Alright, doing the weekly recap of my favorite starts was a hit last week. Why mess with a good thing? Here are a few of the starts that stood out to me in the first half of Week 8.
- "Why is it that Miles Mikolas is still underrated?" That's what I wrote in the Week 8 Pitching Planner. Note, that was BEFORE his complete game shutout of the Royals at home. Mikolas is absolutely on fire right now and definitely not going anywhere.
- Death, taxes and Nick Pivetta is a beast. That's a sentence I didn't really expect to write out in the preseason. Anyone got that time machine worked out yet?
- I want so badly to believe in you, Jose Berrios! After a stellar performance against the Tigers, he's reeling me back in with his line. While inconsistency has been an issue in his career, he's still a nice season-long asset for fantasy owners.
- This year's Dinelson Lamet (R.I.P) is going to be Caleb Smith of the Marlins. With a K-rate above 30% and a BB-rate that would even make Lamet blush, Smith is going to be tough to gauge for opposing batters. Checking out the game log, the walks come in bunches. However, all but three of his ten starts have been great and I'm buying into his 2018 campaign. Oh, right, the part about his most recent start - 6 2/3 innings with eight punchouts and just two walks. Baller status.
- Another week and we get another amazing start from Kenta Maeda. 12 strikeouts in just 6 2/3 shutout innings is a noteworthy day for any pitcher. Maeda is proving to be a fantastic value on his 2018 ADP.
- Nope, not even going to go into detail on Dylan Covey. I've got bigger fish to fry! Is anyone else hungry? Or borderline hangry?
- Wednesday was 'Winners Day' in Week 8 with 2018 aces showing their worth. Jake Arrieta, Jacob deGrom, and Justin Verlander all showed out.
- Oooooh that Snell! Can't you smell Blake Snell? In a rotation of misfits, Snell has provided the Rays with some life as their ACE. Against a potent Boston lineup, he tossed six shutout innings with eight strikeouts while allowing just five baserunners. He's very close to cracking my Auto-Stream tier, not that anyone cares.
- What the literal hell happened for Dylan Bundy in that last start? Do you think the MLB higher-ups set him up for a drug test after his complete-game, 14-K masterpiece? I mean holy bejeezus that was unexpected. I will stick to my guns and say sell high because this dude is basically Kevin Gausman 2.0 - unreliable and frustrating as hell.
Now, let's dive into Week 9 and separate the men from the boys and the starters from the sitters.
2018 Fantasy Baseball Week 9 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||@HOU|
- There were no promotions this week.
- There were no relegations this week. Moving on!
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.
|Lance McCullers Jr.||Astros||BOS|
- Shohei Ohtani had his start against the Yankees pushed back to this week. The Angels are acting weird and I don't like it sometimes, but there is some good from this. He now gets a definite start against an inferior foe if not two in Week 9. Alright, Angels, I'm in! Update: He will just get one start against the Tigers in Week 9.
- I feel like I talk about Walker Buehler every week. Why not though? His numbers are borderline elite although he hasn't been exposed to the 'third time through order' curse very often. Just as in his last start of seven innings, I'm expecting the Dodgers to stretch him out more and more once he's ready.
- Welcome to the Auto-Stream group, Lance McCullers Jr.! By the way, if you aren't following this dude on Twitter, you aren't a real pitching junkie. Oh, and, by the way, I tried to say I'd be there. WAITING FOR!!! Wait, what are we waiting for? What are we even talking about? It's 3:40 AM, my apologies.
- In a pitching landscape where no one is consistent, I wish I would have snagged Zack Greinke on one of my teams. Looking more closely at his statistics, check out his home/road splits. The humidor at Chase Field has definitely made an impact and Greinke is enjoying the benefits. Homers have been an issue on the road, but it would stand to reason that Greinke the veteran can trim those issues down as the season wears on.
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||TOR||@HOU|
|J.A. Happ||Blue Jays||@DET|
|Eduardo Rodriguez||Red Sox||TOR|
|Rick Porcello||Red Sox||TOR||@HOU|
- Am I giddy about acquiring Clayton Richard or Eric Lauer to stream in Week 9? Not really. However, with the Marlins and Reds on the seven-game schedule this week, you gotta roll the dice. If it's ratios you are after, give the dependable Richard a try. On the other hand, Lauer is an upside play with the potential for a handful of strikeouts.
- Okay, I'm really freaking tired of talking about the Cardinals' rotation. Hopefully, we get some clarity on what they want to do once Alex Reyes and Carlos Martinez return. (For the record, I'm starting Reyes with no hesitation this week.) Who will be the odd man out between Luke Weaver and Jack Flaherty? If I'm putting my Mike Matheny hat on, Flaherty goes back to Triple-A. However, in my eyes, it should be Weaver getting the short-term ax. We shall see!
- Oh man, my boy Luiz Gohara is back in the starting rotation. Now, he has been on a pitch limit in the early going, but I can see him going five or six strong innings. The K-upside is too good to pass up here, especially against the Mets. I would pass on the Nationals start (if he even gets that chance). Be ahead of the curve and snag him now for that NYM start.
- While Nate Eovaldi finds his way in the streaming tier, be extra careful here. I am going off numbers from two years ago and not feeling great about it. The Rays have also been extremely particular about their pitching this year, so it is more than likely that Eovaldi only goes three or four innings before getting yanked. On second thought, don't start Eovaldi. My goof, guys. Insert shoulder shrug emoji.
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.
|Drew Pomeranz||Red Sox||@HOU|
|Aaron Sanchez||Blue Jays||@BOS||@DET|
|Marco Estrada||Blue Jays||@BOS|
|Jaime Garcia||Blue Jays||@DET|
|Reynaldo Lopez||White Sox||@CLE|
- Imagine hearing the Jaws music and being scared shitless only to turn around and see a goldfish. That's what Jeff Samardzija has been like this year. People are scared to drop him because of the namesake, but he's just a little goldfish! Flush him down the toilet and go find you a better streaming option this week.
- A name that may have slipped under the radar in your league is Joe Musgrove. Returning from his rehab starts this week, he will get a more-than-fair chance to stick in the rotation long-term. The Pirates had a definite plan in mind for him when acquiring him from Houston and they must see something they like in the guy. This change of scenery just might be what he needed to revamp his career.
- Okay, who are you and what have you done with Zach Eflin? I have no idea what to make of this. On one hand, you have a career 5.34 ERA and 5.45 FIP with a subpar minor league history. On the other hand, the new Phillies coaching staff has already revamped Nick Pivetta and Jake Arrieta this year. He's definitely worth a watch-list, but I'm leaning towards fluke.
- Speaking of flukes, say hello to my friend Junior Guerra! It's fun to ride the hot hand, but don't fool yourselves here. His HR/9 has decreased miraculously from 2.30 in 2017 to 0.64 this year. That's despite almost identical batted ball data from the two seasons. It's about to get ugly for Mr. Jr. unfortunately.
- If you are dying for extra streamers, I'm good with rolling both Michael Fulmer and Brandon McCarthy in their good starts. If you can't pick out which start is good for them, then I would suggest not starting them. Just saying!
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.
|Clayton Kershaw||Dodgers||Biceps tendinitis||Soon!|
|Joey Lucchesi||Padres||Strained right hip||Soon!|
|Anthony DeSclafani||Reds||Strained oblique||Soon!|
|Carlos Martinez||Cardinals||Right lat strain||Early June|
|Mike Soroka||Braves||Shoulder tightness||Early June|
|Ervin Santana||Twins||Finger surgery||Early June|
|Robbie Ray||Diamondbacks||Oblique strain||Mid June|
|Madison Bumgarner||Giants||Fractured finger||Mid June|
|Marcus Stroman||Blue Jays||Shoulder fatigue||Mid June|
|Carlos Rodon||White Sox||Shoulder surgery||Mid June|
|Rich Hill||Dodgers||Blister||Late June|
|Yonny Chirinos||Rays||Forearm strain||Late June|
|Johnny Cueto||Giants||Elbow inflammation||Early July|
|Jordan Montgomery||Yankees||Elbow strain||Early July|
|Hyun-Jin Ryu||Dodgers||Groin strain||All-Star Break|
|Jimmy Nelson||Brewers||Shoulder surgery||All-Star Break|
|Matt Shoemaker||Angels||Strained forearm||All-Star Break|
|Jake Faria||Rays||Left oblique strain||All-Star Break|
|Shelby Miller||Diamondbacks||Tommy John surgery||All-Star Break|
- Word on the street is that Clayton Kershaw could forgo rehab appearances and return to the rotation next weekend. Well, when you're Clayton freakin' Kershaw, why not?
- The Reds have to be amped to finally (maybe) see Anthony DeSclafani in their starting staff after a season and a half of waiting. This dude can never stay healthy, so don't ever count on that. However, when he has been out there, he's been a decent fantasy option and worth a speculative grab in medium-sized leagues.
- As if his injury history couldn't get more unlucky, Carlos Rodon had a weird occurrence in his rehab appearance recently. While his shoulder feels just fine, he did get popped in the head by a comebacker. There was a big gash on his head, so yeah it was a big deal. I'm guessing that Chicago wants to let him rest up after that and re-ramp up his activity before returning to a rotation that desperately needs him.
- Strangely enough, Ervin Santana was forced to prove the organization that he can get his velocity back up. His rehab starts haven't been great and the velocity from last year's great campaign is gone. Hopefully, Santana can fix this up with a few more minor league innings under his belt.
- Tough blow for Jake Faria, who suffers the dreaded oblique strain. The Rays have already stated that it will be close to two months for him on the rehab trail, which is brutal for fantasy owners. Therefore, it's time to drop him in redraft leagues.
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