2018 Fantasy Baseball Week 8 Pitching Planner: Tip of the Strasburg

by Tyler Thompson
2018 fantasy baseball week 8 pitching planner

I'm going to try something a little different this week. Before we get rolling into Week 8, let's have a look at some of my favorite starts from the first half of Week 7! I will be leaving out some players that I talk about in the meat of the article.

  • On Monday, Dallas Keuchel had a throwback performance against the Rangers. He had that lefty-heavy lineup striking out left and right and tossed seven shutout innings. He's been getting stronger as the season wears on and is a nice buy-low candidate in redraft leagues.
  • Sticking with southpaws, Andrew Heaney had a monster start against the Astros on Tuesday. With 10 K's in eight innings of one-run ball, Heaney's line on the season is looking strong and believable. The major difference I saw in his stats from 2017 to 2017 was his pitch mix. Specifically, he's throwing his curveball more often and it's been a great pitch for him. I plan on watching his next start just to get a glimpse of how this pitch is working so well for him.
  • Nick Pivetta was in tip-top shape versus the Orioles on Wednesday. Now, it was the Orioles, and I won't overlook that, but 11 K's in seven innings with just three runners reaching? Damn, son! With a season-long 4.82 K/BB, the Phillies have done a phantastic job of helping him reach an SP2 level in reality and SP3 level in fantasy.
  • Wednesday was the day of the ace-type performances. Justin VerlanderTrevor Bauer, and J.A. Happ (Really? This still?) continued their 2018 dominance in bold fashion on Hump Day.
  • Are we still underestimating Kenta Maeda? His 3.89 ERA doesn't look great, but his FIP and xFIP are pointing the right direction and the wins SHOULD start coming soon. He really showed his potential on Thursday with an eight-inning masterpiece. This is the perfect buy-low opportunity in my eyes and you shouldn't shy away from him because of his standard numbers.
  • If Wednesday was 'Ace Day', then we can call Thursday 'Baby-Ace Day'. That's not gonna catch on at all. Tyler SkaggsLuke Weaver, and David Price all put up wonderful starts on Baby-Ace Day. I'm buying into all three of these guys from a season-long standpoint, even if their overall statistics aren't what you are used to seeing from them.

Alright, it feels weird to actually write an article introduction about something productive rather than making obscure song references and fluffing things up. Let's keep the flow going then, shall we?

Where are you?

And I'm so sorry.

I cannot sleep.

I cannot dream tonight.

Ugh, almost made it through without distraction.

2018 Fantasy Baseball Week 8 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.

Max ScherzerNationalsSD
Jacob deGromMetsMIA
Justin VerlanderAstrosSF
Gerrit ColeAstrosSF@CLE
Chris SaleRed Sox@TBATL
Noah SyndergaardMets@MIL
Luis SeverinoYankeesLAA
Corey KluberIndiansHOU


  • There were no promotions this week.


  • No relegations were necessary this week. Nice work, gents!


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.

Walker BuehlerDodgersCOLSD
Stephen StrasburgNationals@MIA
James PaxtonMarinersMIN
Charlie MortonAstros@CLE
Aaron NolaPhilliesTOR
Patrick CorbinDiamondbacks@OAK
Shohei OhtaniAngels@NYY
Carlos CarrascoIndiansHOU
Zack GreinkeDiamondbacks@OAK


  • The hurler that is closest to jumping into the elite tier is Stephen Strasburg. I want to see that one utterly dominant performance from him before committing. (Yes, I have a commitment issue - just ask my last few girlfriends.) Whoa, he's going to have a solid opportunity to be promoted with a start against Miami on the docket.
  • While Charlie Morton has been alternating good and bad starts lately, I'm still confident that the overall picture will be envious for other league owners. As long as you are getting punchouts and run support, there's no reason to bench Morton. The Indians have been heating up in May, so this is a good start to watch and analyze for ol' Chuckie.

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  • Is Aaron Nola turning into the most consistent pitcher in baseball? He hasn't had a non-quality start all season. Now, his strikeout turnout hasn't been as good as it was in 2017, but if that comes around, look out! If you are in a dynasty league, I'm paying top dollar to acquire this dude. Like, if you can get him at less than SP1 value, go for it.
  • This seems like the matchup where Shohei Ohtani puts up a stinker. He hasn't fared particularly well against tough opponents, but I'm willing to throw him in the fire. The strikeout upside is too good to pass up.

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.

