Your Fantasy Baseball Planner, with Streaming and Waiver Tips
Our time is short, as the sound of shoulder pads colliding has arrived and will soon be followed by the sweet sound of basketball nets swishing and the magic of vulcanized rubber flying off curved sticks at triple digit speeds.
Surely, we will miss each other when we depart from the diamond, but…. oh, to hell with the soft stuff. Let’s finish what we started in March and close out this damn mission strong.
On a much different note, I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge what happened exactly 17 years ago on Tuesday. Those of us who experienced the horror and heroism on that day will never forget where we were and how our emotions were twisted. That there will be baseball played on Tuesday is a strong reminder of who we are as a nation and what we are when we are truly a United States of America.
Pitching For Two, Please (Recommended two-start pitchers)
German Marquez, Rockies (at Diamondbacks, Monday; at Giants, Sunday): If Colorado makes the postseason, the quiet maturation of Marquez as a top-end hurler will be a reason why. He’s 3-1 with a 2.79 ERA since the All-Star Break and learned to dial up his developing arsenal of filth, striking out 78 batters over 61.1 innings. Opponents are hitting .189 when Marquez pitches on the road. Damn.
Jose Quintana, Cubs (vs. Brewers, Monday; vs. Reds, Sunday): The light bulb is more than flickering of late for Quintana, who comes into a crucial week having allowed two or fewer runs in each of his last four starts. Five of his 12 wins this season have come against Milwaukee and Cincinnati; in the case of the Brew Crew, Quintana has limited them to a .187 Opposing Batting Average over 30.2 innings of work.
Dereck Rodriguez, Giants (vs. Braves, Monday; vs. Rockies, Sunday): All you need to know is that 1) Rodriguez has a 2.30 ERA and a .186 OBA in 10 starts at AT&T Park and 2) he owns a 1.97 ERA and .171 OBA in eight starts since the All-Star vacay. Start. Him.
Joe Musgrove, Pirates (at Cardinals, Monday; at Brewers, Sunday): I’ll bet you the password to my Amazon Prime account that Musgrove will be the opening day starter for the Bucs in 2019. He’s put up four quality outings in his last 10 starts and would have a better record than his current 6-8 mark had Pittsburgh not been shut out in three of his starts. Musgrove is high on my list of 2019 breakout candidates.
Wade LeBlanc, Mariners (vs. Padres, Tuesday; at Angels, Sunday): Since the Dodgers lit him up for three dingers and seven runs on August 17, LeBlanc has allowed one run over his last three starts, spanning 19 innings. Two of his eight wins have come against Mike Trout and Friends as LeBlanc has held them to a .188 OBA in three starts.
Mike Fiers, Athletics (at Orioles, Tuesday; at Rays, Sunday): Much of his strong second half (5-0, 2.63 ERA) has come from having more bite in his pitches. Fiers is averaging just a shade under a strikeout per inning (46 in 48 innings) since the All-Star Break. This will mark the first time this season that Fiers has seen both the O’s and Rays.
Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dodgers (at Reds, Tuesday; at Cardinals, Sunday): He has yet to allow more than three runs in a start this season, despite exceeding 90 pitches only once. Ryu is whiffing well over a batter per frame on the road (20 in 16.2 innings).
Jaime Barria, Angels (vs. Rangers, Tuesday; vs. Mariners, Sunday): Comes into the week having allowed one run or less in four of his last five outings. Barria is in position to finish the regular season with enough momentum to make you wonder about drafting him next spring.
Franmil Reyes, OF, Padres: You don’t need advanced stats to know Reyes can hit the hell out of a baseball. Just watch. His 32 percent strikeout rate makes you leave the hall light on at night, yet you’d trade that for his .274 Isolated power and 15 homers in his first 200 plate appearances. Pro-rate that over 600 PAs and that’s 45 dingers. Reyes is owned in 28 percent of CBSSports.com leagues and if he can maintain the .358 OBP he’s had since returning to the Pads, Reyes could be one scary, scary sleeper in 2019.
Francisco Mejia, C, Padres: When a player’s first two big league hits are homers, chances are good his already solid 36 percent ownership in CBSSports.com leagues will climb to, say, 45 percent overnight. Mejia’s 5-10, 175-pound frame lends questions as to whether he can handle the daily rigors of catching, but as deep as the Pads’ outfield is, the organization will spend the winter determining just where Mejia’s future lies. The kid can hit, which means the next few weeks are only a sneak peek at a potential Top-10 catcher in 2019 drafts.
Josh James, P, Astros: The Astros’ sixth-ranked prospect blew away 171 batters in 114.1 innings of minor league work and proceeded to fan nine Angels in his big-league debut on September 1. He’s owned in 14 percent of CBSSports.com leagues and will remain in the rotation as Lance McCullers Jr. and Charlie Morton are on the DL. Deeper league owners should be willing to take the chance on him if strikeouts are a need.
