Fantasy Baseball

2018 Fantasy Baseball Week 8 Hitting Planner: Panic Switch

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Hello, readers. If you are amped up to read from our usual writer of the Hitting Planner, Jonathan Chan, you will be sorely disappointed. For it is I – Tyler Thompson – he of the Pitching Planner and of the drive-thru lane at Raising Cane’s.

You don’t know what Raising Cane’s is! My goodness, be more cultured, please!

Anyhow, if you are familiar with my work, you are now preparing yourself for obscure references and halfway-decent fantasy advice. However, I want to simplify things for this piece. As the writer of the Pitching Planner, I have decided to use my methodology for selecting pitchers and simply invert it for the hitters. The more pitchers that an offense faces outside of my top 75 pitchers or so, the better chance that offense has at succeeding.

See, that wasn’t so bad, right?

So, let’s give this ol’ Hitting Planner thing a shot, eh? That’s a shoutout to Joey Votto, who I don’t imagine appreciates my lingo.

(For the record, I heart Canada. A country that can produce such superstars as James Paxton, Colin Mochrie, and the Arcade Fire is just fine in my mind.)

2018 Fantasy Baseball Week 8 Hitting Planner

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Offense To Target – Washington Nationals

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As much as it pains this Braves fan to say it, I recognize that the best days are ahead for the Nationals. That is evident just by their offensive rise from a chilly April (95 wRC+) to a hot May (109 wRC+). Hopefully, my Braves can hold them off for awhile, but anyone counting out the nasty Nats already can’t be too wise. They project to have some key players return in the heat of the summer and things could really take off. (Is this reverse psychology working?)

Their hot May could turn into a scorching one for their offense based on their opposing matchups. They’ll host the Padres, who run out a subpar rotation. Next, they’ll travel to Miami to take on a bottom dweller in the division. The Marlins will be starting unspectacular veterans Dan Straily, Jose Urena, and Wei-Yen Chen. Surprisingly, the Miami bullpen is far worse than the starting staff, which will have Washington hitters licking their chops in late game situations.

Notable Players

There are many players I want to start for Washington outside of the top tier guys. Howie Kendrick is a fine contributor in average and run-producing at a weak fantasy position. Conversely, Michael Taylor can give you some upside with power and speed.

Depending on the handedness of the pitcher, Matt Adams and Mark Reynolds can be rotated smoothly in your lineup at 1B. If you can only select one, roll with Adams on the strong side of the platoon.

Offense To Avoid – San Francisco Giants

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I used to not really pay attention to the number of games a hitter had in a given week as long as the quality was going to be high. As the years have gone by, I’ve started to see the argument for quantity over quality, especially when a hitter experiences a five-game week instead of six or seven games. Generally speaking, in your rotisserie leagues, there are four counting stats and just one ratio. I’m cool with substituting a very good player with five games in favor of an average player with seven games.

Why do I bring this up? Well, the Giants have the worst of both worlds this week. Not only do they only play five games, but they also get two of the best pitching staffs in the league. For their two games against Houston, they’ll face AL Cy young candidates Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander. As if that wasn’t gross enough, in the weekend series versus the Cubs, they attract three very different pitchers in consecutive days. Kyle Hendricks is a feel pitcher from the right side. Jose Quintana is a steady arm from the left side. Finally, Yu Darvish finishes them off with a power upside from the right.

All this being said, I believe Week 8 will be a rough week for the SanFran offense. It’s not like they’ve been lighting it up anyway (22nd in my unofficial offensive power rankings), so why risk it? I’m staying far away from any Giants hitters this week.

Notable Players

Honestly, outside of Buster Posey, I can’t make the case for starting any of these Giants in Week 8. I’m sitting veterans Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria until the next week at the least. Also, even though Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford are heating up, I can’t be confident in either of them to produce what they have been against their Week 8 foes.

Offense To Target – Pittsburgh Pirates

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Dude, how about the Pirates this year? They went from selling their top two players in the offseason to contending in the NL Central. They’ve been a fun team to watch and something tells me that they will keep giving the Cardinals, Cubs, and Brewers trouble in 2018. The biggest surprise here is just how good their offense has been this season. It’s a top three unit by my standards where I analyze BB/K, wOBA, and wRC+. Yet, they still feel underestimated by the fantasy and reality community alike.

