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This Week In Streaming Strategy, July 30-August 5

As mentioned last week, I absolve myself of all responsibility should one of the players mentioned in these streaming tips get dealt before Tuesday's trade deadline. That's right, ALL of it.  Nothing bad can possibly come from shirking responsibility! Here are this week's streaming yays and nays....

* Kris Medlen.  Right off the bat, here's one of those deadline-contingent recommendations. Unless the Braves trade for a new starting pitcher between now and 3 p.m. CST on Tuesday, Medlen will step into the Atlanta rotation and pitch on Tuesday against the Marlins (and then presumably Sunday against the Astros).  Those are two pretty nice matchups for Medlen, who has a 2.48 ERA (3.52 SIERA), a 51.6% ground-ball rate, a 2.77 K/BB ratio and 38 strikeouts in 54 1/3 relief innings for the Braves this season.  Since Medlen is still being stretched out and recovering from Tommy John surgery in 2010, his initial starts will probably be limited to 75 pitches or less...though against the Marlins and Astros, that could end up accounting for seven innings each.  Medlen is an intriguing dark-horse two-start option this week.

* Tommy Milone.  It's another two-home start week for Milone, and thus yet another week where I point out his ridiculous home splits.  Milone has an 0.91 ERA in eight starts in Oakland this season and while he was hit hard in two road outings against the Rays and Blue Jays earlier this season, I suspect Milone will get his revenge when he gets the two AL East squads on his home turf.  Though Milone has enjoyed some solid road outings in Texas, Seattle and Minnesota recently, he still owns an unsightly 5.77 ERA in 12 away starts, making him essentially the poster child for the whole concept of streaming starting pitchers.

* Todd Frazier.  With Joey Votto still on the DL for at least most of the coming week, Frazier will continue to be the Reds' top option at first base.  Frazier has shown pop from both sides of the plate (.942 OPS against lefties, .849 OPS against righties) so though the Reds are scheduled to face five righty starters this week, the right-handed hitting Frazier should still be productive.  Of course, playing the streaming game with Frazier is dangerous for those allergic to incredulity thanks to those special days when Dusty Baker decides to sit Frazier in favor of Miguel Cairo at first base. Yes, THAT Miguel Cairo. 

* Yasmani Grandal, Alexi Amarista, Will Venable.  It's pretty rare that San Diego hitters are good streaming options but with the Padres scheduled to face seven right-handed starters this week, here are a few promising bats that could benefit.  The switch-hitting Grandal has an impressive .931 OPS through his first 80 Major League plate appearances so he's a great pickup as a backup catcher or even as your starter if your regular catcher is ineffective. (To wit, I just picked up Grandal in one of my leagues to fill in for the slumping Matt Wieters.)  Amarista has recently been bothered by a thumb injury but he's back in the lineup and has a .290/.327/.467 line against right-handers this season.  Amarista is eligible at second, shortstop and left field in Yahoo fantasy leagues, so he provides some multi-positional help to boot.  Venable has a modest .256/.325/.436 career line against right-handers, so I might stream him during the Padres' series in Cincinnati since Venable's career road OPS is 128 points higher than his OPS at Petco Park, but Venable is admittedly somewhat of a borderline option.

* Cameron Maybin.  Only the Mariners have a worse team OPS against right-handers than the Padres' shoddy .682 mark, so this week of seven right-handed opponents is a particularly daunting task for the entire San Diego lineup.  Exhibit A is Maybin, who carries just a .234/.312/.329 mark against right-handers, and that's actually his BETTER set of splits compared to his .525 OPS against lefties.  Maybin has been a big fantasy disappointment in the wake of his solid 2011 season, providing so little offense that not even 20 steals is worth a regular spot in your lineup.  If you've hung onto him for this long then you're long overdue to cut bait, so offer him to a team that's desperate for some stolen bases.

* Jose Quintana.  The advanced metrics (3.74 FIP, 4.05 xFIP, 4.17 SIERA, .260 BABIP) throw some cold water on Quintana's impressive 2.58 ERA, and while he has shown terrific control with just 14 walks in 76 2/3 innings, the White Sox southpaw's 5.2 K/9 rate indicates that he isn't missing many bats.  This could be the week that Quintana's bubble bursts as he is scheduled to face two of the league's better-hitting lineups against left-handed pitching -- the Twins are fourth in MLB with a .786 team OPS against lefties, while the Angels rank seventh with their .769 OPS.  If you're wondering, yes, I did originally type 'Carlos Quintana' before backspacing.  Force of habit


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