The trade deadline can be a fun, stressful, optimistic, pessimistic, and crazy day for baseball folk across the country. Whether your team is in first or last place, the trade market is a way for us to figure out when our team expects to next contend for a World Series title.
In the fantasy baseball world, it's always a mystery as to whether or not a trade helped your player moving to a contending team. There are many factors rather than just boosting the win percentage that can determine the fate of your starting pitchers on the move.
In this version of the pitching planner, I will focus my comments on starters whose names are heavily discussed on the trade market. Some have already been moved while others are still waiting to be potentially dealt. I will rate these guys based on three categories: DH-avoidance, park factors, and defense.
It's time to RANK 'EM UP!
2018 Fantasy Baseball Week 18 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||NYY|
Promotions & Relegations
- We got no movement in the top tier this week. PHEW!
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.
Promotions & Relegations
- Other than Noah Syndergaard rejoining the group off the disabled list, I have nothing here.
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.
|David Price||Red Sox||PHI|
|Lance McCullers Jr.||Astros||@LAD|
|Carlos Rodon||White Sox||@TB|
- We start with the best starter of 2018 to get traded thus far in J.A. Happ. He remains in the same division, but he now doesn't have to face the Yankees since he plays for him (sound logic). The park factors are significantly worse in Yankee Stadium than in the Rogers Centre. By defensive WAR (dWAR), Happ acquires a huge advantage with the team switch. I grade this out as a B for the southpaw.
- So, the situation is not great for Chris Archer right now. He's in a division with two of the best offenses in the American League. While Tropicana Field is a pitcher's park, the Rays defense is average at best. If Archer can somehow get moved to a team like the Padres or Braves, his situation looks much better (for different reasons). However, I am not optimistic that Archer gets moved.
- Zack Wheeler has had an interesting season for the Mets. He's been at his healthiest relative to his career, but the stats have been 'meh'. While the park factors are in his favor, the defense for the Mets is easily the worst in the league by dWAR. It's a terrible infield that just traded its best fielder (Asdrubal Cabrera) away. Yikes!
- While we haven't heard much about Mike Minor, I would think that a contender could use his services. However, I feel that if he gets moved, a contender would throw him into a long relief role. Minor was a monster for the Royals out of the bullpen in 2017, so I imagine that he would have appeal in that role for a team that is struggling in the bullpen. Not that many folks were using Minor as a streamer, but in deeper leagues, a trade could kill his value.
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.
|Marcus Stroman||Blue Jays||@OAK|
|Rick Porcello||Red Sox||NYY|
|Nathan Eovaldi||Red Sox||NYY|
|Ryan Borucki||Blue Jays||@SEA|
|Marco Estrada||Blue Jays||@OAK||@SEA|
|Drew Pomeranz||Red Sox||PHI||NYY|
|Sam Gaviglio||Blue Jays||@OAK||@SEA|
|Reynaldo Lopez||White Sox||KC|
|James Shields||White Sox||KC||@TB|
- The starter to raise his stock the most through trade has to be Cole Hamels. Not only is he going from AL to NL, but it's to the perfect team. The Cubs have much better park factors than the Rangers do. Additionally, the Cubs boast a top-five defense by dWAR. It's easy to see why the Cubbies have supported left-handed hurlers so well and Hamels, although I'm not the biggest fan in 2018, will benefit from this setup.
- Another guy to boost his value is Nathan Eovaldi. Similarly to J.A. Happ, he moves within the AL East and no longer has to face the Red Sox (beautiful). While the park factors are worse, the defensive bump behind him helps even it out. By the way, the Rays totally won the risk of signing Eovaldi after his Tommy John surgery two years ago. Jalen Beeks is an interesting enough player to gamble on for the next few years.
- Kyle Gibson has been rumored in deals, specifically with the Brewers and Athletics. So, Target Field is about in the middle of the pack in terms of park factors and dWAR. Both of these squads would pose an upgrade with the Athletics providing a boost in park factors and the Brewers posting the best defensive stats in the league. Reckless speculation never hurt anybody!
- I think it goes without saying that Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy would receive a boost in pitcher rankings in a trade. The Orioles have a terrible defense and are trading away all relievers that can actually hold a lead. Plus, it's not like a change of scenery for a Baltimore pitcher has ever hurt. (See Jake Arrieta and Eduardo Rodriguez most notably.)
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.
|James Paxton||Mariners||Lower back inflammation||Early August|
|Blake Snell||Rays||Shoulder fatigue||Early August|
|Yu Darvish||Cubs||Triceps inflammation||Bullpen work||Early August|
|Jake Faria||Rays||Oblique strain||Early August|
|Marco Estrada||Blue Jays||Hip strain / blister||Rehab start - Double A||Early August|
|Stephen Strasburg||Nationals||Pinched nerve in neck||Mid August|
|Hyun-Jin Ryu||Dodgers||Left groin strain||Simulated game||Mid August|
|Jeff Samardzija||Giants||Shoulder fatigue / dead arm||Mid August|
|Eduardo Rodriguez||Red Sox||Right ankle sprain||Late August|
|Brandon McCarthy||Braves||Right knee tendinitis||Flat ground||Late August|
|Jimmy Nelson||Brewers||Shoulder surgery||Bullpen work||Early September|
|Michael Wacha||Cardinals||Oblique strain||Early September|
|Shohei Ohtani||Angels||Grade 2 UCL sprain||Flat ground||Mid September|
|Michael Fulmer||Tigers||Oblique strain||Mid September|
|Michael Soroka||Braves||Shoulder soreness||Mid September|
- Both James Paxton and Blake Snell are being cautious with their respective injuries. I don't believe that either of them will require a rehab start. This means they could return later in the week, in which case I would start them right out of the gate.
- Unfortunately for Marco Estrada, a rehab for one injury led to another one. His hip is totally fine after his Double-A start, but he developed a blister on his index finger. He will likely need another rehab appearance before rejoining the Jays.
I am told that Stephen Strasburg has been placed on the DL with what is preliminary being called a "pinched nerve" in his neck. Not an arm or shoulder issue.
— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) July 26, 2018
- Do you ever sleep on your neck funny and feel pain only when you turn a certain way? Ask Stephen Strasburg how that feels when he is pitching. The Nationals have no choice but to be careful here, which makes their trade deadline plans that much more interesting. (Braves fans: whispers "Sell, sell. Good, good.")
- Eduardo Rodriguez is shedding the boot soon! This is wonderful news for a guy who was having a fantastic season.
- Remember all of the experts that told you to draft Jimmy Nelson late this year? He still hasn't started a rehab assignment yet. It's almost August. We need an automatic rule of drafting where you don't draft pitchers who underwent a major surgery the year before. Whether it's Tommy John, thoracic outlet, or shoulder surgery, I'm just not going there with pitchers until I see them back and healthy for real.
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