in the Red Sox, Dodgers, Yankees, Brewers, Cubs, and Indians. However, there are some that you may not feel as strongly about. First, the A’s and Rays appear on both lists so they are not a team you should be looking to go against early in the season. The Blue Jays are not a team that people are fearful of, but perhaps, at least against righties, fantasy owners should look elsewhere for pitching streamers early on. The Angels, who were bottom five in wOBA against lefties had the 10th highest wOBA against righties. That right there is something you should look to exploit in the early weeks of the fantasy season.
Good luck to start the season! Make sure to stay up to date and follow me on Twitter, @MichaelFFlorio.
Michael Florio is the winner of the 2018 FSWA Baseball Article of the Year and was a finalist for the 2017 Fantasy Football Writer of the Year. He has hosted video/radio shows, written for a number of print and web publications including the AP, NY Daily News and much more!
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