For these pitcher pairings, I’m going to be using our (my) 2016 fantasy baseball rankings. Notably, the top 20 starters for 2016 fantasy baseball, top 40 starters for 2016, top 60 starters for 2016 and the top 80 starters for 2016. You can also just go to our Fantasy Baseball War Room. Okay, formalities out of the way. *rolls up sleeves, makes farting noise with hand under armpit, rolls down sleeve* Let’s get busy! Now, what is a pitcher pairing? It’s your plan for putting together a fantasy staff. A course of action. If you have A pitcher, which B, C, D, E and F pitcher goes with him? Which is different than ‘F this pitcher,’ that’s what you say in May. You should have six starters. The sixth starter is Aaron Sanchez or take whoever you want. I suggest an upside pick. Sanchez comes to mind. Or Vincent Velasquez. Daniel Norris also comes to mind. I’m going to assume you’re in a 12 team, 5×5 and some variation of 9 pitcher leagues like the Razzball Commenter Leagues. Speaking of which, the RCL league signups began on Monday, go sign up for a league. (NOTE: What you are about to read is massively confusing. If it were found scribbled in a notebook, the FBI would be watching me. If Charles Manson stood up and read this at the next prison Meet N’ Greet, no one would blink an eye.) Anyway, here’s pitcher pairings for pitching staffs for 2016 fantasy baseball drafts:
If your first pitcher is from the tiers: “Security blankets are for bouncers who are chilly,” or “I ain’t mad at cha, I ain’t mad for you either.”
These tiers are from Kershaw to Bumgarner. If you draft someone from these tiers, you’ll probably lose your league or get lucky with your hitters. If you do draft one, I wouldn’t take another pitcher until the tiers, “Gluttony” and “Drafting like sugar packets on Nicole Kidman’s leg.” Take one pitcher from one of those two tiers. Then grab three starters from any of the tiers, “Ever heard of Effen Vodka? Well, I’m drunk on so many effin’ pitchers,” “They can’t all be *67-this-phone-call-cause-I’m-about-to-catch-charges sexy,” “A) Asleep B) Comatose C) There’s no C. D) Dead,” and “Unexciting but safe.” Finally, one pitcher from, “Grey’s upside your head!” So, you’d have a rotation something like Matt Harvey, Yu Darvish, Luis Severino, Wei-Yin Chen, Joe Ross and Trevor Bauer. Or maybe David Price, Lance McCullers, Mike Leake, Jason Hammel, Aaron Nola and Aaron Sanchez. For the A-A-Rons! Either of those staffs will probably have 13’s in every pitching category in a 12 team league.
If your first pitcher is from the tiers: “I have illusions of drafting these guys, maybe they’re delusions, or is it allusions?”
This tier goes from Gerrit Cole to Strasburg. I’d pair any of them with anyone in their same tier or in the tier, “Okay, you need to draft a starter at some point prolly, but if you’re looking at me to force you to draft a starter, you’re looking at the wrong guy,” or in the tier, “Fetty Wap,” but it’s not mandatory. In other words, if I drafted Gerrit Cole, I could see taking Strasburg or Tyson Ross or Cole Hamels or anyone from any of those tiers, but I wouldn’t reach either. If you do take two guys from those first three tiers, then you jump to Gluttony or Nicole Kidman’s leg and take one guy. You’ll be fine taking Gerrit Cole and moving right into the “Gluttony” and “Drafting like sugar packets on Nicole Kidman’s leg” tiers. If you skip Fetty and “Okay, you need to draft a starter at some point prolly…,” then you draft two guys from Gluttony and Nicole Kidman’s leg. So, you could either have something like Gerrit Cole, Cole Hamels and Lance McCullers or something like Gerrit Cole, Steven Matz, Garrett Richards. Either way, you then move along to Effen Vodka, *67, A, B, C, D and Unexciting but Safe and grab two guys. Finally, one guy from Upside Grey’s Head. So, you’ll have something like Gerrit Cole, Steven Matz, Garrett Richards, Aaron Nola, Eduardo Rodriguez and Erasmo Ramirez. Don’t mind if I do! Or you could have something like Gerrit Cole, Cole Hamels, Lance McCullers, Kevin Gausman, Mike Fiers and Daniel Norris. That’s straight gorge. As in engorged.
