2017 Fantasy Baseball Week 20 Pitching Planner: A Day in the Life

by Tyler Thompson
2017 fantasy baseball week 20 pitching planner

I read the news today, oh boy
About a lucky man who made the grade
And though the news was rather sad
Well, I just had to laugh

-- 'A Day in the Life', The Beatles

Last Thursday evening, I finished my hours of research and effort into the Week 19 article. I felt pretty good about all my tiers and explanations and tried to tune myself out of most baseball talk for the weekend.

Boy, was that a wrong decision or what?

With every notification describing the news about pitchers getting sent down or hitting the DL, I kept burying my head even further. Sure, there's been weekends where this has been the case in the past, but it just seemed like this one hit harder than most. At the end of it all, 'well, I just had to laugh'. After laughing, I realized that I wasn't going to be able to cover all the moves in editor's notes last week. There was just too much.

Therefore, this week will be more of a 'news week' than an analysis week in my descriptions. Hopefully, we all have a pretty good idea of why pitchers are placed in certain tiers (and I will still be doing my heavy research to determine that). However, it's rather difficult at this point in the season to keep up with all the ins and outs of a baseball roster. Especially with football season upcoming and roster expansion on the brink.

So enjoy this news week and learn with me what the fantasy implications of these happenings are!

2017 Fantasy Baseball Week 19 Pitching Planner


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

Max ScherzerNationals@SD
Corey KluberIndians@KC
Chris SaleRed SoxCLENYY
James PaxtonMarinersBAL
Alex WoodDodgersCWS
Luis SeverinoYankees@NYM
Zack GreinkeDiamondbacksHOU@MIN


  • No one was promoted this week. Maybe next time, field!


  • No one was relegated this week. Nice work, team!


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.

Aaron NolaPhillies@SF
Dallas KeuchelAstrosOAK
Jeff SamardzijaGiantsPHI
Madison BumgarnerGiants@MIAPHI
Jimmy NelsonBrewers@COL
Zack GodleyDiamondbacks@MIN
Yu DarvishDodgersCWS
Chris ArcherRays@TOR
Danny SalazarIndians@MIN@KC
Carlos CarrascoIndians@MIN
Jon LesterCubsCIN
Carlos MartinezCardinals@PIT
Jacob deGromMets@NYYMIA
Masahiro TanakaYankeesNYM@BOS
Sonny GrayYankeesNYM@BOS
Rich HillDodgers@DET


  • This marks the first time in 12 weeks that Danny Salazar reaches the Auto-Stream tier. How exciting! Well, you deserve it after three baller starts coming off an injury. With 28 strikeouts in just 20 innings in that stretch, he's looking like the elite K-guy we all thought he'd be at season's beginning.
  • Also moving up is Masahiro Tanaka, who didn't verify my decision with his last start. However, I'm confident it was just a blip on the radar. He's on thin ice for remaining in this tier so I will be keeping a close eye on his next start against the Mets. That 21.5% HR/FB has got to come down though!

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  • I almost dropped Carlos Martinez down a tier last week, so I was sure to tune into his start against the Royals this week. One could consider it the final test and justification for downgrading. However, even though he did give up two homers, that's pretty much all he yielded in eight strong innings. He lives to see another week in the second tier.
  • Damn it, the same thing happened with Jon Lester! After struggling over whether to keep him in the second tier last week, he had a nice bounce back performance against a monstrous Nationals offense. He and CarMart are not off the hook yet, but it was nice to see those starts.

