I’m Back! It’s been a long offseason with millionaires fighting with billionaires while us poor people twiddle our thumbs, but we finally have some baseball to dissect! The opening weekend was absolutely astounding, and I can’t wait to get back into the fantasy groove. If you’ve been reading my article for the past few years, you know that I only stuck to pitchers. We’re going to take a different route this season and zone in on one-start pitchers and good hitting matchups for our streamers. Steven Paulo has the two-start streamers covered, so this should help cover all the bases (no pun intended). There’s so much to discuss in this opening week, so let’s go ahead and get into it!
Carlos Carrasco (NYM) vs. AR
It’s hard to understand why Cookie Carrasco is so widely available. This guy has been a stud throughout his career, and pitching in Citi Field will be a godsend for him. That happens to be the most pitcher-friendly ballpark in baseball dating back to 2018, putting out some of the best pitching seasons we’ve ever seen. That means Carrasco is in a prime spot to bounce back, posting a 2.91 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 2020. His only down years were 2019 and 2021, and one of those was due to a cancer diagnosis. Word is that he’s fully healthy now and that’s big news for such a talented arm.
He had a 3.27 ERA and 1.09 WHIP between 2014 and 2018, and we genuinely believe he can return to that form in this environment. This will be the start of it, with Arizona ranked 25th in runs scored, 26th in OPS, and 29th in xwOBA last season. The Streamonator loves him too, projecting him to throw a quality start and providing $12.1 worth of value.
Rich Hill (BOS) at DET
I can’t believe we’re getting Dick Mountain in here this early into the season. This guy is among my most used streamers over the last decade, and he just continues to churn out quality results. The crafty southpaw has a 3.15 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and 10.1 K/9 rate dating all the way back to 2015. That’s longevity at its finest, with Hill allowing three runs or fewer in his final 11 starts of last season. The simple fact is, Hill needs to be one of your top streamers whenever he’s healthy. The matchup with the Motor City Kitties is the icing on the cake, though, with Detroit ranked 22nd in runs scored, 24th in OBP, 28th in K rate, and 23rd in xwOBA last season.
Drew Rasmussen/Luis Patino (TB) vs. OAK
If you’ve been streaming Tampa pitchers for the last decade, you’re probably rich! These guys develop pitchers better than any other organization, and they always seem to be widely available in fantasy leagues. These two guys are certainly that, with Patino being my favorite of these two candidates. The 22-year-old pitched to a 3.83 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, and 8.1 K/9 rate over his final 12 appearances last year. That’s the stud we saw at the minors, with Patino providing a 2.47 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. That’s why he’s expected to do well in The Streamonator, projected to provide $8.7 worth of value in this fantastic spot.
The Streamonator also loves Rasmussen, projecting him to provide $11.2 worth of value. It surprised me that he’s supposed to be better than Patino, but we’re not going to argue with Rudy Gamble! It’s easy to see why he loves Drew, with the young righty registering a 2.84 ERA and 1.08 WHIP last season. He actually had a 2.11 ERA and 0.99 WHIP after the opening three weeks, and he quietly dominated out of the Rays pen. The biggest reason we love these guys is this matchup, though! Oakland has gone into full-on rebuild mode, and they probably have the worst lineup in baseball right now.
Randal Grichuk/Connor Joe (COL)
Anytime the Rockies have home games, these guys will be in this article. It’s quite simply the best hitting environment in baseball, and these Colorado bats always thrive when hitting at Coors Field. Grichuk hasn’t had much experience there, but he’s in line for 30 homers behind his .473 career SLG and .227 ISO. Joe’s home splits speak for themselves, with Connor compiling a .333 AVG, .424 OBP, and 1.035 OPS at Coors last season. That’s amazing since they start the week with two road games against Taylor Hearns and Spencer Howard, closing it with four home games against Justin Steele, Marcus Stroman, Alec Mills, and Drew Smyly. Stroman is the only respectable pitcher of the bunch, and his lackluster K rate has him in line for a Coors Field dud.
Andrew McCutchen (MIL)
We miss All-Star McCutchen, but this dude can still be a good fantasy option. We especially love him against left-handed pitchers, with Cutch collecting a .405 OBP and 1.027 OPS against them last season. He had similar splits in 2020, and he will bat in the heart of this order when he has the platoon advantage in his favor. That’s big news this week, with McCutchen facing three of them! They all happen to be subpar southpaws, too, squaring off with Bruce Zimmermann, John Means, and Steven Matz. The righties he faces are nothing to write home about either, facing Dean Kremer, Miles Mikolas, Dakota Hudson, and Drew VerHagen. Any formidable batter getting seven games against those pitchers is definitely one of the best streamers out there.
Daniel Vogelbach (PIT)
Someone in Pittsburgh needs to hit! Vogelbach has always been a fun player to watch because of his beefy body, but this is the best spot for him to succeed. This Pirates lineup is obviously a crap, but Vogelbach hit leadoff in the team’s opener! Finding any leadoff hitter is a treasure, especially one with a .341 OBP and .208 ISO since 2018. What we really love is that he faces six righties in his seven games, generating a .361 OBP, .455 SLG, and .816 OPS against right-handers in that same span. The only lefty happens to be a gas can known as Patrick Corbin, while the righties consist of guys like Erick Fedde, Anibal Sanchez, Joan Adon, Dakota Hudson, and Alec Mills. Getting seven games as leadoff hitter doesn’t hurt either!
Eddie Rosario (ATL)
Fantasy managers have forgotten about Rosario, and it’s hard to understand why. This was a Top-100 player just two years ago, and he’s going to flirt with that value again this season. We say that because he’s projected to get everyday at-bats for the World Series champs, and he actually hit leadoff in the team’s opener. If this guy is hitting atop this dominant lineup, he will be owned in every league by the end of the month. We’re talking about a switch-hitter who’s hitting .277 since 2017 while providing a .483 SLG and .798 OPS in that span. That doesn’t even consider his sneaky speed, swiping 11 bags last year as well. We’re certainly not worried about his matchups this week, facing the likes of Joan Adon, Patrick Corbin, Josiah Gray, and Nick Martinez.
Feel free to comment to me here or reach me on Twitter @Baltilottajoel if you have any questions!