2017 Fantasy Baseball Week 13 Pitching Planner: One Chance

by Tyler Thompson
2021 Fantasy Baseball Relievers and Save Opportunities

We have one chance, one chance
To get everything right
We have one chance, one chance
And if we're lucky we might

-- 'One Chance', Modest Mouse

Can you just imagine all the relievers in baseball joining hands and belting this song out in bullpens across the country? Because I sure can.

When frontman Isaac Brock picks up the songwriting pen, you can usually bank on some mind-twisting lyrics. What seems like such a simple, catchy song can turn into internal reflection about the meaning of life in an instant. Like, come on man, I don't want to know that we are all just a 'box in a cage' in this life and that we only get one chance to do it right. I'm just trying to jam!

As a relief pitcher, I can definitely see how someone could have this type of thinking in a career. Generally speaking, you just get that one chance, that one inning to prove your worth in a game. However, what happens when you get that one chance to jump into the starting rotation? How do we know which relievers will have success when called upon to start?

As in every aspect in baseball, there is no definitive method to figuring this question out. However, there are a few things I look for, statistical and visual, that can provide a good guess:

  1. Previous history of starting: Take a look at the player's minor league statistics to see if he was brought up as a starter. Heck, maybe he's even started a few games at the major league level. Check to see if the splits between starting and relieving are too extreme.
  2. Long reliever: So maybe they haven't started in the big leagues. However, see if they've had many multi-inning outings. Going through a lineup more than once can happen in multiple ways. That's exactly the type of experiences we want to look at.
  3. Multiple off-speed pitches: This is an obvious one - you aren't going to get by with just two pitches like you will as a reliever. I will talk about a couple of pitchers in the rankings that added a third pitch to help them when facing a batter a second and third time.
  4. Pitching mechanics: This one is an important one to me - the delivery needs to be non-taxing so that the pitcher can maintain strength throughout a start. Endurance is a major difference between relieving and starting, just ask Andrew Miller. His pitching style just doesn't work for more than a couple of innings given how hard he throws on every pitch.

The point in all this is to remind you that these middle relievers are very important pieces to monitor. There are plenty of bullpen arms out there who are just waiting for their opportunity. Everyone is always looking for that minor leaguer getting called up, but these relievers can sneakily lead you to glory if given that one chance as a starter.


2017 Fantasy Baseball Week 13 Pitching Planner


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

Max ScherzerNationalsCHC@STL
Chris SaleRed SoxMIN@TOR
Clayton KershawDodgers@LAA
Carlos MartinezCardinals@ARIWSH
Carlos CarrascoIndiansTEX@DET
Chris ArcherRays@PIT
Yu DarvishRangers@CLE
Stephen StrasburgNationalsCHC
Corey KluberIndiansTEX
Zack GreinkeDiamondbacksCOL
Lance McCullersAstrosNYY


  • Corey Kluber finds his way back to the elite tier. Just a formality, as it's been a couple weeks since I updated the chart. Nothing to see here.


  • Something is wrong with James Paxton. Don't take it from me though, take it from the much smarter folks at FanGraphs. I still wouldn't sell in redraft leagues. You will just have to deal with the fact that he isn't an elite arm. Boo hoo!


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.

Alex WoodDodgers@LAA
James PaxtonMarinersPHI
Robbie RayDiamondbacksSTL
Luis SeverinoYankees@CWS@HOU
Michael FulmerTigersKC
Jacob deGromMetsPHI
Gerrit ColePiratesSF
Marcus StromanBlue JaysBAL
Johnny CuetoGiants@PIT
Michael PinedaYankees@HOU
Jon LesterCubs@WSH
Jake ArrietaCubs@WSH@CIN


  • Before the season, I was quite high on Alex Wood even though I knew he would be in the bullpen to start off 2017. While I'm tooting my own horn (beep beep), I never thought he would be this outright dominant. When trying to figure out what's been the difference this year, two things stick out: velocity and plate discipline. He's vastly improved in both categories and is reaping the benefits.
  • If you are looking for the perfect case of moving a young, struggling starter to the bullpen to refine his ability, look no further than Luis Severino. Last season, dude had a 8.31 ERA as a starter, prompting the Yankees to send him to AAA and then the bullpen. He absolutely dominated in relief work with a 0.39 ERA and 0.77 WHIP in 23.1 innings. The changeup development has paid huge dividends and makes a strong case for Severino to stay in this tier for the season.