Dream Stream

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

Gio GonzalezNationalsLAA@SD
Brad PeacockAstros@ARIOAK
Brandon WoodruffBrewersPIT
Gerrit ColePirates@MIL
Asher WojciechowskiReds@CHC@ATL
Jerad EickhoffPhillies@SD@SF
Charlie MortonAstrosARI
Luis CastilloReds@CHC@ATL
Jacob FariaRays@TOR
Vince VelasquezPhillies@SD@SF
Michael WachaCardinals@PIT
Ivan NovaPirates@MILSTL
Drew PomeranzRed SoxNYY
Marcus StromanBlue JaysTB
Danny DuffyRoyals@OAK
Edwin JacksonNationals@SD
Dinelson LametPadresPHIWAS
Kenta MaedaDodgers@DET
Dan StrailyMarlinsBAL
German MarquezRockiesATLMIL
Jake ArrietaCubsTOR
Sean ManaeaAthleticsKC
Brent SuterBrewers@COL
Jameson TaillonPiratesSTL
Ariel MirandaMariners@TB
Ervin SantanaTwinsARI
Collin McHughAstros@ARIOAK
Jaime GarciaYankees@NYM
Jon GrayRockiesATL
Erasmo RamirezMariners@TB
Marco EstradaBlue JaysTB@CHC
Jose QuintanaCubsCINTOR
Eduardo RodriguezRed SoxSTL
Trevor WilliamsPiratesSTL
Trevor CahillRoyals@OAKCLE
Dylan BundyOriolesLAA
Rick PorcelloRed SoxSTL
Kyle HendricksCubsCINTOR
J.A. HappBlue Jays@CHC
Reynaldo LopezWhite Sox@TEX
Mike ClevingerIndians@MIN
Mike LeakeCardinals@BOS
Lance LynnCardinals@BOS
Jose BerriosTwinsCLE
Kevin GausmanOrioles@SEALAA


  • When running the stats for all the pitchers, two guys stood out to me as 'out of place'. Brandon Woodruff and Asher Wojciechowski have small sample sizes creating this issue. The former is not someone that has a ton of upside. The latter actually has a fantastic K/BB, but gives up a ton of dingers and fly balls in general. Both move down my imaginary rankings, but if you are looking for one to roster it's Woj.
  • Be sure to see if Vince Velasquez is sitting on waivers anywhere. Although I have never been a fan of his work, an average pitcher receiving two plus matchups in the fantasy playoff stretch is desirable.
  • With the moves that the Yankees made at the deadline, rookie standout Jordan Montgomery will be sent back down to the minors. If I'm Jaime Garcia, I want to prove the front office right on that decision and show out in the last two months before playoffs. A nice matchup at Citi Field is a good way to start.

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  • Look out, it's the return of everyone's favorite segment - Tyler's Simplistic Scouting Spotlight. This week, we analyze a pitcher that could have been starting for Washington in place of A.J. Cole in the rotation - Reynaldo Lopez! When you watch his video highlights, your eyes go big. An easy fastball consistently hitting 98 MPH, a knee--bending slider, and an above-average pickoff to keep runners honest are all there. However, when hitters make contact, they are driving the ball high and long. Everyone will tell you that he profiles more as a reliever than a starter and they are probably right. However, if he puts it together with the right pitching coach, this guy has potential to be a scary good starter.
  • It's official everyone - anyone who pitches against the Padres can have value. Need proof? Check out Edwin Jackson in this streaming tier. Yikes, San Diego, this rebuild better be worth it.

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.

Nick PivettaPhillies@SD
Ty BlachGiants@MIAPHI
Clayton RichardPadresPHI
Adalberto MejiaTwinsARI
Mike FiersAstrosARI
Jeff HoffmanRockiesMIL
Trevor BauerIndians@BOS@KC
Mike FoltynewiczBraves@COL
Tyler SkaggsAngels@WSH
Adam WainwrightCardinals@PIT
Tanner RoarkNationalsLAA
A.J. GriffinBlue JaysCWS
Austin PruittRaysSEA
Jason HammelRoyals@OAK
Paul BlackburnAthleticsKC
Antonio SenzatelaRockiesATLMIL
Matt MooreGiantsPHI
Adam ConleyMarlinsSF@NYM
Chad KuhlPiratesSTL
R.A. DickeyBraves@COL
Hyun-Jin RyuDodgers@DET
Matt GarzaBrewers@COL
Steven MatzMetsNYY
JC RamirezAngels@BAL
Jose UrenaMarlinsBAL
Jeremy HellicksonOriolesLAA
Vance WorleyMarlins@NYM
Zach DaviesBrewersPIT
Parker BridwellAngels@BAL
CC SabathiaYankees@BOS
Jake OdorizziRays@TORSEA
Andrew CashnerRangersCWS
Tim AdlemanReds@CHC
Ricky NolascoAngels@BAL
Carlos RodonWhite Sox@LAD
Yovani GallardoMarinersBAL@TB
Jhoulys ChacinPadresWSH
John LackeyCubsCIN
Sean NewcombBraves@COLCIN
Justin VerlanderTigers@TEXLAD
Seth LugoMetsNYY
Cole HamelsRangersDET
Jason VargasRoyalsCLE
Anibal SanchezTigers@TEX
Julio TeheranBraves@COLCIN
Luis PerdomoPadresWSH
Blake SnellRays@TORSEA
Ian KennedyRoyalsCLE
Matt BoydTigersLAD
Rafael MonteroMets@NYYMIA
Patrick CorbinDiamondbacksHOU
Anthony BandaDiamondbacksHOU@MIN
Taijuan WalkerDiamondbacksHOU
Jharel CottonAthleticsKC@HOU
Kendall GravemanAthletics@HOU


