Fantasy Baseball

2017 Fantasy Baseball Week 3 Pitching Planner: Steam Engine

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So, I do believe
None of this is physical, at least not to me
So, I do believe
That anywhere it goes, it’s always with me

— ‘Steam Engine’, My Morning Jacket

When explaining the meaning behind the band’s hit song, lead singer Jim James didn’t hold back:

“It is kind of a reaction to, in today’s world, so much being based on the physical. So much is based on people’s appearance and fashion. So many bands seem like they’re a part of a fashion show and they don’t even give a [bleep] about their music.”

I sort of had a writer’s block at the beginning of this week. I kept flip-flopping on themes for Week 3 and couldn’t find anything that made me happy. That changed when I went to one of my NFBC leagues to do my weekly check on waiver wire pickups. To my surprise, I found a couple of nice veteran pitchers that were durable. Surely these guys were drafted, so why did teams drop them?

When I looked at the transaction history, I saw that these veterans were dropped for rookies or hot name players. I was dumbfounded – how can someone drop Mike Leake for Kendall Graveman, who cost 20% of his budget? I wanted to know exactly what I was missing here because I know I have different strategies and theories than most players.

What I believe happened here ties back to James’ comments. Reread the last line of his quote and replace two words: ‘bands’ to ‘fantasy players’ and ‘music’ to ‘teams’. If the player really thought Graveman would be a better season-long add than Leake, then I respect that. However, if he was just adding Graveman so he could say he won him in the bidding, I can’t buy off on that.

The lesson to be learned here is to not worry about how your roster looks to other people. If you love your team the way it is, don’t listen to the talking heads out there telling you to change it. Trust your instincts and don’t always fall for the flavor of the week if you have a more established option already.

2017 Fantasy Baseball Week 3 Pitching Planner

Auto-Start

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

PlayerTeamOpp1Opp2
Max ScherzerNationals@ATL@NYM
Yu DarvishRangers@OAKKC
Clayton KershawDodgersCOL
Noah SyndergaardMetsPHI
Stephen StrasburgNationals@ATL
Madison BumgarnerGiants@KC
Jacob deGromMetsWSH
Justin VerlanderTigers@MIN
Jake ArrietaCubs@CIN
Carlos MartinezCardinals@MIL
Carlos CarrascoIndians@CWS
Chris SaleRed Sox@TOR
Corey KluberIndians@MIN
Marcus StromanBlue JaysBOS@LAA
Chris ArcherRaysDET
Julio TeheranBravesWSH
Masahiro TanakaYankeesCWS
Jon LesterCubs@CIN
Kyle HendricksCubsMIL
Johnny CuetoGiants@COL
Zack GreinkeDiamondbacks@SD
Jose QuintanaWhite SoxCLE
Danny DuffyRoyals@TEX
Rick PorcelloRed Sox@TOR

Promoted

  • After a solid first couple of weeks, Zack Greinke gets his first go-around in the Auto-Start tier. He’s faced good competition, limited walks and homers, and conduced that weak contact we are used to seeing from him. A matchup against a average-at-best Padres offense in Petco Park never hurt either.

Relegated

  • It pains me to do this, but I have to move Kenta Maeda down a tier. Something tells me he won’t be down for long though. Looking at his batted ball data so far this season compared to 2016, I’m confident that this is just a rough patch for him. Now, if we are heading into May and his stats haven’t normalized, then I’ll start to worry.

Auto-Stream

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

PlayerTeamOpp1Opp2
Michael FulmerTigers@TB@MIN
Danny SalazarIndians@MIN@CWS
James PaxtonMariners@OAK
Lance McCullersAstrosLAA
John LackeyCubsMIL@CIN
Aaron SanchezBlue JaysBOS
Jameson TaillonPiratesNYY
Tanner RoarkNationals@ATL
Kenta MaedaDodgers@ARI
Aaron NolaPhillies@NYM
Kevin GausmanOrioles@CIN
Dallas KeuchelAstrosLAA
Gerrit ColePirates@STL
Felix HernandezMarinersMIA
Cole HamelsRangersKC
Jerad EickhoffPhilliesATL
Vince VelasquezPhillies@NYM
Gio GonzalezNationals@NYM
Garrett RichardsAngelsTOR
Rich HillDodgers@ARI
Jake OdorizziRaysDET
Matt HarveyMetsWSH

Notables

  • Sexy draft ‘sleepers’ (ugh, such an overused word), James Paxton and Lance McCullers are proving people right so far. The K/BB ratios have been great for both and I don’t see that slowing down for them in their respective starts. Breaths everywhere will be held until one of these guys finally gets an injury, but enjoy it to the fullest as it stands!
  • Veteran John Lackey has had another great start to a season for the Cubs. It’s amazing what this guy is doing at age 38 and he shows no signs of slowing down. Now, it may not be a Hall of Fame career, but he’s just that guy who wins you ball games as a 3rd or 4th in a rotation. Similar to his fantasy relevance I suppose.
  • Don’t look now, but Gio Gonzalez is looking like his 2010-2013 self! Okay, this walk rate probably won’t hold up, but it’s very encouraging to see that as a point of emphasis for him in the early going. A matchup with the pathetic Mets offense (outside of Cespedes, of course) doesn’t intimidate anybody.
  • If you read my preseason work, you probably know I’m not the biggest fan of Cole Hamels this season. He’s once again beating his FIP/xFIP predictors by a large margin so far. I don’t expect that keeps up. The only reason I’m keeping him this high is the matchup against a subpar Royals lineup.

