Fantasy Baseball

2017 Fantasy Baseball Week 23 Pitching Planner: Sixth Man of the Year

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We all know how important the ‘sixth man’ can be for an NBA team. The role has developed drastically over the years with certain players just flat out playing better coming off the bench. Many NBA players in today’s game have made a name for themselves (not to mention a boatload of cash) as a sixth man like Jamaal Crawford and Lou Williams. Others have elevated themselves even further like James Harden. Hell, they even have a Sixth Man of the Year award!

In baseball, we have a similar ‘sixth man’ in regards to starting rotations. They have not been as common, largely because most teams can barely field five serviceable pitchers. However, there are some cases where they can be useful in reality, especially late in a season when playoff seeding is just about determined.

For fantasy purposes, this isn’t always the best thing, right? If a team decides to employ a sixth starter in a staff, then it provides less quantity for each of the pitchers. The quality may be better given the extra day of rest between starts, but it’s a case-by-case thing.

I bring this up because I have seen several teams either start or threaten to start using a six man rotation. These teams include the Dodgers, Indians, Orioles, Astros, and Cubs. Besides the Orioles, all of those teams are almost a lock to make the playoffs. Therefore, the general theme is that these teams have the luxury of having a six man rotation to rest their starters for the postseason.

On the other hand, I’m fully expecting some bottom feeders to start monitoring the innings of their young guns and a six man rotation can certainly help. Teams like the Phillies, Padres, Athletics, and Braves could stand to call up a few prospects to see what they have and prolong the innings of their other guys.

Below, I hope to touch on members of six man rotations and how it affects them the rest of the way! Furthermore, with starters getting added into rotations, perhaps your ‘Sixth Man of the Fantasy Playoffs’ is out there floating on waivers and I want to help you find him.

2017 Fantasy Baseball Week 23 Pitching Planner

Auto-Start

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

PlayerTeamOpp1Opp2
Chris SaleRed SoxTB
Clayton KershawDodgersCOL
Corey KluberIndiansBAL
Max ScherzerNationals@MIA

Promoted

  • Welcome back to the mound and the auto-start tier Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer. Not much to say here, you don’t have to give these guys a ‘wait and see’ approach like you do with other pitchers returning from injury. Start away!

Relegated

  • No one was relegated this week. Probably because I obliterated this tier last week!

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
Stephen StrasburgNationalsPHI
Alex WoodDodgersCOL
Zack GodleyDiamondbacksSD
Jacob deGromMetsPHICIN
Carlos CarrascoIndians@CWS
Jeff SamardzijaGiants@CWS
Zack GreinkeDodgers@LAD
Dallas KeuchelAstros@SEA@OAK
Luis SeverinoYankees@TEX
Chris ArcherRays@BOS
Jimmy NelsonBrewers@CIN
Madison BumgarnerGiants@COL
Aaron NolaPhillies@WSH

Notables

  • Also making his way back to the mound, Alex Wood is returning sooner than most thought he would. Hopefully, this six man rotation that the Dodgers are running keeps him healthy throughout the rest of the season.
  • Another oft-injured player who could benefit from the six man rotation, Carlos Carrasco gets a juicy start on the road against a horrendous White Sox offense. He has been sporadic with his outings lately, but this start is foolproof.

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  • I have this strange feeling that I haven’t talked about Chris Archer repping this tier for awhile. He hasn’t had the strongest season ratio-wise, but my goodness those strikeout numbers are bonkers. His 23.2 K-BB% puts him fifth among qualified starters, only trailing the four guys in the top tier.
  • Aaron Nola bounced back against the Braves after a couple of rough starts. If he puts together a solid September, he will see if 2018 draft stock rise tremendously and, honestly, I will be willing to pay it.

