If you’re looking for pitchers to stream or if you’re looking for potentially cheap options in daily, salary-cap formats, here are a few options for week two that are widely available and almost certain to be fairly cheap.
Joe Blanton | Los Angeles Angels | Home to Oakland on Wednesday
We all know exactly what Joe Blanton is. He’s a guy with slightly above average strikeout skills and a great walk rate. Unfortunately, he lives in the zone too much and has a problem with home runs as a result. But in the right ballparks Blanton is capable of being a good fantasy spot starter. Despite the fact that he moved to the AL this offseason, it was nice to see him sign with the Angels because his new home ballpark suppresses home runs at an above average rate.
Any time Blanton goes at home this year, he’ll be worth considering for a spot start so long as the matchup isn’t terrible. This week he gets Oakland at home, which isn’t a terrible matchup. Blanton’s career HR/9 against lefties is 0.92 compared to 1.23 against righties. Yoenis Cespedes will obviously be a challenge for him, but a couple of Oakland’s other power bats, Josh Reddick and Brandon Moss, hit from the left side of the plate.
Coors Field was the second worst HR park for pitchers last year according to Fangraphs’ park factors. AT&T in San Fran was 7th best. You may be thinking that’s all well and good but may hesitate to use Nicasio or Francis in any park.
The case for Nicasio is that he had a SIERA around 3.75 in his first 24 major league starts. The 5.00-plus ERA in 11 starts last year is worrisome, but he really just got BABIP’d to death in a small 58 inning sample. He was decent in his first start of the season in Milwaukee, so if you need to roll the dice with someone he’s worth a look. He’s basically unowned and certain to be cheap in daily formats.
The case for Francis is more difficult to make, mainly because we have over 1,000 innings of work that tell us he’s not very good. But Francis is a lot like Blanton in that he doesn’t issue many free passes and gives up too many long balls as a result. But he’s also like Blanton in that he can give you a decent start in the right ballpark. As mentioned, San Francisco is the right park.
Carlos Villanueva | Chicago Cubs | Home to San Francisco on Thursday
I don’t have anything against the Giants offense, I promise. But I do like Villanueva quite a bit and wouldn’t be afraid to gamble on him against them. Villanueva has some strikeout ability as evidenced by his 23.4% K% last year and his 10.1% SwStr%. But he’s another guy who struggles with the long ball, which is obviously why he and the other guys listed above are so widely available and cheap. And his new home park in Chicago is not a good park for pitchers with that problem. But the Giants only hit 103 homers last year, 13 fewer any other team. If he keeps it in the park, he can have a nice start. This seems like as good a matchup as any to expect him to do so.