Another In The Books
The fantasy season has come to a close and it’s always a bittersweet moment. It has been a blast writing these roundups for 177 straight days and I will miss the opportunities for pain-inducing jokes and unnecessary rants across the months ahead.
But most importantly, I want to thank all of you who have helped Pitcher List grow far more than I could have ever imagined. From the incredible support on Patreon and owning a piece of our new merchandise to sending us tweets and debating my weekly rankings, you guys are the best. Seriously, it’s amazing to think that not only do we have a proper “red team” to help across the site but we have a great community of people with many I feel connected to, helping each other out inside of the comments without the toxicity normally associated with comment sections. You are awesome and I hope we can add a few things next season to give you more tools.
While it’s sad to see my favorite routine coming to an end, I’m also anxious to get our off-season plan in motion, with plenty of exciting reveals when what I am calling “Pitcher List 3.0” launches in February 2018. We’ll be having off-season content on the site (including my “way too early Top 100 SP” rankings later today), from Podcasts to sleeper posts and minor league rundowns, so this isn’t a goodbye. We’ll get through the winter together.
Alright, for one last time, let’s see how every SP did yesterday:
Brett Anderson – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Nothing like holding a 6.34 ERA and 4.10 FIP for the year as Anderson held a 4.3 IPS and 6.18 K/9. Yeesh.
Parker Bridwell – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. I don’t want to talk much about Bridwell so let’s have some fun. Question: Here are two numbers – 5.43 and 5.06. Which is Bridwell’s SIERA and which is his K/9? Answer: Does it really matter?
Deck McGuire – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. I know he had a 9.11 K/9 and 2.79 ERA in 27 AAA starts this year, I’m still not getting on board here. I just don’t see enough from his repertoire to make him someone to keep on your radar. Not to mention, what is the Cincinnati rotation next year? Castillo, Bailey, DeSclafani, Stephenson, Mahle, Garrett, Finnegan…there’s no room here. Sure, that’s out of the gate and we all know how many starters can go through the turnstiles through a season, but there’s no reason to hit the Deck. Yes, I had to get one Deck pun in before next season.
Daniel Mengden – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Am I surprised that Mengden excelled in a start in Arlington? Yes. Do I think he deserves a spot on the inevitable sleeper lists come January? No. Look, I get his 1.54 ERA, 6.69 K/9, and 1.54 BB/9 across his five starts in September since coming back from injury. But the man is a possible streaming option and nothing more. Do not bank on him being a solid play in your weekly H2H. He just isn’t that guy.
Mike Montgomery – 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. I remember calling Monty a possible streaming option through the 2017 season as the Cubs can sneak some cheap wins for you…and he earned a Win in half his starts, with a 3.38 ERA between his 130.2 innings in the pen and starting. That’s actually kinda impressive. I don’t expect a repeat – 3.79 BB/9, 4.46 SIERA, and questionable time starting – but way to go Monty.
James Paxton – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks. Great to see Paxton show off his stud self one more time before the season closed. I think entering this year his draft stock around the #30-45 SP off the board was worth the investment given his injury history, but next year I see that jumping close to #20…and I worry if that’s overpaying. He set his career high for MLB innings this year at 136 frames. Dang, though there were 171.2 across the minors and bigs in 2016. It’s still a bit worrisome.
Nick Pivetta – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 5 BBs, 7 Ks. I was pretty shocked to see Pivetta with a ghastly 6.02 ERA through his 26 starts this season, though that tells a lot about the kid. He’s a Cherry Bomb in every way with a 9.47 K/9 – seven starts with 7 Ks or more – though it came with a 5.11 IPS and 11 starts above 3 ER. Don’t draft him and expect him to pitch closer to a 4.00 ERA with the same K/9, but see him as a risky streamer when you need to chase strikeouts.
Blake Snell – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 13 Ks. Man is there going to be plenty of debates about Snell this winter. His final 8 starts rendered a 2.62 ERA, 2.93 FIP, 9.47 K/9, and a digestible 3.02 BB/9 as he averaged a near 5.5 IPS. That’s pretty dang good for someone we painted as a toxic starter for your squad. The problems are the inconsistent walk numbers (3 of 8 with at least 3 walks), good luck (.241 BABIP, 7.7% HR/FB) and a small sample size that was inflated massively by this one glistening start. He earned his Gallows Pole by a huge margin – 24 whiffs in 100 pitches! – and held a 24% whiff rate that is 2.5x the size of his 10.8% mark for the season.Sure, his last five starts all have been above 12% and it could be a sign of turning the corner. I can fathom taking a chance at the end of my drafts with a short leash, though I would hate to be a deep league and depend heavily on Snell breaking out in 2018.
Noah Syndergaard – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. We got two more innings from Thor as he ended the season with a 101mph Fastball painted on the inside corner. I don’t think anyone denies a Top 5 SP season from Syndergaard if he survives the full year. That’s the major question and when I’m drafting a starter, I like a little more security in the amount of innings I’m getting. He’ll be inside the Top 10 – duh – but I haven’t decided quite yet where.
