What is up, my pitching planner people?! (Do I get points for alliteration? Oh, there is no point system. Noted.)
Hey, I wanted to take a second and jinx the entire fantasy baseball community. I will do this by saying that the injuries on the pitching front haven't been all that bad through the first month. The 'Arms Amending' section was shorter than it's ever been, which led me to think along these lines.
There were a couple of early season casualties due to Tommy John surgery. We saw starters like Taijuan Walker and Dinelson Lamet go under the knife along with prospects Brent Honeywell and Jose De Leon. Other than that though, can we really complain that much?
This is a good point to for me to stop myself and apologize for the inevitable fallout of pitchers in the final week of April. But hey, fingers crossed for health in the pitching community. Maybe the 10-day disabled list won't haunt all of us in our sleep as much in 2018 as it did in 2017.
Tequila shot count for me saying that something was 'there' for a pitcher - zero. Still holding true to my word from back in Week 2. I'm actually reassessing articles to see if I've fallen back into this trap rather than write them with this in mind. I want to be fair to the audience.
2018 Fantasy Baseball Week 5 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||KC||@TEX|
- I teased it in previous versions of this article, but the hammer has finally been dropped. Noah Syndergaard, welcome to the top tier!
- No one is relegated yet. Yes, that means I'm keeping Clayton Kershaw here for the time being despite six walks against the Marlins at home. SIX!
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.
- I fear that I missed out on Jose Berrios this year after not falling for the inflated ADP in 2018 drafts. However, I then remember that he had stark splits between the first and second halves last year. I'm not telling you to sell high - just keep that in mind before you put too much stock and emotional value in the first month. From what I've seen in Berrios' starts, I don't see much difference between this year and last so I'm just a little hesitant to fully buy in.
- You know who has been the best pitcher of 2018 so far? Well, I guess that's sort of opinionated. In my eyes, there is no debate though that Patrick Corbin has been the most dominant hurler to this point. Everything is working for this dude and it's no small sample when you back it up to midway through the 2017 season. I'm very comfortable putting him in this tier.
- Boy, is Robbie Ray struggling this year or what? Why am I having deja vu? It's almost like he's still got a ~6 BB/9 since last time I wrote about him. How many more chances can I give him to stay in this tier? I love the dude, but sometimes you have to learn to let the ones you love go. Did this just turn into a Nicholas Sparks movie? Ugh, I need some sleep.
- I know that Shohei Ohtani gets mentioned in every article nowadays, but hear me out! Just keep a close watch on him and that mild ankle sprain. That's all! See, that wasn't so bad, right? (I am so here for the Ohtani madness. I bought a shirsey and I'm a Braves fan. Don't at me.)
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||@TB|
|Eduardo Rodriguez||Red Sox||KC||@TEX|
|Rick Porcello||Red Sox||@TEX|
|David Price||Red Sox||@TEX|
|Lance McCullers Jr.||Astros||NYY|
|Drew Pomeranz||Red Sox||KC|
- Anyone noticing what ol' Kenta Maeda has been doing this year? He's basically doing what Alex Wood did in the early going of 2017 without as much fanfare. Another dominant start against the Padres could force my hand and cause me to promote him a tier.
- Okay, let's get this Tyler Mahle situation out of the way. He's playing the Marlins at home. Bam, that's it. WAIT A SECOND: there might actually be something here! Check out his K/BB and xFIP before writing this dude off. What I want you to do is stream him in Week 5 and hold if he performs well. There's an opportunity for value here.
- Can I just start by saying that I'm not a Jarlin Garcia believer? Oh, I can because it's my article? Right. Anyway, Jarlin the Marlin is the darlin' of Miami here in the early going due largely to a 1.00 ERA flat and a couple of almost no-hitters. Left-on-base percentage says 'nah' at 99%. FIP and xFIP follow suit. His long-term upside is Ivan Nova with triple the walks. How does that sound? Super meh.
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.
|Chris Volstad||White Sox||MIN|
|Marcus Stroman||Blue Jays||@MIN|
|Reynaldo Lopez||White Sox||MIN|
|Aaron Sanchez||Blue Jays||@MIN||@TB|
|Marco Estrada||Blue Jays||@MIN||@TB|
|Jaime Garcia||Blue Jays||@CLE|
|Joe Biagini||Blue Jays||@CLE|
- Keep an eye on Julio Teheran this weekend as he had a bit of an injury scare in his last start. After velocity readings were consistently down, it was discovered that he had trapezius tightness. Braves manager Brian Snitker didn't show much concern though and even said that Teheran would likely make his next scheduled start.
- Holy hell, Luis Castillo. The fantasy community needs to learn from this - we get burned on these types of players with small sample sizes every year. Now you're forced to hold him and hope he turns it around. I'm certainly sitting him in normal-sized leagues against the Brew Crew.
- As a Braves fan, I'm allowed to recklessly speculate on this prospect in this week's version of Tyler's Simplistic Scouting Spotlight. My (non-existent) sources tell me that Mike Soroka will get called to take the spot of Anibal Sanchez. At 6'5", it's incredible how precise this dude is with all of his pitches. With an incredible feel for all five pitches and a fast tempo, he can manipulate hitters well. All the scouts will say 'he is not overpowering', but I see a perceived velocity so much faster than what the radar reads. Temper expectations for the 21-year-old, but I believe he can be a steady streaming option for fantasy staffs in 2018.
- When researching rotations this week, Chris Volstad made me say 'WHO?!' aloud in a room full of people. While his 2018 numbers are decent, we have a long career of a 1.8 K/BB and 1.5 HR/9 so don't waste your time here.
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.
|Luiz Gohara||Braves||Sprained ankle||Early May|
|Ervin Santana||Twins||Finger surgery||Late May|
|Adam Wainwright||Cardinals||Elbow inflammation||Late May|
|Joe Musgrove||Pirates||Strained shoulder||Late May|
|Jerad Eickhoff||Phillies||Strained lat||Late May|
|Alex Reyes||Cardinals||Tommy John surgery||June|
|Madison Bumgarner||Giants||Fractured finger||June|
|Danny Salazar||Indians||Shoulder inflammation||June|
|Carlos Rodon||White Sox||Shoulder surgery||June|
|Anthony DeSclafani||Reds||Strained oblique||June|
|Nathan Eovaldi||Rays||Elbow issues||June|
|Shelby Miller||Diamondbacks||Tommy John surgery||Late June|
|Jimmy Nelson||Brewers||Shoulder surgery||All-Star Break|
|Julio Urias||Dodgers||Shoulder surgery||All-Star Break|
|Matt Shoemaker||Angels||Strained forearm||All-Star Break|
- The Braves pitching staff will be emboldened once Luiz Gohara returns from an ankle injury. There are multiple reports out there saying that he will debut in Week 6 of the fantasy season against the Rays. Now is your last chance to stash him off waivers if you are looking for strikeout upside in your 12-team leagues.
- Veteran Adam Wainwright is suffering from the ever-vague elbow inflammation. There is no timetable on his return and I imagine the Cardinals will take it slow with him. In Waino's absence, talented rookie Jack Flaherty will attempt to steal his spot.
- I may have underestimated how long Ervin Santana would be out in the previous articles. He hasn't even begun mound work yet. This leads me to believe that we are least a couple of weeks away from a real rehab assignment. Optimists will follow the chart and say 'late May', just know that it could be longer.
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