Fantasy Baseball

2018 Fantasy Baseball Week 20 Pitching Planner: Crowdsourcing

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Everyone makes mistakes.

This past week was a week full of mistakes for this writer. I’ll start with a fun one – while working on this for three hours, I accidentally saved my spreadsheet as a .csv file. Unfortunately, I am also a neat-freak and have to close all of my documents out when shutting down my computer every night. Mistake #1.

Mistake #2 happens on a cyclical basis – ranking pitchers for fantasy baseball in the weekly pitching planner. There is no way around it – I’m going to have big hits and misses every week. All I can do is go by stats, opponent, and eye test to determine which guys I can trust in a given week.


However, I found out something when addressing the questions of readers on Reddit last week. You, the reader, need to play a bigger part in this exercise. We all have pitchers that we own in our respective leagues. We have a great feeling on those specific guys on when to start or sit them based on our format. When we see them out of place, it’s obvious right off the bat.

I play in three leagues of different varieties – one pseudo-dynasty, one pseudo-keeper, and one plain redraft league. Between those leagues, I own 30 unique starters. I can’t possibly have the ‘feel’ factor that some people have on guys that I don’t have shares of in any leagues.

That’s where you come in.

If you have issues with where I rank guys at this point in the season, speak up! Whether it’s on Reddit or Twitter, throw a reply in there. If you have a reasonable enough argument, I can be persuaded. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I do this for the readers and we want to win leagues. Call me out!

Other Exciting Notes

  • I will be attending another Northwest Arkansas Naturals game or two before the season ends. The Texas League is a competitive league with lots of great talent. Khalil Lee will be the focus of my next TX league article. However, if you have any guys you want me to watch for dynasty purposes, hit me up! I will be watching the Naturals, the Frisco Rough Riders, and the Springfield Cardinals.
  • With some travel projected in my near future, I am wanting to read some baseball-related novels in my air-time. I have already purchased Astroball by Ben Reiter, which I’m incredibly excited to read. Meanwhile, if you have any more suggestions for me, holler!

Enough talk, it’s time to RANK ‘EM UP!

2018 Fantasy Baseball Week 20 Pitching Planner

Get customized Fantasy Baseball advice for your team using MyPlaybook from FantasyPros.

Auto-Start

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

NameTeamOpp1Opp2
Max ScherzerNationalsMIA
Clayton KershawDodgersSF@SEA
Chris SaleRed SoxTB
Jacob deGromMets@BAL@PHI
Corey KluberIndians@CIN
Justin VerlanderAstrosCOL
Aaron NolaPhilliesNYM
Gerrit ColeAstros@OAK
Trevor BauerIndiansBAL
Luis SeverinoYankeesNYMTOR

Promotions & Relegations

  • By crowd demand, I have promoted two of my personal favorites to the top tier. Trevor Bauer has only had three bad starts (for fantasy) all season. Aaron Nola is just a monster and, to my disbelief, I had a Redditor (shoutout to Woooooolf – hope you don’t have to type all of those O’s every time you log in) last week saying I had him too low. It hurt me inside. Hurt no longer, self!

Auto-Stream

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.

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NameTeamOpp1Opp2
Noah SyndergaardMets@PHI
Carlos CarrascoIndiansBAL
James PaxtonMariners@OAK
Zack GreinkeDiamondbacks@TEX@SD
Charlie MortonAstros@OAK
Madison BumgarnerGiants@LAD@CIN
Patrick CorbinDiamondbacks@TEX
Blake SnellRays@NYY
Jameson TaillonPirates@MINCHC
Jose BerriosTwinsPIT

Promotions & Relegations

  • The last six starts for Jameson Taillon have helped me regain my full trust in him for the remainder of the season. His most recent complete game masterpiece at Coors Field was a sight for sore eyes. Sure, the strikeout numbers aren’t crazy like some of the other guys in this tier. However, I believe in his ability to force weak contact and be efficient with pitch counts as much as any of these guys. Let me know if you agree or disagree!
  • Okay, so I put too much faith in a Robbie Ray bounce back to 2017 form. Fact is that his 2018 season was derailed by injuries. I believe this will put him a situation in 2019 drafts to be bought low. A tip of the cap is in order for Redditor savagevapor for calling me on my bleep.

Dream Stream

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.