Dream Stream

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

Brandon McCarthyDodgers@SD
Ervin SantanaTwins@KC
Zack GodleyDiamondbacksSTLCOL
Jason VargasRoyalsMIN
Jose BerriosTwins@BOS@KC
Jeff SamardzijaGiantsCOL@PIT
Drew PomeranzRed SoxMIN@TOR
Sean ManaeaAthletics@HOUATL
Dan StrailyMarlinsNYM@MIL
Sonny GrayAthleticsATL
Jaime GarciaBraves@SD
Kyle FreelandRockies@SF
Ivan NovaPiratesTB
Chase AndersonBrewers@CIN
Jimmy NelsonBrewers@CIN
Brad PeacockAstrosNYY
Jordan MontgomeryYankees@CWS@HOU
Gio GonzalezNationalsCHC@STL
Justin VerlanderTigersKCCLE
Jeff HoffmanRockies@SF@ARI
Taijuan WalkerDiamondbacksPHICOL
Mike FoltynewiczBraves@SD
Sean NewcombBraves@SD@OAK
Edinson VolquezMarlins@MIL
Jesse HahnAthletics@HOU
Mike LeakeCardinalsWSH
David PriceRed SoxMIN
Marco EstradaBlue JaysBOS
Lance LynnCardinals@ARI
Alex CobbRays@PIT@BAL
Jacob FariaRays@BAL
Jameson TaillonPiratesTB
Jake OdorizziRays@BAL
Tanner RoarkNationals@STL
J.A. HappBlue JaysBAL
David PaulinoAstrosOAK
Aaron NolaPhillies@SEA
Dylan BundyOriolesTB
Felix HernandezMariners@LAA
Steven MatzMets@MIA
Mike MontgomeryCubs@CIN
Daniel NorrisTigersKC
Mike FiersAstrosOAK
Masahiro TanakaYankees@CWS
Seth LugoMets@MIA
Joe BiaginiBlue JaysBALBOS


  • Blazing the trail for 2016 reliever-turned-starters was Drew Pomeranz. He set the standard so high that the Padres got a high end prospect for him in the trade to Boston. After two straight solid starts, I love the strikeout upside in this two start week for Mr. Pomegranate.
  • Nobody saw Brad Peacock coming! The strikeouts are pouring in, so what are you waiting for? LET HIM FLY!
  • Finally, the return of Tyler's Simplistic Scouting Spotlight. This week, we take a belated look at Sean Newcomb, one of the members of the 2020 World Series champion Atlanta Braves. Jokes aside, dude throws flames! With a very traditional and easy delivery, Newcomb consistently hits 94+ mph on the heater. He can fool both righties and lefties with his sharp hook. I don't mean to overreact, but he gives me a Jon Lester vibe. Warning though, the walk rate could be a MASSIVE issue.
  • Uh oh, I'm seeing double! We need a second installment of Tyler's Simplistic Scouting SpotlightJacob Faria is flourishing right now, so let's analyze! His strikeout-to-walk ratio is very strong. He's a vertical thrower, meaning he doesn't get much out of his lower half pre-pitch. It helps with eye level, but he's throwing at the perfect angle for the home run swingers of today's game. I've got limited optimism ROS, but other fantasy analysts love him.
  • The king is back! Felix Hernandez returns just in time for a Seattle run here before the All-Star break that they desperately need after 'winning' the offseason. I'm inclined to start Felix right out of the gate given his success in rehab and history.
  • One of my favorite relievers now in a rotation, Mike Montgomery has me giddy in multiple leagues where I snagged him. Monty had almost identical splits as a starter and reliever for Seattle and Chicago in 2016. I like that - it tells me that he is adaptable to any situation. He's very crafty with four different plus pitches with varying speeds between 94 and 75 mph. Don't let someone else scoop him up.

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 said player.

Junior GuerraBrewers@CINMIA
Jhoulys ChacinPadresLADATL
Mike ClevingerIndiansTEX@DET
Jeff LockeMarlinsNYM
Erasmo RamirezRays@PIT
R.A. DickeyBraves@OAK
Hyun-Jin RyuDodgersLAA@SD
Jose QuintanaWhite SoxNYYTEX
Sam GaviglioMariners@LAA
Julio TeheranBraves@OAK
Joe MusgroveAstrosOAK
Antonio SenzatelaRockies@SF
Jeremy HellicksonPhillies@NYM
Clayton RichardPadresLAD
Scott FeldmanRedsCHC
Alex MeyerAngelsLAD
Jason HammelRoyalsMIN
Homer BaileyRedsMIL
Jose UrenaMarlinsNYM
Ben LivelyPhillies@NYM
Charlie MortonAstrosNYY
Nick PivettaPhillies@ARI@NYM
Tyson RossRangers@CLE@CWS
Patrick CorbinDiamondbacksSTL
Ariel MirandaMariners@LAA
JC RamirezAngelsLAD
Ty BlachGiantsCOL
Trevor WilliamsPiratesTBSF
Matt GarzaBrewersMIA
Dinelson LametPadresATL
Rich HillDodgersLAA@SD
Joe RossNationalsCHC
Tim AdlemanRedsMILCHC
Matt MooreGiants@PIT
James ShieldsWhite SoxNYY
Nick MartinezRangers@CWS
German MarquezRockies@ARI
Tyler ChatwoodRockies@ARI
Mike PelfreyWhite SoxNYY
David HolmbergWhite SoxNYYTEX
Rick PorcelloRed SoxMIN
Michael WachaCardinalsCINWSH
Trevor BauerIndiansTEX
Luis PerdomoPadresLAD
Jharel CottonAthletics@HOU
Jesse ChavezAngels@LADSEA
Derek HollandWhite SoxTEX
Josh TomlinIndians@DET
Matt StrahmRoyals@DETMIN
Zach DaviesBrewersMIA
Austin Bibens-DirksRangers@CLE
Ian KennedyRoyals@DET
Ricky NolascoAngels@LADSEA
John LackeyCubs@WSH
Adam WainwrightCardinals@ARI
Wade MileyOrioles@TOR
Martin PerezRangers@CLE@CWS
Eddie ButlerCubs@WSH@CIN
Parker BridwellAngelsSEA


