And then there were two. That's right friends, Monday begins the penultimate week of the shortened MLB regualr season. Initially, only six games were scheduled, but three doubleheaders and a single-game makeup between the Phillies and Marlins beefs things up a bit.
A few of the added games have an early start, so be sure to tend to your rosters before they lock. Here are some players to consider, each available in at least half of all ESPN leagues.
Mike Minor (L), 50%, Oakland Athletics at Seattle Mariners: Minor has been even more disappointing than Musgrove as the lefty was expected to be a mid-rotation stalwart. Even spending much of the season working in pitcher-friendly venues, Minor has yet to get untracked. The Athletics acquired Minor at the trade deadline hoping he'd regain his form, but thus far the struggles continue. Monday presents a great chance for Minor to jump-start his campaign as the Mariners are one of the weakest lineups with a lefty on the hill.
Pablo Lopez (R), 38%, Miami Marlins vs. Philadelphia Phillies: After his first six starts, Lopez was teasing a breakout campaign, recording a 2.10 ERA and 1.17 WHIP, supported by 32 whiffs with seven walks in 34⅓ innings. Since then, he's been pounded for 12 earned runs in two outings, spanning only 5⅔ innings. On the bright side, Lopez's velocity is fine; he's just been off with command and control. The recent tailspin occurred on the road. Look for Lopez to rebound in Marlins Stadium.
Vince Velasquez (R), 2%, Philadelphia Phillies at Miami Marlins: The allure for this matchup is that Velasquez's primary weakness is the long ball yet the Marlins are near the bottom in terms of hitting home runs, especially at home. He's also coming off an outstanding effort, whiffing nine Red Sox hitters with nary a walk in seven innings.
Josh Lindblom (R), 6%, Milwaukee Brewers vs. St. Louis Cardinals: On the surface, Lindblom's 6.08 ERA and 1.65 WHIP are disastrous. However, there are signs that he's actually pitched better than those indicators, and it bodes well for the rest of this season and into next year. From the skills perspective, Lindblom has a dominant 29.2% strikeout rate, albeit in tandem with a high 10.4% walk rate. His fastball averages just 90 mph, but he throws it with a lot of overspin, as well as spinning his curve at a high rate. Lindblom has been burned via a high .333 BABIP along with a low 67.3 LOB%. His SIERA is 4.13, suggesting the righty's ERA should be almost two runs lower than it is.
Bullpen: A trio of doubleheaders avails a half-dozen chances to grab a closer with a shot at two saves. The candidates are Ricardo Rodriguez (Pirates), Raisel Iglesias (Reds), Josh Hader (Brewers), Liam Hendriks (Athletics), Yohan Ramirez (Mariners) and Andrew Miller (Cardinals). Rodriguez, Ramirez and Miller have the greatest availability.
For the latest team-by-team closer situations, please consult our Closer Chart.
Catcher -- Sean Murphy (R), 15%, Oakland Athletics at Seattle Mariners (LHP Marco Gonzales): Catcher has been a tough position to fill this season as many of last year's breakouts are struggling or hurt this year. Murphy is one of the few picking up where he left off. He'll play one of the two ends of Monday's doubleheader, with Jonah Heim likely getting the other start. Both are in play, though the backstop not drawing Gonzales is preferred. The second Mariners starter hasn't been announced as of this writing.
First Base -- Jedd Gyorko (R), 1%, Milwaukee Brewers vs. St. Louis Cardinals (LHP Kwang-Hyun Kim): Gyroko carries a seven-game hitting streak into Monday's contest, slashing .370/.433/.593 in that span. The trade-off for getting a hot bat into your lineup is the chance Gyorko plays only one game, losing an at-bat or two compared to playing a nine-inning game.
Second Base -- Ty France (R), 20%, Seattle Mariners vs. Oakland Athletics (LHP Mike Minor): France has been a frequent visitor in this space as well as recently being featured by Tristan H. Cockcroft in his Fantasy Baseball Pickups piece. All France has done since joining the Mariners at the trade deadline is slash .379/.455/.690 through Friday's action, with homers in his last two games.
Third Base -- Rio Ruiz (L), 8%, Baltimore Orioles vs. Atlanta Braves (RHP Touki Toussaint): On Aug. 29, Ruiz was sitting on a .669 OPS. It's now more than 75 points higher as September has been kind to the 26-year-old corner infielder. Toussaint returns to the field after a 7.82 ERA and 1.59 WHIP had him working at the Braves' alternate training facility.
Shortstop -- Jazz Chisholm (L), 2%, Miami Marlins vs. Philadelphia Phillies (RHP Vince Velasquez): The Marlins infield has been hit hard with injuries, accelerating the promotion of Chisholm. The 22-year-old infielder has been striking out a lot, but he's also flashed the power and speed potential the Marlins were looking for in making the Zac Gallen deal.
Corner Infield -- Ke'Bryan Hayes (R), 19%, Pittsburgh Pirates at Cincinnati Reds (RHP Anthony DeSclafani): The Pirates don't have anything to play for, so they opted to get a glimpse of their future with Hayes being handed the keys to the hot corner. Since joining The Show, Hayes as impressed with a .344/.400/.594 slash line entering Saturday's play.
Middle Infield -- Luis Urias (R), 6%, Milwaukee Brewers vs. St. Louis Cardinals (LHP Kwang-Hyun Kim): Like his teammate Gyorko, Urias is in danger of playing just one game. That said, he's been in the lineup against all pitching and had the day off Sunday, so it's possible he plays both ends of the twin bill.
Outfield -- Adam Haseley (L), 1%, Philadelphia Phillies at Miami Marlins (RHP Pablo Lopez): Haseley is still looking for his first home run and steal of the season. They'll come, but meanwhile his .318/.464/.455 slash line is helping his run production.
Outfield -- Shogo Akiyama (L), 11%, Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP Cody Ponce): It's taken a while to manifest, but Akiyama's on-base skills have been on display the last week, getting on base at a 50% clip. He also swiped a couple of bases, making him 6-for-7 on the season.
Outfield -- Brian Goodwin (L), 10%, Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP Mitch Keller): The Reds and Pirates play a pair of games, with two right-handers on the mound for Pittsburgh. As a left-handed swinger, Goodwin has a chance to play in both games. He started out slow with Cincinnati after being acquired at the trade deadline, but has picked it up of late, with hits in three of his last four games.