For these pitcher pairings, I’m going to be using our (my) 2017 fantasy baseball rankings. Notably, the top 20 starters for 2017 fantasy baseball, top 40 starters for 2017, top 60 starters for 2017 and the top 80 starters for 2017. 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 Blake Snell or take whoever you want. I suggest an upside pick. Snell comes to mind. Or Mike Montgomery. 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 will began as soon as ESPN opens for business. (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 2017 fantasy baseball drafts:
If your first pitcher is from the tiers: “Security blankets are for bouncers who are chilly,” or “2500 Jokes To Start A Toast!”
These tiers are from Kershaw to Lester. 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, “Crazy is super subjective” and “These guys give me the good willies.” Take one pitcher from one of those two tiers. Then grab three starters from any of the tiers, “These guys give me the good willies,” “Trying to find a balance like Atmosphere,” and “Dollar Store condoms.” Finally, draft one starter from “Grey’s upside your head.” So, you’d have a rotation something like Madison Bumgarner, Aaron Nola, Vince Velasquez, Robbie Ray, Jerad Eickhoff and Blake Snell. Or maybe Jacob deGrom, Taijuan Walker, James Paxton, Jameson Taillon, Jeremy Hellickson and Blake Snell. 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 Verlander to Cueto. I’d pair any of them with anyone in their same tier or in the tier, “Slowly remove the hand from under your bun and click yo’ mouse,” “Buckle up, I’m creating turbulence” or “There’s safety in numbers, especially number twos,” but it’s not mandatory. In other words, if I drafted Corey Kluber, I could see taking Kenta Maeda or Gerrit Cole or Masahiro Tanaka 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 “Crazy is super subjective” or “These guys give me the good willies” and take one guy. You will also be fine taking Kluber and moving right to “Crazy is super subjective” and “These guys give me the good willies.” If you skip “Slowly…” “Buckle up…” “There’s safety,” then draft two guys from “Crazy is super subjective” and the good willies. So, you could have either something like Kluber, Maeda and McCullers or Kluber, McCullers and Paxton. Either way, you then move along to “Trying to find a balance like Atmosphere” and “Dollar Store condoms” and grab two guys. Finally, one guy from Upside Grey’s Head. So, you’ll have something like Kluber, Maeda, McCullers, Hellickson, Nova and Foltywirewitz. Don’t mind if I do! Or you could have something like Kluber, McCullers, Paxton, Smyly, Tillman and Snell. That’s straight gorge. As in engorged.
If your first pitcher is from the tiers: “Slowly remove the hand from under your bun and click yo’ mouse,” or “Buckle up, I’m creating turbulence.”
These tiers go from Carrasco to Carlos Martinez and from Duffy to Cole. 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 “Slowly…” or “Buckle Up…” then two starters from “Crazy is super subjective” and “These guys give me the good willies,” then two starters from “Trying to find a balance like Atmosphere” and “Dollar Store condoms.” Finally, a starter from Grey’s Upside Yo’ Head, sucka. So, you could have something like Carrasco, Gausman, McCullers, Eickhoff, Gsellman and Blake Snell. 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 “Slowly…” and “Buckle Up…,” then one pitcher from “There’s safety,” then one from “Crazy” or willies, then two from “Trying to find a balance like Atmosphere” and “Dollar Store condoms,” then one from Upside Yo’ Damn Head. So, you could have something like Carlos Martinez, Lackey, Lance McCullers, Drew Smyly, Julio Teheran and Blake Snell. 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. For unstints, I could see a lot of people saying Robbie Ray is being drafted close to Blake Snell, so is it okay if he’s my Grey’s Upside Yo’ Head? Yeah, of course. If you draft only pitchers that I like then I have no quarrel with you. The most important tiers are the “There’s safety” and Atmosphere tiers because these tiers are going to balance your staff like the bar in the photo in the Prince Albert Wikipedia entry. Trust me, do not Google it! These tiers do this, “Holy crap, my first pitcher is Gerrit Cole and he keeps getting rocked, I’d be so dead if I didn’t also take a guy like Jose Quintana or Odorizzi.” Unexciting guys won’t win your league, but without them you will 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 Kevin Gausman, who I have projected for 1.24, you need to pair him with someone I have projected below a 1.23. Don’t pair Gausman with Paxton. 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 the tier “Your joie de vivre is a contagious rash in the shape of the Indonesian islands,” or any starter listed in the top 100 starters who are in tiers not listed above. They are 7th starters or DL-bound or minor league-bound who you’re stashing. I wouldn’t count on any of them for anything. I like me some Jose De Leon or Ed-Rod or a bunch of those guys, but are you really starting any of them 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 De Leon, 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: