The dog days of summer are just about behind us with just about one month remaining in the Major League Baseball regular season. Since season-long fantasy baseball leagues are almost done with their regular season, it’s time to make your last roster move or two in order to get your team primed for the postseason. There are still some great pickups on many leagues’ waiver wires, some of which are short-term, one-week options while others are longer-term pickups that can help you the rest of the way on your run to the championship.
The coming week will be a busier one than usual across the Majors with nine of the 30 MLB teams play seven games and the New York Mets even more active with eight games over seven days. The majority of teams play six times, and only the Chicago White Sox play fewer with only five contests on their schedule. The quality and amount of upcoming matchups are always factors to consider while shopping the waiver wire. Check out my top two hitters and two pitchers highlighted below along with some intriguing specialty options listed at the bottom of the post.
1B/3B/OF Patrick Wisdom, Chicago Cubs (at MIN, vs. PIT)
Since the trading deadline, the Cubs’ lineup has been remarkably unimpressive on paper, but they have actually had some sneaky value and get a very favorable slate this week. Ian Happ, Frank Schwindel and Rafael Ortega have all been useful, but by far the best bat in Chicago’s lineup has been Wisdom, who is on the verge of catching Kris Bryant for the team’s rookie home run record even though he has only played 82 games.
The 30-year-old rookie has posted an eye-popping .327 ISO and .379 wOBA with a hard-hit rate of 53.5%, per Statcast. All his splits are fairly balanced, so he should have no trouble feasting against the Twins and Pirates, especially with four games against the Pirates at the friendly confines of Wrigley Field. Wisdom seems to be a smart pickup, coming into the week riding an unreal power surge with seven home runs over his past eight games.
OF Connor Joe, Colorado Rockies (at TEX, vs. ATL)
The Rockies are another team with an underwhelming record but a favorable schedule and some good potential pickups for the final month of the season. They start the week with three games in Texas before coming home to Coors Field for four games, making C.J. Cron almost must-own, Brendan Rodgers useful and Connor Joe a nice addition worth considering. Right at the top of their lineup, though, don’t overlook Connor Joe, who has established himself as a reliable producer in a key lineup spot.
Since Raimel Tapia (toe) has been sidelined, Joe has moved into the leadoff spot for Colorado for the past 18 games. During that time, Joe is 18-for-65 (.277) with 10 walks helping boost his OPS to .941. He has a solid .200 ISO and .396 wOBA over that time as well while scoring 13 runs and driving in 15. With Tapia expected back this week, Joe could move to the second spot or drop further in the lineup but should continue to get opportunities given his strong results. Especially those four games at Coors Field set up well for him since he has a .299 ISO and .448 wOBA at home, where he has five of his eight home runs along with a .343 home batting average.
SP Tarik Skubal, Detroit Tigers, (vs. OAK, at CIN)
Josiah Gray was highlighted in this spot last week, but his start was moved back making him a two-start option this coming week, and he’s again a great pickup if still available. If you have Gray or already missed out on him, Skubal is another two-start option to consider who also brings high strikeout upside. Skubal is a little more proven than Gray but his matchups aren’t quite as good, and he continues to give up too many home runs to be a totally safe option.
His upside is definitely attractive, though, since the 24-year-old has a 10.13 K/9 rate on the season and is coming off four strong outings in which he has 27 strikeouts and just four total runs allowed in 22 2⁄3 innings. Skubal is 8-11 on the season with a 4.01 ERA and 4.89 FIP. Even if he does give up some long balls to the Athletics and Reds, he should provide enough volume and strikeouts to be a solid two-start option this week.
RP Adam Ottavino, Boston Red Sox (at TB, vs. CLE)
If you’re still chasing saves or looking to add a reliever to the mix for the last month of the season, it’s definitely worth considering Ottavino, who seems to be Boston’s choice to replace the disastrous Matt Barnes at the end of close games. Barnes was good most of the season but has struggled badly in August with a 14.21 ERA. Ottavino successfully closed out wins on Friday and Saturday in Cleveland, giving him 10 saves on the season.
He has made 56 appearances and put together a 9.89 K/9 rate on his way to a 3.46 ERA and 3.03 FIP. He has given up only two runs in 10 innings this month and none since Aug. 15. Clinging to the second Wild Card spot, Boston can’t wait around for Barnes to get things right, so look for Ottavino to remain the closer for this coming week as the Red Sox face the Rays in a critical four-game set before coming home for some very winnable games against Cleveland.
Specialty pickups to consider
Power Pickup: Jorge Soler, Atlanta Braves
Speed Pickup: Myles Straw, Cleveland Indians
C Pickup: Eric Haase, Detroit Tigers
Back from IL Pickup: Yasmani Grandal, Chicago White Sox
Still Underowned: Tyler Naquin, Cincinnati Reds
Still Underowned II: Jazz Chisholm Jr., Miami Marlins
SB Pickup: Nicky Lopez, Kansas City Royals
Utility Pickup: Kyle Farmer, Cincinnati Reds
Two-Start SP Pickup: Josiah Gray, Washington Nationals
Saves Pickup: Scott Barlow, Kansas City Royals
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
21+ (18+ NH). CO/IL/IN/IA/NH/NJ/PA/TN/VA/WV/MI only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions.