2018 Fantasy Baseball Week 4 Pitching Planner: Playing Hooky

by Tyler Thompson
2018 fantasy baseball week 4 pitching planner

Alright, guys, let's cut right to it - I'm in Atlanta this weekend catching a Braves series. Not only that, but the Friday game was a 12-inning fight and left me getting back to the hotel late (well, that and a trip to the local watering holes.)

Needless to say, my brain is not in a state to come up with some obscure song reference tying to a decent introduction related to baseball. In a way, I'm playing hooky from my usual responsibilities here.

However, I promise that I spent a lot of effort in the rankings this week. I had a flight and two hours of waiting for the said flight to get these down-pat so I'm confident that I've got everything covered. Next week I will be back on my game!

Tequila shot count for me saying that something was 'there' for a pitcher - zero.

2018 Fantasy Baseball Week 4 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.

Clayton KershawDodgersMIA
Chris SaleRed SoxTB
Max ScherzerNationals@SF
Corey KluberIndiansSEA


  • No promotions were necessary for the Auto-Start tier. These four dudes are just in another league. Do I sound like a broken record yet?


  • Why you still asking? Come back at me in May.


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.

Noah SyndergaardMets@STL
Jacob deGromMets@SD
Charlie MortonAstrosLAA
Stephen StrasburgNationalsARI
Carlos CarrascoIndians@BALSEA
Luis SeverinoYankees@LAA
Justin VerlanderAstrosLAA
Yu DarvishCubsMIL
Gerrit ColeAstrosLAAOAK
Chris ArcherRays@BAL
Jameson TaillonPiratesDET
Robbie RayDiamondbacks@PHI@WAS
Aaron NolaPhilliesATL
James PaxtonMariners@CLE
Zack GreinkeDodgers@PHI
Carlos MartinezCardinals@PIT
Shohei OhtaniAngels@HOUNYY


  • I was just in Atlanta and got to see Noah Syndergaard in person for the first time. Holy hell. The guy is incredibly impressive and actually surprised me with how deadly his changeup is. If it weren't for a misplayed ball by Jay Bruce in right field, Thor would've likely gotten a win and two less 'earned' runs pegged to his line. Tune in next week on my firsthand Jacob deGrom experience!
  • This is the first week for Charlie Morton in the auto-stream tier so get ready for a complete jinx. Can you blame me for putting him up here though? Only Johnny Cueto (among qualified pitchers) has a lower ERA than Morton. Damn, maybe I should put Cueto higher? That's not what this is about - Morton has been dominant behind remarkable strikeout, walk, and groundball rates.

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  • Look, I'm as big of an Aaron Nola fanboy as the next guy, but where have the strikeouts been?! Everything else looks just fine, so do we just play the waiting game on the punchouts? He's become very hittable this year by the numbers, inside and outside of the zone. By, like, a crap ton. I say definitely be patient on those strikeouts.
  • Watch out, because James Paxton has been getting stronger with each start. The overall numbers look a little messy because of his first start against Cleveland. Since then, while they've been short-ish outings, he has put up fantastic innings. He stays firmly in this tier.

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.

Walker BuehlerDodgersMIA
Kenta MaedaDodgersMIA@SF
Alex WoodDodgers@SF
Lance McCullers Jr.AstrosOAK
Blake SnellRays@BAL
Joey LucchesiPadresNYM
David PriceRed SoxTB
Patrick CorbinDiamondbacks@WAS
Hyun-Jin RyuDodgers@SF
Luke WeaverCardinalsNYM
Brock StewartDodgersMIA
Jose BerriosTwins@NYYCIN
Jon GrayRockiesSD
Steven MatzMets@STL@SD
Jake ArrietaPhilliesARI
Rick PorcelloRed Sox@TORTB
Zack WheelerMets@SD
Nick PivettaPhilliesATL
Jeff SamardzijaGiantsWAS
Jose QuintanaCubsMIL
Johnny CuetoGiantsLAD
Gio GonzalezNationals@SFARI
Miles MikolasCardinals@PIT
Dylan BundyOriolesTB
Sean NewcombBraves@CIN
Vince VelasquezPhilliesARIATL
Danny DuffyRoyalsCWS
Trevor BauerIndiansCHC
Dallas KeuchelAstrosOAK
Jon LesterCubs@CLE
Tyler AndersonRockies@MIA
Zack GodleyDiamondbacks@WAS
Mike FoltynewiczBraves@PHI
Garrett RichardsAngelsNYY
German MarquezRockies@MIA
Tanner RoarkNationals@SF
Jakob JunisRoyalsCWS
Masahiro TanakaYankeesMIN@LAA
Reynaldo LopezWhite Sox@KC
Kyle HendricksCubsMIL
Eduardo RodriguezRed Sox@TOR
Mike ClevingerIndiansSEA
Ivan NovaPiratesDET
Luis CastilloReds@MIN
Marcus StromanBlue JaysTEX
J.A. HappBlue JaysBOSTEX
Sonny GrayYankeesMIN
Michael WachaCardinalsNYM
Bartolo ColonRangers@TOR
Drew PomeranzRed Sox@TOR
Sean ManaeaAthletics@HOU
Mike MinorRangersOAK
Chase AndersonBrewers@KC


