In this week's edition of the Pitching Planner, I want to cover many things. Pitchers who come back too soon are susceptible to further injury. Some 'Baby Braves' have caught my eye in the streaming section. The terrible puns won't stop with the newest pitcher in the streaming world.
But first, let's once again start with a few of the starts that stood out to me in the first half of Week 9.
- For Chris Archer, April showers brought May flowers. His last start of the month was a nice six-inning shutout against a trendy Oakland offense. With that start, Archer posts a 2.33 ERA and 3.46 FIP for May after having a 6.61 ERA and 4.41 FIP in April. The K/BB has actually gotten worse over that span, but Archer is definitely limiting hard contact and homers over that time. Still waiting for him to put it ALL together...
- Trevor Cahill? More like Trevor K-Hill! *ducks* As long as this guy is healthy, he's a viable top-end streamer in 12-team leagues. In his eight-inning masterpiece against the Rays, I was most impressed by the zero walks. That control couple with a nice K% is going to keep him on rosters. He's basically what you thought Rich Hill was going to be in the preseason.
- Well, how many more times can I keep Blake Snell out of the Auto-Strem tier? If he keeps putting these types of starts together, I'm going to look really stupid even though I love the guy. Hey, let's set a deadline here - if he shows out again in Week 10, I move him up. Bam, that simple!
- Wow, where did that come from, Kyle Gibson? Most would say that the Royals offense has a lot to do with his seven scoreless innings with eight punchouts. I am in that group. Sadly, he's going to keep being inconsistent between starts. However, if he can become a predictable streaming option against shitty offenses, then that becomes valuable.
- Geez, I wish I wouldn't have backed off on including Nate Eovaldi in my Dream Stream section last week. I cowered out and advised against starting him despite having a good feeling about it. Moving forward from his seven no-hit innings in Week 9, I actually believe Eovaldi can be a decent streaming option. However, don't get carried away and drop a better option for him. Week 10 will be telling of where he ranks long-term.
- Aces were wild(ly effective) on Wednesday. I mean, who is ever really disappointed in what Corey Kluber and Max Scherzer give you on a weekly basis?
- Not only does Daniel Mengden have the best mustache in the game, he's firing on the mound as well! His final line doesn't tell the whole story as he was in the midst of a complete game shutout before allowing three runs in the ninth. Surprisingly, that would have been two consecutive complete game shutouts, but alas, we had to settle. He won't give you the strikeouts, but he's giving you all of the other important categories in roto leagues and has to be streamed during his hot streak.
- I'm a Jose Quintana fan, so it hurts me to see him struggle this year for the Cubs. He's been alternating great and terrible starts all season, so don't read too much into his most recent nice outing. We need consecutive great starts - something he hasn't done all year - in order to start giving him that SP3 trust that we are used to again.
Now, let's dive into Week 10 and sort out the mess that was Week 9.
2018 Fantasy Baseball Week 10 Pitching Planner
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The Auto-Start tier strictly includes pitchers that should be started every week regardless of league size and matchup.
|Chris Sale||Red Sox||CWS|
- There were no promotions this week.
- There were no relegations this week. Moving on!
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.
|Lance McCullers Jr.||Astros||@TEX|
- The long wait for the return of Madison Bumgarner appears to be ending here in Week 10. As discussed plenty of times in the Pitching Planner, there are only about 25-ish guys that I am comfortable rolling out right away in their return from an injury. MadBum is definitely in that group. Plus, attracting a start at home against a struggling D-Backs offense doesn't hurt.
- Okay, fine - I will move Stephen Strasburg up to the Auto-Start tier next week. Even in his loss against a hot Atlanta offense on Friday, he had a 10-0 K-BB showing in seven innings. I need to further define my tiers, but if we are going on who I believe is truly an automatic start every week, Stras gets the nod.
- I don't believe anyone is enjoying the month of May more than James Paxton. With a 27% K-BB% and all of his run-predicting ratios under 3.00, the Big Maple is straight up murking batters this month. For 'murk', I will use the third Urban Dictionary definition here of "to seriously whoop somebody's ass." I don't condone physical violence - just mental violence between pitchers and hitters.
- What more can I really say about Aaron Nola that I haven't said before? With 17 K's in his last two starts, Nola is finally starting to get that swing-and-miss element back to form while already dominating ratios.
The Dream Stream group more closely reflects the pitchers that you are contemplating starting or sitting. These are all worthy starters in a typical 12-team mixed league.
|J.A. Happ||Blue Jays||BAL|
|David Price||Red Sox||CWS|
|Eduardo Rodriguez||Red Sox||DET|
|Rick Porcello||Red Sox||DET||CWS|
- Carlos Martinez likely belongs in that MadBum category of 'start right off the DL', but I'm going to wait to throw him in the Auto-Stream group until next week. You know, semantics. 'Tsunami' was having a career year in ERA before the injury, but some underlying stats didn't quite believe the hot start.
- The 'Baby Braves' are one of the best stories in baseball and, while Albies and Acuna steal the show, the pitching staff is working hard behind the scenes. Specifically, Sean Newcomb and Mike Foltynewicz are red-hot in their 2018 campaigns. Newcomb has benefitted from keeping his walk rate down at 4.31 BB/9. Yeah, it was much worse beforehand. Folty is showing out largely due to a change in pitch mix. While the fastball has been worse by the numbers, he's using it to set up his slider and changeup, which he's been throwing a combined ~6% more than he did in 2017. I'm loving both of these guys and happy to hold onto them for the remainder of 2018.
