Teams to Avoid When Streaming

Last time out we took a look at which teams you should attack when going fishing for streams, targeting favorable splits, and identifying any offenses carrying under-the-radar weaknesses. But this time we travel to the mirror dimension, looking for the teams that should make your oh-no-no list when looking for streams.

Remember, just because a team is bad, in general, doesn’t mean they’re necessarily bad in every specificity. Bad teams can look good in some spots, and good teams can have exploitable weaknesses.

If you don’t believe me, just ask the Rays, who strike out against right-handers at comparable rates to the Tigers and Rangers. Or the Orioles, who are last in run value (per 100 pitches) versus RHP but are the best in baseball versus LHP.

And speaking of Baltimore.

 

Best Team Performance vs LHP
Team RV/100 wOBA xwOBA wobac xwobac K%
Orioles 1.08 .341 .330 .402 .363 20.9
Astros 1.05 .347 .353 .387 .397 17.3
White Sox 0.73 .352 .341 .369 .362 24.1
Cardinals 0.65 .338 .342 .394 .399 22.6
Cubs 0.52 .329 .316 .391 .399 26.3
Diamondbacks 0.50 .321 .317 .411 .391 21.7
Atlanta 0.41 .323 .348 .386 .389 25.4
Nationals 0.38 .331 .347 .428 .411 24.5
Red Sox 0.36 .312 .321 .403 .388 21.9
Giants 0.35 .321 .332 .375 .350 23.2
Athletics 0.35 .327 .334 .389 .399 24.2

 

Why don’t we start with a simple list of facts?

  1. With the second-worst record in baseball at 22-42, and sitting 19 games back in the AL East, the Orioles of Baltimore are not a very good baseball team.
  2. Baltimore is arguably the worst offense in baseball versus RHP, posting league-low marks in wOBA, xwOBA, and RV/100.
  3. The Orioles crush left-handed pitching almost as bad as they do their fan’s souls.

This has been a list of facts.

How about some details? Forget about what the Orioles do against RHP (-0.72 RV/100, .287 wOBA, .292 xwOBA, 24.6% K%) because they’re a totally different team against lefties. Their 1.08 RV/100 not only leads the league but they (and Houston at a 1.05 RV/100) lead by a significant gap – the White Sox are in third at 0.73 RV/100.

The Orioles aren’t set to face any streamable lefties this week although DFS players may want to pause before rolling out Robbie Ray or Hyun Jin Ryu this weekend. Just keep this in mind the next time you consider trying to sneak a lefty stream past the Orioles, particularly if it’s at that that Baltimore bandbox they try to pass off as a big league park.

Much like Baltimore, the Diamondbacks are a pretty bad baseball team that is also pretty good versus left-handed pitching. Also like Baltimore, Arizona isn’t lined up to face any streamable lefties, with RHP on tap for the whole week, so just remember the next time you assume any old lefty will do in the desert.

Arizona has a 0.50 RV/100 vs LHP (6th) but none of their other numbers jump off of the page, with a .321 wOBA and .317 xwOBA that are only just above average. And while their .411 wOBAcon vs LHP is the second-highest, it’s backed by a .391 xwOBAcon that is only 13th.

However, be aware that their low strikeout rates vs LHP can hinder you if you’re looking to buy some K’s with your stream. The Diamondbacks have posted a 21.7% K% (t-3rd lowest) and 11.6% SwStr% (6th-highest) vs LHP in 2021.

Two Tampa Bay lefties could be popular this week but Ryan Yarbrough and Shane McClanahan may have their hands full versus a White Sox team that’s posted a 0.73 RV/100 (3rd-highest) vs LHP this season. Or will they?

The thing is, is that the White Sox offense (that is sans Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez) has been feasting on some, how do you say? Suspect pitchers? Here are the left-handers in 2021 (min. 20 pitches) that the White Sox have returned a positive run value against this season:

White Sox vs LHP
Player Date n RV RV/100 wOBA
J.A. Happ 5/12/2021 89 6.2 7.0 .651
Daniel Lynch 5/8/2021 34 5.8 17.1 .948
Andrew Heaney 4/2/2021 70 4.5 6.4 .435
J.A. Happ 5/17/2021 85 3.5 4.1 .508
Nick Margevicius 4/6/2021 73 2.8 3.8 .407
Justus Sheffield 4/5/2021 92 2.1 2.3 .412
Caleb Thielbar 5/11/2021 41 1.9 4.6 .554
Mike Minor 5/9/2021 91 1.7 1.9 .305
Daniel Norris 6/12/2021 28 1.2 4.3 .450
Martín Pérez 4/18/2021 58 1.1 1.9 .469
Matthew Boyd 4/29/2021 36 1.0 2.8 .530
Tarik Skubal 6/11/2021 96 0.8 0.8 .406
John Means 5/29/2021 86 0.7 0.8 .384
Tyler Alexander 6/13/2021 33 0.5 1.5 .389
Taylor Rogers 5/13/2021 20 0.4 2.0 .410
John King 4/24/2021 35 0.4 1.1 .302
Hyun Jin Ryu 류현진 6/10/2021 95 0.4 0.4 .305
Justin Wilson 5/22/2021 22 0.1 0.5 .397
Mike Minor 4/11/2021 85 0.1 0.1 .317

So are the White Sox lefty crushers or have they just made some serious hay against the likes of J.A. Happ, Daniel Lynch, and Andrew Heaney? Like most things, it’s probably somewhere in the middle but that’s not enough to dismiss using lefties against them, out of hand.

