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Looking Ahead: Streaming Options for Week 1 Playoffs

With the Fantasy Baseball playoffs right around the corner, it is always important to stay ahead of your competition. Although some fantasy teams have a set pitching rotation, many deploy the use of streamers to fill in the gaps. If things have gone well this year, you may be able to look ahead to the first round of the playoffs next week. So long as your league has waivers that run at least twice a week, you can potentially grab one of the top streaming options for next week now. In this article, I outline two starters to stream for next week that could help you win you your matchup!

Streaming Options for Week 1 Playoffs

Mike Minor- SP Cincinnati Reds

Mike Minor should a streamer that is widely available. He is only rostered in 26% of Fantrax leagues currently. Minor has struggled throughout much of 2022. Up to this point in the season, Minor has a 6.10 ERA along with a 1.54 WHIP. For next week, Minor lines up to start Wednesday at the Chicago Cubs. He could be the perfect streaming option in deep leagues if you are looking for a boost!

Why Stream Mike Minor?

If the 2022 season has been such a struggle for Mike Minor, why should you stream him in the fantasy baseball playoffs? The answer boils down to a few simple arguments. The first point is this game is in Chicago. Although Mike Minor has been bad this season, he has performed better on the road. Minor has a 6.37 ERA in Cincinnati, compared to a 5.82 ERA on the road.

My second point is specific to picking up streamers. When looking at different pitchers to add, it is important that you are picking up somebody with a high chance of at least contributing to your win categories. Often streamers can be a shot in the dark which is why they are rostered in under 50% of leagues. A pitcher is ineligible for a win if they do not pitch at least five innings. Minor has thrown at least five innings in each of his last six starts and in 11 of his last 13 this season. At the very least, Minor is a streaming option that should put himself in position to be eligible for a win.

The most convincing argument that can be made for streaming Mike Minor is his opponent. The Cubs have been one of the worst teams in baseball against left-handed pitching. Since the start of July, the Cubs have posted a 78 wRC+ against left-handed pitching. This is third worst in all of baseball. They have been even worse in August posting a 68 wRC+. Since the start of July, they are hitting .204/.270/.367. Mike Minor might not be the flashiest pick-up, but the Cubs have made it clear that they struggle against lefties.

In addition to all the other arguments, I am encouraged by the changes Mike Minor has been making to his pitch mix lately. Minor’s fastball has been hit hard this year posting a Run Value of +6(bad for pitchers). This is concerning being that this is his most used pitch. However, if you look at the splits, Minor has been consistently decreasing his fastball usage as the season has gone on.

Minor has been relying more on his curveball which has been his best pitch this season. I expect Minor to continue this trend as the season goes on. On the season, the Cubs have the 10th worst xwOBA against curveballs in all of baseball. I am trusting Mike Minor as a streaming option next week and I think that you should do the same!

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Jose Suarez- SP Los Angeles Angels

Jose Suarez is not quite as widely available to stream as Mike Minor. However, he is available in more than 50% of Fantrax Leagues and there is a good chance you can still get him. Suarez has thrown just 73 innings so far this year and has posted a 4.19 ERA so far. Suarez lines up to start early next week against the Detroit Tigers. This matchup, combined with Suarez’s flashes of dominance provide a great streaming option for fantasy managers next week!

Why Stream Jose Suarez?

A large part of my case for Mike Minor as a streaming option this week was his opponent. While I do believe the Tigers present a favorable matchup for Jose Suarez, this is more about Suarez’s recent success. Suarez began the 2022 campaign with an opportunity to start. He struggled with his command walking 11 in just 17 innings of work leading to a 6.35 ERA. After his demotion, Suarez has come back looking like a completely different pitcher. In the 10 starts since being called back up, Suarez has posted a 3.58 ERA. More specifically, in his last five starts, Suarez has a 1.93 ERA backed up by a 2.48 FIP.

So, what changed?

After struggling to limit walks early in the season, Suarez has walked just 2.44 batters per 9 innings since returning. With his control improved, he has even seen his strikeout rate jump up. One of the most instrumental pieces to Suarez’s success has been the development of his slider. As you can see in the picture from Baseball Savant below, Suarez was hesitant to throw the pitch across his four starts in April.

Since returning to the majors in June, Suarez has been relying more and more on his slider each month. Suarez has always had a great changeup to strike right-handed batters out. The development of a slider is his new go-to pitch against lefties. As you can see, Suarez has relied heavily on this pitch against lefties which has resulted in a 39.1% whiff rate in July and a 44.4% whiff rate in August. Suarez is still only 24 years old and his ability to develop an out pitch against lefties could set new heights for what he is able to do.

My opinion on Suarez is high for his entire ROS outlook, but specifically for his next start. Suarez lines up to face the Tigers who have been struggling throughout 2022. Since the start of July, the Tigers have posted just a 98 wRC+ against lefties. Although this is not as nice as the Cubs’ numbers against southpaws, Suarez is the far superior pitcher. I like Suarez as a streaming option next week and think he can help you win your fantasy matchup!

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