Bartolo Colon – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Some were saying this was the final start of the year for Paul Funyun, but I sure hope not. Baseball needs him. We need him.
Kevin Gausman – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks. The theory is that Caleb Joseph is the key to a good Gausman start. I’m generally not so inclined to believe in battery-mates being the answer, but I will believe if they do call drastically different games. What I see here isn’t a shift in pitch calling, but rather Gausman nailing his spots with his Four-Seamer all night – 16 called strikes + 5 whiffs! – while setting up for 6 whiffs on his Splitter. That’s a recipe for success when you’re Gaus.
Jordan Montgomery – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. With The Bear pulling it off for a two-start week, he gave me the final Win of the season, making my final record Streamer Record 86-61-17 and 8 games above .500. I’ll take it and I think I can get above 90 Wins next year, especially without half points and whatnot next season. Chris – you know who you are – I’m waiting to see the streaming results that you told me you were keeping. I’m dying to know!
Robbie Ray – 1.2 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. This wasn’t an injury, just an early pull to save Ray as a possible option out of the pen for Wednesday’s Wild Card game. I’m not going to rant here about Ray, but I think y’all already know that I’m not a fan of his near 4.00 BB/9 and 3.74 FIP. Strikeouts make him someone that will be beneficial to own but he’s been drafted as a Top 20 arm. Not for me.
Josh Tomlin – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Tomlin had 26 starts this year. 20 of them came with 5 Ks or fewer. Tomlin also held a 4.98 ERA in those 141.0 innings. Ouch.
Aaron Wilkerson – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Wilkerson had some final day magic through five innings but lost his perfecto in the sixth. Bummer. This isn’t a sign of things to come.
Kyle Freeland – 3.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks. Oh hey, it’s Freeland again! Oh hey, he’s looking as boring as ever.
Max Fried – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. The most airtime I’ve given Fried is how he reminded me of Weird Al’s “American Pie” parody with Star Wars and how he used the word “fried.” Yep. That’s how much I value you, Max.
Cole Hamels – 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Blegh. No, I will not tell you to draft Hamels next year, even at the end of your draft.
Collin McHugh – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. It’s a PQS but you’ll take that with a 1.00 WHIP and 8 Ks. Now the question is if we want to roll with McHugh next year. I’m all for it and I actually think he’ll get forgotten a bit – he wasn’t even in ESPN’s early Top 100 SP for 2018 – which means McHugh can be one of my last SP additions. A 3.55 ERA with an 8.81 K/9 and 2.84 BB/9 sounds just fine to me.
Anibal Sanchez – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Is there a part of me that wants to invest in this final four-game run of Sanchez for next year? It was 31 Ks in 23 innings as he bumped his Cutter/Slider usage. This pitch normally has been terrible for him but it’s had a good amount of success in these outings and I wonder if that will stick. Okay, I’m not actually recommending him but it’s a scenario where I wanted this to play out more to see where it went, you know?
Jose Urena – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks. It’s the 3 ER rule with Urena and he failed. I can see some thinking that Urena might be a worthy flier or “hey, why not?” add at the very end or during the first week of the year. To that, I say “That’s a terrible idea.” Wow, so poetic. Fine. If you do this, it will be like trying to catch a fish with your bare hand. You think you’ve got something good, but you’ll miss. Every time. Ehhh, I kinda wish you didn’t try to be poetic. Me too. Me too.
Chris Volstad – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks. Yep, that’s Volstad alright.
Steven Brault – 2.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. I’ve heard some people ask if Brault is someone that is fantasy relevant. The answer is No, kids. No Kids? I thought this wasn’t adult restricted content. You’re making me add quotation marks, aren’t you. YEP. The answer is “No”, kids. Better? Without the tone, please. THERE WAS NO TONE.
Johnny Cueto – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 12 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. Here’s what I feel about Cueto’s 2018 outlook. He will get drafted before he becomes a good value pick. I’m not saying he should end on the wire, that’s silly, but there will be someone that snatches him in the Top 30 and that’s really silly.
Jack Flaherty – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Some think Flaherty has it in him to be a solid starter for the future. Well, first he needs a rotation spot and there’s no room with Weaver, Wacha, Reyes, Wainright, and CarMart locking it all up. Plus Gant and whatever bum they sign in the off-season. Then there’s the whole idea of if he’s even worth your time if he pitches regularly…which I’m not sold on either. It doesn’t add up to a pitcher that should be on your radar in most leagues for 2018.
Gio Gonzalez – 4.1 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Gio ends his year with a 2.96 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 8.42 K/9, 3.54 BB/9, and 4.41 SIERA making me super thrilled for him to go well before the arms I actually want to own next year. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t like to have Gio be a part of my team, but he will cost plenty more than what you should be willing to spend.
Jason Vargas – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. It’s crazy that Vargas ends the year with such lackluster numbers – 6.71 K/9, 2.91 BB/9, 4.16 ERA – after his ERA was just 2.22 after his first 16 starts. This is why the Vargas Rule exists and while he could be decent for some streams, I am not banking on a magical first half for a second year in a row.
It’s been real.