Dream Stream

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

PlayerTeamOpp1Opp2
Luke WeaverCardinalsPIT
Rich HillDodgersARICOL
Carlos MartinezCardinals@SDPIT
Brad PeacockAstros@SEA
Yu DarvishRangersCOL
Luis CastilloRedsMIL
Patrick CorbinDiamondbacksSD
Robbie RayDiamondbacks@LADSD
Kenta MaedaDodgersARI
Michael WachaCardinals@SDPIT
Jon LesterCubsMIL
Hyun-Jin RyuDodgersARI
Charlie MortonAstros@OAK
Gio GonzalezNationals@MIAPHI
Jake ArrietaCubs@PITMIL
Drew PomeranzRed SoxTB
Masahiro TanakaYankees@TEX
Sonny GrayYankees@BAL
Marcus StromanBlue JaysDET
Gerrit ColePiratesCHC
Jose BerriosTwins@TB@KC
Mike ClevingerIndians@CWS
Trevor BauerIndians@CWSBAL
Chase AndersonBrewers@CIN@CHC
Edwin JacksonNationalsPHI
Lance LynnCardinals@SD
Michael FulmerTigersKC@TOR
Kyle HendricksCubs@PIT
Jose QuintanaCubs@PITMIL
Dinelson LametPadresSTL
Eduardo RodriguezRed SoxTOR
Ervin SantanaTwins@KC
Dan StrailyMarlinsWSH
Tyler SkaggsAngels@OAK
Jon GrayRockies@LAD
Rick PorcelloRed SoxTORTB
Buck FarmerTigersKC
Tanner RoarkNationals@MIAPHI
Ryan MerrittIndians@CWS
Sean ManaeaAthleticsLAA
Jameson TaillonPiratesCHC
Justin VerlanderTigersKC
Collin McHughAstros@SEA
Dylan BundyOriolesNYY
CC SabathiaYankees@BAL
J.A. HappBlue Jays@BOSDET

Notables

  • The final rotation piece returning for the Dodgers is Yu Darvish. Can you believe the Dodgers are winning all of these games despite these injuries? They should cruise to 110 wins and possibly break the Mariners record if guys like Darvish come back healthy.
  • All trade season, every expert out there said the Astros needed to deal for a starting pitcher. Why? Because Charlie Morton is not a sexy enough name for them. Take Sonny Gray for example – Morton has been as good or better than him in about as many innings. So, Houston was supposed to give up three prospects for him? Give me a break.
  • Jose Berrios is going to be a very interesting name to follow in 2018 ADP. He has been fairly inconsistent this season, posting an amazing and terrible start in almost perfectly alternating fashion. I’m still bullish on his talent turning him into an Archer-type and I certainly wouldn’t sit him this week.

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  • Here’s your weekly reminder that Michael Fulmer scares the crap out of me. Why are the Tigers not shutting him down again? I don’t feel comfortable at all starting him this week.
  • The Cubs will temporarily run a six man rotation with Jon Lester returning from the DL. Mike Montgomery will likely see one more start on Sunday, which gives the rest of the staff an extra day off. Anyone else hoping they move John Lackey to the bullpen instead?
  • All I want to do before the season ends is find a funny phrase for Buck Farmer. Is that so hard to ask? Like, can we ‘buck’ the trend of just being lazy with puns? The Tigers called him up a second time from the ‘farm’ team and I like him as a spot streamer this week.

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 the said player.

PlayerTeamOpp1Opp2
German MarquezRockiesSF@LAD
Andrew HeaneyAngels@SEA
Jakob JunisRoyals@DETMIN
Matt AndrieseRays@BOS
Josh TomlinIndiansBAL
Rafael MonteroMetsPHICIN
Parker BridwellAngels@OAK
Ivan NovaPiratesCHC@STL
Trevor WilliamsPirates@STL
Mike LeakeMarinersLAA
Jaime GarciaYankees@BAL@TEX
Marco EstradaBlue Jays@BOS
Mike FiersAstros@OAK
Chad BettisRockiesSF@LAD
Brandon WoodruffBrewers@CHC
Andrew AlbersMarinersLAA
Kendall GravemanAthleticsLAA
Chris StrattonGiants@COL
R.A. DickeyBravesTEXMIA
Joe BiaginiBlue Jays@BOS
Taijuan WalkerDiamondbacks@LAD
Jhoulys ChacinPadres@ARI
Sean NewcombBravesTEX
Alex CobbRaysMIN@BOS
Clayton RichardPadresSTL
John LackeyCubs@PIT
Jason HammelRoyals@DET
Kyle FreelandRockiesSF
Blake SnellRaysMIN
Doug FisterRed SoxTOR
Lucas GiolitoWhite SoxCLE
Carlos RodonWhite SoxCLE
Seth LugoMetsCIN
Zach DaviesBrewers@CIN
Chad KuhlPiratesCHC@STL
Julio TeheranBravesTEXMIA
Luis PerdomoPadresSTL@ARI
Jose UrenaMarlins@ATL
Ricky NolascoAngels@OAK@SEA
Mark Leiter Jr.Phillies@NYM@WSH
Matt MooreGiants@CWS
Ty BlachGiants@COL@CWS
Jason VargasRoyals@DETMIN
Cole HamelsRangers@ATL
Kevin GausmanOrioles@CLE
Jerad EickhoffPhillies@NYM@WSH
Mike FoltynewiczBravesMIA
Troy ScribnerAngels@SEA
Adam ConleyMarlinsWSH@ATL
Lucas SimsBravesMIA
Ben LivelyPhillies@NYM
Jeremy HellicksonOriolesNYY
Ian KennedyRoyalsMIN
Jake OdorizziRaysMIN
Matt GarzaBrewers@CHC
Ariel MirandaMarinersHOU
Miguel GonzalezWhite SoxCLESF
Antonio SenzatelaRockies@LAD
Erasmo RamirezMarinersHOULAA
Daniel GossettAthleticsHOU
Jharel CottonAthleticsHOU

