Just like on-base percentage, quality starts is becoming a more popular category to use. This, of course, would replace the win category in your league. Now, who are some 2018 Fantasy Baseball Quality Start Targets? I’m here to let you know.
First, I want to get a little into why the quality start is preferred by so many now.
The big reason is it eliminates factors that pitcher can’t control. This comes usually in two forms.
The bullpen factor is due to the pitcher’s own bullpen blows the lead. So many times, you see a pitcher come out of the game with a lead and in line for the win. Then a couple of innings later the bullpen blows it. This is the worst as your pitcher did their job, but something they can’t control takes away a notch in another category for you.
The offense factor is due to when a pitcher’s offense does not carry their weight. I don’t mean when the pitcher gives up seven runs but their offense only scores five. In that case, the offense has done enough. What I mean is the offense has only been able to muster up a run or even zero. Yet the pitcher has allowed two or less.
This great start in leagues that use wins is not as valuable because he won’t get credit for the win. In a quality start league, he would have gotten that category for you.
A comparison I always make to prove the point that quality starts is a better category is using wins for Quarterbacks in Fantasy Football. I get that we always keep track of a quarterback wins in the NFL, but in reality, it is pretty dumb to do so. Yes, they have a huge effect on the team winning, but quarterbacks can’t control when the defense gives up 40 points or if their teammates fumble the ball three times in one game. You simply can’t put it all on one guy in football, just like you shouldn’t in baseball.
Now before we get to the actual players to targets, I want to say I do understand the reasons against using quality starts. The fact that allowing three runs in six innings really isn’t that great. It is a 4.50 ERA. Yet it counts. Also, there is the issue that more and more teams are implementing the extended bullpen. This is leading to more pitchers not even going six innings anymore. If this trend continues, perhaps we will have to move back to wins, but for now I still support quality starts.
2018 Fantasy Baseball Quality Start Targets
Justin Verlander, Houston Astros
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What is Verlander doing on this list? He is already a top pitching target in wins leagues.
Verlander has been really good the last couple of seasons. This comes after two straight seasons in 2014 and 2015 where it looked as though his is career was nearing the end. In the last two seasons, he has the most quality starts, with a ridiculous 55.
This season he should win a lot more games than his last years with Detroit. However, unless he wins 27 games, he won’t come near the quality starts he has had the last two seasons. That is how good he has been and why he should be a top-10, possibly a top-5 pitcher in quality start leagues.
Michael Fulmer, Detroit Tigers
A low strikeout player who gets no love in drafts is Michael Fulmer. His ADP is ridiculously low at 171 according to Fantasy Pros.
Besides the lack of strikeouts, another reason he gets ignored is the Tigers are likely going to be very bad this season, which limits his win potential.
That needs to be thrown out the window here as last year he had 18 quality starts to just 11 wins. He might not even get to 11 wins this season, but if he should easily get back that same number of quality starts. This is thanks to his ability to keep the ball on the ground, which helps to keep his ratios down.
Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves
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Teheran has been consistent, yet a bit underwhelming over the last few years. 2017 being his worst, yet I’m still recommending him as a pitcher to target in quality start leagues.
One of the big reasons he is underwhelming is the lack of wins with just 29 over the last three seasons. In the same amount of time, he has 56 quality starts.
You probably don’t even need to reach for him in most quality start leagues because people see the 7.22 K/9 and 18.6 K% from last season and run the other way. I get it those are not great numbers, but I project a bit of a rebound to his previous few years.
Jeff Samardzija, San Francisco Giants
I’m not even a big Samardzija fan but I can’t ignore the fact that he keeps his ERA good enough to get a lot of quality starts.
I’ll start with the bad about him. His ratios are generally not great. Typically, his ERA hovers in the mid-fours. This is due to his propensity to get blown up. His WHIP is more often than not, above 1.20.
The good is his FIP and xFIP are lower than his ERA year after year. His strikeout rate has been at or above 22.9% five out of the last seven seasons.
The best part about him in quality start leagues is he has 75 quality starts compared to just 39 wins over the last four seasons.
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