For the last time this regular season, I offer some below-the-radar fantasy options to scrape out those final few at-bats or innings in championship week.
That includes a trio of outfielders with 2019 breakout potential, though one of them is already powering his way into our fantasy hearts.
Thanks, everyone, for reading all season, and I hope I've helped. Good luck in your chase for a championship!
Pitchers to stream
Shane Bieber (R), rostered in 34 percent of ESPN leagues, Cleveland Indians at Chicago White Sox: The up-and-down righty re-enters Cleveland's rotation for the final week. (The Indians needed someone to fill things out after their elite top four.) He tamed the White Sox on Aug. 10 (eight strikeouts in 6 2/3 shutout frames), and the Pale Hose hold the highest strikeout percentage (26.1) in the majors.
Edwin Jackson (R), 20.1 percent, Oakland Athletics at Seattle Mariners: He's fallen off after a hot start to the season, but in three of his past four starts, he's pitched at least five innings and given up two runs or fewer. Though they've already clinched a playoff berth, the A's are still playing for home-field advantage in the wild-card game, so they'll want E-Jax to pitch as much as possible in this one. Seattle isn't an easy matchup, but at least it's being played at Safeco Field.
Cody Reed (L), 8 percent, Cincinnati Reds vs. Kansas City Royals: A Reds pitcher not named Luis Castillo? Yup! Reed has spun a 3.41 ERA in the second half (a year-long 4.23 ERA as a starter), with 30 strikeouts to 10 walks in 27 2/3 innings -- plus 11 scoreless innings with 16 strikeouts and two walks in his last two efforts. It helps that KC loses the designated hitter for this interleague clash.
Yonny Chirinos will likely serve as the primary pitcher as the Rays choose their "opener" to set the table. Chirinos has posted a solid 3.68 ERA this season and is worth a look as a "starter" next season if Tampa Bay keeps this pitching revelation intact.
Projected game scores
GS is the projected game score for the pitcher. The "*" symbol means the pitcher lacks requisite career major league data to produce an accurate rating; these are the author's ratings.
Elias Diaz (R), 2.4 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs (LHP Jose Quintana): Diaz has dominated lefty pitching this season, with a 40.9 percent hard-contact rate and a 42.3 fly ball percentage, producing a whopping .934 OPS. Nineteen of Quintana's 23 homers given up this year have cleared the fences off right-handed bats.
Tyler Austin (R), 2 percent, Minnesota Twins vs. Detroit Tigers (LHP Matthew Boyd): Austin recently had a five-game hit streak snapped, but the rebuilding Twins are giving him a run to see if he can be a long-term contributor. His basic value comes as a matchup play when a lefty takes the rubber, as he's crushed seven homers in just 82 at-bats against them this season. Boyd holds a 5.52 ERA away from Comerica Park and holds a 3.02 BB/9 against right-handed batters, compared to 1.41 vs. lefties.
Ian Kinsler (R), 33 percent, Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles (HP Undecided): The Red Sox and Orioles are slated for a Wednesday doubleheader, which means Kinsler could sneak an extra game into your head-to-head matchup for championship week. Baltimore left-hander John Means, who has a 3.72 ERA in the minors, looks like he'll work one of them for the O's. Kinsler has cooled lately, but his .289 second-half clip could prove useful when facing fresh meat on the mound for at least half of this twin bill.
Derek Dietrich (L), 16 percent, Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals (RHP Tanner Roark): Might as well close this one out with an old matchup-play favorite: Dietrich holds a .771 OPS against righties this year. Though he might not make the game in time due to paternity leave, Roark has yielded 13 runs in 15 September innings while again suffering for the whole season against lefties (.767 OPS). Any righty would do for Dietrich, really.
Amed Rosario (R), 43 percent, New York Mets vs. Atlanta Braves (LHP Sean Newcomb): The 22-year-old has hit just two homers against lefties but has a higher slugging percentage (.430, to .378 vs. RHPs) and batting average (.281, to .254) in these matchups. His late-season surge merges with Newcomb's continued second-half slump/correction (5.06 ERA post-break).
Isiah Kiner-Falefa (R), 6.4 percent, Texas Rangers at Los Angeles Angels (LHP Andrew Heaney): The .762 OPS righty batters have rattled off against Heaney is 210 points higher than lefty hitters have accomplished, and the contact-inclined IKF boasts an .809 OPS against left-handers. (Plus, he's a second catcher option if Diaz is already taken.)
Niko Goodrum (B), 6 percent, Detroit Tigers at Minnesota Twins (RHP Jake Odorizzi): Goodrum is eligible at all infield spots and as many as two outfield spots, which will come in handy for those plugging roster holes during the final days. Goodrum's 15 homers in 309 at-bats against righties puts him in play.
Franmil Reyes (R), 27 percent, San Diego Padres at San Francisco Giants (LHP Madison Bumgarner): All 13 of MadBum's homers allowed have come against righties, against whom he's also struggled with command (2.17 K/BB, compared to 3.86 vs. LHBs). Reyes' prodigious power has shined with the proper platoon matchup: The batted-ball darling has clubbed six big flies in only 78 at-bats against lefties.
David Dahl (L), 14 percent, Colorado Rockies vs. Philadelphia Phillies (RHP Nick Pivetta): Pivetta's ERA (4.90) and BB/9 (3.18) go up when he's away from Citizens Bank Park, and Coors Field is just about the worst work trip he could take. Dahl, meanwhile, crushes righties (.288/.345/.544 with nine homers) and enjoys his Rocky Mountain high (.319/.354/.613 with eight big flies), and he has another long home stand to preview his breakout value for 2019.
Victor Robles (R), 8 percent, Washington Nationals vs. Miami Marlins (LHP Wei-Yin Chen): The Nats could rest Adam Eaton against a southpaw, giving Robles more work as the Nationals close out a disappointing season. Righties have slugged 108 points higher (.455) against Chen than lefties. Robles' 2019 value probably rests on whether Bryce Harper re-signs with the Nats, but as he picks up the pieces after a hyperextended elbow curtailed his 2018 progress, the 21-year-old has a fine chance to close out this season and convince them he deserves a starting job next year.
Hitter matchup ratings
Hitter ratings account for the opposing starting pitcher's history (three years' worth), as well as ballpark factors. "LH" and "RH" ratings account only for left- and right-handed batters, respectively.
Weighted on-base average (wOBA) is the primary statistic used in the calculation. Ratings range from 1 to 10, with 10 representing the best possible matchup, statistically speaking, and 1 representing the worst. For example, a 10 is a must-start rating, while a 1 should be avoided (if possible); a 1-2 is poor, 3-4 is fair, 5-6 is average, 7-8 is very good and 9-10 is excellent.