Week 8 is a perfect opportunity for the Pirates to turn more heads in a permanent fashion. First, they’ll head to Cincinnati to face righties Tyler Mahle, Matt Harvey, and Homer Bailey. WOOF! Next, they’ll head home to host the Cardinals in an important divisional showdown. They’ll likely face three more righties in Luke Weaver, Jack Flaherty, and another arm to be determined (I don’t know of any southpaws the Cardinals have to use).

The left-handed heavy lineup that Pittsburgh runs is fierce and incredibly difficult to pitch against. I’m expecting an elite week for the Pirates and a chance to be sitting atop the NL Central by the end of it.

Notable Players

Oh man, time to roll out the lefties in the Pittsburgh lineup! Adam Frazier gets regular at-bats in the leadoff spot when the Pirates face righties. Corey Dickerson could use a bounce-back week and certainly will get his opportunity in Week 8. Finally, if you are in a 12+ team league, why not throw Colin Moran in your CI spot?

Offense To Avoid – Toronto Blue Jays

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This may be a bit of a surprise to some folks, but I’ve got an eerie feeling about Toronto’s offense this week. It’s been an average offense at best this year and I’m not particularly certain that’s going to change moving forward. Well, that is, if they don’t get off their asses and call up Vladmir Guerrero Jr. Name a better hitter for the Blue Jays than Vladito right now. I’m waiting. (Josh Donaldson? Okay maybe, but still!)

This week, they’ll host the Angels before traveling to Philadelphia. Of course, the Angels won’t roll out Ohtani until his normal Sunday start, but Garrett Richards and Tyler Skaggs will be featured in that mid-week series. The real damage comes in the form of the Phillies, where they will throw Aaron Nola and Nick Pivetta over the weekend. Another reason to worry here would be because of the opposing bullpens. Both have been on fire lately and are formidable bullpens in the context of the league averages in ERA and K/BB.

For the Blue Jays, it is what it has been for the season: average individual hitters and an average team offense. Forgive me for not falling out of my chair to start any of these dudes.

Notable Players

Fine, I’m okay with using the left-handed bats atop the Toronto lineup. Curtis Granderson and Justin Smoak are fine plays if you have been rolling with them all year.

Now, I do worry about the righties enough to sit them the entirety of Week 8. Yangervis Solarte has been regressing back to his career norms in May and I want no part of the switch-hitter this week. Kevin Pillar is definitely sitting on my bench if I own him. Teoscar Hernandez may require a case-by-case solution, but I am looking for ways to bench him if I can help it.

Platoon Targets

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Yolmer Sanchez, 3B, White Sox

The White Sox ranked very highly in my offense rater this week. However, as it stands, the White Sox don’t have a ton of firepower – especially not against righties. They are platooning such players as Nicky Delmonico right now, who I saw make a terrible play in the outfield the other day. Sigh.

On the other hand, Yolmer Sanchez is an intriguing pickup in small-to-medium size leagues. Although he switch-hits, he is significantly better from the left side of the plate in his career. In 2018, he’s running a remarkable 135 wRC+ against right-handers.

In a week where he faces six subpar righties, I’m all for giving him a temporary add. For the Baltimore series, he will face Andrew Cashner, Kevin Gausman, Alex Cobb, and Dylan Bundy. The other two right-handed starters are Blaine Hardy and Mike Fiers from Detroit. How many ‘heart-eye’ emojis are acceptable for one section?

Niko Goodrum, OF, Tigers

CAUTION: Be mindful of his consistency in the lineup over the weekend. If he is still getting playing time, I’m all for picking him up in 12+ team leagues.

The Tigers have been unimpressive against righties this year, especially with Leonys Martin on the DL. Just writing that sentence makes me shudder – Martin was your best hitter against righties? Yikes!

Goodrum has had an amazing week since seeing some regular at-bats for Detroit. He had a multi-homer game from the left side and had solid games against James Paxton and Carlos Carrasco when the rest of his teammates scuffled. With righties like Lance Lynn, Kyle Gibson, Reynaldo Lopez, and James Shields on the docket for Week 8, give him a shot.

Who knows, he could turn into something more than just a temporary addition to your deeper league.


Check out the rest of our great 2018 Fantasy Baseball content.

About Tyler Thompson

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  1. Pingback: Friday, May 18, 2018 - Fantasy Baseball Links - FantasyRundown.com

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