One good gauge of a successful fantasy baseball season is how much it overlaps with fantasy football season. With Week 1 getting underway this Sunday, don’t forget to make the moves you need to finish the fantasy baseball season strong as well. If you need to make some moves, it’s a great sign that you’ve had a good season and are in the hunt for the championship — so congratulations and welcome to the final stretch.
With just a few weeks left in the MLB regular season, it’s going to be a jam-packed week of action. In the coming seven days, 22 of the 30 teams overall in Major League Baseball are scheduled for six games while the Houston Astros, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers are scheduled to play seven games and the Milwaukee Brewers are only scheduled to play five times, the lowest mark for the coming week. How many times a team plays and the matchups they will face is one of many factors to consider when adding to your lineup this week.
Check out the four widely available players I think are poised for a big finish to the season and can help push your team to the finish line. There are also other specialty options to consider listed at the bottom as well.
1B/OF Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants (vs. SD, vs. ATL)
Belt has been limited to 84 games this season due to multiple injuries. However, when he has been healthy, he has been an excellent fantasy contributor. He is hitting .258 with a new career-high of 23 home runs which have helped him to a .309 ISO and .390 wOBA.
Since coming off the injured list in August, Belt has established himself as a key producer in the second spot in the batting order while going 28-for-105 (.267) with 12 home runs, a .390 ISO, a.418 wOBA and an impressive 16.9% barrel rate. Belt and the Giants are at home for all seven of their games this week, and six of their seven opposing starting pitchers are right-handed, putting the left-handed-hitting 1B on the favorable side of the splits.
2B/SS Nicky Lopez, Kansas City Royals (vs. OAK, vs. SEA)
The Royals are out of the pennant race but have two key series this week against the Mariners and Athletics, who are battling for the Wild Card. Lopez has emerged as a very useful fantasy specialist over the second half of the season with on-base skills and stolen bases making him very usable in the right situations despite only two home runs all season. He’s hitting exactly .300 on the season with a .329 wOBA and 19 stolen bases.
He has been red-hot lately, collecting multiple hits in seven of his past eight games. Over the past month, he has hit an impressive .384 in 28 games with nine stolen bases and 20 runs scored. During that run, he has mostly hit second in the Royals’ order where his on-base and speed skillset provides him plenty of run-producing chances. Don’t grab Lopez off the wire expecting power, but if you need hits, runs and stolen bases, he’s is a great option to consider.
Gil’s long-awaited return to the Yankees’ rotation didn’t go as planned, as he only lasted 3 1⁄3 innings against the Blue Jays while handing out seven walks. He still struck out six and allowed only three runs, but it was a disappointing outcome for the 23-year-old rookie. He should be in a great spot to bounce back this week with starts against Baltimore and Cleveland.
In his three previous Major League starts, Gil had thrown 15 2⁄3 shutout innings with an impressive 18 strikeouts. His 11.37 K/9 rate shows his incredible upside, and even after his rough outing, he has a 1.42 ERA and 2.85 FIP. Gil has dominated during his time at Triple-A as well, going 4-0 with 60 strikeouts in 46 1⁄3 innings. His strikeout upside and two favorable matchups make him my favorite two-start pickup for the week
RP Mychal Givens, Cincinnati Reds (at PIT, vs. LAD)
The Reds’ bullpen has had a revolving door at closer this season, but they have been getting good work from Givens lately and have worked their way into a tie with the Padres for the second Wild Card spot. Givens pitched for the Orioles and Rockies before joining the Reds for 17 games this year in an under-the-radar trade deadline deal.
In his time with the Reds, he has allowed no runs in 15 of 17 appearances and has 15 strikeouts in 16 innings. He has three saves in his past four appearances and seven saves in eight save opportunities overall. While the Reds’ bullpen hasn’t offered much stability all year, Givens seems to have secured the closer’s role for now and makes a good pickup if you’re still searching for saves.
Specialty pickups to consider
Power pickup: Bobby Dalbec, Boston Red Sox
Power pickup II: DJ Peters, Texas Rangers
Prospect Starting to Deliver Pickup: Jo Adell, Los Angeles Angels
Locked in at Leadoff Pickup: Lane Thomas, Washington Nationals
SB Pickup: Yonny Hernandez, Texas Rangers
C Pickup: Alejandro Kirk, Toronto Blue Jays
Great Lineup Opportunity: Jake Meyers, Houston Astros
Good Bat in a Bad Lineup Pickup: Austin Hays, Baltimore Orioles
Two-Start SP Pickup: José Urquidy, Houston Astros
Two-Start SP Pickup II: Jon Gray, Colorado Rockies
One-start but still solid SP Pickup: Ranger Suárez, Philadelphia Phillies
Saves Pickup: Dylan Floro, Miami Marlins
Saves Pickup II: Carlos Estévez, Colorado Rockies
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