- I really don't enjoy picking streamers at Coors Field. However, in the case of German Marquez, you gotta play the hand you're given. This hand contains the ace of diamonds, which is really just an author-made code name for the Diamondbacks. I tried too hard there - yikes! Anyway, I understand if you sit this one out for Marquez, but this could potentially be a low-owned option in your DFS tournaments.
- Rookie Shane Bieber was performing fantastically in his debut over the first five innings. Then, the dreaded 'third time through the order' ordeal arose. Firstly, these are the types of growing pains to expect with a rookie pitcher, but that doesn't mean Bieber can't bounce back. Throughout his minor league history, he improves as he adjusts to new levels. Now, MLB is a different animal, but why can't he be a Kyle Hendricks type of arm? Secondly, can we quit it with the Justin Bieber-related puns? There are other options, people. 'Leave it to Bieber', 'Eager Bieber', 'Busy Bieber', etc. Be creative.
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 the said player.
|Drew Pomeranz||Red Sox||DET|
|Jaime Garcia||Blue Jays||BAL|
|Aaron Sanchez||Blue Jays||BAL|
|Reynaldo Lopez||White Sox||@MIN|
|Marco Estrada||Blue Jays||NYY||BAL|
- Although Zack Godley is coming off his best start since early April, let's pump the brakes on a full bounce back to his 2017 level. Week 10 will be a very important week for Godley and his fantasy owners. These are two matchups (on paper) where he should perform well.
- So, Jason Vargas is allowing 2.13 HR/9 in his six starts. Is that bad? Yes, yes it is. It's downright disgusting if you ask me (and Mets fans). Some people will see the start against Baltimore and get cute. I say no way.
- May wasn't a kind month for everybody - just ask Mike Minor! After posting decent April stats, he's gone and ruined them with a 5.94 FIP and 1.52 WHIP in his six starts in May. If you were holding onto him in 14-team leagues, I advise you to take a chance on some upside arms as they arise from Triple-A instead.
This is usually where I put the players that are on the disabled list or making rehab appearances. Not only is it important to know where they are in their recovery, but knowing who will be replacing them is key as well.
|Carlos Rodon||White Sox||Shoulder surgery||Soon!|
|Joey Lucchesi||Padres||Strained right hip||Soon!|
|Mike Soroka||Braves||Shoulder tightness||Soon!|
|Jeff Samardzija||Giants||Shoulder tightness||Soon!|
|Noah Syndergaard||Mets||Strained index finger ligament||Mid June|
|Yu Darvish||Cubs||Triceps tendinitis||Mid June|
|Marcus Stroman||Blue Jays||Shoulder fatigue||Mid June|
|Shelby Miller||Diamondbacks||Tommy John surgery||Mid June|
|Ivan Nova||Pirates||Strained ring finger ligament||Mid June|
|Kenta Maeda||Dodgers||Hip strain||Late June|
|Rich Hill||Dodgers||Blister||Late June|
|Yonny Chirinos||Rays||Forearm strain||Late June|
|Robbie Ray||Diamondbacks||Oblique strain||Early July|
|Johnny Cueto||Giants||Elbow inflammation||Early July|
|Jordan Montgomery||Yankees||Elbow strain||Early July|
|Ervin Santana||Twins||Finger surgery||Early July|
|Clayton Kershaw||Dodgers||Lower back strain||All-Star Break|
|Alex Reyes||Cardinals||Right lat strain||All-Star Break|
|Jimmy Nelson||Brewers||Shoulder surgery||All-Star Break|
|Hyun-Jin Ryu||Dodgers||Groin strain||All-Star Break|
|Jake Faria||Rays||Left oblique strain||All-Star Break|
- None of those guys returning to action 'Soon!' will be in my fantasy lineups in their first start back. We need to be patient with them and give them a one-start cushion to show what they've got.
- Luckily, it seems as if the DL stint for Yu Darvish will be a short one. Until then, he gets to wallow in whether or not Cubs' fans hate him (they do) for a week or two.
- Shelby Miller is hot on the rehab trail and fired an awesome outing this past Wednesday. He's someone to monitor, but his career has been far from blemish-free. This is more of a 14-team flier than anything.
- Here we go again with Alex Reyes on the disabled list. I avoid trying to call pitchers 'injury-prone' too early in their career, but goodness gracious man! It's been 14 months since his Tommy John surgery and we immediately have another issue pop up in his return. Now, who is to blame here? You can't really blame the Cardinals considering the long rehab program they gave him. Reyes must have been overexerting or overamped in that 2018 debut.
- Speaking of pitchers coming back too soon, how about the news regarding Clayton Kershaw? That back has always been an issue for him, so maybe we shouldn't read too much into it. However, you gotta think just having one rehab start before returning had something to do with this. I hate speculating, but organizations need to be more patient no matter who the player is.
- I'm surprised I haven't written about a Mets pitcher in the last couple of weeks. We were due for one and now Noah Syndergaard pays the price. Fortunately, this is a minor injury to the finger and he could be back in short order.
Check out the rest of our great 2018 Fantasy Baseball content.