Refuse The Gerritocracy

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I know I’m not the only one who doesn’t love Gerrit ColeHe has the stuff that makes you swoon in the mirror, but he simply doesn’t execute the way it should. After last night’s 5.2 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks, Cole holds a 4.23 ERA, 8.61 K/9, 2.46 BB/9, and 4.16 FIP. That’s pretty terrible. It’s replaceable through streaming for the most part, but more realistically his spot in your staff would have been better off chasing upside arms like Godley, Corbin, Bauer, Castillo, etc. But for next year, I am willing to bet he will be in the consensus Top 35. His HR/FB rate was 16.1% after a career under 10%! His velocity increased! He could be like 2015 again! Yep, I’ve heard it all and I don’t want to do it again. 2015 looks like an anomaly with every other year since 2014 holding a 3.60 ERA + 1.20 WHIP or worse. At what point do we stop buying into a guy “turning it on” and realize that he’s just not going to have everything go right for a full season again? I don’t blame you if you want to chase it, it might be worth the value in your draft. I simply doubt that I’ll be the one ready to pull the trigger before “the guy that loves Cole” snatches him. Because every league will have that guy. Don’t be that guy.

Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:

The Nastiest Pitching GIFs Of Week 25 – Which Pitch Gets Your Vote?

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Every week we review the nastiest pitches from the previous week in glorious HD GIFs. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite pitch and check back this weekend to see if it will be in contention for the GIF of the Second Half Contest, which will be live in November. Did we miss your favorite pitch? Send us a tweet next time @ThePitcherList and we’ll GIF it up + give you a shoutout here in the article.

Chaz Roe’s Slider – He won last week’s “Best Pitch” and he’s already putting in another contender with this Slider that has way more bend than it has any right to have. You can’t lay off this pitch, but you sure can’t hit it either.

Hitters to Start and Avoid in Week 26 (9/25 – 10/1)

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Welcome to the FINAL hitter matchups article of the season. This is the last week of championships in most leagues, though I know in some championships ended this past week. This article is for those of you who are looking for some matchups to take advantage of during your championship week.

It’s important to remember something this week: I’m going off of pitching projections as of this writing (which is Saturday). Being that this is the last week of the season, some of these starters might get moved around (i.e. if someone like Yu Darvish got his start skipped, that wouldn’t shock me). So pay close attention to who’s getting skipped and who isn’t this week when picking your hitters. And as always, this is for more middle-of-the-road players, always start your studs.

START

Colorado Rockies hitters – Lucky for those of you who own Rockies hitters this week, the Rockies play all six of their games at home in Coors Field. Unfortunately, however, they’ll be facing the Los Angeles Dodger and potentially both Clayton Kershaw and Yu Darvish. Now, like I mentioned earlier, it’s entirely possible that Kershaw and Darvish’s starts get skipped to preserve them for the postseason, and that would be awesome news for your Rockies. Regardless, start them, and if you’re in a daily league, avoid the Kershaw and Darvish matchup if they happen. Since 2012, the Rockies have slashed .322/.372/.518 in the month of September at Coors.

A Bag Of Riches

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You know that I adore Garrett RichardsIt’s been a struggle waiting for him to return after getting me all excited in the 4.2 innings we got in April, and the torture of watching him get pulled early in each of his September starts have been excruciating. It made me want to sit out last night’s start against the Astros – he tallied 85 pitches in total – but it was glorious to the tune of 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Now he gets the ChiSox where I imagine the reigns will be lifted and I’m pumped to see some Richards magic. The big question, though, is what we should do in the 2018 draft. Clearly, Richards has massive upside, with a Two-Seamer, Cutter, Slider combination at high velocities that make it incredibly tough for batters to square the bat on the ball. He’s lowered walk rates, gets grounders, etc. If you told me he would be getting 200 frames next season, I’d heavily consider him Top 25 if not Top 20. That’s the talent we’re dealing with. But obviously, the injury risk forces us to take a major step back. Where do we draft players like Richards? I’ll most likely have him around #35 as he’s worth the innings he’ll give you as your #4, with the potential to give plenty more than the price you pay. If it doesn’t pan out, you won’t take such a big hit as well. I’m sure we’ll be talking about this a good amount over the winter.

Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:

Batter’s Box: The Linds of Change

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What Cleveland SS Francisco Lindor is accomplishing right now during this second half is simply incredible. Not only has he reached safely in all but two September games (a BB in two of his four hitless games this month), but he’s got the eighth-best slugging percentage league-wide since the All-Star break. His 1-4, R, HR, 3 RBI, BB, 2 K line in Anaheim yesterday provided the cushion the Indians would need to pull off the sweep and cap off their 27th win in 28 games. He’s emerged as arguably the most valuable fantasy switch hitter this year. His 93 runs and 86 RBI have been instrumental to the Indians enjoying the success they’ve had this year. Surprisingly, he has more RBI in 54 games at leadoff than he does from the 2-spot he’s played from in 93 games this year. The average splits also favor him atop the order (.293 versus .272).

Elsewhere in the league, we had some other notable hitting performances:

Reviewing Every Two-Start Pitcher For Week 26 (9/25 – 10/1)

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Every Friday I look at every projected two-start pitcher for the week ahead and detail my thoughts about rolling with them on your roster. There are four tiers: Definitely, Probably, Questionable, Bench. Definitely Start features starters that are no doubters for the week ahead followed by Probably Start with pitchers that look like good plays but may create a hesitation or two. Players labeled as Questionable are for deeper leagues or have one-of-two outings that should be skipped. Pitchers under Bench should be avoided despite their two starts in the week ahead.

Note: Since this is the final week of the season, it’s likely that many of these pitchers’ schedules change last minute and don’t get their second starts of the week. Monitor each situation through the week!

Definitely Start

Chris Sale? (TOR, HOU)

Zack Godley (SFG, @KCR)

Carlos Martinez (CHC, MIL)

Jake Arrieta (@STL, CIN)

R.A. Dickey’s Knuckleball + The Nastiest Pitching GIFs From Thursday’s Games

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Every morning we review the nastiest pitches from the previous day’s games in glorious HD GIFs. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite pitch and check back this weekend to see if it will be in contention for the GIF of the Second Half Contest. Did we miss your favorite pitch? Send us a tweet next time @ThePitcherList and we’ll GIF it up + give you a shoutout here in the article.

R.A. Dickey’s Knuckleball – We haven’t had too many mind-blowing Knucklers from Dickey this year, but this one is certain to get you excited. This pitch changes direction multiple times on its way to the plate, leaving Jayson Werth with just air as he swings at a pitch right down the middle.

On The Corner Podcast Episode 51 – Reviewing All Weekend Streamers

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Nick Pollack is back to talk all things Starting Pitching in Fantasy Baseball in Episode 51 of On The Corner. This week, he reviews all streaming options for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, diving into each matchup to help you get the best chance of winning your fantasy league.

Subscribe: iTunes Android | Stitcher Google Play | RSS | Download Mp3

Get the Podcast early + Receive a copy of our Podcast Notes!

Timestamps

Too Full For Tanner

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So Tanner Roark  went 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks against the Braves tonight and I have to hand it to the fellow. He was holding a 9.00 K/9 and 2.52 BB/9 with a 3.24 ERA in his previous eight starts and while the ERA will tick slightly higher, that K/BB is gorgeous. Sure, it’s been against weak teams (Braves, Phils, Mets, Brewers, Angels, etc.), but he’s taken advantage and there’s something to that. Now, this is a nice run n all, but I don’t want you to forget his walk rate that’s hovering 3.00 per nine with strikeout production that is hit-or-miss through a season as his ERA sits at 4.41 with a 4.10 FIP. That’s not something I want to chase next season. Sidenote: This is a terrible headline and I should feel bad. I feel bad.

Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:

Into The Lion’s Den

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Even this late into the season, there are still surprises to be had, with Daniel Mengden being the latest following a CGSHO with 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks against the Tigers. I can see many running to wire right now to snag him before anyone else, but I’m not so sure that you should. First off, the Phils and Tigers are far from powerhouse offenses and Mengden is slated to face the Mariners and head to Arlington in his final two starts. Not great…and I know that face. That’s a face of “Maybe the Mariners…?” I’m not loving it. The only change I’m seeing here from Mengden in these two outings in his Fastball, which returned 5.3 pVAL in these two starts alone. The velocity didn’t change, the movement didn’t change, he just had two great nights with the pitch while the Phils/Tigers couldn’t take advantage of the mistakes he threw with it. This isn’t a new man and while it’s conceivable that he keeps that feel for one more start against the Mariners, it’s a tough bet to make while there’s no chance I’m starting him in Texas. And no, he won’t be a target of mine for 2018.

Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:

Batter’s Box: No Need to Panik

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Coming into September 4th, Joe Panik was slashing .267/.330/.400 on the season. A respectable slashline, but nothing that jumps off the page to you. Then, on September 4th, Panik was advised by the Giants hitting coach, Hensley Meulens, to adjust his swing and choke up on the bat more. Since he made that adjustment, Panik has been slashing .490/.536/.686, and he continued that on Wednesday, going 3-4, 2 R, 1 RBI. He’s decreased his fly ball rate, increased his line drive rate, and has started hitting to the opposite field more. There’s no additional power here, but Panik’s never been a power hitter. If he’s able to keep up these line drive hits though, runs and RBIs could be coming in in bigger numbers. Now, I know, this is a small sample size, but I think it’s something worth paying attention to, because if this swing adjustment is legit, and it looks like it could be, Panik might be an interesting name to think about in next year’s draft (and if you’re in the championship or playoffs right now, he’s a really good guy to add to give your team an extra boost).

Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from Wednesday:

Chris Sale’s Slider + The Nastiest Pitching GIFs From Wednesday’s Games

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Every morning we review the nastiest pitches from the previous day’s games in glorious HD GIFs. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite pitch and check back this weekend to see if it will be in contention for the GIF of the Second Half Contest. Did we miss your favorite pitch? Send us a tweet next time @ThePitcherList and we’ll GIF it up + give you a shoutout here in the article.

Chris Sale’s Slider – Sale made it to 300 strikeouts on the season as he faced the Orioles on Wednesday, with plenty of focus on that strikeout pitch. However, our favorite offering from Sale was this Slider to Trey Mancini that simply isn’t fair. You can’t lay off it as it travels through the entire zone, but you definitely can’t hit it either.

The Hold Up 9/21: Ranking the Top 70 Relievers for Holds Every Week

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The season is quickly coming to a close but that doesn’t mean it’s time to stop evaluating your roster yet. With September call ups, some roster situation become more dicey, especially for non-playoff teams and definitely when it comes to bullpen roles. There are a few options most likely available in your leagues right now who have fallen into a setup role with their respective teams and could be of help to your fantasy team. One or two holds one way or another can cost you a win (I know I’ve been there) so it’s better to be safe and stack up your RP options at this time and make sure you are in a position to win that category.

TIER 1: Good Vibrations

1. Anthony Swarzak (Milwaukee Brewers)

2. Andrew Miller (Cleveland Indians)

3. David Robertson (New York Yankees)

Batter’s Box: The Jackson Thrive

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For a team that’s chasing home field advantage throughout the playoffs, 30-year-old OF Austin Jackson has been consistently delivering clutch hitting in under-the-radar fashion for Cleveland all summer long. With a 4-5, R, RBI evening in Anaheim, this is the type of low-profile yet still valuable outing Indians fans have been getting accustomed to seeing from Jackson while the rest of the country focuses on the crazy power surge that has swept the league. Jackson has just seven homers through 250 AB, but he’s a high-AVG guy who has scored 22 runs since the beginning of August. Even though the counting stat totals for a short season don’t leap off the page in a cursory scan of free agents, it’s worth noting that Jackson’s BA of .316 is better than that of dark horse AL MVP candidate Jose Ramirez. He’s settled nicely into being the 2-spot hitter for the Tribe, and the RHB figures to draw several more starts against the Angels and Mariners while his streaking bat is hot.

Now, on to the rest of the league for some notable hitting efforts:

Buy & Sell 9/20: Identifying Who to Add and Who to Drop

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The waiver wire is like sugar… I always plan to avoid it but I just can’t stay away, it’s a part of who I am. People get so excited for draft day and having the perfect draft, but teams ALWAYS underestimate just how badly the best-laid plans of mice and managers can go. On my PitcherList team that is currently in the Championship match, I currently only own 4 of my originally drafted pitchers and 3 of my drafted hitters (including Billy Hamilton on my DL) out of a 24-man roster. But the guys who made the difference were the Severinos, the Peacocks, Smoaks, Mash Olsons, the Hoskinses, all available for free on the wire. Baseball is a marathon, and if you stay vigilant and are willing to take risks, it can have a sweet payoff. And with that concludes 2017’s final Buy & Sell. Oh wait, I forgot to list the players! Here’s some under 50% owned finds, and to any contenders, good luck!

BUY

Jacoby Ellsbury (OF, New York Yankees) – Call him the Ellsbury Doughboy, because his numbers lately have been poppin’ fresh. Over the past 3 weeks, he’s hitting .377 with 14 runs scored and 5 RBI. And lately he’s running as fast as he can like a gingerbread man, with 3 stolen bases in the past week to bring him to 21 on the year with only 2 caught stealing. Now that Hamilton is down and many other speedsters are slumping or benched, Jacoby is one of the best outfield wire guys to stream for speed, runs, AVG and OBP at just 29.1% owned, a delicious treat 12-team mixed formats in both AVG and OBP leagues. I just learned what happens when I let myself write while hungry. Never again.