Fantasy Baseball

2017 Fantasy Baseball Week 9 Pitching Planner: Smokeblowers


Blowing smoke everywhere he goes

Blowing smoke, I don’t know which part to believe

I don’t know anything

— ‘Smokeblowers’, MilkDrive

Sometimes, I feel like I’m just blowing smoke.

For those who aren’t familiar with the phrase, ‘blowing smoke’ refers to someone who embellishes or misleads someone else due to lack of knowledge or research on a topic. A more informal phrase may be ‘pulling it out of your ass’.

Anyway, I got to listening to different baseball radio stations this past week and there were common words used between them. I would turn the channel from Sirius XM radio to MLB Network and I started noticing something – the reasoning for Player A’s success or Player B’s failures were always so predictable. I can’t fault these guys as the statistics are relevant and all, but I swear if I heard buzz words like ‘regression’ or ‘peripherals’ one more time I was going to flip.

Then, I held the proverbial mirror up and asked ‘how often do I use these buzz words just to make myself seem credible?’ So, I went back to my pitching planners of the 2017 season thus far and did a swift CTRL+F on them. ‘Regress’ was not a common word used in my previous articles – phew, I’m not the ‘regression’ guy’. ‘Peripherals’ I did use quite a bit more and I was upset with myself.

Anyway, we are getting to the point of the season where the statistics are stabilizing for pitchers who have have not hit the disabled list yet. To avoid loosely throwing out the buzz words listed above, I’m going to start doing deeper themes for these articles moving forward.

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Maybe not this week because I have a different direction I want to go. Maybe not next week because I will be on vacation. But, you better believe that I will be diving into some different areas of analysis following that! Topics will include Statcast data, pitch types and weights, and heat maps. I really want to use my Matlab skills to learn how to create my own specified heatmaps so I might share those results with you too.

All this to say, exciting times coming for the pitching planner in a few weeks!

As for where I was going with the song choice this week, bear with me here. I enjoy giving love to the up-and-coming local bands and MilkDrive certainly deserves it. They are a self-proclaimed ‘folkgrass’ unit and are absolutely fantastic live. The song listed above is on an album called ‘Road from Home’.

So, naturally (or incredibly unnaturally considering how much of a reach this was), I wanted to promote this album and do so by pointing out which pitchers had exaggerated home and road splits through a month and a half of starts. Using this information, we can then come up with reasons or shrug or shoulders as to why this could be. Sounds fun, right?

2017 Fantasy Baseball Week 9 Pitching Planner


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

Clayton KershawDodgers@STL@MIL
Chris SaleRed Sox@CWS@BAL
Max ScherzerNationals@OAK
Stephen StrasburgNationals@SF
Carlos CarrascoIndians@KC
Zack GreinkeDiamondbacks@MIA
Jon LesterCubsSTL
Dallas KeuchelAstros@TEX
Yu DarvishRangersHOU
Chris ArcherRays@TEX
Lance McCullersAstros@TEX
Gerrit ColePirates@NYM
Jacob deGromMetsMIL
Marcus StromanBlue JaysCINNYY
Jake ArrietaCubs@SD
Johnny CuetoGiants@PHI


  • Back in Week 5, I wrote about Lance McCullers and how I couldn’t wait to put him in the top tier of pitchers. Well, apparently I could’ve waited. In fact, I waited too long! Dude hasn’t given up an earned run his last four starts. Going deeper into games will be his next obstacle.


  • AL Cy Young runner up Justin Verlander has been cursed away from Comerica Park this season. A 7.24 ERA away from home is troublesome. Once he figures out what’s wrong with his routine on the road, he could easily make his way back into the auto-start group. Until then, down we go.


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.

