As usual, all 30 teams will be in action of Friday, with all 15 matchups under the lights. The pitching is strong, led by a pair of NL Cy Young candidates at the top of the card. Overall, 18 of the announced starters check in with a Game Score of at least 50.
Even so, there are a handful of arms to stream, along with the standard assortment of batters in favorable scenarios. Good luck as we head down the homestretch. Here are Friday's players designed to get your weekend off in the right direction.
Adrian Houser (R), rostered in 42% of ESPN leagues, Milwaukee Brewers vs. Chicago Cubs: Houser would be higher than the fourth best starter on most teams, but that's his standing in a rotation featuring Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta. Houser can be wild, but he has limited damage by keeping the ball in the yard. In his first 75 2/3 innings this season, Houser allowed 11 long balls. In the 51 2/3 frames since, no one has taken him deep. The Cubs have exhibited league average power facing righties since the break, though their overall production is the 10th lowest, buoyed by a generous 28% strikeout rate.
Elieser Hernandez (R), 27%, Miami Marlins vs. Pittsburgh Pirates: Just 26-years-old, Hernandez is the elder statesman of one of the youngest and most promising rotations in the league. Keeping in mind his August 31 may not be captured as such in game logs since it was part of the resumption of the April 11 suspended affair, Hernandez has been inconsistent since returning from a quad injury on August 15, though his 4.24 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in those 29 2/3 stanzas are playable in the right matchup. Suffice it to say, a home date with the weak Pirates lineup is a great spot for Hernandez.
Chris Flexen (R), 59%, Seattle Mariners at Kansas City Royals: Yes, Flexen's rostership edges over the 50% cutoff used to identify streaming options, but it is crunch time hence worth checking on the righty's availability. He's not especially dominant, but Flexen has registered a dozen quality starts this season, following one our short of two more. Seattle has won 18 of Flexen's 27 starts and should be favored in this road tilt.
Miles Mikolas (R), 6%, St. Louis Cardinals vs. San Diego Padres: Don't look now but heading into Thursday's action, the Cardinals were a game up on the Padres for the second NL wild card. One of the reasons is San Diego has recorded the 10th lowest wOBA facing righthanders over the second half. Mikolas hasn't pitched well since returning from a forearm issue on August 20 but look for an inspired effort from the veteran in a game with significant playoff implications.
Let's look at the holds leaders this month. There aren't many leagues scoring the stat, but those that do may be interested in a late season boost. Through Thursday's slate, T.J. McFarland (St. Louis Cardinals), Blake Treinen (Los Angeles Dodgers) and Jhoulys Chacin (Colorado Rockies) are tied for the lead with five. However, McFarland hasn't fanned any batters in his 7 2/3 innings, reducing his overall contribution. Next up with four are Luis Garcia (St. Louis Cardinals), Casey Sadler (Seattle Mariners), Steve Cishek (Los Angeles Dodgers) and Ryan Tepera (Chicago White Sox). Sadler and Tepera offer the most enticing mix of holds potential, strikeout ability along with team context.
For the latest team-by-team closer situations, please consult our Closer Chart.
Catcher -- Kurt Suzuki (R), 4%, Los Angeles Angels vs. Oakland Athletics (LHP Cole Irvin): With so many above average hurlers taking the hill on Friday, finding someone to fill in behind the plate is tough. Suzuki is in a rut, but he historically hits southpaws well, including this season with three of his four long balls coming with a lefty on the hill.
First Base -- LaMonte Wade Jr. (L), 16%, San Francisco Giants vs. Atlanta Braves (RHP Ian Anderson): As usual, it's take your pick: Wade or Brandon Belt. Both will be in the lineup, and both have been productive with the platoon edge. Belt offers more power, but he's available in fewer leagues. Meanwhile, Wade leads off and is a slightly better option for a steal.
Second Base -- Romy Gonzalez (R), under 1%, Chicago White Sox at Texas Rangers (LHP Taylor Hearn): Albeit in just nine games after being promoted to Triple-A, Gonzalez posted a 1.132 OPS in 34 plate appearances, earning a September callup. Gonzales playing time has been limited, but he's a candidate to play with a lefty on the hill. If Gonzalez is on the bench, Leury Garcia also qualifies at second base and has been swinging a productive bat this month.
Third Base -- Jake Lamb (L), under 1%, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Minnesota Twins (RHP Michael Pineda): The Blue Jays second half surge is already remarkable but the fact they've done it without Cavan Biggio is even more impressive. Lately, Lamb has filled in at the hot corner against lefthanded pitching. Despite just three hits in his last eight starts, Lamb has drawn five free passes, scored five times, and recorded five RBI. Getting on base in such a potent lineup is a recipe for success in points leagues.
Shortstop -- Jazz Chisholm Jr. (L), 48%, Miami Marlins vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP Wil Crowe): Chisholm's recent production may not reflect it, but he's been punching the ball lately with a batted ball over 95 mph in six of his last seven games, eight in total. Three of these eclipsed 105 mph. Chisholm is in a good spot, enjoying the platoon edge on of the few pitchers on the slate with a below average projected Game Score.
Corner Infield -- Yonny Hernandez (S), 4%, Texas Rangers vs. Chicago White Sox (RHP Dylan Cease): Hernandez's .342 OBP may not seem impressive, especially since small sample warnings apply with only 30 MLB games under his belt. However, the league average OBP is .317 and Hernandez got on base at better than a 39% clip in his four-year minor league career. This relevant since he can run, and the Rangers check in with a 10 in stolen bases on the Hitter Matchup Ratings for September 17. Further, Cease has issued 15 free passes over hos last 26 2/3 innings.
Middle Infield -- Enrique Hernandez (R), 49%, Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles (LHP Keegan Akin): A bit of September swoon has dipped Hernandez's rostership below 50%. However, with the Red Sox returning to Fenway Park to face the weak Orioles staff over the weekend, look for Hernandez and Boston in general to keep the scoreboard operator busy.
Outfield -- Jose Siri (R), 3%, Houston Astros vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (LHP Madison Bumgarner): Here is a deep league special as Siri was called up when rosters expanded to 28 at the beginning of the month. The 25-year-old outfielder has already collected two homers and three steals and should be in the lineup with a lefty on the hill.
Outfield -- Henry Ramos (S), under 1%, Arizona Diamondbacks at Houston Astros (RHP Brandon Bielak): With Framber Valdez scratched from Thursday's start due to a cut on his finger, the Astros started Luis Garcia instead, making Friday a bullpen affair. Bielak takes the hill first. Switch-hitters are always favored in this scenario, putting Ramos in play. The 29-year-old outfielder is getting his first taste of the majors after spending 11 years toiling on the farm. Keeping in mind that Triple-A Reno is one of the best places to hit and Ramos was old for the level. He posted a 1.021 OPS for the Aces before receiving his promotion.
Outfield -- Jarred Kelenic (L), 33%, Seattle Mariners at Kansas City Royals (RHP Brady Singer): Kelenic is another hitter whose recent numbers don't capture how well he's been hitting the ball. In September, the rookie has clocked over half his batted balls over 95 mph, with 10 clearing the century mark. Six have been recorded as a hard out.