Wade Miley, P, Brewers: Miley has allowed less than two earned runs n nine of his last 10 starts, with three of his last four starts seeing him give up just one run in each. Despite a 2.12 ERA and 1.18 WHIP, Miley is owned in just 27 percent of CBSSports.com leagues. That number is a start or two away from being higher.
Mitch Garver, C, Twins: Like Mejia, Garver’s offensive numbers will carry over into him being a factor at a very thin position in 2019 drafts. There’s 10-15 homer power in Garver, who is owned in 20 percent of CBSSsports.com leagues and has an .818 OPS since the All-Star Break. If Mejia is already gone in your league, Garver is a nice consolation prize.
Melky Cabrera, OF, Indians: Oh, he can still swing it, as 31 percent of CBSSports.com league owners can attest. Cabrera has an .869 OPS with six homers since Cleveland made him a staple in the lineup. Check that: since Cabrera’s bat made him a staple in the lineup. Those in leagues with OBP as a category should know Cabrera’s has hovered in the .370 range in the last two months.
Adam Wainwright, P, Cardinals: The wily veteran will be activated on Sunday and will make his first appearance since May 13. Wainwright fanned 23 batters in his rehab stint in the minors and gives the Redbirds a veteran arm that is owned in 20 percent of CBSSports.com leagues.
A Streaming We Will Go (Pitchers’ Edition)
Anibal Sanchez, Braves (at Giants, Wednesday): Continues to be effective and still shows strikeout ability, having recorded eight Ks in two of his last four starts. Sanchez has held hitters to a .204 OBA on the road.
Joe Ross, Nationals (at Phillies, Wednesday): This will mark Ross’ first appearance since July 9, 2017, as injuries have curtailed what had looked a like a promising career. With massive upheaval expected over the winter, Ross’ September starts will determine whether he’s got a seat in the Nats’ musical chairs of a rotation.
Sandy Alcantara, Marlins (at Mets, Wednesday): The youngster has looked solid in his first two starts, allowing just six hits over 12 innings. There’s enough upside to roll the dice.
Jon Gray, Rockies (vs. Diamondbacks, Wednesday): Strikeout rate has dipped, but Gray is holding hitters to a .207 OBA since coming back from the minors while delivering a solid 3.33 ERA.
Kyle Freeland, Rockies (vs. Diamondbacks, Thursday): Not quite as nasty on the road (3.51 ERA) as he is at Coors (2.27 ERA), but Freeland keeps Colorado in games, as the Rockies have won nine of his last 10 starts.
Walker Buehler, Dodgers (at Cardinals, Thursday): Oh, he’s been downright nasty since July 31, allowing only eight earned runs in his last seven starts.
Jack Flaherty, Cardinals (vs. Dodgers, Thursday): Just as brutal on hitters as Buehler has been, Flaherty has given up five earned runs in his last six starts. If you’re in a keeper/dynasty league and have both Buehler and Flaherty on your staff, the next few years should be fun.
Edwin Jackson, Athletics (at Rays, Friday): Effective is really the only word to describe Jackson. He’s not going to strike out batters at a high clip, but he keeps the ball in the yard and has allowed more than two runs just once in his last seven starts.
A Streaming We Will Go (Hitters Edition)
Nomar Mazara, OF, Rangers (at Angels, Monday-Wednesday): Entering the weekend, Mazara terrified pitchers to the slash line of .310/.383/.690 over the previous two weeks. He also has a solid .828 OPS this season versus the Angels.
Stephen Piscotty, OF, Athletics (at Orioles, Tuesday-Thursday): Four of his first seven hits this month were of the extra base persuasion (three homers and a double). That properly explains his 1.344 OPS in that span.
Matt Davidson, 1B/3B, White Sox (at Orioles, Friday-Sunday): Like Piscotty, Davidson’s bat opened the month in blistering fashion with a .353/.476/.588 slash line.
Ryan O’Hearn, 1B, Royals (vs. White Sox, Monday-Wednesday): The lefty-swinging masher from Sam Houston State has taken a liking to Kauffman Stadium, hitting four of his nine homers at home while delivering a 1.041 OPS.
Niko Goodrum, INF/OF, Tigers (vs. Astros, Monday-Wednesday): Has shown positive signs of life in a bat that’s swung it at a .214 clip since the ASB. Goodrum has a .894 OPS in the last two weeks and his speed and versatility are also calling cards.
Amed Rosario, SS, Mets (vs. Marlins, Monday-Wednesday): His speed has helped Rosario open September with nine hits in his first 22 Abs, including a pair of doubles and a triple. Rosario is in range of 20 stolen bases and a power surge away from 10 homers.
Yairo Munoz, INF/OF, Cardinals (vs. Pirates, Monday-Wednesday): Has worn out Pittsburgh this season, hitting .357/.455/.571 with a homer and nine RBI in 28 ABs.
David Fletcher, INF, Angels (vs. Rangers, Monday-Wednesday): So he has yet to draw a walk against a Texas pitcher. Who cares when Fletcher is .414/.414/.552 with four doubles and six RBI in 29 ABs against their staff this season?