Targets and Avoids For Streaming RHP

Back in June, we took a look at which teams to attack with streaming options, as well as who to avoid, according to pitcher handedness. With a scant five weeks remaining in the season (and playoffs starting soon for H2H leagues), knowing which teams to exploit (and which beartraps to step around) becomes even more paramount.

But not just for streaming options, as fantasy players in tight races might need to make some tough decisions on who to start down the stretch. Because when time is running out, every start counts, and pitchers who were “start no matter what” prior, might slide into a more nebulous zone as you try to bring home gold.

You may have spent the previous five months cruising but no one wants to be this guy in September:

With that in mind, let’s take a fresh look at the teams you should be going out of your way to face, as well as those teams who’ve improved enough in the second half to make you take a pause.

Damn the torpedoes, full stream ahead.

 

Texas Rangers

From the same people that brought you a .297 wOBA (22nd) and .302 xwOBA (23rd) in the first half and the team behind a 88 wRC+ (21st) and .680 OPS (23rd), here comes a late-season blockbuster down in Texas.

Oh sure, the Rangers’ badness isn’t exactly a secret but do you realize just how bad they’ve been in the second half?

.257 wOBA (30th)

.274 xwOBA (30th)

.588 OPS (30th)

61 wRC+ (30th)

.256 OBP (30th)

.332 SLG (30th)

As the last time I checked there were 30 MLB teams, the above numbers say…something. And that something is, stream just about anyone and everyone against Texas. Because the hitters are weak, the stadium isn’t the launching pad it used to be, and Joey Pico isn’t walking back through those doors. All streams on deck.

Upcoming Opposing RHP

Zach Plesac (CLE vs TEX), Jake Odorizzi, Zack Greinke (HOU at TEX), German Marquez (COL @ TEX), Jaime Barria (TEX @ LAA)

 

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs are essentially as bad vs RHP in the second half, as they were in the first, with a .299 wOBA (.298 wOBA in 1st half), .287 xwOBA (.306 xwOBA in the 1st half), 86 wRC+ (85 wRC+ in the 1st half) and .685 OPS (.683 OPS in the 1st half). I suppose there is something to be said for consistency?

While they’ve put up the same numbers without Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, and Javier Baez, as they did with them, what really stands out about the Cubs is their increased refusal to make contact and/or take a walk.

An already poor 8.7% BB% (17th) from the first half is now down to a 6.0% BB% (30th), while the whiffs have increased slightly, from a 13.3% SwStr% (25th) to a 13.8% SwStr% (29th). And the strikeouts continue to rain down; a league-worse 26.8% K% (30th) is currently at 27.4% K% (30th) in the second half.

Upcoming Opposing RHP

Lance Lynn, Dylan Cease (CHW vs CHC), John Gant (MIN vs CHC), Wil Crowe, JT Brubaker, Mitch Keller (PIT @ CHC)

 

Pittsburgh Pirates

If you need more convincing to attack Pittsburgh with streamers, consider this; ignoring the hitting heartthrob that is Bryan Reynolds, the Pirates’ best hitter in the second half has been Ben Gamel. Who is certainly having a fine year…But is also still Ben Gamel and probably shouldn’t be any team’s second-best hitter.

The Pirates were bad in the first half vs RHP and things have only gotten worse in the second, with their .282 wOBA (28th), .281 xwOBA (28th), and .640 OPS (28th), coming down from a .294 wOBA (26th), .300 xwOBA (28th), and .669 OPS (28th).

Pittsburgh is still stingy with the whiffs, with their 11.5% SwStr% staying steady with an 11.7% SwStr% from the first half, but they have increased slightly to 23.7% K%, up from a 22.1% K%.

Upcoming Opposing RHP

Miles Mikolas, Adam Wainwright, Jack Flaherty (STL @ PIT), Lucas Giolito (CHW vs PIT), Zach Davies, Keegan Thompson, Alec Mills, Kyle Hendricks (CHC vs PIT)

 

Miami Marlins

Stop me if you heard this one before; a group of Marlins walk into a mostly empty stadium and score upwards of two to three runs. Miami has now lost 12 of their last 16 games but considering that three of those wins came against the aforementioned Cubs, do they really count?

Much like the Pirates, the Marlins have been bad vs RHP and have stayed bad in the second half, posting a .302 wOBA (23rd) and .295 xwOBA (28th) that look suspiciously like a .295 wOBA (25th) and .290 xwOBA (26th) from the first half.