NameTeamOpp1Opp2
Walker BuehlerDodgers@SEA
Rich HillDodgers@SEA
Carlos RodonWhite Sox@DET
Robbie RayDiamondbacks@SD
Ross StriplingDodgersSF
Kenta MaedaDodgersSF
Jon GrayRockies@ATL
Chris ArcherPirates@MIN
Kyle GibsonTwinsDET
Anibal SanchezBravesMIACOL
Mike FoltynewiczBravesMIACOL
Kevin GausmanBravesMIA
Masahiro TanakaYankeesTB
Gio GonzalezNationals@STLMIA
Nick PivettaPhilliesBOSNYM
David PriceRed SoxTB
Zack GodleyDiamondbacks@SD
Brad PeacockAstrosCOL
Jake ArrietaPhilliesNYM
Kyle HendricksCubsMIL
Luis CastilloRedsSF
German MarquezRockies@HOU@ATL
Dallas KeuchelAstros@OAK
Trevor RichardsMarlins@ATL
Luke WeaverCardinalsMIL
Zack WheelerMets@BAL
Mike ClevingerIndians@CINBAL
Rick PorcelloRed Sox@PHI
Jack FlahertyCardinalsWSH
Marcus StromanBlue Jays@NYY
Shane BieberIndians@CIN
Vince VelasquezPhilliesBOS
Joe MusgrovePiratesCHC
Trevor CahillAthleticsHOU
Jose QuintanaCubsMIL@PIT
Miles MikolasCardinalsWSHMIL
Sean ManaeaAthleticsSEAHOU
Andrew HeaneyAngels@SD@TEX
Tanner RoarkNationals@STL
Tyler SkaggsAngels@TEX
J.A. HappYankeesTBTOR
Jake OdorizziTwinsPITDET
Reynaldo LopezWhite Sox@DETKC
Mike FiersAthleticsSEA
Joey LucchesiPadresARZ
Sean NewcombBravesCOL
Marco GonzalesMariners@OAKLAD
Lance LynnYankeesTB
Lucas GiolitoWhite Sox@DET
Dereck RodriguezGiants@CIN
Clay BuchholzDiamondbacks@SD
Zach EflinPhilliesNYM

Notables

  • Dude, I don’t know if I’m just an excited Braves fanboy or not, but Kevin Gausman looked great in his home debut. He was consistently at 94-96 MPH on the fastball and working a filthy changeup. The Brewers hitters were stymied throughout the game. The biggest moment for me was in the second inning when he was faced with a bases-loaded situation. In the AL, he’s facing the designated hitter. In this case, though, he was able to strike out the pitcher and turn his performance around. Gausman’s value in this trade goes up much higher than I originally had thought and he needs to be monitored closely.
  • My prediction of the week is a spot start for Brad Peacock of the Astros. Those who know me know I love the pitching of Mr. Peacock and he merits a pickup if this news becomes reality. He’s been once again dominant out of the bullpen this year and had a 3.22 ERA (3.08 FIP) as a starter in 2017.

  • Whoa now, German Marquez! An immaculate inning doesn’t happen often (about the same frequency as the cycle), but they sure are a thing of beauty. Speaking of things of beauty, Marquez’s last month or so has been amazing. In his last six starts (all against winning teams, no less), he boasts a 3.15 ERA, 3.11 FIP, and 25% K-BB%. That’s doing work! I’m not too pumped up with the matchups here, but they are away from Coors Field. I’m looking for the volume of strikeouts here in this two-start week.
  • Has Zach Eflin been consistent in his past five starts? Not really, but a start against the Mets should be manageable. I can’t possibly tell you to sit Eflin against the hapless Mets. This is totally going to blow up in my face.

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 the said player.

