Fantasy Baseball

2017 Fantasy Baseball Week 16 Pitching Planner: Read My Mind

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Oh well I don’t mind if you don’t mind
‘Cause I don’t shine if you don’t shine
Before you go, can you read my mind?

— ‘Read My Mind’, The Killers

Hey, Clint Hurdle, can you read my mind? How about you, Joe Girardi? I heard you were a mind reader, Craig Counsell. Is there truth to this?

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Oh, you can’t? Well, I can’t read your mind either.

Just give us your damn rotation for the next couple of series already. What kind of advantage are you really getting anyway from withholding this information?

For example, in the case of the Yankees, you are playing Boston four times in three days. A) They have already released their rotation, unlike their cowardly rivals. B) They know already who your four starters are since you sent one of your pitchers down to the minors for 10 days. C) All your pitchers are relatively rested. What the hell are you waiting for?

Okay, I’m just a little irked because it took me a couple of extra hours to prepare this week’s pitching planner. Between reading between fine lines and stabbing at rotations in the dark, I finally have this written up. It could all go to sh-crap by tomorrow, but no one can tell me I didn’t try.

All I ask is that instead of blaming the mistakes on me this week, which is standard, blame it on fearful managers across the country. I will do my best to explain my thinking on certain rotations in question this week as we go along.

I’m going to do something a little different this week since it is the weird post-ASB schedule. First, I will list a few streaming options for the weekend before Week 16. Then, I will do the Week 16 pitching planner for Monday through Sunday like normal. Hope this is extra helpful for you!

2017 Fantasy Baseball Week 16 Pitching Planner

Streaming Options – July 14th through 16th

Percentages reflect ESPN ownership values as of July 13th. Players are sorted in descending order of confidence. A 50% ownership cutoff was used to filter out streamers.

Brandon McCarthy, Los Angeles Dodgers (47.9%)

I was rather shocked to see McCarthy at under 50% ownership. Sure, the strikeouts aren’t abundant like they have been in past seasons. However, he’s pitching to a great batted ball profile and has yielded two or less earned runs in 11 of his 14 starts. He draws a matchup against the Marlins in a pitcher friendly environment.

If you are lucky enough to grab him for this start, go ahead and keep him for his next start at home against the Braves as well.

Trevor Cahill, San Diego Padres (31.5%)

Cahill was magnificent for the first six weeks of the season before injuring his shoulder. He returned last week and has had mixed results in his first two starts back. Don’t let this deter you from utilizing his services this week!

I am expecting a fresh Cahill going into a home start against the putrid Giants. Now is the time to buy if he is somehow still chilling on the waiver wire. By the way, he avoids a Coors Field series next week too and draws another matchup against the Giants. Not bad, right?

Mike Fiers, Houston Astros (48.2%)

First off, I don’t want to hear another pun regarding the name ‘Fiers’. It’s lazy, overused, and frankly very unfunny. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, check out this streak he’s on during his last eight starts. Over that span, his 2.49 ERA is somewhat supported by a 2.93 FIP and 4.02 xFIP. A 15% K-BB% reads well relative to his career numbers.

Do I buy this being a long-term improvement? Absolutely not. However, he is a decent streaming option while he’s hot and the Twins don’t do much offensively to scare you outside of a couple players.

Alex Cobb, Tampa Bay Rays (40.9%)

This one scares me the most out of the group. Cobb has been on a nice run his last six starts, but this game may be out of his control. The monster known as Mike Trout is set to return this weekend, which will undoubtedly spark a fire in the Angels lineup. If you are desperate for an extra start, I don’t mind Cobb.

The main redeeming quality that bodes well for Cobb is his ability to induce grounders. The Angels are heavy ground ballers, which could lead to quick innings for Cobb.

Matt Garza, Milwaukee Brewers (4.6%)

No, it’s not pretty this weekend for streaming options. Give me a second, I need to use the restroom.

(Insert puking noise here.)

