Darkest Before The Sean

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Let’s talk about Sean Manaea for a moment as he went 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks against the PhilsSave for an error in the first that hurt Manaea’s longevity and WHIP, this is serviceable. I’ve lost some of my love for Manaea as the season has gone on and while I think he’s still worth the start against Texas (in O.Co), it’s just not the same. His slinging delivery is making it tough for him to spot his Fastball, which I should have been harder on earlier in the season as it’s the same approach for why I’ve questioned Jake Arrieta’s long-term command. I wonder where he’ll fall in next year’s ADP, maybe outside the Top 50 60. He’s carrying a 4.56 ERA with an 8.00 K/9 and 3.00 BB/9 on an unpopular team, all signs that he will be ignored by casual owners everywhere. At that price, he may be worth it next year, though I can also see Manaea being a headache through the season. I haven’t decided if I want to target him or not yet. We’ll see.

Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:

The Holes In Romano’s Cheese

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I’m sure I’m going to get some questions about Sal Romano after his 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks outing against the Pirates last night, so let’s dive in here. He’s allowed just 9 ER total over his last six starts, while facing the Braves, Cubs, Mets twice, and Pirates twice. The most impressive part of the run is just 11 walks to his name, especially with 0 in each of his last twice starts (Mets and Pirates). I think we can all agree that his next start against the Sawx should be avoided, but what about that matchup against Milwaukee on the 28th? Yeah, I’m not buying that either. I understand he has strikeout upside and has pitched to a 2.09 ERA in this time with a near 55% groundball rate. That’s great! 3.52 FIP and 3.94 xFIP aren’t so bad either. I really just hate his mechanics that explain his overall questionable command. It was on last night for him across eight frames and it’s hard not to think he’s made some tweak, but there’s no way I’m taking that dice roll here. Over a full season, it’s possible he shows that consistency, but Romano will not be on my 2018 radar unless I’m in an NL-Only league and even then he isn’t near the top of the list. Sidenote: This might be the worst headline of the season from me. I am so sorry.

Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:

The Nastiest Pitching GIFs Of Week 24 – 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 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.

Jake Junis’ Slider – Junis is turning into a mainstay on PitcherList using two pitches that break in opposite directions, his Two-seam Fastball and his filthy Slider. His Slider breaks under the hands of Eduardo Escobar with extreme horizontal movement, and Escobar ends up more than a little off balance.

Hitters to Start and Avoid in Week 25 (9/18 – 9/24)

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Championships are won by making the right little decisions through the season and micromanaging your lineup well can be the difference maker. Each week, I’ll be taking a look at five hitting matchups you should take advantage of this week, and five hitting matchups you should avoid this week. Here are the batters you should start and avoid for Week 25 (9/18 – 9/24) of the fantasy baseball season.

Notes: All pitching matchups mentioned here are based off of projections as of this writing. It is entirely possible that the actual matchups could change either because of injury, weather, or anything else. Keep in mind, this article is geared toward middle-of-the-road players, meaning you should be starting top of the line bats regardless of the matchup. Always start your studs.

START

Minnesota Twins hitters – I feel like I’ve been recommending Twins hitters just about every week, but they’ve had an excellent schedule and their hitters have been ridiculously hot. Luckily for the Twins, they get to see the Detroit Tigers this week, who have the worst ERA and WHIP in the majors over the past month (6.69 and 1.74 respectively). They also see the New York Yankees and Sonny Gray and Masahiro Tanaka, so that’s not exactly great, but aside from those two matchups, start your Twins. If you’re in a daily league, maybe try and avoid the Gray and Tanaka matchups, but in a weekly league, go ahead and start them, because that’s just two games out of seven that aren’t hitter friendly, there’s plenty of value to go around.

Not-So Fresh Pax

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If you read Pitcher List a good amount, you’ll know our love for James Paxton and we were eagerly looking forward to his return to the bump on Friday night against Houston, which resulted in a horrific 1.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks line. I watched this one and boy was it rough. Like really rough. Paxton threw 50 pitches, with just two whiffs (4% rate!), only threw 3 Cutters, and – here’s the worst part – was sitting at 92.6mph. This is a guy that’s normally around 96mph. I know it’s his first start back from a long DL Stint – DLH for life ya’ll – but this doesn’t make me want to roll with him next time either. If you’re in championship week next week, you drop him if there is someone else to stream. I can’t imagine the Mariners pushing him past 80 pitches and everything needs to go right for it to go your way.

Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:

Batter’s Box: 20/20 Vision Runs In The Phamily

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And just like that, Tommy Pham has joined the 20/20 Club for the 2017 season. With his 2-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, BB, K, 2 SB
line Thursday against Cincinnati, Pham went yard for the first time since August 30 and also managed to inflate his batting average ever so slightly to an appetizing .306 by tacking on a double for good measure. He does have six hitless games in September, but the run production has been there for Pham even during phases when his bat hasn’t been super sharp. But the fact that Pham is tied with Jose Altuve for the fifth-best OBP in the majors—combined with his speed on the base path—is part of why he remains valuable even when he has an otherwise unsuccessful night at the dish. For example, with those six mentioned games in which he collectively went 0-11 this month, Pham still drew five walks to finagle three runs and a steal. I love players that use their entire skill set to manufacture scoring opportunities for their team in real life and for themselves in fantasy. Anybody who’s hitting excellently for average while also stealing like a boss and providing power in no small supply gets a two-thumbs-up in my little black fantasy book. Use Pham with confidence in roto and points formats during the playoffs.

Now, on to some other notable hitters and their outings Thursday:

Luke What The Cards Dragged In

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I think we need to take a moment to discuss Luke Weaver after his 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks yesterday afternoon against the Reds. That’s now a 1.15 ERA, 1.78 FIP, 1.98 xFIP, 12.06 K/9, 1.15 BB/9, and 0.89 WHIP (just four walks!) in his last five games as he’s faced the Padres, Brewers, Giants, Pirates, and Reds. Yes, that’s a great schedule and obviously Weaver isn’t a sub 2.00 ERA guy with a K/9 north of 10.00. Duh. The point here is that he has a fantastic foundation with his Fastball/Changeup combination that holds back the walks while getting batters well off balance. He gets the Reds, Cubs, Brewers the rest of the way and I’m obviously on board, but let’s talk more about 2018. His 91.6% LOB rate in this time is absurd and will fall as well, but even if it falls to a 3.30 ERA next season with a 9.00 K/9 and 2.50 BB/9, that’s still Top 30 value.  I think people are going to think he gets over-drafted when in actuality I see him being underdrafted because of the stigma and overall “unknown” of Weaver. I’ll probably have him near #40 when I do my super early rankings in October and I imagine him being a target in all my leagues.

Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:

Zack Godley’s Curveball + 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.

Zack Godley’s Curveball – The Dbacks keep on winning, and Godley has turned into a top of the line starter out of the blue, including an 8 inning gem last night. Godley has great command, and is able to change eye levels well with his Curveball. Nolan Arenado sees a high Fastball before the ball breaks off the plate.

On The Corner Podcast Episode 50 – The Price We Pay

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Nick Pollack is back to talk all things Starting Pitching in Fantasy Baseball in Episode 50 of On The Corner. This week, he discusses David Price, Brad Peacock, Luke Weaver, German Marquez, Luiz Gohara, Mike Clevinger, Tyler Glasnow, Amir Garrett, Jon Gray, and many others.

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

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

Timestamps

Hitter List 9/15: Ranking The Top 150 Batters ROS

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Every week during the season, we have been releasing a list of the best batters in fantasy baseball that’s designed to be similar to Nick’s list of Top 100 Starting Pitchers that comes out earlier in the week. Our objective has been to give you the most current rankings of who we see as being the top 150 hitters league-wide.

Playoff time is upon us. There is no more time to be patient or hopeful. After churning through recent stats, slumps and surges, and projections for the remaining teens of games each player has left to play, this is my best crack at a true Top 150 of who I’d like to have on my roto league roster for matchups in the fantasy postseason. It’s not like an All-American 1st-team, 2nd-team, and so on, so there’s not one player for each position spaced out every 24 spots or anything like that. I also have not separated guys into positional lists based on eligibility. I’ve simply employed a method with which I’d rather have Guy A over Guy B, Guy B over Guy C, and so forth all the way on down from 1 to 150. It’s almost certainly going to deviate from a lot of other ROS rankings out there, as it’s my subjective synthesis of prioritizing quantitative apples and oranges for roto viability.