If your first pitcher is from the tiers: “Okay, you need to draft a starter at some point prolly, but if you’re looking at me to force you to draft a starter, you’re looking at the wrong guy,” or “Fetty Wap.”
These tiers go from Carrasco to Salazar and Tyson Ross to Jon Lester. This is likely the way I’m going in 12-team leagues and shallower. This would be ideal (and just as convoluted. Anyone that actually reads AND understands this post deserves a gold star and a head exam.) My first pitcher will be from “Okay, you need to draft a starter…” or “Fetty Wap” then two starters from Gluttony and Nicole Kidman’s leg, then two starters from Effen Vodka, *67, A, B, C, D and Unexciting. Finally a starter from Grey’s Upside Yo’ Head. So, you could have something like Carrasco, McCullers, Rodon, Wei-Yin, Kazmir and Paxton. You just won your league and games haven’t even started. You’re welcome.
Close to ideal (let’s say ideal-ish) is if you draft one pitcher from “Okay…” and one pitcher from “Fetty Wap,” then a Gluttony or Nicole’s leg, then two from Effen, *67, ABCD and Unexciting, then one from Upside Yo’ Head. So, you could have something like Carrasco, Cole Hamels, McCullers, Severino, Kazmir and Paxton. Could this post become more confusing? Short answer: no. Long answer: nooooooooooo. But let’s try…
You can’t go wrong with a lot of different sets of pitchers. Shoot (not you, deranged white man), you probably could do fine with drafting only 3 starters and 3 great relievers and streaming. If you stick to the pitchers I like, then you’ll do well matching them up any way you see fit. The key is to make sure you are drafting offense early and often. What I’m doing with my tiers pairing is making sure you’re drafting a balanced staff. You can draft too much upside. That’s why every time I draft a guy from the Gluttony tier, I’m trying to look at the *67 tier, ABCD and Unexciting and not going straight to Upside Yo Head. The *67, ABCD and Unexciting tiers are slightly more boring but safer and helpful for any pitching staff. They are your “Hopefully he can give me a 6 IP, 2 ER start, because Yordano is face-pounding a mascot and it’s the best thing he’s done all year,” starters. Look at some of names in those tiers: Quintana, Leake, Kennedy, Ryu, Chen, Kazmir, etc. You’re really hoping to take the risk off of your Yordanos and Odorizzis with them. Unexciting won’t win you your league, but without it you could be lost.
WHIP Issues – For every pitcher who is projected over a 1.23 WHIP, take one below. The quicker you do this, the better off you’ll be. For instance, if you take Quintana, who I have projected for a 1.24, you need to pair him with someone I have projected below a 1.23. Don’t pair Quintana with Eduardo Rodriguez. Pair him with someone like Nola. Remember, the further you get into the rankings, the harder it becomes to find lower WHIPs. Side note: WHIP can be helped by closers and MRs… Or hurt by them.
What about “Oh, I’m so gonna own these guys…at some point in the season” or “Dot dot dot” or “What year is it again?”– There’s a whole slew of pitchers I haven’t mentioned after the Upside tier. I even like some of them, namely the Dot dot dot and What year is it again? tiers in the top 100 starters for 2016 fantasy baseball. These guys are 7th starters, DL-bound or minor league-bound starters that you’re stashing. I wouldn’t count on any of them for anything. I like me some Bundy as much as the next guy fascinated with serial killers or pro wrestlers that look like serial killers, but are you really starting him every time out in April and risking a huge blow up, which would lead to a crushing April that leaves you in your fantasy baseball basement and a chance to start trading for keepers in May? You take a flyer on someone like Rubby, hope he works out and if he doesn’t, you decide whether to drop him in redraft leagues. He’s not your 6th starter.
K ISSUES – For drafters who follow my lead, this shouldn’t be much of an issue. You’re shooting for around 150/starter.
Overall Pitching Issues – Just about everyone, including yours truly, drops at least one of their starters by May 1st. Obviously, you want the best team coming out the draft, but it’s a marathon not a sprint. Starters always come out of nowhere on waivers to become productive. Always. Even in deep leagues.
Because we both know everything above this point was the gibberish of a mad mind, here’s an easy to use shortcut. Just click the pitcher you draft, then you’ll get a short list of the next pitcher you’re supposed to draft. Frank Voila, snitches! Now, have at it: