2017 Fantasy BaseballFantasy Baseball

2017 Fantasy Baseball, Week 8 Preview

Week 8 looks like a good week for pitching. There’s an abundance of SP2/3 types with two starts already so the likelihood is you’ll have some good starts in the week ahead without having to pick anyone up.

Couple that with the number of good hitters currently hurt, sitting on the DL or only just about ready to return to action, I’m expecting a pitcher dominated week. Of course that now means there’ll be a record set for the most runs in any week ever, but hey ho.

But that still doesn’t mean you can’t give your team an added little boost to tilt the scales fully in your favour.

Those of you wondering where the Two Start Stars record so far is, well it’s done but some technical finer details are being ironed out so it can have its own home on the site you can easily refer too.

For now though, we’ll look at our week 8 Two Start Stars and the Gut Call (with a surprise or two on the way). So without further ado, let’s dive into this.

Two Start Stars

First of the Two Start Stars is a debutant on here; the Los Angeles Angels’ JC Ramirez.

The reliever turned starter has found his groove as part of the Angels’ rotation, compiling a 3.80 ERA and with 36 K’s across 42.2 innings of work. Ramirez has yet to walk more than 2 batters in any of his starts this year but strangely has only 1 win in 7 starts (against 2 in his three relief appearances).

Even though wins are flukey, Ramirez should pick up at least one in week 8.

Ramirez will pitch on the road twice. Firstly, in Tampa Bay where the Rays are due to start Jake Odorizzi before a Saturday trip to the Miami Marlins to face-off against Straily.

The Rays’ bats are actually heating up this month. Heading into the weekend, only 4 teams have scored more runs than Tampa Bay in May (hey, that rhymes so there’s gotta be something in that).

But Ramirez has found success with an increased use of his slider and his newly added curveball and the Rays still strikeout a ton. As a team, the Rays have struck out 206 times in May, 43 times more than the second highest Yankees.

When facing teams prone to whiffing, Ramirez has had no problems in obliging them (7 Ks vs Oakland, 9 Ks vs Houston and 9 Ks vs Texas). So Ramirez should be able to put but plenty of K’s in his first start.

On to his second start and it’s a different proposition. The Marlins don’t strikeout nearly as much as the Rays, but they also don’t score nearly as much. In May, the Marlins have scored fewer runs than every team except the Indians and Padres.

The Angels’ offense is pretty much middle of the road and expecting them to put up enough runs in both of his starts to get two wins is too optimistic for my liking. But there’s a nice blend of Ks with a low WHIP and ERA plus a possible win (or two for those glass half full types) to make Ramirez a great option for week 8.

Next up is someone who was a Two Start Star in week 3; The New York Yankees’ Jordan Montgomery.

Back in week 3, Montgomery was a fine option, posting game scores of 47 and 57 as a fresh-faced southpaw. Now with seven starts under his belt, the novelty may have worn off for some.

His 4.81 ERA will scare enough people away from using him this week. But those people are dumb. Ok, maybe not dumb. But they’ll regret not using him this week.

Montgomery is fresh off his worst start in the Majors, a five earned-run over five innings start against the Kansas City Royals. And it’s those Royals he’ll face to start week 8 on Tuesday in the Bronx. The Royals are sending out Danny Duffy who completely stymied the free-scoring Yankees in the last week.

But with Montgomery being a rookie, facing a team for a second time in quick succession isn’t a bad thing. He should be able to learn from his mistakes and being at home (even in the hitter friendly Yankee Stadium) to better his last outing.

The Royals have gotten better lately, but still only scored 13 runs in the 3-game series against the Yankees. Their offense is yet to fill me with any fear or dread quite yet.

Montgomery is also striking out nearly a batter per inning and despite the Royals doing a good job limiting strikeouts this month, they still rank 22nd in runs scored and 17th in batting average in May.

Montgomery’s second start is also at home, a Sunday game against the Oakland Athletics and Andrew Triggs. Triggs has been a surprise star so far in 2017, but his number do stress a level of regression and that could easily come against the Yankees offense.

The Athletics offense on the other hand is not particularly scary. Khris Davis is in a significant slump and despite Yonder Alonso having a career year, there’s not much more to worry about.

Currently ranked 20th in batting average and runs scored in May, Oakland also rank 6th in strikeouts this month. Hardly anything to scream caution.

Montgomery could do with a couple of solid starts to cement his spot in the Yankees rotation and he’ll unlikely have a better week to do it in.

The honorable mention this week goes to Mike Foltynewicz of the Atlanta Braves.

The Braves were hit with the crushing news of Freddie Freeman’s broken wrist (something I’ve still not come to terms with as an owner in my main league) and could do with a pick me up. James Loney isn’t going to give them that so maybe it’ll come from the mound.

Foltynewicz draws starts at home to the Pittsburgh Pirates and Gerrit Cole on Monday before a trip to San Francisco on Sunday to face the Giants and Ty Blach.

Neither of his opponents strike out much but both have been struggling to score runs in May and both rank in the bottom five for team batting average (the Pirates is currently sitting a .202 in May) so the matchups are looking good for Foltynewicz.

So what of the cleverly nicknamed Folty? He’s had 5 quality starts in his last 6 outings, with only a 7 run blow-up against the Cardinals being a blemish.

His strikeouts are down on previous years which has held his value in check this year but his numbers suggest his ERA of 4.10 is somewhat inflated. Against two teams struggling to put runs on the board, I expect that ERA to easily drop below 4 by the time week 9 rolls around.

Surprise! This is one of those special weeks where there’s two honorable mentions. And this one may come more out of left field than normal. But Josh Tomlin of the Cleveland Indians also deserves a special mention.

He’s due to face the Cincinnati Reds and Scott Feldman on Monday (on the road) before a home game Saturday against the Kansas City Royals and Jason Vargas.

So why am I endorsing a guy with a 6.86 ERA who lasted just 2.1 innings against the Rays in his previous start?

Well, there comes a time in a season where bad luck needs to stop. Numbers have to normalise to a certain extent and if it doesn’t happen by the end of week 8, those unlucky numbers need to just be accepted or the most part.

And Josh Tomlin can be considered the unluckiest pitcher in the Major Leagues right now. No qualified pitcher has a greater difference between his ERA and FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) which is something you’d have heard and should know enough about.

Tomlin’s FIP is currently 3.75 which gives a whopping 3.11 difference between the two.

Before the Tampa Bay blowout, Tomlin had two excellent starts (combining for 2 earned runs over 15 innings). One of those starts was against the Royals. Week 8 presents itself as the chance for Tomlin to normalise his numbers and kick-start his 2017 campaign.

Gut Call

The Gut is taking this week off. With four Two Start Stars to percolate over, he’s having a well-earned rest. So make sure you go with one of the Two Start Stars if you want to succeed in week 8.

That’s your lot for this week. Remember to follow The Fantasy Fix on Twitter and you can reach out to me with any questions you have on there too. Until next week, happy fantasying.

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