2016 Fantasy Baseball Pitching Planner Week 19: Doin’ the Splits, Pt. II

by Tyler Thompson
pitching planner
Credit: slgckgc

Credit: slgckgc

Consider this a Pitching Planner Rewind. Time to return to the lefty/right splits and determine who to bully with handedness of pitcher!

For the sake of wanting new information, I am going to exclude the Phillies and Braves from the conversation. Both teams have been in the bottom two against LHP and RHP for most of the year – they are easy targets! We know this, and we thirst/hunger for new targets so that we aren't fighting rival leaguemates for shares of free agent pitchers facing those two squads.

Without further adieu, let's check out the top five teams to target against RHP. Props to FanGraphs for all of the statistical goodness provided:


And the top five teams to target against LHP:


So let's use this information to our advantage this week and beyond. What would be cool would be a chart of all the teams showing how target-able they were based on handedness of pitcher and home/away. Streaming would be crazy easy with a visual like that and I will see how much free time I have this week!

Theme of the Week: Lefty/Righty Splits... UPDATED!

Fantasy Baseball Pitching Planner

Set & Forget - Sure-Fire Starters

  • Stephen Strasburg (ATL) - Look, you don't need me to tell you to start Stras in this case. His two starts against Atlanta this year have gone for a combined 13.2 IP, 3ER, 15 BB+H, 11K, and 2 wins. Divide those numbers in half and you have the floor for this week for the Washington ace.
  • Jose Fernandez (CWS)
  • Noah Syndergaard (ARI)
  • Jon Lester (STL)
  • Jacob deGrom (SD) - Yes, the Padres are on some kind of weird homer binge right now. However, they are still third to last in the league against RHP according to wOBA and wRC+. deGrom should be able to exploit that this week. Did I just use a lower-case word to start a sentence? Come at me, grammar freaks.
  • Chris Sale (@KC/@MIA)
  • Johnny Cueto (@MIA/BAL)
  • Madison Bumgarner (BAL)
  • Jake Arrieta (STL)
  • Jon Gray (@PHI) - This is the highest a Colorado pitcher has been. Not 'hey, let's sell stolen pot to make bail for a friend' kind of high - I'm talking rankings! Gray has a great matchup away from Coors Field this week and it's definitely one of those games that gives me the 'no-no' feel. Of course, I also very good at jinxing people (sorry, Danny Duffy).
  • Kenta Maeda (PHI/PIT)
  • Corey Kluber (LAA)
  • Kyle Hendricks (STL)
  • Gerrit Cole (@LAD)
  • James Paxton (@OAK) - Another pitcher experiencing an all-time rankings high is Paxton. He has a nice matchup on the road at Oakland against a team not playing for much. He has been a little more consistent lately (writing this not knowing what he did on Sunday) and it's enough for me to feel very confident in his Week 19 start.
  • Drew Pomeranz (NYY)
  • Masahiro Tanaka (TB)
  • Marco Estrada (TB/HOU)
  • Max Scherzer (CLE)
  • Jose Quintana (@KC) - Coming off a good start against a tough Tigers offense, Quintana should have a much easier time against KC. The Royals sport a mediocre offense that is worsening as the season progresses. They are a team that I find myself picking on here lately along with teams like the Braves, Phillies, White Sox, and Rays.
  • Yu Darvish (DET)
  • Carlos Carrasco (LAA)
  • Jameson Taillon (SD)
  • Zack Davies (ATL/CIN)
  • Junior Guerra (ATL/CIN) - A decent pitcher is Guerra, but what constitutes 'must-start' status? The friendliness of matchup is delicious. Both the Reds and Braves are in the bottom five in terms of wOBA and wRC+ against RHP. Look for Guerra to continue his strong 2016 campaign.
  • Tanner Roark (ATL)
  • Vincent Velasquez (LAD)
  • Rich Hill (PHI)
  • Justin Verlander (@SEA)
  • Tyler Skaggs (@CLE) - This seems a little high for Skaggs considering the sample size and a matchup against the AL Central leaders, right? Nah, the Indians actually struggle against LHP offensively. I like what the small sample size has shown and he must be employed in all starting lineups until he shows any sign of regression.
  • John Lackey (LAA)
  • Trevor Bauer (@WSH/LAA)
  • Carlos Martinez (@CHC)
  • Adam Wainwright (@CHC)
  • Chris Tillman (@OAK) - Baltimore gets plenty of press about its powerful offense. Where is the same love for the pitching staff? We know the bullpen is elite, but a the starters have been performing well as of late. Bundy and Gausman have been emerging, but Tillman has been very good all season. As stated before, Oakland is not a major threat to opposing pitchers. I wanted to point out how this season is not a fluke for the Orioles and they could easily rival the other AL teams for the World Series berth in 2016.
  • Scott Kazmir (PHI)

Dream Stream - Streaming Options to Employ

  • David Price (ARI)
  • Jose Berrios (HOU) - Berrios started off poorly in his first call to the big leagues. Walks and untimely hits allowed led to his demise and demotion back to minor league ball. However, during his minor league stint, he pitched win after win and gained lots of confidence on his way back to the Twins rotation. He allowed three runs in the first inning of his start against Cleveland last Monday, then retired the next 15 batters en route to a quality start. I like what I see from this future superstar and have no issues starting him this week versus Houston.
  • Kevin Gausman (@OAK/@SF)
  • Robbie Ray (@NYM)
  • Rick Porcello (NYY/ARI)
  • Felix Hernandez (DET)
  • Chris Archer (@NYY) - Until the Yankees start calling upon their younger talent to play regularly, they aren't going to put out very many scary lineups. Archer has been fairly inconsistent this season, but his strikeouts play anywhere and this start will play right in his strengths. I would feel more comfortable if the game was at the Trop, but I am confident in his ability (and filthy slider).
  • Lance McCullers (@TOR)
  • Taijuan Walker (@OAK)
  • Dylan Bundy (@SF)
  • Zack Greinke (@NYM/@BOS)
  • Cole Hamels (@COL/DET) - A regular in the 'start' tier, Hamels slides down to the 'streaming' group this week solely due to matchups. Starts against the lefty-feasting Tigers squad and the Coors Field kids would bump about 95% of pitchers down a tier. This ranking is not meant to force you to sit him, but rather show that some fantasy owners might have the flexibility to sit him this week and succeed.
  • Jaime Garcia (CIN)
  • Danny Duffy (@MIN)
  • Michael Wacha (CIN/@CHC)
  • Matt Moore (@MIA)
  • Mike Leake (CIN/@CHC) - Two start weeks in the streaming tier are mostly iffy (as mentioned in the Hamels blurb). Leake's week is no exception, as he sees the two extremes of matchups. The Reds start will be a chance for him to dominate his former team. The Cubs start will be a chance for him to screw it all up. I would like to think that he could get a quality start against Chicago, even though they've got their full repertoire of left-handed bats back. The Reds matchup is going to be good enough to start him for both matchups in my eyes.
  • Jimmy Nelson (CIN)
  • Gio Gonzalez (ATL)
  • Brandon McCarthy (PIT)
  • Michael Fulmer (@SEA/@TEX)
  • Sean Manaea (SEA) - Two things going for Manaea this week. 1) He seems to have figured 'it' out, whatever 'it' is! Last five starts: 32.1 IP, 2.51 ERA, 3.17 FIP, 3.15 xFIP, 32K, and 3BB. Four of those starts were against teams in the top 12 against LHP by wOBA and wRC+ standards. 2) He faces the Mariners this week in his home ballpark. Seattle is in the bottom third of the league against southpaws offensively. Start Manaea with confidence this week.
  • Jerad Eickhoff (COL)
  • Homer Bailey (@MIL)
  • Josh Tomlin (@WSH)
  • Jeff Samardzija (@MIA)
  • Matt Andriese (@NYY) - I mentioned the hole left by Matt Moore's departure in my trade deadline article last week. I nominated Erasmo Ramirez as the guy who could fill the void. The Rays nominated Matt Andriese though, which matters a little more, I guess (just trying to help, Tampa! Gah!). I get the move though as Andriese showed promise earlier in the year in the rotation. He gets a decent matchup this week and could be employed for fantasy teams in a pinch.
  • Marcus Stroman (HOU)
  • Matt Shoemaker (@CLE)
  • Ervin Santana (HOU)
  • Ian Kennedy (CWS)
  • Jason Hammel (LAA/STL) - The performance by Hammel has been great this season. However, his FIP (4.26) and xFIP (4.27) are over a run more than his ERA (3.07) and scream regression. The matchups this week are pesky and annoying teams too. The Angels produce runs oddly but efficiently. The Cardinals rake against RHP. You're hoping for two quality starts this week, but his sample size is large enough that it warrants leaving him in the stream section.
  • Andrew Cashner (SF)
  • James Shields (@MIA)
  • J.A. Happ (TB)
  • Miguel Gonzalez (@KC)
  • Kyle Gibson (KC) - I could be stupid in picking on the Royals to this degree, but the numbers set up well for Gibson to perform. Join me in the stupidity. Give Gibson a shot! At least look into sneaking him into a couple of DFS tournament lineups.
  • Hisashi Iwakuma (DET)
  • Bartolo Colon (ARI)