  • The Dodgers have a weird schedule and situation upcoming this week. They've got seven games with one being a doubleheader. They lost one of their starters to an injury (shocker). So that leaves three starts open this week. I believe they will call up Walker Buehler for the first one. He becomes a must add and stream if that actually occurs. Constantly check those news bulletins!
  • The next Dodgers starter I have getting utilized is Brock Stewart. In a start against the Marlins, it couldn't come at a better time. He's not the most electric pitcher out there, but he can certainly hold his own against that lineup.
  • Trevor Bauer has been outstanding this year and the biggest thing going his way is the home run rate. A 6.7% HR/FB rate is sitting about half of his career rate. The flyball rate is higher than his career average though, so... (Insert shrugging emoji.) I'm still a fan of his, but worse days are coming.

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  • Have I mentioned that the Marlins are an offense that should be picked on? That should be made very clear given that I'm throwing two Rockies pitchers in here! Tyler Anderson and German Marquez are both on the road at Miami, leaving nothing to the imagination. Both should be on waivers in your normal league, especially Anderson.
  • Dude, what the heck Bartolo Colon? I can't be having old guys with one pitch in my Dream Stream, right? However, I can't deny what he's been doing thus far with that two-seamer. Obviously, we have a much larger sample size of him being average. But whoever said riding the hot hand is such a bad thing?

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.

Matt WislerBraves@CIN
Anibal SanchezBraves@PHI
Wilmer FontDodgersSF
Brandon McCarthyBraves@CIN@PHI
Eric LauerPadres@COL
Ian KennedyRoyalsMILCWS
Tyler SkaggsAngels@HOU
Chad KuhlPiratesDETSTL
Chad BettisRockiesSD@MIA
Andrew HeaneyAngelsNYY
Trevor RichardsMarlins@LAD
Felix HernandezMariners@CWS
Jarlin GarciaMarlins@LAD
Tyson RossPadres@COL
Junior GuerraBrewers@CHC
Chris StrattonGiantsWASLAD
Yonny ChirinosRays@BOS
Michael FulmerTigers@PIT
Tyler MahleRedsATL@MIN
Francisco LirianoTigers@BAL
Caleb SmithMarlinsCOL
Adam WainwrightCardinalsNYM@PIT
Andrew TriggsAthletics@TEX
Matt BoydTigers@PIT@BAL
Marco GonzalesMariners@CWS@CLE
Jaime GarciaBlue JaysTEX
Clayton RichardPadresNYM
Tyler ChatwoodCubs@CLEMIL
Derek HollandGiantsLAD
Cole HamelsRangersOAK
Julio TeheranBraves@CIN
Zack DaviesBrewers@KC@CHC
Trevor CahillAthletics@TEX@HOU
Jordan MontgomeryYankeesMIN
Eric SkoglundRoyalsCWS
Kevin GausmanOriolesCLEDET
Jason HammelRoyalsMIL
Jake FariaRays@BAL@BOS
Homer BaileyRedsATL
Ryan YarbroughRays@BOS
Steven BraultPiratesSTL
Matt KochDiamondbacks@PHI
Mike LeakeMariners@CWS@CLE
Mike FiersTigers@BAL
Nick TropeanoAngels@HOU
Trevor WilliamsPiratesSTL
Brent SuterBrewers@CHC
Daniel MengdenAthletics@HOU
Jake OdorizziTwins@NYYCIN
Jose UrenaMarlinsCOL
Matt HarveyMets@STL
Erasmo RamirezMariners@CLE
Kyle GibsonTwins@NYY
Ben LivelyPhilliesARI
CC SabathiaYankeesMIN@LAA
Sal RomanoRedsATL@MIN
Marco EstradaBlue JaysBOS
Lance LynnTwins@NYY
Aaron SanchezBlue JaysBOS