  • Well, maybe the old 'every pitcher starts against the Padres' adage isn't exactly true. I'm not sure how Nick Pivetta ranked so much lower than Jackson in the same matchup. The only major difference I see is the win probability is very much higher for Edwin than it is for Nick. Is it weird to use first names for people you've never met? Let me know on Twitter.
  • Anyone else sad to see Adam Wainwright return? Selfishly, I really wanted to see Luke Weaver continue to get reps in the starting rotation. Seniority rules, I suppose.

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  • I can't say Anthony Banda without repeating his last name a thousand times as they do in a terrible rap song. Remember when Desiigner was a thing? Any well, Banda is not someone I recommend picking up. If you aren't stacking Astros on his start, you are doing it wrong.
  • This week, I tried to put more emphasis in my pitcher rater on matchups based on home/road and handedness splits. Consequently, anyone facing the Astros was docked significantly. Enter Taijuan Walker, who has actually been reliable since the all-star break. However, 'average' isn't going to cut it with a trip to Minute Maid Park on the line. This inspired me to do some Astros-based research, which I will share in next week's pitching planner.
  • Boy, Jake Odorizzi can't catch a break. His first start returning from injury, Eduardo Nunez hits a rocket off his foot and forces him to leave the game early. His next start is in question, but honestly who cares? At this point in the season, I'm dropping Odorizzi in 12 teamers and less. He's always outperformed his FIP and xFIP, but when those are 5.00+ how much can you realistically outperform them?

Arms Amending

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
Anthony DeScalafaniRedsStrained elbowSoon!
Tyson RossRangersBlisterSoon!
Robert GsellmanMetsHamstringSoon!
Robbie RayDiamondbacksConcussionSoon!
Stephen StrasburgNationalsElbow nerve impingementMid August
Chase AndersonBrewersOblique strainMid August
Aaron SanchezBlue JaysBlisterLate August
Lance McCullersAstrosBack discomfortLate August
Brandon McCarthyDodgersBlisterLate August
Garrett RichardsAngelsCutaneous nerve in bicepsLate August
Clayton KershawDodgersBack strainLate August
David PriceRed SoxElbow injuryTBD
Alex MeyerAngelsShoulder inflammationTBD
Noah SyndergaardMetsStrained latTBD
Johnny CuetoGiantsBlisterTBD
Michael FulmerTigersElbow neuritisTBD
Felix HernandezMarinersShoulder bursitisTBD
Alex CobbRaysTurf toe (right)TBD
Kyle FreelandRockiesStrained left groinTBD


  • If ever there was a time to shut down a young pitcher, it would be with Michael Fulmer in Detroit. There's just no sense in rushing him back after a concerning injury like this one to his elbow. I wouldn't bet on a return, but I've seen dumber moves made by a front office regarding pitcher injuries (looking at you, Mets).

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  • With Clayton Kershaw nearing a return, what does this mean for the rest of the rotation? If it were my choice, the Dodgers have the pitching depth to go to a six-man staff and their record allows them to be experimental. I would go that route from a real-life perspective. If someone has to go, look for Hyun-Jin Ryu to get pushed back to the bullpen. If he blows up in Detroit this week like I think he will, it could turn the brains of the L.A. front office.
  • The Mariners have a decision to make regarding Felix Hernandez and it might be made for them. Seattle is holding on in the wild card race, but how long can that last? I imagine that they highly consider shutting King Felix down, which opens the door for author favorite Erasmo Ramirez to start the rest of the way. Hernandez will be out until at least early September.

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

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