Notables

  • In a bit of shocking news, Mike Leake was traded to Seattle in exchange for some international pool money and a low-end prospect. It’s sneakily important to look at the empty slot in the Cardinals rotation. If Jack Flaherty, a guy I have seen perform well in person, gets a chance to show off his skills, he could be an important pickup for a fantasy playoff rotation as an SP6 or SP7.
  • Joe Biagini gets another crack at starting with the Blue Jays likely not to make the playoffs. He’s a good name to monitor, but don’t go sprinting to the free agent pool to acquire him.

Credit: FanGraphs

  • Has Blake Snell turned a corner? Many pundits believe so, but what is the cause of this revival? The main thing I have seen in the stats is a different approach to his offspeed pitches. He’s throwing that nasty changeup much more often and the curveball way less. The Tampa coaching staff is obviously countering the data and it’s pretty cool to watch. In the meantime, Snell will produce well in average to elite matchups so if you want to risk it against Minnesota then go for it!
  • If you are in a daily lineup league, I don’t mind Mark Leiter Jr. against the Mets. I obviously wouldn’t prefer it, but he would move closer to the top of this list if he didn’t have that second start against Washington.
  • It’s been an epic fall to normalcy for Jason Vargas in Kansas City. With a 7.18 ERA and 6.22 FIP over his last six starts, he is finally regressing towards what his FIP and xFIP have been pointing out all season long. With a start at Detroit and then at home against Minnesota, I believe he will continue this horrid run.

Arms Amending

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
Adalberto MejiaTwinsBiceps strainSoon!
Brent SuterBrewersStrained rotator cuffSoon!
Daniel NorrisTigersStrained groinSoon!
Wei-Yen ChenMarlinsArm/shoulder fatigueSoon!
James PaxtonMarinersStrained pectoral muscleEarly September
Brandon McCarthyDodgersBlisterEarly September
Jon LesterCubsStrained latEarly September
Johnny CuetoGiantsBlisterEarly September
Felix HernandezMarinersShoulder bursitisEarly September
Lance McCullersAstrosBack discomfortEarly September
Garrett RichardsAngelsCutaneous nerve in bicepsMid September
Reynaldo LopezWhite SoxPulled backMid September
Noah SyndergaardMetsStrained latMid September
Anthony DeScalafaniRedsStrained elbowMid September
Jacob FariaRaysStrained ab muscleMid September
Trevor CahillRoyalsShoulder impingementMid September
Danny SalazarIndiansElbow inflammationMid September
Alex MeyerAngelsShoulder inflammationMid September
David PriceRed SoxElbow injuryMid September
Adam WainwrightCardinalsElbow impingementMid September
Aaron SanchezBlue JaysBlisterUnlikely
JC RamirezAngelsStrained elbowUnlikely
Danny DuffyRoyalsElbow impingementUnlikely

Notables

  • Royals ace Danny Duffy added insult to an elbow injury this week by topping it with a DUI. I’d be surprised if he pitched again this season and the elbow may not be the limiting factor in that decision.

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  • Here’s my weekly Astros post in this section! With Lance McCullers on the mend, this means one of two things. One – the Astros could go with a six man rotation considering their substantial lead in the AL West. Two – they could decide to bump out either Mike Fiers or, a pitching planner favorite, Brad Peacock. Please make the right decision, Houston front office, I’m begging you!

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

About Tyler Thompson

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