Bet & Regret - Streaming Options to Avoid

  • Steven Matz (ARI/SD)
  • Dallas Keuchel (@MIN) - This guy's been a conundrum for me throughout the pitching planner articles. Every week I suggest sitting him, he pitches like a former Cy Young winner. The times I suggest starting him, he looks like he did back when I watched him pitch for Arkansas in college (not spectacular). It is imperative that I figure out when and why to start him in particular matchups. I am leaving him out this week against a hot Twins offense. Take that however you may!
  • Tyler Anderson (TEX/@PHI)
  • Joe Ross (CLE)
  • Jake Odorizzi (@TOR/@NYY)
  • Jeremy Hellickson (@LAD)
  • Tyler Chatwood (TEX/@PHI) - If your league gives daily flexibility, that Philadelphia start is going to be dynamite. However, most of the leagues I play in lock lineups at the beginning of the week for pitchers and he will have to be benched in those formats. That Rangers lineup is going to be the best in the business here in a short while against RHP and LHP. Consider this advice duplicated for Tyler Anderson, rotation buddy, ranked above.
  • Chase Anderson (ATL)
  • Steven Wright (NYY)
  • Sonny Gray (BAL)
  • Anthony DeSclafani (@STL)
  • Dan Straily (@MIL) - This will be the week that his ERA finally surpasses the 4.00-mark. I'm not a believer in 'Daily Straily', even with this semi-decent matchup against the BrewCrew. He walks too many guys and that's one thing that Milwaukee can actually exploit. In fact, I would stack the Brewers against Straily in DFS as a contrarian play. Just not Orlando Arcia - he has been highly overrated in the fantasy community.
  • Edinson Volquez (CWS/@MIN)
  • Carlos Rodon (@MIA)
  • Ivan Nova (@LAD)
  • Tom Koehler (SF/CWS)
  • Wade LeBlanc (DET/@OAK) - The home runs allowed have been hurtful in an otherwise decent season for LeBlanc. That definitely won't slow down against Detroit. If you're feeling lucky, you could gamble on his week based on the Oakland start, but I just don't feel comfortable using him this week. There are plenty of better options out there on waiver wires in most leagues.
  • Doug Fister (@MIN)
  • Collin McHugh (@MIN/@TOR)
  • Yordano Ventura (@MIN)
  • Blake Snell (@TOR)
  • Braden Shipley (@NYM) - The Arizona rookie has been destroyed by elevated walk and home run rates so far in his short stint. The walks aren't going away anytime soon - check out his minor league walk rates. He's a ground ball pitcher though, so a 27% HR/FB can't remain for much longer. I project him as a poor man's Doug Fister and if that interests you in deep NL only leagues, go for it. Just not this week.
  • Drew Smyly (@TOR)
  • Wade Miley (@OAK)
  • Jordan Zimmerman (@SEA)
  • Mike Fiers (@MIN/@TOR)
  • Francisco Liriano (TB) - Liriano hopes the mantra 'new team, new you' comes to fruition in Toronto. Not likely, but one can dream. However, never underestimate the power of reuniting with an old friend. Especially when that friend is the starting catcher for your new team. Russell Martin made the case to the front office to take a chance on Liriano as a buy low candidate and maybe that gives the lefty some newfound confidence in himself and new teammates. Keep an eye on this situation, but definitely don't start him this week.
  • Mike Foltynewicz (@WSH)
  • Archie Bradley (@BOS)
  • C.C. Sabathia (TB)
  • Michael Pineda (@BOS)
  • Ryan Vogelsong (SD) - His outlying stats and a meeting with the righty-despising Padres normally would constitute a start or stream. However, I can't in good conscience tell my readers to give him a start, especially coming off a recent DL stint. I'm just not a fan of the stuff and there are better ways to spend my fantasy days than sweat over a Vogelsong start.
  • Dillon Gee (CWS)
  • Eduardo Rodriguez (ARI)
  • Kendall Graveman (BAL/SEA)
  • A.J. Griffin (@COL/DET)
  • Luis Severino (@BOS/TB) - Girardi was impressed enough to throw him back into the rotation, showing confidence in the young gun. I know he had a rough start to the year, but the talent is still there and he ran train through the triple-A lineups when sent down. He should be worth a stealthy pickup as someone who can bump your fantasy rotation up a notch if he is 'on'.
  • R.A. Dickey (HOU)

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