Ross StriplingDodgersCOL
Alex WoodDodgersSD
Freddy PeraltaBrewersNYM
Kenta MaedaDodgersCOL
Lance McCullers Jr.Astros@CLE
Trevor BauerIndians@CHC
Nick KinghamPiratesSTL
Sean ManaeaAthleticsARZ
Caleb SmithMarlins@NYM
Gio GonzalezNationalsSD
Jon GrayRockiesCIN
Yu DarvishCubsSF
Blake SnellRaysBOS
Masahiro TanakaYankees@TEXLAA
Sean NewcombBraves@PHI
Luke WeaverCardinalsKC
Tyler SkaggsAngels@TOR
Miles MikolasCardinalsKC@PIT
Jameson TaillonPirates@CINSTL
Tanner RoarkNationals@MIA
Jeremy HellicksonNationalsSD@MIA
Garrett RichardsAngels@TOR@NYY
Rich HillDodgersSD
Trevor CahillAthleticsSEAARZ
Mike ClevingerIndiansHOU
Steven MatzMets@MIL
Dallas KeuchelAstros@CLE
Chris ArcherRaysBOS
Luis CastilloReds@COL
Tyson RossPadres@WSH
Zack WheelerMetsMIA@MIL
J.A. HappBlue JaysLAA@PHI
Rick PorcelloRed SoxATL
Kyle HendricksCubsSF
Nick PivettaPhilliesATLTOR
Ryan YarbroughRaysBAL
Domingo GermanYankees@TEX
CC SabathiaYankees@TEX
Zack GodleyDiamondbacks@MIL
Jordan LylesPadres@LAD
Mike FoltynewiczBraves@BOS
Andrew HeaneyAngels@NYY
Michael WachaCardinalsKC
Fernando RomeroTwins@SEA
Zack EflinPhilliesTOR
Kyle GibsonTwinsDET
Jon LesterCubsCLE
Jose QuintanaCubsSF
Jake ArrietaPhilliesATL
Jose BerriosTwinsDET@SEA
Jakob JunisRoyals@STL
David PriceRed Sox@TB
Eduardo RodriguezRed SoxATL
Junior GuerraBrewersNYM


  • I don't have enough data to be comfortable in my rating system's selection of Ross Stripling. He's been stellar out of the bullpen, but his career 4.21 ERA as a starter is the reason for my (dis)comfort level. However, he's been significantly better out of the bullpen this year than he was last year, so it stands to reason that he has figured something out that could translate to his starts. The Rockies offense has been abysmal this year, so I will roll the dice on this start. Just don't expect a Walker Buehler type of path for Stripling moving forward is all I'm trying to relay here.
  • I guess it's my turn to talk about Freddy Peralta. Look, I have no idea. He is throwing fastballs in over three-quarters of his pitches. Not to be the Debbie Downer here, but it seems like that would be easy for major league hitters to study and react to over time. I'm going to ride the hot hand now, but, down the road, I'm thinking he's more of a multi-inning reliever.

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  • Why is it that Miles Mikolas is still underrated? I traded him away in a dynasty league in mid-April and haven't felt good about it since then. I bet the strikeout rate is what's really shying folks from buying it. That's fair and while I wouldn't be trading for him, if you own him you gotta ride it out. His batted ball data and pitch mix are going to allow him to stay steady throughout the season. If he can bump his strikeout rate up a few percentage points, we could be looking at an Ervin Santana-lite starter.
  • I got burned suggesting Caleb Smith against the Dodgers last week, but I'm here again with Jordan Lyles. He's actually looked really good in his starts for San Diego thus far. Call me crazy, but I don't mind picking him up in 12+ team leagues. He's going to get a chance to stick in the staff with the Padres searching for answers.

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.

Wade LeBlancMarinersMIN
Anthony BandaRaysBAL
Tyler AndersonRockiesCIN
Daniel MengdenAthleticsARZ
Tyler MahleRedsPIT@COL
Jack FlahertyCardinals@PIT
Michael FulmerTigers@MIN
Cole HamelsRangersKC
Andrew SuarezGiants@HOU
Clayton RichardPadres@LAD
Chad KuhlPirates@CIN
Blaine HardyTigersCWS
Kyle FreelandRockies@LAD
Eric SkoglundRoyals@TEX
Vince VelasquezPhilliesATL
Ian KennedyRoyals@STL@TEX
German MarquezRockies@LADCIN
Ivan NovaPirates@CIN
Kevin GausmanOrioles@CWS@TB
Jhoulys ChacinBrewersARZNYM
Dylan BundyOrioles@CWS
Jeff SamardzijaGiants@HOU
Brent SuterBrewersARZ
Danny DuffyRoyals@TEX
Trevor WilliamsPiratesSTL
Matt BoydTigers@MIN
Nick TropeanoAngels@TOR
Brandon WoodruffBrewersARZNYM
Tyler ChatwoodCubsCLE
Jake FariaRaysBOSBAL
Mike MinorRangersKC
Marco GonzalesMariners@OAK
Jason VargasMetsMIA@MIL
Andrew TriggsAthleticsSEA
Jose UrenaMarlinsWSH
Francisco LirianoTigers@MINCWS
Derek HollandGiants@CHC
Bartolo ColonRangersNYYKC
Chris StrattonGiants@CHC
Max FriedBraves@PHI
Elieser HernandezMarlins@NYMWSH
Drew PomeranzRed Sox@TB
Julio TeheranBraves@BOS
Jake OdorizziTwins@SEA
Dan StrailyMarlins@NYM
Chad BettisRockies@LAD
Felix HernandezMariners@OAK
Reynaldo LopezWhite Sox@DET
Sonny GrayYankeesLAA