However, you might want to be cautious with rookie Shane McClanahan, who attacks with 42% sliders and 41% four-seamers. The White Sox have the 7th-highest RV/100 against left-handed four-seamers and the ninth-highest versus sliders. While you need to keep in the mind the quality of the pitchers that Chicago has put those numbers up against, McClanahan has also struggled as of late, going a combined 6.1 IP in his last two starts and allowing a total of seven earned runs.

The St. Louis Cardinals are as good versus lefties as they are bad against righties, posting a .338 wOBA and .394 wOBAcon vs LHP, compared to a .291 wOBA and .345 wOBAcon vs RHP. Their strikeout rates are also below average, with a 22.6% K% vs LHP (23.5% K% vs RHP).

St. Louis gets two left-handed streamers this week, facing off against Drew Smyly and Tucker Davidson this weekend. Given how the Cardinals have done on a pitch-by-pitch basis, I’d prefer the latter. Both Smyly and Davidson lead with a four-seamer, against which the Cardinals have been mediocre, posting a -0.66 RV/100 against LHP that is the fourth-lowest. However, it’s their secondaries that make me lean toward Davidson.

Davidson throws his slider 40% of the time, pulling a -4.9 RV/100 in his initial small sample. But you don’t need a great slider to befuddle the Cardinals, as they have a league-low -2.44 RV/100 versus LHP sliders. On the other hand, they have a +2.0 RV/100 (8th-highest) against curveballs, of which Smyly utilizes nearly 40% of the time. If you’re forcing me to use one, I’ll take the young rook over the old hook.

Tyler Anderson has been one of my favorite sneaky streams in 2021 but that doesn’t mean I’ll get carried away trying to return value out of a matchup with the Nationals. Washington has an above-average 24.5% K% vs LHP but also a .331 wOBA backed by a .347 xwOBA that is the fourth-highest mark against LHP. If he is to have success against them, Anderson may want to lean on his cutter (28% usage), which has a -0.8 RV/100, getting 28 inches of drop that is an elite 3.9 inches more than average. The Nationals have a -4.2 RV/100 against cutters in 2021, the fourth-lowest mark in baseball.

David Peterson has a troublesome matchup with the Nationals but also gets the Cubs for a two-step this week and they may be an even worse dance partner. Chicago has an 0.52 RV/100 vs LHP that’s the fifth-highest but also carries an above-average 26.3% K%. But I’m fairly sure that I’m not yet desperate enough for strikeouts to justify that risk.

 

Best Team Performance vs RHP
Team RV/100 wOBA xwOBA wobac xwobac K%
Dodgers 0.89 .340 .338 .387 .410 22.3
Reds 0.58 .337 .337 .392 .393 22.3
Astros 0.49 .337 .340 .387 .370 19.3
Blue Jays 0.46 .339 .337 .343 .374 22.4
Rays 0.39 .321 .310 .361 .392 26.3
Red Sox 0.38 .328 .335 .386 .383 24.9
Angels 0.37 .319 .313 .377 .382 24.1
White Sox 0.33 .323 .327 .406 .403 23.0
Giants 0.23 .313 .319 .347 .370 27.0
Braves 0.23 .321 .336 .369 .383 25.4

Unlike teams facing left-handers, you’re not going to find any surprises like the Orioles or Diamondbacks lurking in the weeds. This makes sense, considering that teams have faced RHP between 60-80% this season, compared to 20% to 40% vs LHP. If you’re a top offense against right-handers, it’s hard to be a scrub overall. And looking at the streamable righties for this week, it’s also hard to find someone you’re comfortable taking on the big boys with this week.

Does anyone here look like something you might be interested in?

Upcoming Starts
Player 2021 ERA Vs
Matt Harvey 7.41 Blue Jays
Brad Keller 5.75 Red Sox
Jordan Lyles 5.37 Astros
Matt Peacock 5.24 Dodgers
Jose Urena 5.16 Angels
Logan Gilbert 4.13 Rays
Justin Dunn 3.91 Rays
Michael King 3.77 Blue Jays

You don’t need me to tell you not to start Jordan Lyles versus Houston but a quick word about streaming anyone against the Astros. Don’t do it.

Okay, a less quick word. The Astros don’t just have the third-highest RV/100 and wOBA vs RHP, they also lead the league in overall whiff stinginess, and not by small margins:

Plate Discipline vs RHP
Team K% SwStr% Whiff%
HOU 19.3 9.2 20.6
SD 22.1 10.9 24.8
LAD 22.3 11.4 25.5
CIN 22.3 12.4 26.4
TOR 22.4 12.3 25.7
KC 22.6 13.0 26.4
PIT 22.8 11.9 25.6
MIN 22.9 12.3 26.1
CHW 23.0 12.3 26.5

The Rays have a top-10 RV/100 vs RHP but also carry a very average .321 wOBA and .361 wOBAcon, along with a love of striking out. Tampa’s 26.3% K% and 13.8% SwStr are both the third-highest rates vs RHP, while a 29.1% Whiff% takes second place. If you’re willing to take some hits in the name of picking up strikeouts, Tampa’s your huckleberry.

While the Rays completely crush fastballs, posting a league-high RV/100 against both four-seamers and sinkers from right-handers, they have an average 0.25 RV/100 versus curveballs and a -2.45 RV/100 versus right-handed sliders that is the worst mark in baseball. So if you’re in need of strikeouts and are feeling a little froggy, there’s always Justin Dunn (32% CU, 15% SL) or Logan Gilbert (24% SL, 11% CU). I’m sure it will totally work out fine.





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Jim
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Jim

Gilbert is a Stetson grad, as are Jacob deGrom and Cory Kluber.