Welcome back to my hitting streamers column for Week 5, taking a look at hitters to add or stream off the waiver wire for this week's scheduled games.
To keep things simple, I pick from players who are 50% owned or less and who play at least seven games in the week. If someone jumps off the page at me as a less than seven game player, I may make an exception, but otherwise the advantage in number of games dictates my choices.
Streaming can be a valuable tool, by allowing you to feast on favorable pitching matchups and simply have your hitters play more games than your opponents' hitters. If you have the roster space, streaming a hitter can be useful not only to fill a vacant lineup spot, but also to fill in for someone who has five games that week or faces tough matchups. In 5x5 leagues, four of the five hitting categories are counting stats, making the value of extra games significant. This week, there are two teams (Cleveland and Toronto) with eight games, and I will be featuring those teams' players heavily. With that said, let’s dive right in.
Bats to Stream and Start in Week 5
Kevin Pillar (OF, TOR) - 45% owned
Through 26 games, Pillar has a very impressive .309/3/17/13/4 line. While we shouldn't expect him to keep up a .300 average and his pace of approximately 20 homers and 20 steals, he has averaged 12 homers and 18 steals in the past three seasons while hitting .256, .266 and .278. With eight games this week, he very easily could provide production in both the home run and stolen base departments, while padding your RBI and runs categories. If you need a stolen base this week without suffering in the other categories, Pillar is the streamer for you.
Michael Brantley (OF, CLE) - 46% owned
Brantley has been a regular on this list, and he continues to hit. Through his first 16 games, he is hitting .354 with two homers and a steal. Once Cleveland's lineup heats up to its expected levels, he should provide excellent run production in a good lineup. When healthy, Brantley has regularly hit for an excellent average while providing stolen bases and some power. In just over half a season last year, Brantley posted a line of .299/9/47/52/11. And even though he only played 11 games in 2016, in 2014-2015 he hit .310 and .327 with a combined 35 homers and 38 steals. With eight games this week, Brantley is a no-brainer. Buy and hold for as long as he is healthy. He would sit atop this week's list if he did not face so many lefties.
Yonder Alonso (1B, CLE) - 27% owned
As mentioned in previous editions of this streaming piece, Alonso has suffered from bad luck in the batting average department, and thus we should expect his average to continue to rebound. But the rest of his production has remained, as he has a line of .236/8/13/19/0 through 25 games. The power and run production are real, and there is no reason to expect them to stop this week. After joining the fly ball revolution, he swatted 28 homers in just 451 at bats last year. This week he has eight games, and he is likely to provide you with a homer or more, along with good run production. He is a strong streaming option this week, despite the fact that he is facing many lefties.
Teoscar Hernandez (OF, TOR) - 49% owned
Hernandez has shown an impressive combination of power and speed in the minors. In 2014 he had 21 homers and 33 steals. In 2015 he again stole 33 bases and added 17 homers. In 2016 he swatted ten homers and added 34 steals in just 107 minor league games (and spent over 40 games in the majors). In 80 major league games, he has already produced 15 home runs. Due to his minor league track record, the steals will soon come too as he is still only 25 years old. If you can deal with his likely poor batting average due to his expected high strikeout rates, he should provide you with significant value in the other categories. With eight games this week, he is well worth an add.
Max Kepler (OF, MIN) - 27% owned
Kepler cannot hit lefties. In his career, he is hitting .187 with a .555 OPS against them. However, against righties, he has batted .264 with a .817 OPS. This week, he should face seven righties, making him a valuable fantasy asset. Over his career, he has averaged a homer every 20.6 at bats against righties. He should be able to provide you with a serviceable average, the potential for a homer or two, run production, and the off chance of a steal (12 in 284 career games). If the others are off the board, he is a good streaming option.
Michael A. Taylor (OF, WAS) - 43% owned
Taylor has strikeout issues, and thus is likely to hurt you in batting average. However, he also already has nine stolen bases on the young season. If you are looking for a stolen base, he may be your best bet. In 375 career games, he has 56 steals. He also has some power, knocking out 19 homers in just 118 games last season. While his run production is likely to be average and his batting average likely to be low, he is a good option if you need stolen bases with the possibility of home runs.
Eduardo Escobar (2B/3B/SS, MIN) - 24% owned
Escobar posted a line of .254/21/62/73/5 in just 129 games last year. Through 19 games this year, he's batting .297/3/11/12/1. While not an exciting fantasy option, Escobar is an under-the-radar source of power while providing decent run production. He can provide you with a serviceable average and occasionally a stolen base. Facing at least average pitching matchups this week, he is worth an add.
Others to Consider
Leonys Martin (OF, DET) - 13% owned - Martin has 116 steals in 643 games, and thus provides a good chance for a stolen base for your team this week. To start the season, however, he has surprisingly shown a decent average and good power.
Howie Kendrick (2B/OF, WAS) - 7% owned - Kendrick is continuing where he left off last year, with a .301/4/9/11/0 line in 24 games. He is a good source of average who can occasionally provide a homer and/or stolen base.
Jeimer Candelario (3B, DET) - 30% owned - The 24 year-old with prospect pedigree has a line of .281/4/13/11/0 through the first 24 games of the season. Batting in the second slot in the Tigers' lineup, he is a good source of production this week.
Jason Kipnis (2B, CLE) - 42% owned - Kipnis is struggling to start the year and is facing mostly lefties this week, against whom he has hit significantly worse in his career. Nonetheless, he is a talented player with eight games near the top of what should become a good lineup.