  • Wade LeBlanc is doing his best Ivan Nova impersonation from the left side. He's got a nice K/BB, but it's fueled largely by a minuscule 3.5% walk rate. Compared to his career numbers, the 33-year-old is overperforming and, while we've seen some renaissance projects recently in MLB, this one feels like a joke.
  • On the other hand, Anthony Banda is an interesting name to monitor for Tampa Bay. The newly-acquired pitcher from Arizona is young with a blazing fastball and decent offspeed offerings. In Triple-A this season, he saw a significant jump in his K/9 (11.0) from his career minor league numbers (~8.5-9.0). If he could be a low 4.00's ERA arm with good strikeouts, that makes him a streamer in 14+ team leagues. In deeper dynasty formats, now's a good time to buy low.

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  • Where are all the haters at when I told you to sell Dylan Bundy high back in April? I usually don't like to toot my own horn, but BEEP BEEP! You still have a window to sell him here after a great performance against the Rays, but it's closing quickly.
  • Speaking of players you shouldn't buy, Blaine Hardy is tricking fools into picking him up. He's a Quad-A arm at best and belongs in the bullpen long-term. Why do I feel so hateful today? I need some happy pills (that's what my momma used to call Smarties back in the day. They still work for this candy junkie.)
  • Who the hell is Elieser Hernandez and why do I have to keep spelling his difficult name? This was an aggressive call-up for the Marlins and I don't expect him to be up very long.

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.

Chase AndersonBrewersFood poisoningMonday, May 21st
Joey LucchesiPadresStrained right hipSaturday, May 26th
Joe MusgrovePiratesStrained shoulderLate May
Mike SorokaBravesShoulder tightnessLate May
Clayton KershawDodgersBiceps tendinitisEarly June
Robbie RayDiamondbacksOblique strainEarly June
Alex ReyesCardinalsTommy John surgeryEarly June
Carlos MartinezCardinalsRight lat strainEarly June
Yonny ChirinosRaysForearm strainEarly June
Carlos RodonWhite SoxShoulder surgeryEarly June
Anthony DeSclafaniRedsStrained obliqueEarly June
Ervin SantanaTwinsFinger surgeryEarly June
Marcus StromanBlue JaysShoulder fatigueEarly June
Zach DaviesBrewersRotator cuff inflammationEarly June
Jerad EickhoffPhilliesStrained latEarly June
Madison BumgarnerGiantsFractured fingerMid June
Johnny CuetoGiantsElbow inflammationEarly July
Jordan MontgomeryYankeesElbow strainEarly July
Hyun-Jin RyuDodgersGroin strainAll-Star Break
Jimmy NelsonBrewersShoulder surgeryAll-Star Break
Matt ShoemakerAngelsStrained forearmAll-Star Break
Shelby MillerDiamondbacksTommy John surgeryAll-Star Break


  • Chase Anderson contracted a little food poisoning last week and it was bad enough to require a DL stint. All signs are pointing toward a return on Monday though. He is not ranked in the pitching planner because, well, he's not that good.
  • I'm really not sure how long the Braves will keep Mike Soroka out of the rotation, but, hopefully, it's not long. He mentioned that he wasn't 100% and that the Braves were being cautious. Now, I'm guessing he will be out a week or so, but the Braves could surprise me and start him when he's eligible this weekend.

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  • The more baseball I watch, the less I want to see a pitcher batting for himself. Case and point - look at Joey Lucchesi and his recent hip injury. He hurt it awkwardly sliding into home and got sent to the disabled list. Now, instead of seeing an awesome, upstart pitcher with a better bat at DH, we get to see whatever fifth-starter the Padres decide to use for the next week or so. Oh, and we get to see said fifth-starter swing the bat two or three times. Who wants that?
  • With a solid rehab program under his belt, we could be seeing Joe Musgrove in the starting rotation for Pittsburgh soon. Unfortunately, this could kick Nick Kingham out of the rotation for good. I'm hoping the Pirates decide to move Trevor Williams to the bullpen, but it's unlikely. A man can dream, though!

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

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