Welcome to the 2021 Fantasy Baseball Week 4 Pitching Planner (April 26 - May 2)!
This week we will continue our coverage of pitchers to target, avoid and highlight pitchers with two starts in the upcoming week. There are plenty of potential breakouts and season-long additions in this week's edition, and this makes sense as we have had enough sample size to not judge players off of one start anymore.
With that being said, let's get into the 2021 Fantasy Baseball Week 4Pitching Planner (April 26 - May 2)
2021 Fantasy Baseball Week 4 Pitching Planner (April 26 - May 2)
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Start Of The Week
Anthony DeSclafani Vs Colorado Rockies (April 26th) San Francisco Giants (41% Owned)
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DeSclafani was lights out against the Rockies earlier this year, going six scoreless innings with eight strikeouts. It was his best outing yet, but three of his four starts have been very impressive. He has pitched to a 2.14 ERA and while his xERA of 3.40 points to some luck, it is still solid.
I like DeSclafani in most matchups right now, but this spot is especially juicy. The Rockies are pretty horrible, ranking in the bottom third in the league in most offensive categories. They also currently have the worst record in baseball at 6-12.
This is easily the 2021 Fantasy Baseball Week 4 pitching planner start of the week for me. DeSclafani has proven he can dominate this lineup already and has proven it wasn’t a fluke against other competition. If he does exceptionally well in this matchup then consider holding onto him. He was very solid in 2019, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him regain that form.
Pitchers To Target
Jakob Junis AT Pittsburgh Pirates (April 27th) Kansas City Royals (18% Owned)
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Junis has been pretty solid to start the season, registering a 3.71 ERA in 17 innings. Junis has also been a strikeout per inning guy as he sits at 18 for the year. While he struggled a bit last time out against the Rays, he had two very good starts prior to that against the Jays and Indians.
He isn’t going to blow anybody away with talent or “stuff” but he has proven he can get the job done. He has a FIP of 2.80, which shows his early start isn’t a crazy fluke. I doubt he provides consistent value over the course of the season, but he can certainly do so in a start against the lowly Pirates.
The Pirates are in the bottom third of all offensive categories and continue to be a dream matchup for pitchers. If you are in need of a cheap pitcher who can give you solid ratios and potential for a win, then this is the guy for you this week. I would probably drop him after this game unless he puts up a monster stat line, which I don’t see happening.
Ryan Weathers AT Arizona Diamondbacks (April 28th) San Diego Padres (24% Owned)
Weathers has been outstanding this season, pitching to a 0.59 ERA and WHIP in 15.1 innings. He also has a strikeout per inning as he is sitting at 16 strikeouts on the season. Weathers got the start for San Diego after the Lamet injury, and he dazzled against the Dodgers. He pitched 5.2 innings with 6 strikeouts and only allowed two baserunners
The Diamondbacks offense has been surprisingly very good this season, as they currently rank second in runs scored and home runs. I doubt that this will continue all season, and I am not going to shy away from them in this spot. This hot-start could continue, but for now, I am just treating them like a middle-of-the-pack offense.
Weathers is the youngest starting pitcher in baseball so there will surely be ups and downs, but there is a real chance that he provides excellent value all season long. His 5th percentile chase rate is alarming, but the raw numbers speak for themselves.
JT Brubaker Vs St Louis Cardinals (April 30th) Pittsburgh Pirates (53% Owned)
Brubaker owns a 1.76 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 15.1 innings. He has been a very bright spot for an organization in need of as many bright spots as possible. In his most recent start against the Brewers, he went six innings allowing one earned run while striking out eight.
He has been using his four-seam fastball 10 percent more often than he did last year, and this seems to be helping him with his control. He has improved his BB percentage slightly, and this minor adjustment is a pretty big reason for his success.
The Cardinals are not an impressive offense, and they rank 20th with a .225 average as a team. Brubaker can certainly handle them, as he has pitched very well against the Reds, Cubs and Brewers who are all pretty similar offenses with the exception of Cincinnati. If he is available in your league I recommend grabbing him and holding him, as he could be really breaking out.
Spencer Turnbull Vs Kansas City Royals (April 26th) Detroit Tigers (6% Owned)
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Turnbull recently made his first start of the season against the Pirates, and it was a good one. He went five innings allowing only one run and striking out six. This was only against the lowly Pirates of course, but he was actually very solid in 2020 registering a 3.97 ERA in 56 innings.
The Royals are a pretty solid team, but like the Diamondbacks I am not actively looking to avoid them. I still think they have enough holes in their offense for starters to impress against them, and Turnbull should be able to attack those holes.
I could see Turnbull being very steady over the course of the season, much like he was last season. He is probably nothing more than a guy you start based on matchups, but in deep leagues that still holds value. He also handled quite a few innings in last year's 60 game schedule, and that will probably be the case again in 2021.