This is the result of me making value judgments about guys who might be studs in, say, three categories (e.g. Dee Gordon with his BA, SB and R) and trying to stack them up against players who have exceptional numbers in one category and acceptable yet mediocre numbers in two others (e.g. Albert Pujols, with his RBI, HR and BA, in that order). It comes down to what I feel all these guys could potentially contribute to a 5×5 team in these final two weeks of the season: a little bit of extrapolation, a dash of gut, a dollop of hunch, consideration of 7-day, 15-day and 30-day data, and what we have here is a big ol’ mega-list of guys who should hopefully guide you to glory. Feel free to tear into it with constructive criticism, or just appreciate all the weighing I’ve done and start one guy over another if you’re so inclined. It’s up to you. And again, at the risk of beating a dead horse, these are not final power rankings of who the best players were all year long.

Note: These rankings have been made with H2H 5×5 12-teamers in mind. They do not take the game action of 9/15 into consideration.

Reviewing Every Two-Start Pitcher For Week 25 (9/18 – 9/24)

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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.

Definitely Start

Clayton Kershaw (@PHI, SFG) 

Max Scherzer (@ATL, @NYM) 

  • It’s pretty lonesome at the top, though it’s fitting to see Scherzer and Kershaw as the sole aces getting two starts next week. It’s not even close to fair that they both have two of the easiest matchups as well.
  • You may be wondering where Yu Darvish is, but the Dodgers are most likely in a six-man rotation, pushing him to Monday of the final week of the season.
  • The same goes for Sonny Grayas it’s expected for the Yankees to keep Jordan Montgomery in the rotation as a six-man through the final weeks.
  • …and for Aaron Nola as well with Henderson Alvarez’s Sunday start a sign of a six-man rotation ahead.

Probably Start

Jose Berrios (@NYY, @DET) 

Jon Lester? (@TBR, @MIL)

Patrick Corbin (@SDP, MIA) 

Marcus Stroman (KCR, NYY) 

Dylan Bundy (BOS, TBR) 

Mike Clevinger (@LAA, @SEA) 

Chase Anderson (@PIT, CHC) 

Brad Peacock? (CHW, LAA) 

German Marquez (@SFG, @SDP) 

  • With Lance McCullers sidelined once again and the recent injury to Collin McHughit’s unclear which Astros starter gets two starts next week. I’m crossing my fingers it’s Brad Peacock as he would face the ChiSox and Angels, which could be a difference maker for your playoffs.
  • Don’t bank on Jon Lester getting two starts just yet as there is still a lot of mystery of the Cubs’ plan for next week. Could Jake Arrieta return? Will Jen-Ho Tseng stick around? If the Cubs look to be sticking to a five-man for the week, he’s a clear play.
  • Even with Dylan Bundy getting the Red Sox, the overall week is worth the gamble as he holding improved velocity and a larger focus on his Slider. Meanwhile, teammate Kevin Gausman doesn’t get a second start as Gabriel Ynoa has inserted himself into the rotation, pushing the Orioles into a six-man for the foreseeable future.
  • German Marquez gets the huge benefit of pitching twice outside of Coors and getting to face the Giants and Padres. Still a little inconsistent, he’s worth a pickup if out there on your wire.
  • Jose Berrios, Patrick Corbinand Mike Clevinger don’t have the smoothest of schedules next week, but with Corbin proving himself Wednesday night, Clevinger’s hot streak, and Berrios pitching like his mid-season slump is over, it’s in your best interest to roll with the trio.

Questionable

Ervin Santana (@NYY, @DET) 

Luiz Gohara (WSH, PHI) 

Dan Straily (NYM, @ARI) 

Doug Fister (@BAL, @CIN) 

Lucas Giolito (@HOU, KCR) 

Jack Flaherty? (@CIN, @PIT) 

Blake Snell (CHC, @BAL) 

Brent Suter (@PIT, CHC) 

Mike Leake (TEX, CLE) 

Luis Perdomo (ARI, COL) 

  • Ervin Santana is a great arm to trust against weak teams and a date with the Tigers is exactly what the doctor ordered. However, there may be a bit of a struggle as he faces the Yankees.
  • After a questionable debut, Luiz Gohara was sharp against the Nationals, and it could spread into his next two starts versus the Phils and a repeat matchup against the Nationals.
  • Since heading to the Mariners Mike Leake has been a new man. Not so new that I can overlook a date with the Indians, but a good enough coat of paint that I can lift him into the third tier this week.
  • There’s confusion about the future of Adam Wainwright in the Cardinals rotation, making Jack Flaherty’s two starts up in the air for now. If he does get both starts, he could be a decent option facing the Pirates, though I don’t like trusting him in Cincinnati.
  • I would do a lot to avoid Lucas Giolito squaring off against the Astros, but it’s possible a start against the Royals patches up whatever happens in Houston.
  • Yes, Luis Perdomo is facing both the Diamondbacks and Rockies, but fortunately for him he gets to do it in San Diego. Facing those offenses away from their offense-friendly parks paired with Perdomo’s incredible ability to survive at least six innings makes him a possible candidate for desperate teams.