  • I've got Wilmer Font taking one of the games of the doubleheader against the Giants next Friday. He had a great background in AAA, but has been quite awful this year out of the bullpen. Definitely taking a wait-and-see approach here.
  • Who is biting the bait on this Jarlin Garcia this season? Let me get you off the hook (*ducks*) by explaining a few of his numbers. Who has a 1.18 K/BB ratio and has success? Oh yeah, someone who has a 96% LOB%. He's not good. Am I missing something here?

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  • In this version of Tyler's Simplistic Scouting Spotlight, I've got a relatively unknown Padres hurler who COULD be getting the call. Call it reckless speculation, but since the Padres just lost Dinelson Lamet and sent Luis Perdomo down to the minors, they gotta call Eric Lauer up in my eyes. They kept him around for the entirety of Spring Training before losing out to Joey Lucchesi, another author-favorite. He really only uses three pitches from the left side: cutting fastball, slider, and curveball. The curveball certainly looks like his best pitch, but it's hard for righties to differentiate between the slider and cutter, making it a deadly combo. Play a wait-and-see game with Lauer as well.
  • The Mariners get back an important piece in their rotation this week as Erasmo Ramirez makes his way back from rehab. He was a useful streamer last year and should bounce around the bottom two tiers throughout the 2018 season.

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.

Wei-Yen ChenMarlinsElbow discomfortApril 27th
Dan StrailyMarlinsForearm tightnessApril 28th
Jason VargasMetsHand surgeryLate April
Luiz GoharaBravesSprained ankleEarly May
Rich HillDodgersCracked middle fingernailMid May
Ervin SantanaTwinsFinger surgeryMid May
Doug FisterRangersRight hip strainMid May
Joe MusgrovePiratesStrained shoulderLate May
Jerad EickhoffPhilliesStrained latLate May
Alex ReyesCardinalsTommy John surgeryJune
Madison BumgarnerGiantsFractured fingerJune
Danny SalazarIndiansShoulder inflammationJune
Carlos RodonWhite SoxShoulder surgeryJune
Anthony DeSclafaniRedsStrained obliqueJune
Nathan EovaldiRaysElbow issuesJune
Shelby MillerDiamondbacksTommy John surgeryLate June
Jimmy NelsonBrewersShoulder surgeryAll-Star Break
Julio UriasDodgersShoulder surgeryAll-Star Break
Matt ShoemakerAngelsStrained forearmAll-Star Break
Taijuan WalkerDiamondbacksTommy John surgery2019


  • Well, it started as the general 'forearm soreness' and Taijuan Walker himself saying that it wouldn't require Tommy John surgery. It ended with Tommy John surgery. Let that be a lesson, kids - you aren't a doctor so don't self-diagnose! Matt Koch takes his spot in the rotation.
  • Both Dan Straily and Wei-Yen Chen will be returning in the Marlins weekend series against the Dodgers. Straily is worth rostering while Chen is likely better left on waivers. Either way, you are certainly not streaming either of them.

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  • Well, it didn't take Rich Hill to show up here with a finger issue. Dude has a cracked middle fingernail on the throwing hand from throwing a fastball. It should take at least a couple of weeks to heal up properly and I don't imagine the Dodgers want to rush something like this.
  • While Jason Vargas could return as soon as this upcoming weekend, I will err on the side of caution here. Not a lot of guys can just get everything right in one rehab start even though it's his non-throwing hand that's the issue. Keep a close eye on this one!
  • Can I just say that whatever Matt Shoemaker is going through doesn't sound great? What the hell is this 'nerve conduction study'? No way I'm rostering him in normal leagues, even if I have a free DL spot. Use it on someone else!

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

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