Editor’s NoteRich Hill and Aaron Sanchez both played too much Mario Party on Nintendo 64 this week and got blisters. Don’t start them. Also, if you weren’t getting blisters on this game, I am sorry but you just weren’t trying hard enough.

Dream Stream

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

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PlayerTeamOpp1Opp2
Mike LeakeCardinalsPIT@MIL
Joe RossNationals@NYM
Drew PomeranzRed Sox@BAL
Jon GrayRockies@LAD
Robbie RayDiamondbacks@LADLAD
Jharel CottonAthleticsSEA
Jeremy HellicksonPhilliesATL
Ivan NovaPirates@STLNYY
Robert GsellmanMetsPHI
Michael PinedaYankees@PIT
Ervin SantanaTwinsCLE
Adam WainwrightCardinals@MIL
Dylan BundyOriolesBOS
Matt ShoemakerAngels@HOU
J.A. HappBlue Jays@LAA
Michael WachaCardinalsPIT
Sean ManaeaAthleticsSEA
Adam ConleyMarlins@SEA
Taijuan WalkerDiamondbacksLAD
Andrew TriggsAthleticsTEXSEA
Francisco LirianoBlue JaysBOS
Edinson VolquezMarlins@SD
Charlie MortonAstros@TB
Kendall GravemanAthleticsTEX
Chad KuhlPirates@STL
Luis SeverinoYankeesCWS
Marco EstradaBlue Jays@LAA
Daniel NorrisTigers@TB

Notables

  • Quietly, Mike Leake is having a strong April in St. Louis. The guy is Mr. Consistency, so why not roll him out for a two start week?
  • Everyone’s draft darling, Robbie Ray gets the rare same opponent twice in one week opportunity. And when I say one week, I mean once on Monday and again on Saturday. Someone look up regular season history and tell me if this has ever happened! You will receive no physical prize – just my gratitude and a mention in next week’s pitching planner.
  • Drew Pomeranz had an impressive 2017 debut against this same Baltimore squad. Remember, he got off to that incredible start in 2016 before the innings wore on his arm. Perhaps we see another start to a season like that.
  • The Blue Jays pitching staff doesn’t get enough credit. J.A. Happ could probably back me up there. As of my writing, dude hasn’t given up a walk yet. This K-rate won’t keep up, but he certainly passes the eye test to improve from his career 7.67 K/9.

Buyer Beware

These pitchers are better left on your bench or 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.

PlayerTeamOpp1Opp2
Zack WheelerMetsPHIWSH
Lance LynnCardinalsPIT@MIL
Mike FoltynewiczBravesWSH@PHI
Shelby MillerDiamondbacks@SDLAD
Brandon FinneganRedsCHC
Jaime GarciaBravesSD@PHI
Matt MooreGiants@COL
Brandon McCarthyDodgersARI@ARI
Brett AndersonCubsMIL
Hisashi IwakumaMariners@OAK
R.A. DickeyBravesWSH
Bartolo ColonMets@PHI
Amir GarrettRedsBALCHC
Jeff SamardzijaGiants@COL
Zack DaviesBrewersSTL
Alex CobbRaysHOU
Blake SnellRays@BOSHOU
Eduardo RodriguezRed Sox@TOR@BAL
C.C. SabathiaYankees@PIT
Ian KennedyRoyals@TEX
Trevor BauerIndians@MIN
Hyun-Jin RyuDodgersCOL
Dan StrailyMarlins@SD
Wei-Yen ChenMarlins@SEA
Matt AndrieseRaysDETHOU
Jason HammelRoyalsSF@TEX
Jordan MontgomeryYankeesCWS@PIT
Patrick CorbinDiamondbacks@SD
Tyler AndersonRockiesSF
Tyler GlasnowPiratesNYY
Jordan ZimmermannTigers@TB
Clayton RichardPadresARI
Jimmy NelsonBrewers@CHCSTL
Scott FeldmanRedsBAL
Joe MusgroveAstrosLAA@TB
Chase AndersonBrewers@CHCSTL
Phil HughesTwinsCLEDET
Wily PeraltaBrewersSTL
Hector SantiagoTwinsDET
Jesse HahnAthleticsTEXSEA

Notables

  • It’s a larger list than normal, but I wanted to make sure to be inclusive. Especially when fantasy players are looking for streamers and only look at ERA. That’s a big mistake and will lead you to pitch guys like Scott Feldman. Gross.
  • I was very close to putting Zack Wheeler and  Lance Lynn in the higher tier. If you are desperate, I say go for it. Both of these guys could be on the waiver wire and that’s a solid way to build strikeouts this week. I was just a little uneasy when I originally had them in the Dream Stream section. Something just didn’t feel right.
  • Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit! Brandon McCarthy faces the same team twice in the same fashion as Robbie Ray does. Well, I still want someone to tell me how many times it has happened before the two times it will happen in Week 3.
  • This week will be my ultimate test for rookie sensation Amir Garrett. I will show him some love if he makes it through that Cubs start with a respectable ERA/FIP/xFIP trifecta. Good luck kid, show ’em who’s boss!
  • Raise your hand if you knew who Jordan Montgomery was before last week. C’mon, don’t lie! To give you an idea of how random he was, I’m in a dynasty league where he wasn’t owned. That’s 15 teams and 40 roster spots (plus minor league spots), yet no team to call his own. To that point, don’t rush to pick the guy up in shallow mixed leagues.

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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