  • If you are a home-road splits truther, then Jhoulys Chacin getting two home starts this week really excites you. My opinion - I'm not pumped about either of these matchups.
  • Is it just me, or does Homer Bailey look like the long lost twin of Christian Bale? Bailey dominated his three rehab starts and is ready to return to the big leagues. I would absolutely take a flier on him in 12-team leagues, but don't start him this weekend against a beastly Washington offense.
  • You know who is quite used to flipping between the rotation and the bullpen? Erasmo Ramirez more so than anyone listed in this pitching planner. If you are feeling good, I don't mind the start at Pittsburgh. I would prefer to look to the waiver wire instead.
  • Gut call, but Matt Strahm has the potential to be what Danny Duffy was for the Royals in 2016. He has a prospect pedigree as a starter and had success as a reliever across 44 innings in 2016-2017. We've seen it before - young southpaw reliever with mid 90's velocity and multiple off-speeds. Add in 14+ teamers or AL-only leagues.
  • Two starts down and I have no idea what to think about Tyson Ross. He didn't look all that great in his first start despite good numbers, but still his second start was disappointing. He may not be an automatic starting option, but if he is a high end streamer then the average fantasy player can work with that!
  • I'm a buyer on Charlie Morton if he can return to action the way he pitched in his first 57.2 innings. Sure, the walks are obnoxious, but as far as the (admittedly annoying) 'stuff' factor goes, he's got it. Easy pickup in 12+ teamers if he is available.

Arms Amending

A new addition to the pitching planner, 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
Cole HamelsRangersRight oblique strainSoon!
Jerad EickhoffPhilliesUpper back strainSoon!
Matt ShoemakerAngelsForearm extensor strainSoon!
Jon GrayRockiesBroken footEarly July
Dallas KeuchelAstrosNeck discomfortEarly July
Danny SalazarIndiansShoulder sorenessEarly July
Zack WheelerMetsBiceps tendinitisEarly July
Aaron SanchezBlue JaysRich Hill syndrome (blisters)Mid July
Madison BumgarnerGiantsDirt-bike disfigurement (separated left shoulder)Post All-Star break
Kyle HendricksCubsRight hand tendinitis / middle finger inflammationPost All-Star break
Danny DuffyRoyalsOblique strainPost All-Star break
Drew SmylyRaysLeft flexor strainPost All-Star break
Andrew TriggsAthleticsStrained left hipPost All-Star break
Garrett RichardsAngelsCutaneous nerve in bicepsAugust
Collin McHughAstrosElbow impingementAugust
Kendall GravemanAthleticsShoulder sorenessAugust
Anthony DeSclafaniRedsUCL sprainAugust
Noah SyndergaardMetsStrained latTBD


  • Good news: Jon Gray is fully healthy. Bad news: the Rockies actually have tons of mojo in their starting rotation. This gives them the opportunity to let Gray work his way back up to the majors more carefully. It won't last long considering Gray is definitively better than everyone except possibly Jeff Hoffman in the Colorado rotation of youngsters.
  • Another interesting development will come in the Houston rotation. They've got six or seven pitchers that are capable of providing quality innings and Dallas Keuchel will definitely be one of them when he returns. Who does that knock out? Lance McCullers is an obvious mainstay. Brad Peacock has been pitching too well to exclude in the rotation. David Paulino will either be shipped to the bullpen or minors. This leaves Morton, Mike Fiers, and Joe Musgrove to fight for one or two spots depending on if the Astros want to use a six man rotation or not. Something to keep an eye on!

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

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Monday June 26, 2017 - Fantasy Baseball Links - FantasyRundown.com June 26, 2017 - 9:28 am

[…] 13: FantasySixPack.net looks ahead to Week 13, ranking pitchers in tiers to help you set the best rotation for the upcoming scoring […]


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