Fantasy Baseball

2016 Fantasy Baseball Pitching Planner Week 10: Wrigley Wonders

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Credit: Hernan Seoane

How many Cub-greatness-spewing-related articles have you read by now?

Well, get ready for another one (sorta)!

Look, when a team’s five starters combine for 340 IP of 2.41 ERA mastery over the first two months plus of the season, I can’t ignore it. I have to do my job and be sure to put into perspective just how good this group is. It’s like telling someone how small we are compared to the rest of the universe – you can tell someone that we can fit 1.3 million Earths in the Sun and that our Sun is not the biggest Sun in the universe by far, but everyone knows that and just wants to move on.



 


Let’s get back on point here and talk about how the Cubs are approximately 1.3 million times better than the Braves (HA! Cheap shots on my own team are endless. Insert shaking, disappointed emoji). I will give out some pointers about the Cubbies aces in this week’s pitching planner.

Theme of the Week: Cubs pitchers are pretty okay, I guess.

Fantasy Baseball Pitching Planner

Set & Forget – Sure-Fire Starters

  • Jon Lester (@PHI/@ATL) – The two starts for Lester couldn’t possibly be any juicier except if he was allowed to pitch against low-A squads. Team wOBA vs. LHP: Phillies – 29th / Braves – 30th. Team wRC+ vs. LHP: Phillies – 29th / Braves – 30th. What a mess!
  • Clayton Kershaw (@SF)
  • Stephen Strasburg (PHI)
  • Corey Kluber (@LAA)
  • Jake Arrieta (@ATL) – He’s really ranked second, but I’m weird and like to skip a couple of names before picking back up on the descriptions. It just makes the article flow a little better, ya know? Oh, right, Arrieta… Yeah so he’s in the conversation for best pitcher in the league that runs two deep along with Kershaw. That’s pretty special in itself, but he also gets the Braves in a road start so that’s not bad either!
  • Chris Sale (KC)
  • Madison Bumgarner (BOS/LAD)
  • Jacob deGrom (@PIT/@MIL)
  • Drew Pomeranz (ATL)
  • Noah Syndergaard (@PIT)
  • Rich Hill (@CIN) – No excuse to sit Hill this week against the Reds. The better Reds bats are lefties (Bruce, Votto) so I’m not expecting fireworks out of their offense. Hill will keep up his spectacular season, thus leaving fantasy owners with the tough decision to try and sell high or ride it out. Good luck with that!
  • Jose Fernandez (@ARI)
  • Max Scherzer (@CWS)
  • Steven Wright (@MIN)
  • Justin Verlander (@NYY)
  • Kyle Hendricks (@PHI) – He was on fire last week against the Dodgers and the favorable match ups just keep on coming. After not pitching for more than 6 2/3 IP in any start this season, his last two starts have been 9- and 8-inning games, respectively, and pitching deep into games is only going to make him more valuable moving forward if he can continue this string of success.
  • Jeff Samardzija (LAD)
  • Gerrit Cole (STL)
  • David Price (@SF)
  • Zack Greinke (TB)
  • Jose Quintana (KC) – Umm, hello, I am Jose Quintana and I have a 2.13 ERA & 2.29 FIP. Talk about me! Really the only major thing he is doing different than in years past is suppressing the HRs allowed. Other than that, he’s right in line with his career numbers and the worst he could really regress to, should his HR totals increase, would still be sub-3.00 ERA. Damn that’s good!
  • Masahiro Tanaka (LAA/DET)
  • Joe Ross (@CWS/PHI)
  • Steven Matz (@PIT/@MIL)
  • Danny Salazar (@SEA)
  • Aaron Nola (@WSH)
  • Jason Hammel (@ATL) – Speaking of suppressing HRs compared to his past, Hammel has been all over that ideology. This year his HR/9 stands at 0.48 while in the previous two seasons it’s hovered around 1.20. Increasing the GB% by ~4% helps, but it’s the HR/FB rate at 5.5% that I don’t believe is sustainable. He’s really a right-handed version of Quintana and I also believe that his ERA should be around 3.00 for most of the year.
  • Taijuan Walker (CLE)
  • Julio Teheran (@SD)
  • Johnny Cueto (BOS)
  • Jordan Zimmerman (TOR)
  • John Lackey (@PHI) – Boy, this guy is a gamer! There’s some guys you watch and they just have ‘it’, with ‘it’ being the competitive streak. I know all of these guys have it, but Lackey just exudes competitiveness and battles every pitch. All this being said, he’s one of my favorite pitchers to watch and should be able to outmatch the Phillies this week.
  • Jaime Garcia (@CIN)
  • Tanner Roark (PHI)

