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Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles April 26,  2011

FANTASY BASEBALL – April 6th SP Stream: Clay Buchholz


Monday, April 6th (Yahoo Ownership)

  1. Clay Buchholz (20%) @PHI
  2. Josh Collmenter (26%) vs. SF
  3. Yovani Gallardo (37%) @OAK
  4. Bartolo Colon (14%) @WSH
  5. Kyle Kendrick (1%) @MIL

Let’s all give Clay Buchholz a round of applause. Last year, after what one could only assume was a tear-filled intervention, the veteran gave up luck cold turkey. The 83.7% strand rate in 2013? Gone. The .254 opponent BABIP? No longer. The more than a full run differential between his ERA and FIP? Well, that remained – it just happened to go in the contrasting direction. Yeah, 2013 and 2014 were about as diametrically opposed as two seasons could be when it comes to Buchholz. A 1.74 ERA ballooned to 5.34 in 170.1 innings pitched, with almost ever metric posted the polar opposite of the year prior – the biggest outlier a 62.1% strand rate that easily represented the lowest in all of baseball. However, there is reason for optimism. Though it’s just spring, Buchholz, whose K/9 also plummeted in 2014, struck out 18 men in 15 innings, putting up an incredibly respectable 6:1 K/BB ratio. In fact, for all the inconsistency in the lanky, right-hander’s career, control is something that he’s seeming to master – albeit very, very slowly. With a 2.85 BB/9 figure last season, Buchholz improved for the seventh consecutive year since posting a 4.86 mark in 2008 – with 2014 representing the second straight season the Red Sox’s BB/9 sat below 3.00.

Still, let’s be perfectly honest, the main reasons for Clay Buchholz’s place atop the Opening Day pitcher stream rankings are match-up and, well, that it is in fact Opening Day. I mean, with a majority of the 24 teams opening their seasons on Monday sending a true “ace” to the hill (Clayton Kershaw, Madison Bumgarner, Felix Hernandez), there’s limited options when it comes to streamable starters. So, just straight-up streaming against the Phillies, regardless of pitcher, is a decent play, and will be a common play all season, in this situation. According to Clay Davenport’s season projections, Philadelphia is one of just four teams that won’t score 600 runs as a team in 2015 and, even with a lineup that should feature six natural left-handed bats and a switch-hitter on the 6th, they really just aren’t that daunting. Consider that, with platoons taken into account, the Phillies’ 5-8 hitters (with Cole Hamels batting 9th) should amount to Grady Sizemore, Cody Asche, Odubel Herrera, and Freddy Galvis. Now, Herrera hasn’t had a single plate appearance above Double-A in his career, so, since 2013, the three remaining bats have combined to hit .234 in 1,230 ABs – not exactly intimidating. Even with Buchholz having the 18th highest opponent wOBA specific to left-handed hitters in 2014 at .351, I wouldn’t fear throwing the veteran out there on Monday. Really, with a very known name and playing for a public team, if Buchholz continues to pitch as he did in spring, he won’t be available to stream for too long.

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