Bench

Ian Kennedy (@TOR, @CHW) 

Jharel Cotton (@DET, TEX) 

Chad Bell (OAK, MIN) 

Buck Farmer (OAK, MIN) 

Martin Perez (@SEA, @OAK) 

Matt Harvey (@MIA, WSH) 

Nick Pivetta (LAD, @ATL) 

Tyler Mahle (STL, BOS) 

Tyler Skaggs (CLE, @HOU) 

  • There could be some discussion about Tyler Skaggs entering the third tier after his start against the Astros on Wednesday night, though I don’t buy that he can repeat it against the Indians and the Astros in the same week.
  • I understand Ian Kennedy gets two great matchups next week. I still don’t want to put any faith in him as he had his start skipped this week with shoulder fatigue. If he were to get replaced, Eric Skoglund is not someone I would chase either.
  • Please don’t chase Martin PerezHe will hurt your team regardless of the matchups.
  • Tyler Mahle does bring some intrigue, but I don’t want to dance with him against the Dodgers and the Braves are a Top 5 offense in the last two weeks.

Patrick Corbin’s Curveball + 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.

Patrick Corbin’s Slider – After a tough outing against the Padres, Corbin rebounded in a big way against the Rockies, going 6.2 innings strong with seven strikeouts. His Slider was on point like we’ve seen in the second half, throwing a beauty to Pat Valaika to end the fifth frame.

Near, Gohar, Wherever You Are

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There are times when September callups can get us pumped in the off-season and I suspect Luiz Gohara might be one, especially if he can keep going 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks like he did against the Nationals last night. Well well well. In his debut, I mentioned Gohara was a better asset than his line had suggested and BAM, he goes and dominates the Nationals. More Changeups this time around – which is a good thing – though he rolled through via his heater, which was averaging over 97mph. I’m seriously wondering if he’s going to be a major sleeper pick entering 2018. In reality, he’ll be one of those guys that will go undrafted simply because the rest of the draft will ignore my targets and I’ll be staring at him on the wire for the first week or two thinking “what am I doing.” You know what I’m talking about. Anyway, it’s a repeat of the Nationals followed by the Mets and Marlins to close out the year, and even with this start there’s still a major risk factor given the super small sample. I think I still bench next time unless you really need it, but I want all of that game against the Mets on the 25th.

Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:

The Hold Up 9/14: Ranking the Top 70 Relievers for Holds Every Week

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At this point of the year, there are only 2-3 weeks left for your 2017 fantasy baseball squad, at best, so hopefully you have a roster you feel comfortable rolling with. There are always some minor tweaks and streaming options that you may be considering, especially when looking for bullpen help. This list is essentially a last-ditch effort to figuring out what non-closer relievers can be most valuable for you going forward.

TIER 1: Good Vibrations

1. Anthony Swarzak (Milwaukee Brewers)

2. Archie Bradley (Arizona Diamondbacks)

3. David Robertson (New York Yankees)

Batter’s Box: Some Fresh Alaska Pollock

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Most people drafted A.J. Pollock around the sixth round this year in drafts, and he’s hardly returned what you wanted from him. In the first half of the year, he was solid, slashing .288/.331/.453, but then he got hurt, and his second half has been awful, as he’s been slashing .238/.317/.451, though he had a better game on Wednesday, going 3-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 4 RBI. I’m not sure if he’s still hurt, but to be honest, his second-half numbers don’t look like it. In fact, it looks like he’s just been the victim of some bad luck. In the second half, Pollock has a .247 BABIP, which is especially low for him, as he’s a guy who typically maintains a slightly above-average BABIP thanks to his speed, and that seems to be the main source of problems for him. If you look at his batted ball stats, everything looks normal: his hard hit rate is exactly the same as the first half, his soft contact rate is only up slightly, his HR/FB rate actually increased in the second half, ground balls are down, infield fly balls are down, it’s all fairly reasonable stats that should come along with a slashline similar to his first half, they just aren’t. Even looking at his plate discipline numbers, his strikeout rate is down and his walk rate is up. There’s nothing here that suggests that he’s bad all of a sudden, and the fact that his wRC+ is 94 in the second half compared to 99 in the first really shows you that he’s still the same guy, he’s just been having bad luck.

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