Kyle HendricksCubs@SDSTL
Michael FulmerTigersCWS
Michael PinedaYankees@TOR
Justin VerlanderTigers@KC
Carlos MartinezCardinalsLAD
Marco EstradaBlue JaysNYY
Alex WoodDodgers@MIL
Danny DuffyRoyalsCLE
Danny SalazarIndiansOAK
Rick PorcelloRed Sox@BAL
Sonny GrayAthletics@CLEWSH
Jose QuintanaWhite SoxBOS@DET
Masahiro TanakaYankees@BAL@TOR


  • Last week, one smoke-blowing fantasy writer proclaimed “The biggest issue for Sonny Gray has been striking guys out.” That blowhard? Yours truly. To reward Gray for his magnificent 11 strikeout performance last week, I moved him up a tier. His nasty breaking ball even earned him a spot on the PitcherList ‘Best of’ GIFs the other night.
  • The funky funkmaster himself is back to dominating fools. Alex Wood is turning back time to his 2014 self with Atlanta. I say ‘turning back time’ – homeboy is still just 26 years old. He’s a Statcast champion of allowing soft contact and has developed that changeup into more than just an ‘off-guard’ pitch. I’ve absolutely bought in.

Dream Stream

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

Luis SeverinoYankees@BAL@TOR
Jose BerriosTwinsHOU@LAA
Tanner RoarkNationals@SF@OAK
Drew PomeranzRed Sox@CWS
Aaron NolaPhillies@MIA
Robbie RayDiamondbacks@PIT@MIA
Ervin SantanaTwins@LAA
James PaxtonMarinersCOL
David PriceRed Sox@CWS@BAL
Eduardo RodriguezRed Sox@BAL
Charlie MortonAstros@MIN@TEX
Zack GodleyDiamondbacks@PIT
Erasmo RamirezRays@TEX@SEA
Joe RossNationals@OAK
Michael WachaCardinalsLAD@CHC
Mike LeakeCardinalsLAD@CHC
Jake OdorizziRays@SEA
Ivan NovaPiratesARI
Eddie ButlerCubs@SD
Andrew TriggsAthleticsWSH
Jason VargasRoyalsCLE
Mike ClevingerIndiansOAK@KC
Jerad EickhoffPhilliesSF
Alex CobbRays@SEA
Brandon McCarthyDodgers@MIL
Dylan BundyOriolesNYYBOS
Lance LynnCardinals@CHC
Dan StrailyMarlinsPHI
Gio GonzalezNationals@SF
German MarquezRockies@SD
Julio TeheranBraves@LAA@CIN
Sean ManaeaAthletics@CLE
Matt AndrieseRays@TEX
Matt ShoemakerAngelsMIN
Jordan MontgomeryYankees@TOR
Zack WheelerMetsMIL
Daniel NorrisTigers@KCCWS
Kyle FreelandRockies@SEA
Kendall GravemanAthletics@CLE
Edinson VolquezMarlinsPHIARI
Antonio SenzatelaRockies@SEA
Jeff SamardzijaGiantsWSH
Patrick CorbinDiamondbacks@MIA
JC RamirezAngelsMIN
Mike FoltynewiczBraves@CIN


  • James Paxton looks prime to return this week at home against the Rockies. While I am not always a fan of starting guys right off of the DL, I will give Paxton a pass here. He pitched way too well in the early going to stay on your bench this week.
  • I was a week too early on the David Price comeback trail. I know it was a rough couple of rehab starts, but if the Red Sox deem him ready, so do I. He immediately jumps into must-start status with a two start week starting with the White Sox.
  • Check out these home/road ERA splits for Robbie Ray: 6.75 ERA in Arizona, 0.81 ERA elsewhere. This makes a ton of sense right? It’s hard out here for a southpaw pitching in Chase Field. Perhaps the humidor installation provides a Ray of hope in the future? *ducks*
  • This home/road splits surprised me – Andrew Triggs sports a 4.09 home ERA and a 0.47 road ERA. For those thinking that Triggs’ performance this year is propped up by a nice home ballpark, YOU’RE WRONG. His best start of the year was at Houston in fact. He will be an every week streaming otpion for me until proven otherwise.
  • Now, this split will make more sense to the readers and calm them down regarding Dan Straily. His 1.95/6.00 home/away ERA should have the Straily haters nodding their head up and down saying ‘I told you so.’ Outside of that one remarkable 14 K start against the Padres, he has been quite unremarkable. When you lower the expectations, you can see him for the nice spot start streaming option that he is.