While Miami has cut down from a 25.6% K% (26th) to a 24.1% K% (22nd), their 13.9% SwStr% (30th) in the second half is up from a 13.0% SwStr% in the first, and a 6.7% BB% (30th) is down from 8.2% BB% (22nd).

No offense, more whiffs, fewer walks, and a home ballpark that suppresses power from both sides? Yes, please.

Upcoming Opposing RHP

Josiah Gray (WSN @ MIA), Vladimir Gutierrez, Tyler Mahle (CIN @ MIA), Taijuan Walker, Carlos Carrasco (NYM vs MIA)

 

Kansas City Royals

Peter Pumpkin just became fertilizer, and my leaf’s a little sadder and wiser, that’s why I rely on certain certainties. Some things never change, like the feel of a subpar offense in Kansas City.

Seasons may change but the Royals usually don’t. They posted a .299 wOBA in the first half (20th) that is down to a .284 wOBA (27th) in the second half, with a .686 OPS (20th) dropping to a .654 OPS (27th).

While they have been getting on base less often (.303 OBP to a .288 OBP), keep in mind that the Royals have been excellent at keeping their strikeouts down all season and have gotten better in the second half. A 22.4% K% (7th) is down to 20.7% K% (5th) since the break.

Upcoming Opposing RHP

Lance McCullers Jr. (HOU vs KC), Logan Gilbert (SEA vs KC), Zach Plesac, Triston McKenzie (CLE @ KC), Lance Lynn, Dylan Cease (CHW @ KC)

 

Detroit Tigers

The Tigers have improved greatly against lefties but that’s not the case against RHP, as they continue to be what they’ve been all season. In the second half, Detroit has posted a .297 wOBA (down from a .302 wOBA), .298 xwOBA (down from a .304 xwOBA), and .690 OPS (down from a .692 OPS).

Detroit has improved its strikeout rate, dropping from a 26.6% K% (29th) to a 24.3% K% (23rd), with a 14.1% SwStr% (30th) decreasing to a more respectable 12.7% SwStr% (19th) but let’s not get carried away. The Tigers have lost five of their last seven games (with both wins coming in extra innings) and things aren’t likely to get better as they shift even more into “next year” mode.

Upcoming Opposing RHP

Alek Manoah, Jose Berrios (TOR @ DET), Bailey Ober (MIN @ DET), James Kaprielian (OAK @ DET), Vladimir Gutierrez, Tyler Mahle, Luis Castillo (CIN vs DET)

 

Cleveland Guardians

While the Cleveland J-Rams have a much better lineup (on paper) than the aforementioned teams, the proof is in the mediocre pudding. Cleveland has been a paragon of below-averageness, posting a .302 wOBA in the second half (.303 wOBA in the first half) and a .299 xwOBA that is down from a .314 xwOBA.

And just about everywhere you look, that consistency remains. 89 wRC+ and .701 OPS in the first half? 88 wRC+ and .698 OPS in the second half. 23.3% K% and 7.2% BB%? Now it’s a 23.6% K% and 7.7% BB%.

Upcoming Opposing RHP

Spencer Howard, Dane Dunning (TEX @ CLE), Nathan Eovaldi, Tanner Houck (BOS @ CLE), Brady Singer, Brad Keller (KCR vs CLE)

 

Los Angeles Angels

Saying their production vs RHP has fallen off significantly, is speaking pretty kindly when it comes to Anaheim, as the still Trout-less Angels have actually fallen off of a cliff. In the first half, Anaheim posted a .322 wOBA (9th), .311 xwOBA (16th), and .751 OPS (9th). In the second half, they’ve dropped to a .278 wOBA (29th), .277 xwOBA (29th), and .632 OPS (29th).

And it’s hard to blame all of the dropoffs on Mike Trout having not played since May 17, as the Angels ran a .327 wOBA (7th) and 109 wRC+ (7th) between his injury and the All-Star break. The Fightin’ Ohtani’s are struggling and even Trout’s impending return won’t likely change that.

Upcoming Opposing RHP

Dean Kremer (BAL vs LAA), Craig Stammen, Reiss Knehr (SDP @ LAA), Jameson Taillon (NYY @ LAA), Jordan Lyles, Spencer Howard (TEX @ LAA)

 

Second Half Turnarounds

Just as important as knowing who should be targeted, is understanding which former targets have gone from prey to hunter. You might have exploited them in the first half but the worm has turned in the second. Time to change your perspective.

 

Milwaukee Brewers

The biggest improvement in wOBA since the break belongs to the Brewers, who are running a .343 wOBA (3rd) vs RHP in the second half, up from .302 wOBA (18th) in the first half. And this isn’t just some batted-ball luck, as their .305 xwOBA (21st) has risen to a .320 xwOBA (8th). Not to mention their .800 OPS (4th) is up from a .689 OPS (19th) and a 113 wRC+ (6th) that’s up from an 86 wRC+ (24th).