Dream Stream – Streaming Options to Employ

  • Yu Darvish (HOU)
  • Ian Kennedy (@CWS)
  • Carlos Carrasco (@SEA/@LAA) – I need a couple more starts to put him in the Sure-Fire group, but still he’s Carlos Freakin’ Carrasco, I’m not going to tell you to sit him in his second/third start back from injury. You waited on him this long, just go for it! I usually like sitting guys in their first start back, but his came unexpectedly last week so lock him in.
  • Cole Hamels (HOU/@SEA)
  • Adam Wainwright (@CIN)
  • Matt Harvey (@MIL)
  • Marco Estrada (BAL)
  • Michael Fulmer (TOR/@NYY) – How fantastic has this guy been for the Tigers? Try this line for size in his last three starts: 22.1 IP 1ER 22K 4BB 3W. This after a few rough starts under his belt to start the year, so I’m excited about his ability to adjust and learn on the fly. If this guy is still somehow available in your league snag him NOW!
  • Lance McCullers (@TB)
  • Chris Archer (@ARI/HOU)
  • Kevin Gausman (@TOR)
  • Jake Odorizzi (@ARI)
  • Nathan Eovaldi (LAA) – This is a good opportunity for Eovaldi, who has been pretty inconsistent over his career, to dominate a game. The ground ball inducing wizard (~52%!) gets a ground ball heavy Angels squad (47%), so I’m expecting a lot of balls to be driven into the infield and make divots that would make golfers proud. Eovaldi is my ‘leap of faith’ pitcher this week given his outward appearance in the statistics, but it’s more like a ‘leap of educated faith’ (huh?) for me.
  • Gio Gonzalez (@CWS)
  • Marcus Stroman (BAL)
  • Mike Leake (@CIN/@PIT)
  • Wei-Yen Chen (@MIN)
  • Eduardo Rodriguez (@MIN) – The cool kids call him ‘E-Rod’ and he is back pitching for a Red Sox team hungry for starters. After throwing a pretty good game against the Orioles in his debut, I am fairly confident throwing him into the fire against a Twins team taking a long ride on the struggle bus to get anything going offensively.
  • Carlos Rodon (WSH)
  • Carlos Martinez (@PIT)
  • Nate Karns (CLE)
  • Matt Shoemaker (@NYY/CLE)
  • Junior Guerra (NYM) – Is this picture the first time you’ve gotten a glimpse of what Guerra looks like? Me too! The 31-year-old has shined in his major league debut this season, which makes me wonder how the hell he didn’t make it before now. Next up for him, a Mets squad that is a little scary in the HR department, but also is prone to the strikeouts against righties.
  • Adam Conley (@MIN/@ARI)
  • Jimmy Nelson (NYM)
  • Francisco Liriano (NYM)
  • Hisashi Iwakuma (TEX)
  • Drew Smyly (HOU) – Quite a drop for Smyly and, honestly, wouldn’t blame you if you sat him. Odds are that you don’t have better options and this could be a game where he racks up a few strikeouts against a high-whiffing Astros club. It could also be dangerous too with all the right-handed power bats they present so choose wisely.
  • Michael Wacha (@PIT)
  • Nick Tropeano (@NYY)
  • Bartolo Colon (@MIL)
  • Jhoulys Chacin (CLE)

Bet & Regret – Streaming Options to Avoid

  • Dallas Keuchel (@TEX/@TB)
  • Scott Kazmir (@SF)
  • Archie Bradley (TB) – Although I wouldn’t recommend starting him this week, he should be on watch lists in the fantasy world. Scoop him up in 12+ team leagues as a flier and see how he does. Bradley’s kinda got a post-hype prospect thing going on and can be had at an extreme discount.
  • C.C. Sabathia (DET)
  • Collin McHugh (@TEX)
  • Vince Velasquez (CHC)
  • Chris Tillman (KC)
  • James Shields (WSH) – So the first rather large in-season trade occurred this past weekend with the White Sox making a move to acquire Shields. Real life baseball – this move makes a ton of sense as Shields slots in as a SP3 or SP4 in the rotation and provides them with a right-handed presence amongst their starting rotation. Fantasy life – I think it boosts his value just from an uptick in wins and motivation to perform standpoint. I would sit him a week though to see how he fares in his inaugural start with the Sox.
  • Rick Porcello (@SF)
  • Jerad Eickhoff (CHC)
  • Jonathan Gray (SD)
  • Aaron Sanchez (@DET/BAL)
  • Matt Wisler (CHC) – Wisler has been on fire lately as seen by his 2.51 ERA in May and an increase in K%. Against the Cubs though in a game he is certain to lose, this is a good week to sit him and/or look on the waivers to see if he is dropped after a bad start against the Cubs.
  • Ivan Nova (LAA)
  • Josh Tomlin (@SEA)
  • Jesse Hahn (@MIL)
  • Edinson Volquez (@BAL)
  • Doug Fister (@TEX)
  • Matt Andriese (HOU) – The way to beat Houston is to make them swing-and-miss and that is not Andriese’s game. Needless to say, I am not interested in starting him this week. Which reminds me – people who say “needless to say” or “long story short”, quit it! Okay, not the place for rants, moving on.
  • Trevor Bauer (@SEA/@LAA)
  • Michael Pineda (LAA/DET)
  • Jeremy Hellickson (@WSH)
  • Tyler Chatwood (@LAD/SD)
  • Danny Duffy (@BAL/@CWS)
  • R.A. Dickey (@DET) – Dickey has shown some promise in May/June with a 2.73 ERA and a couple of wins. I have never been good with figuring out which days his knuckler will be on or not, but usually he can be trusted over a string of starts rather than spot starting. In this instance though, if you are the kind who likes to spot start Dickey, I would definitely sit him against the Tigers.
  • Mike Fiers (@TEX/@TB)
  • Patrick Corbin (MIA)
  • Juan Nicasio (NYM/STL)
  • Colby Lewis (HOU/@SEA)

About Tyler Thompson

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