Ah, okay I’m back. So you need a quality start or win from a very under-owned pitcher for the weekend, eh? Garza is your guy against the Phillies. Don’t expect a high strikeout total, but he can certainly snag a win against Jeremy Hellickson on the other side.

I know – a ringing endorsement. Sorry, I got nothing except blind faith and his past few starts to go off of!

Now, we move on to Week 16!


Auto-Start

The Auto-Start tier strictly includes pitchers that should be started every week regardless of league size and matchup.

PlayerTeamOpp1Opp2
Clayton KershawDodgers@CWSATL
Lance McCullersAstrosSEA@BAL
Chris SaleRed SoxTOR
Max ScherzerNationals@ARZ
Carlos CarrascoIndians@SF
Corey KluberIndiansTOR
Alex WoodDodgersATL
Stephen StrasburgNationals@CIN@ARZ
Carlos MartinezCardinals@CHC
Yu DarvishRangers@TB
James PaxtonMariners@HOU
Zack GreinkeDiamondbacks@CIN@WSH

Promoted

  • I need a tier between Auto-Start and Auto-Stream specifically for James Paxton. Perhaps I could call it the Pax-tier? Nah, that is lame. I will think on it and get back to you.

Relegated

  • I can’t find anything bad to say about Chris Archer. He is an excellent pitcher who is truly getting unlucky. He has proven himself to be a guy with a sub-0.300 BABIP allowed rather than the 0.330 clip he is allowing now. Otherwise, his percentages in most of the vital categories are actually better than his career numbers. I am expecting a return to the elite tier in short order and if you can buy him at 3.95 ERA price I highly suggest doing so.

Auto-Stream

This tier consists of pitchers who don’t quite reach the trust level of the Auto-Starts. However, due to matchup or recent performance, they are capable of having elite level production in a given week.

PlayerTeamOpp1Opp2
Madison BumgarnerGiantsSD
Michael FulmerTigers@KC
Luis SeverinoYankees@MIN
Jacob deGromMetsSTL
Chris ArcherRaysTEX
Jake ArrietaCubsSTL
Jon LesterCubsSTL
Robbie RayDiamondbacks@CIN
Aaron NolaPhilliesMIL
Sonny GrayAthleticsTB
Jose BerriosTwinsNYY
Jameson TaillonPiratesMIL
Marcus StromanBlue Jays@BOS@CLE

Notables

  • As I do with all pitchers returning from injury, Madison Bumgarner needs to prove his health and dominance again before returning to his home in the Auto-Start tier. It’s just a formality, as I could see his start against the Padres this week being the best of the week.
  • Jameson Taillon is pitching his way up the ranks. He is becoming one of the most trustworthy fantasy starters in the game due to his heavy ground ball rate allowed without giving up strikeout potential.
  • Everyone is starting to see the potential of Aaron Nola. He has always been discredited as ‘not being able to live up to his peripherals’. Where are the haters now? For a more statistical argument, check out this week’s Stock Report by esteemed colleague Jonathan Chan.

Dream Stream

The Dream Stream group more closely reflects the pitchers that you might find on the waiver wire depending on league size.

