Welcome to the Pitching Planner for Week 24! It’s hard to believe that we’re down to the final three weeks of the season. Among the leagues that utilize playoffs leading up to a Championship series have likely begun those playoffs now. Meanwhile, roto leagues continue to chug along towards the end with just under 20 games left to play. Regardless of which of those two options your league uses, it is officially crunch time. If your roto team is hanging on by a thread in any category, it’s time to examine your lineup very closely to ensure you are maximizing your team’s potential every single day of every single scoring category.
For example, in one of my roto leagues (a league that has been playing together for nearly 20 years no less), I find myself sitting in second place with 66.5 points; 33.5 points in pitching and 33 in hitting. However, I am 20 iron-clad points behind the first place team. I say “iron-clad” because there is absolutely no way I am going to catch that team – not even with substantial help from other teams. While that’s unfortunate, you might be surprised to learn that just a little over six weeks ago, I was sitting in seventh place in this very same league. My pitching has been competitive all season long, and that’s what kept me in the hunt, even when I was sitting in seventh place. It was my hitting that was lagging despite a lineup that sounds almost too good to be true for a 10-team league.
I have Cody Bellinger, Rhys Hoskins, Jose Ramirez, Edwin Encarnacion, Freddie Freeman and Jonathan Schoop in this league. During the first month or so, it was Freeman who kept the pace. Then Bellinger took over and now it’s Hoskins, Ramirez and Encarnacion who are carrying the team. Yet, the guy I am most proud of drafting/picking up along the way is Jonathan Schoop. Very quietly, Schoop has put together the best season of his career. He’s batting .305 with 31 home runs, 86 runs scored and a whopping 103 RBIs. He’s even stolen a base as a cherry on top. I drafted Schoop back in March when I was hoping for 20-25 HRs and a .275 BA.
But I digress. The point I really wanted to make here is that you should never give up on your Fantasy teams. I could have easily thrown in the towel on this team six weeks ago. But adding Bellinger here, and Hoskins there, and tweaking my starting pitching to keep the strikeouts coming, and a little bit of luck with Ramirez, Schoop and a few other really good draft choices and BOOM! I have a solid shot to finish in second place; a money finish in this league. Over the 20 or so years we’ve been playing together, I’ve won the whole shebang several times, and that’s a whole bunch of fun. However, it’s the second and third place finishes after fighting hard all season that are far more satisfying to me. So, don’t give up…ever, because you just never know when your team will turn itself around and kick butt for a few weeks and surprise you with a hard fought finish in the Top 3. If you have even just a remote chance of recapturing a second or third place finish, you owe it to yourself and your leaguemates to put in the effort to finish as high as you possibly can. Never give up. Never.
The table below will be published each week showing the expected pitching rotation matchups, whether the game is at home or on the road, and it will include the pitcher’s win/loss record as of the date the planner is written. Finally, you will note that each matchup is assigned a ranking numbered #1-5. This number refers to my recommendation as far as starting that pitcher in Fantasy play and the rankings break down as follows:
1 – Must-Start – These pitchers are aces and are virtually matchup proof.
2 – Favorable Start – These pitchers may or may not be aces but the matchup is favorable.
3 – Streaming Option – These pitchers are in a favorable matchup, so they can be started if needed.
4 – Risky Start – The matchup is prohibitively risky. Owners are advised to avoid this pitcher.
5 – Bench – Do not start this pitcher in this matchup.
PITCHER RANKINGS FOR WEEK 24[table “2176” not found /]
TWO-START PITCHERS FOR WEEK 24[table “2175” not found /]