NameTeamOpp1Opp2
Tyler AndersonRockies@HOU
Cole HamelsCubs@PIT
Anthony DeSclafaniRedsSF
Danny DuffyRoyalsTOR
Tyler GlasnowRays@BOS
Nathan EovaldiRed SoxTB
Blaine HardyTigersCWS@MIN
Tommy MiloneNationals@STLMIA
Andrew SuarezGiants@LAD
Wade LeBlancMarinersLAD
Mike MinorRangersLAA
Derek HollandGiants@LAD
Robbie ErlinPadresLAA
Jon LesterCubs@PIT
Ervin SantanaTwinsDET
Freddy PeraltaBrewers@STL
Ivan NovaPiratesCHC
Touki ToussaintBravesMIA
Matthew BoydTigers@MIN
Pablo LopezMarlins@ATL@WSH
Jose UrenaMarlins@ATL
Wade MileyBrewers@STL
Mike LeakeMariners@OAK
Junior GuerraBrewers@CHC
Wei-Yin ChenMarlins@WSH
Jakob JunisRoyals@CWS
Chase AndersonBrewers@STL
John GantCardinalsWSHMIL
Kyle FreelandRockies@ATL
Dylan BundyOrioles@CLE
Mike MontgomeryCubs@PIT
Jhoulys ChacinBrewers@CHC
Jordan ZimmermannTigersCWS
Ryan BoruckiBlue Jays@KC@NYY
Jeremy HellicksonNationals@STL
Marco EstradaBlue Jays@KC
Brett AndersonAthleticsSEA
Alex CobbOrioles@CLE
Sam GaviglioBlue Jays@KC
Trevor WilliamsPiratesCHC
CC SabathiaYankeesTOR
Matt HarveyRedsSF
Julio TeheranBravesCOL
Dan StrailyMarlins@WSH
James ShieldsWhite SoxKC
Edwin JacksonAthleticsHOU
Jaime BarriaAngels@SD@TEX

Notables

  • Like Marquez, Tyler Anderson has been red-hot over the past month-plus. Unlike his teammate, Anderson only gets one start this week and it’s against the better Houston offense with a returning Carlos Correa. The numbers say that Anderson could do well this week, but I’m playing it safe. The Astros enjoy facing lefties more than righties, anyway.
  • Is Anthony DeSclafani finally coming around? His past two starts have been much better than his rest-of-season results. Most recently, that start against Arizona was remarkable, striking out nine batters in seven shutout innings. I need to see a couple of more quality starts to get behind him, but we’ve seen him perform well in the past when healthy. Just something to keep an eye out on in deeper formats.



  • As of this writing, Touki Toussaint was replaced on what was supposed to be his Triple-A start on Friday. The buzz is that he gets called up to start the day game of the doubleheader against the Marlins on Monday. What do you need to know about Toussaint’s repertoire? See the video above from the 2018 Futures Game. It’s 97 MPH on a two-seamer, 88 MPH on a sick changeup, and a frisbee-type curveball. Should you pick him up in a great matchup? I typically don’t go that route, but the Marlins are basically a Triple-A lineup, which he has dominated the past month. If you are feeling risky, go for it! Have fun with it!
  • The other takeaway from the Braves-Brewers game I watched last Friday was the failure of Freddy Peralta. It seems like opposing teams are finally catching onto his fastball-heavy style. The Braves just kept pounding the fastball and Peralta was even bailing on the pitch for a flat curveball/slider thing in the fourth inning. He’s been a bit inconsistent in his past few starts, so try sitting him this week against the Cardinals.

Arms Amending

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.

NameTeamInjuryStageReturn
Alex WoodDodgersAdductor tendinitisSimulated gameSoon!
Stephen StrasburgNationalsPinched nerve in neckBullpen workLate August
Eduardo RodriguezRed SoxRight ankle sprainLive BPLate August
Carlos MartinezCardinalsShoulder strainFlat groundLate August
Lance McCullers Jr.AstrosElbow discomfortEarly September
Yu DarvishCubsTriceps inflammationFlat groundEarly September
Michael WachaCardinalsOblique strainFlat groundEarly September
Shohei OhtaniAngelsSprained UCLFlat groundMid September

Notables

  • Well, add another tally to the ‘universal DH’ column. Lance McCullers Jr. says he hurt his elbow hitting, not pitching. I don’t know what to say, people. I used to be a proponent for pitchers hitting, but it’s just not wise anymore. In a league where we are paying people to do their specific jobs, we can’t have McCullers or countless other guys get hurt doing something that is not in their job description. I have made a complete 360 on this subject, especially since starting this section of the pitching planner.
  • Honestly, I have confidence that Shohei Ohtani pitches again this season. If only for three or four starts, he could be a useful addition if your league runs through September.
  • The Dodgers’ rotation of starters continues with Alex Wood being the most recent disabled lister. However, he is eligible to return on August 14th, so we may soon see another starter placed on the DL. My vote would go to Kenta Maeda, who has not been himself in the second half and is experiencing velocity dips.

Check out the rest of our great 2018 Fantasy Baseball content.

About Tyler Thompson

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