PlayerTeamOpp1Opp2
Jose QuintanaCubs@ATLSTL
Drew PomeranzRed SoxTOR
Jeff SamardzijaGiantsSD
Jimmy NelsonBrewers@PIT
Jordan MontgomeryYankees@MIN@SEA
Mike ClevingerIndians@SFTOR
Trevor CahillPadres@SF
Cole HamelsRangers@BAL
Josh HaderBrewers@PIT@PHI
David PriceRed Sox@LAA
Mike MontgomeryCubs@ATL
Kenta MaedaDodgers@CWS
Dan StrailyMarlinsPHI
Eduardo RodriguezRed SoxTOR@LAA
Rick PorcelloRed Sox@LAA
Rich HillDodgersATL
Johnny CuetoGiantsCLE
Jason VargasRoyalsDETCWS
Michael PinedaYankees@SEA
Justin VerlanderTigers@KC
Gerrit ColePiratesMIL
Jon GrayRockiesSD
Brandon McCarthyDodgersATL
Steven MatzMetsOAK
Taijuan WalkerDiamondbacks@CIN
Sean ManaeaAthletics@NYM
Zack GodleyDiamondbacksWSH
Gio GonzalezNationals@LAA
Jacob FariaRays@OAK
Jeff HoffmanRockiesPIT
Carlos RodonWhite Sox@KC
Matt GarzaBrewers@PHI
C.C. SabathiaYankees@SEA
Mike FiersAstros@BAL
Alex CobbRaysTEX
Brad PeacockAstrosSEA
Ervin SantanaTwinsDET
Felix HernandezMarinersNYY
Danny DuffyRoyalsDET
Jhoulys ChacinPadres@SF
Brent SuterBrewers@PIT@PHI
Trevor BauerIndiansTOR
J.A. HappBlue Jays@BOS@CLE
Michael WachaCardinals@NYM@CHC
Zack WheelerMetsSTLOAK
Mike LeakeCardinals@NYM
Ty BlachGiantsCLESD
Kyle FreelandRockiesSDPIT
Seth LugoMetsSTL
Masahiro TanakaYankees@SEA
Ivan NovaPirates@COL

Notables

  • As of this writing, the Yankees have given us no word on order of rotation for the next couple of series. Regardless, I will give you the rundown – start all the Yankees. My least favorite is Masahiro Tanaka since both the Twins and Mariners hit righties well.
  • The Cubs made the first big splash in the trade market by acquiring Jose Quintana. This is a huge boost to Quintana’s value given the move to the NL Central and the quality of team change. If you are in an NL Only league with FAAB, blow it all. As renowned poet Lil Wayne would say, “It ain’t trickin’ if you got it.”
  • Sneaky is the return of Eduardo Rodriguez to the Red Sox rotation. Because of a doubleheader in their first series back, Boston will utilize a six-man rotation. Mind you that Doug Fister is terrible, so E-Rod could sneak back in the rotation after a strong start to the 2017 season.
  • Coming off a start where he took a no-hitter into the 9th inning, Kyle Freeland‘s prospects look good moving forward. That is unless the Rockies try some weird stuff in their rotation. Colorado hasn’t released any information on who their fourth and fifth starters will be just yet. They apparently want Antonio Senzatela back in the rotation, which leaves Freeland and German Marquez as the likely options to go to the bullpen. Pay close attention to this situation.
  • With Junior Guerra on the mend, there’s an open spot in the Milwaukee rotation. I will recklessly speculate that rookie Josh Hader will get a spot start or two. What that turns into no one knows, but he certainly possesses the talent to run with the job.

Editor’s Note: It was announced on Friday, July 14th that Michael Pineda will be undergoing Tommy John surgery. He was having a great season and this is a real bummer. If this is why the Yankees were delaying their rotation announcement, then I feel like a Grade A jackass. Sorry, Joe Girardi!

Buyer Beware

These pitchers are better left on your bench for the week if not the waiver wire. Guys closer to the top could be on the brink of being promoted in the right matchup or with a continued hot streak. If a player is not listed in any tiers, that should be the cue to drop said player.

