Relative Waiver Wire: Streaming Some Crude Kids

To stream pitchers is to play with fire, but at this time of year, you may find yourself in a situation in which you have to do it. You may be burned, but you could torch your competition, too.

Some streaming options stand out more than others. I didn’t necessarily pick the best of the best. Instead, I offered some of these barely owned if owned at all prospect types who possess some serious talent and therefore nice upside for those in very deep leagues who are hoping to be a little lucky.

Good luck to fantasy baseball players in these final few days – particularly the ones who read FanGraphs.

Thursday, 9/25

Daniel Norris, Toronto Blue Jays vs. SEA

Kiley McDaniel delivered the low-down on Norris after Toronto had called up the fast-tracked youngster. If Norris lacks command, then he could be hit hard. But, as the scouting report also says, he has the stuff to knock out a lineup when he’s on, as his 2.53 ERA and 11.8 K/9 in 124 2/3 stanzas across three levels this year suggest. The left-hander doesn’t feature blow-you-away velocity, but he can reach back for the mid-90s when he needs to do so.

Norris has made a few appearances out of the bullpen, but it’s time for his first major league start. The heavily left-handed lineup of the Seattle Mariners gives him a prime opportunity to have a good outcome in it. It doesn’t hurt that the M’s have gone pretty cool in the past couple of weeks. Perhaps the pressure to make the postseason is getting to them.

This one could easily fail to pay off. It’s unlikely that Norris lasts more than five frames. But he’s not wild, and there’s a lot of strikeout upside here.

Friday, 9/26

Blake Treinen, Washington Nationals vs. MIA

This right-hander, who was part of the package the Nats landed when they dealt Michael Morse to Seattle in January 2013, has probably flown under the radar a bit. He has a 1.94 ERA and a 3.53 xFIP in 14 games, including six starts (46 1/3 total innings), this season for the parent club. In his six starts, he’s registered a 2.27 ERA and a 4.08 xFIP. He went for five shutout frames against the Atlanta Braves on Sept. 17 in his last appearance.

The Nats are on cruise control and will turn to Treinen as they align things for the playoffs and give their rotation a break. The component stats don’t seem to like him, but pitchers who aren’t threats to rack up tons of punch-outs are usually behind the eight ball. The right-hander’s sinker has coaxed ground balls about 70 percent of the time, and his four-seamer has done so about half of the time, both good rates for the respective types. And he does it with velocity – both average around 94 to 95 mph. He isn’t going for swings and misses, but on the rare occasions that he flashes something off-speed or breaking, he gets them.

The Miami Marlins are less imposing now that Giancarlo Stanton isn’t around – they’ve been pretty cold in the last couple of weeks. They’ve struggled on the road for most of the season, anyway. This has the look of another very solid outing from Treinen, who may not go more than six innings or fan four but should keep the opposition in check.

Saturday, 9/27

Eddie Butler, Colorado Rockies at LAD

This right-handed prospect had a disappointing debut in June, when he allowed 10 hits, six runs, and three walks while fanning two in 5 1/3 frames against these Los Angeles Dodgers. Shortly thereafter, shoulder soreness sidelined him for about a month and a half, and, rather than throw him back into the fire, the Rockies opted to let him finish the minor league campaign with Double-A Tulsa. That didn’t go swimmingly, judging from his 5.26 ERA in seven starts.

Butler, 23, is one of the better pitching prospects in the game, however, and in his return to the big leagues, he held the Arizona Diamondbacks to one run for six stanzas. Kiley assessed the 2012 sandwich pick near the end of August and highlighted the reasons to be excited about him. This has probably been quite a growth season for the power right-hander, in terms of learning to deal with adversity. The fastball, with high-end velo, is plus. He’s come up with 50% or better grounders on both his fastball and changeup. The movement has been lacking, but both of his starts have come at Coors Field, so I like to think that accounts for much of the dulled effect.

Butler will make his first MLB road start at Dodger Stadium. It’s a much better environment for pitchers than the park he’ll call home for the foreseeable future, obviously. By this date, the Blue should have wrapped up the division, and they could be on cruise control, unless they’ve made a strong push for their outside shot to secure home-field advantage throughout the postseason. This one appears to be dicey, but Butler has the ability to piece together a dominant outing, especially if things fall into place.

Nicholas Minnix oversaw baseball content for six years at KFFL, where he held the loose title of Managing Editor for seven and a half before he joined FanGraphs. He played in both Tout Wars and LABR from 2010 through 2014. Follow him on Twitter @NicholasMinnix.

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7 years ago

Man, RotoGraphs is really bringing it with streaming recommendations this week! I love it! Just a quick note about Daniel Norris: John Gibbons said yesterday that he expects Norris to throw 2 or 3 innings in Thursday’s start.