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.

Kenta MaedaDodgers@STL
Rich HillDodgers@STL
John LackeyCubsSTL
Jimmy NelsonBrewersLAD
Vince VelasquezPhillies@MIA
Matt GarzaBrewers@NYMLAD
Randall DelgadoDiamondbacks@PIT@MIA
Matt MooreGiantsWSH@PHI
Derek HollandWhite SoxBOS
Joe BiaginiBlue JaysNYY
Chase AndersonBrewers@NYM
Jaime GarciaBraves@LAA
Jesse ChavezAngelsATL
Junior GuerraBrewers@NYM
Chris TillmanOriolesNYYBOS
Ian KennedyRoyalsDET
Martin PerezRangersTBHOU
Tyler ChatwoodRockiesSEA@SD
Josh TomlinIndiansOAK
Luis PerdomoPadresCHC
Dinelson LametPadresCHC
Matt CainGiantsWSH
Ty BlachGiants@PHI
Jeremy HellicksonPhillies@MIASF
Scott FeldmanRedsATL
Jose UrenaMarlinsPHIARI
Andrew CashnerRangersHOU
Adam WainwrightCardinalsLAD
Bartolo ColonBraves@LAA
Tyler AndersonRockiesSEA@SD
Trevor BauerIndiansOAK@KC
Hyun-Jin RyuDodgers@STL
Joe MusgroveAstros@MIN
CC SabathiaYankees@BAL
Jhoulys ChacinPadresCOL
Hector SantiagoTwinsHOU
Zach DaviesBrewers@NYMLAD
Wade MileyOriolesBOS
Clayton RichardPadresCOL
Jarred CosartPadresCHCCOL
Ricky NolascoAngelsATL
Matt HarveyMetsPIT
Chad KuhlPiratesARI
Miguel GonzalezWhite Sox@DET
Nick MartinezRangersTB
Ariel MirandaMariners@COLTB
R.A. DickeyBraves@CIN
Yovani GallardoMarinersCOL
Sam GaviglioMariners@COLTB


  • Ah, we have come to the player who inspired me to write about this topic. I watched Matt Moore pitch the other night at Wrigley Field and the announcer made the comment about his splits. I was appalled by the stark difference and wanted to see what was up. It was then that I was reminded of an outing of his at Dodger Stadium in which he gave up 9 ER in 3.1 IP. Yikes, that will definitely skew some numbers.
  • A completely understandable home/road split comes from Tyler Chatwood. In fact, this actually makes me feel really bad for Chatwood. He’s got a 6.18 Coors ERA and a 3.06 wherever the hell else ERA. The day he pulls a Drew Pomeranz and finds a new home, he could be that player who garners more attention. Until then, the Coors Effect remains.
  • Time for another edition of Tyler’s Simplistic Scouting Spotlight. This week, I will be discussing Padres call-up Dinelson Lamet after a wonderful debut at Citi Field. Upon watching, I couldn’t distinguish his fastball from his changeup out of the hand. Curveball has great vertical depth, but no horizontal movement. Control issues have plagued him in the minors; therefore, many scouts profile him as a premier setup guy. Based on arm talent alone, certainly worth a flier in NL-only or deep mixed leagues.
  • For those of you who have given up on Adam Wainwright, you may want to reconsider. Sort of like Straily, you shouldn’t put the expectations so high on him. Instead, see him as the streamer he is and embrace it! His 3.34 ERA at Busch Stadium is predictable and he is on a bit of a hot streak lately.
  • For the DFS players out there, if you are thinking about stacking an offense against Jhoulys Chacin, all you have to do is make sure he is pitching on the road. A 0.67/10.94 home/road ERA split is the largest differential for any qualified starter this season.  That stat gets put to the ultimate test this week as Chacin hosts a tough Colorado lineup.

About Tyler Thompson

Follow me on Twitter at @therealwody. For all the latest news and best advice out there, like us on Facebook, Google+ and Instagram.

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