Fantasy Baseball recap: Chris Archer Stumbles on Ace Day

It is no surprise that pitchers ruled the day on Monday. With aces such as Max Scherzer, Corey Kluber and Justin Verlander all pitching there was always going to be some good pitching stats. All three of those names actually went beyond expectations with 24 shutout innings between them. However, from a fantasy purpose those three being ace-like is not news; that is what we drafted them to be. It was the performances of other pitchers which make up the fantasy relevant notes from Monday.

 1. Archer struggles in the windy city

Chris Archer was the fourth fantasy ace pitching on ace day but unlike the other three he failed to even meet expectations. Pitching against the White Sox he gave up three earned runs in 5.2 innings whilst walking three batters. On the positive side he struck out eight but that will be little comfort to Archer owners this morning. This is now his third bad start in a row to begin 2018. I was willing to give him a pass in Yankees stadium but this performance has me a little anxious. Currently if you drafted him you still have to start him but you will be nervous. If you do not own Archer then now is the time to try and trade for him. His value will never be lower. On the flip side if you own Archer you have to be convinced this is what he is now or get a similar value pitcher in a trade to make it worth doing a deal. Right now he might be the best buy low in fantasy baseball.

 2. Gray struggles at home

It was another rough start for Jon Gray in his home park with seven earned runs given up in just five innings. This is the reason he can never be a top pitching option because his home park is so hard for him to succeed in. Gray has become a must-start on the road and stay away at home.

 3. Teheran shows class in road outing

Speaking of pitchers who cannot pitch in their home park; Julio Teheran was impressive last night in his start against the Nationals. Across six innings he struck out seven and gave up two earned runs. With SunTrust Park playing extremely hitter friendly to start the year Teheran is another guy who is to be avoided at home for the time being.

Royals Jakob Junis

Denny Medley – USA TODAY Sports

4. Jakob Junis impresses again

Two good starts in a row now for Junis following a seven innings, three strikeouts, zero earned run performance yesterday. Three strikeouts is a little bit of a concern from a shallower league upside point of view but for a young pitcher this is extremely promising. I would like to see him do it against better line-ups than Detroit and Seattle before he becomes a must-add in shallower leagues. However, in 14 team leagues he is already at that point and is a playing I am looking to add this morning.

 5. Other pitching notes

  • An impressive performance from Zack Godley in San Francisco (seven innings, nine strikeouts, zero earned runs) re-enforces his place among the top 30 pitchers. He is a must-own in all leagues.
  • Dylan Bundy continued his good start with 10 strikeouts across seven innings with just two earned runs given up. His flying start to 2018 continues and he is a must-own in all leagues right now.
  • A good start for J.A. Happ in Baltimore (Six innings, nine strikeouts, one earned run) is promising for his value going forward. Not a must add but a good streamer when he is not facing the Yankees or Red Sox.

6. Saves saves saves

Matt Albers blew his first save of 2018 last night against the Cardinals. His grip on the job is currently loose at best but I think they give him another shot. As for the other options: Josh Hader seems locked into a multi-innings role so likely will not get the next shot, Jeremy Jeffress and Jacob Barnes are the other two names in mix. Last night Jeffress pitched before Hader and Barnes pitched the eighth. If I had to gamble on one I would be adding Barnes this morning.

Andrew Miller got a save for Cleveland to finish off Kluber’s eight innings performance. Cody Allen had pitched the day before so it appears to just be a rest situation for Allen. Miller has his value for roto leagues and this clearly shows he is the next man up if anything happens to Allen.

Greg Holland walked four and gave up an earned run in a nightmare first outing. He took the loss and only got one batter out but given he missed the whole of spring training and had a week or so to get up to speed I don’t see this as a long term issue. As a Holland owner, short term I will leave him benched for the next week or so until I see a good outing with more control.

The Ken Giles saga in Houston draws on. Giles got a one out save but only came in after Devenski, show allowed a double to the second batter he faced, had gotten two outs. The Giles situation right now is extremely strange and you cannot trust him to get regular save opportunities. There is nothing to do here because he doesn’t have trade value. You just have to hold and hope he emerges from that bullpen as a clear closer but it feels unlikely right now.

Archie Bradley got the save for Arizona last night, his first of 2018. Yoshihisa Hirano gave up a run in the 8th and Brad Boxberger appeared to be on a rest day. Boxberger is still their closer but Bradley has clearly leapfrogged Hirano to become the next man up for save opportunities.


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