Pitchers to avoid
Zach Plesac Vs Minnesota Twins (April 26) Cleveland Indians (89% Owned)
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Plesac was a controversial player coming into this season, as many people weren’t quite buying his 2020 breakout season. I never had a strong opinion on it, but I thought he should be pretty solid and eat innings as Cleveland pitchers tend to do.
Unfortunately, he has been proving the haters right this season, as he has pitched to a 6.75 ERA in 18.2 innings. His underlying metrics are underwhelming as well, as his xERA is 4.84 and his FIP is 4. I still believe he’ll provide plenty of volume this season, but he probably isn’t the guy we were hoping he was.
He could get back on track in this spot, but I wouldn’t risk it against the Twins lineup. If he shows signs of life here it’s a huge win, and if he doesn’t then he might start to become a matchup-dependent pitcher. The Twins have the 4th best average, as a team, in the league. I would avoid him in this spot and be happily surprised if I am wrong.
Kyle Hendricks AT Atlanta Braves (April 28) Chicago Cubs (93% Owned)
Hendricks has been roughed up a few times to start 2021, with the worst start coming against these Braves. He gave up four home runs in the first inning of that game, and finished allowing seven runs in four innings.
His main issue right now is his control as he has a walk percentage of 11.3 compared to last years 2.5. His statcast looks like that of a declining pitcher, which very well could be the case. Hendricks simply doesn’t have the arsenal to be putting himself in bad situations and being able to get out of them, and that has shown so far this season.
His FIP is 8.02, showing that he might even be getting lucky considering his ERA is 6.92. Obviously, the Braves aren’t an ideal matchup for him, as they just recently mashed off of him. Bench him here, and hope he shows some improvement with his control.
Freddy Peralta Vs Los Angeles Dodgers (April 29) Milwaukee Brewers (89% Owned)
Peralta has been dominant so far in 2021. He has a 2.00 ERA, a 2.79 xERA and he’s in the 99th percentile for whiff rate. I believe in the breakout of Peralta, and I think he is going to be a very valuable pitcher for a while.
However, the Dodgers are pretty good. They rank top five in almost every offensive category and first in OBP. Their record of 14-4 leads the entire MLB, and they are dominating in the fashion that everybody expected going into this season.
Peralta’s three starts have come against the Cubs twice, and the Pirates once. Not exactly the most fierce competition. I recommend avoiding Peralta in this spot because of the lineup he is facing coupled with his fifth percentile barrel percentage. He may have gotten away with some balls being barreled up against weak competition, but he won’t have that luxury here.
Sonny Gray AT Los Angeles Dodgers (April 28) Cincinnati Reds (94% Owned)
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Gray was alright in his first start of the 2021 season, allowing two runs over four and a third against the Indians. He did give up six hits and walk two, so he wasn’t too sharp but that is to be expected in your first start coming off of an injury.
Before this start against the Dodgers, he is lined up to face the Cardinals. He may come out and dominate that matchup, but I’d be pretty shocked if he did that. He only threw 71 pitches in this outing against the Indians, and best-case scenario for this start against the Cardinals is that he is able to ramp up that pitch count a bit.
Gray has been excellent the last few years, so I really just recommend avoiding him because of his questionable workload and the dynamic offence he will be facing. Gray should be a very good asset for the rest of the season, I just expect that to start after this matchup.
Week 4 Two Start Pitchers
Below are 2021 Fantasy Baseball Week 4 Pitching Planner two-start pitchers.
- Jacob deGrom (BOS, @PHI)
- Walker Buehler (CIN, @MIL) Zack Greinke (SEA, @TB) Aaron Civale (MIN, @CHW)
- Corbin Burnes (MIA, LAD) Jose Berrios (@CLE, KC) Zack Wheeler (@STL, NYM)
- Charlie Morton (CHC, @TOR) Julio Urias (CIN, @MIL) Carlos Rodon (DET, CLE)
- Tyler Mahle (@LAD, CHC) Trevor Rogers (@MIL, @WAS) Ian Anderson (CHC, @TOR)
- Zach Eflin (@STL, NYM) Frankie Montas (@TB, BAL) Jose Urquidy (SEA, @TB)
- Sean Manaea (@TB, BAL) Corey Kluber (@BAL, DET) Adam Wainwright (PHI, @PIT)
- Anthony DeSclafani (COL, @SD) Taylor Widener (SD, COL) Michael Wacha (OAK, HOU)
Cesar Valdez recently locked up his fourth save, proving he is the top guy in Baltimore this season. He is only owned in 63 percent of leagues, and I am guessing that is mostly because he is on the Orioles. Don't miss out on him because of that, as he will still have plenty of save opportunities.
Yimi Garcia keeps impressing for the Marlins, and he should have a pretty firm grip on the closer role in Miami. Owned in only 75 percent of leagues. grab him if available.
Diego Castillo of the Rays is on the COVID IL because of vaccine side effects, but he should be back relatively soon. It is pretty much impossible to predict who the Rays will use in the absence of Castillo so just hold tight or look elsewhere.
Check out the rest of our 2021 Fantasy Baseball content from our great team of writers.