PlayerTeamOpp1Opp2
Charlie MortonAstrosSEA
Edinson VolquezMarlins@CIN
German MarquezRockiesSD
Lance LynnCardinals@NYM
Ian KennedyRoyalsCWS
Jake OdorizziRays@OAKTEX
Zach DaviesBrewers@PIT
Jaime GarciaBraves@LAD
Tanner RoarkNationals@ARZ
Eddie ButlerCubs@ATL
Luis CastilloRedsARZ
David HolmbergWhite SoxLAD
Tyler ChatwoodRockiesPIT
Jerad EickhoffPhillies@MIAMIL
Sean NewcombBravesCHC@LAD
Adam WainwrightCardinals@NYM@CHC
Marco EstradaBlue Jays@CLE
Dylan BundyOriolesTEXHOU
Scott FeldmanRedsWSHMIA
Josh TomlinIndians@SF
Mike FoltynewiczBraves@LAD
Aaron SanchezBlue Jays@BOS
Patrick CorbinDiamondbacksWSH
Jason HammelRoyalsDETCWS
Francisco LirianoBlue Jays@BOS
Alex MeyerAngelsWSH
Nick PivettaPhillies@MIA
JC RamirezAngelsBOS
Tim AdlemanRedsARZ
Paul BlackburnAthletics@NYM
Jeremy HellicksonPhilliesMIL
Adalberto MejiaTwinsDET
R.A. DickeyBravesCHC
Dinelson LametPadres@COL@SF
Luis PerdomoPadres@COL@SF
Mark LeiterPhillies@MIA
Julio TeheranBravesCHC@LAD
Andrew MooreMarinersNYY
Daniel GossettAthleticsTB@NYM
Parker BridwellAngelsWSH
Andrew CashnerRangers@BAL@TB
Wade MileyOriolesTEX
Sam GaviglioMariners@HOUNYY
Ariel MirandaMariners@HOUNYY
Jose UrenaMarlins@CIN
Chad KuhlPiratesMIL@COL
Trevor WilliamsPiratesMIL@COL
Clayton RichardPadres@COL

Notables

  • Admittedly, I struggled with placing Zack Davies in this group. The strikeout potential is just next to none though. If you are searching for ratio help, I am fine with starting him this week.
  • I wanted to use Eddie Butler as a talking point here – don’t be quick to start any righty against the Braves. Now that Freeman is back and playing third, it opens the door for a dangerous lineup from the left side. Proceed with more caution than normal is all I’m saying.
  • Another year of the pitching planner, another year being befuddled with Marco Estrada. When I put him in the Auto-Stream tier, he immediately sucks. When I put him in this tier, he turns it up. Just do the opposite of whatever I say regarding Estrada. I’m over it.
  • You may be asking the same question as many: who the hell is Paul Blackburn? He’s had a couple of cute starts, but do not waste a roster spot on him. His success is very much temporary.
  • Okay seriously, I want Andrew Cashner and Wade Miley off my pitching planner by next week. My usual threshold is an ERA over 5.00 and they certainly have that capability.

Arms Amending

A new addition to the pitching planner, this table will be updated each week to show which pitchers are on the mend. The mid-tier pitcher that gets injured is always the guy who goes unnoticed on waiver wires, so use this to your advantage.

PlayerTeamInjuryAnticipated Return
Dallas KeuchelAstrosNeck discomfortMid July
Danny SalazarIndiansShoulder sorenessMid July
Chase AndersonBrewersOblique strainLate July
Kyle HendricksCubsVarious hand ailmentsLate July
Andrew TriggsAthleticsStrained left hipLate July
Matt ShoemakerAngelsForearm strainLate July
Garrett RichardsAngelsCutaneous nerve in bicepsAugust
Collin McHughAstrosElbow impingementAugust
Kendall GravemanAthleticsShoulder sorenessAugust
Anthony DeSclafaniRedsUCL sprainAugust
Noah SyndergaardMetsStrained latTBD

Notables

  • Time for some more reckless speculation. If Dallas Keuchel returns soon, who gets booted from the Houston rotation? While my vote would be for unimpressive Joe Musgrove, something tells me they could move Brad Peacock back to the bullpen. Please be reasonable, Houston!
  • With the aforementioned acquisition of Quintana, the Cubs rotation will be crowded with the return of Kyle Hendricks. While we don’t know when that will be, anyone who owns Mike Montgomery or Eddie Butler should be worried. There’s even talk that the Cubs could trade for another arm to fill out their 5th spot. My money is on Monty to stick in the starting staff, but, you know, Joe Maddon is weird sometimes.

Check out the rest of our 2017 Fantasy Baseball content from our great team of writers.

About Tyler Thompson

Follow me on Twitter at @therealwody. For all the latest news and best advice out there, like us on Facebook, Google+ and Instagram.

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