Besides the overall uptick in offense, just as important for streaming purposes, is how the bottom has fallen out of the Brewers’ strikeout rate. Once an easy source of strikeouts, Milwaukee now has a 20.3% K% (4th) in the second half, down over five points from the 25.5% K% (25th) they ran in the first half.

 

Tampa Bay Rays

Like Milwaukee above, the Rays have gone from a target to an avoid, as their offensive numbers have gone up vs RHP, while their strikeout rates are getting lower.

Tampa Bay was average to above in most categories, with a .318 wOBA (11th), .307 xwOBA (18th), and a .732 OPS (12th). But they’ve been one of baseball’s best offenses vs RHP in the second half, posting a .345 wOBA (2nd), .324 xwOBA (6th), and .817 OPS (2nd).

Also like Milwaukee, where the Rays have really excelled is in their plate discipline, with a 13.9% SwStr% dropping a point and a 26.6% K% (28th) dropping nearly four points to a 22.7% K% (14th).

 

St. Louis Cardinals

While the jokester in my heart hates that all of my “St. Louis can’t hit RHP” takes since the spring are losing validity, the Cardinals fan in me can only be happy. St. Louis had a .293 wOBA (28th), .301 xwOBA (14th), and .675 OPS (26th) in the first half but have significantly improved in the second half, posting a .324 wOBA (14th), .315 xwOBA (6th), and .746 OPS (14th).

Along with the increased production, the Cardinals have also remained stingy with the strikeouts, with a 22.2% K% and 11.5% SwStr% in the second half falling right in line with a 21.8% K% and 11.9% SwStr% in the first half.

 

Colorado Rockies

Riddle me this; how has a Colorado team that had a bottom-five offense and was 11 games below .500 in the first half, become a top-10 offense in the second half with Trevor Story still putting up average numbers?

Well, looking at the rest of the lineup (min 50 PA in the second half), it appears that the answer is, “Everyone besides Garrett Hampson”:

Colorado Rockies Second Half
Name G PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+
C.J. Cron 32 128 9 18 36 1 13.3 18.8 .321 .414 .642 .439 162
Connor Joe 27 106 7 13 23 0 9.4 20.8 .323 .387 .613 .417 148
Trevor Story 33 134 5 23 16 0 6 25.4 .254 .336 .492 .354 107
Elias Diaz 27 98 7 18 15 0 7.1 13.3 .256 .316 .556 .367 115
Ryan McMahon 31 128 2 16 16 0 11.7 22.7 .288 .383 .405 .350 105
Charlie Blackmon 33 127 5 20 19 2 4.7 9.4 .311 .346 .504 .362 112
Brendan Rodgers 27 117 4 18 9 0 4.3 21.4 .309 .350 .491 .361 112
Sam Hilliard 30 95 6 13 15 1 9.5 33.7 .244 .316 .523 .351 105
Raimel Tapia 17 65 0 9 6 4 6.2 15.4 .317 .354 .383 .322 87
Garrett Hampson 32 93 2 14 4 2 7.5 24.7 .188 .258 .282 .244 36

Led by human laser-crusher, C. J. Cron* (.439 wOBA, 162 wRC+ in the second half), the Rockies have gone from a .297 wOBA (22nd), .300 xwOBA (26th), and .684 OPS (21st) in the first half, to a .337 wOBA (7th), .314 xwOBA (16th), and .785 OPS (7th) in the second half. And this isn’t just some shenanigans caused by more games at home, as the Rockies have split home/road games equally so far in the second half.

It’s almost always a good idea to avoid pitchers at Coors but the Rockies haven’t been safe on the road and still have 16 games left in Colorado. Tread carefully.

* Oh my god, it’s happening, isn’t it? Ok, probably not but I’m still pleased as punch that I got in on the ground floor of C. J.’s Cron(ic). Coming soon to a store near you!





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Enlightening Roundmember
11 months ago

As a Cards fan you should know it’s soft tossin’ lefties that kill them

dloss78
11 months ago

is that still the case? used to be it felt like Christmas to me anytime i saw a “bad” soft tossing lefty cards were sizable favs against!!! pretty much a automatic bet, it never made lot of sense to me considering how right handed heavy our lineup been but a real thing none the less!! however this season i have backed off this approach, i dont have the numbers in front of me but my perception is they been much better against those type of pitchers.