Jared Walsh is winning leagues for many managers right now. The 27-year-old homered again Wednesday night, giving him seven long balls in his past 10 games. And he has been more than a one-dimensional hitter, collecting 13 hits in his past six contests. The fantasy advice here is simple: don’t think too hard. Walsh is so hot that he needs to be in the active lineup in absolutely every league. For those who want to look at the slugger’s long-term future, there is reason to believe that he figured something out last year while positing an eye-popping 1.109 OPS in Triple-A. The track record for late-bloomers isn’t great, but when drafting in 2021, we can’t ignore someone who has hit 44 homers in his past 151 games played.
DeGrom forced to leave early
Jacob deGrom may have lost his chance at a third straight Cy Young award when he departed his Wednesday start with a hamstring spasm after allowing two runs across two frames. The right-hander fell from first to fourth in the National League in ERA and is now likely looking up at both Trevor Bauer and Yu Darvish in the award race. From a fantasy perspective, the injury is the best news possible when losing an ace this late in the season. There seems to be a good chance that deGrom will make at least one more 2020 start, and he could be the first hurler selected in 2021 drafts.
Fantasy managers tend to place all of their reliever-related attention at the bottom end of the position, as they stalk the weakest closers in search of their eventual successors. But as the season winds down, we should take a moment to notice the man at the top. Liam Hendricks picked up his league-leading 13th save on Wednesday and has been by far the best reliever asset this season. Among closers with at least nine saves, Hendricks is joined by just one man (Alex Colome) as having a sub-2.00 ERA and is also one of just two (along with Brad Hand) to own a WHIP under 1.00. With Josh Hader showing some inconsistency this year, Hendricks could be the first reliever selected in 2021 drafts.
Daniel Hudson suffered his fifth blown save of the season when Brandon Lowe took him deep with two outs in the ninth inning. The right-hander is now sporting a 7.13 ERA and has allowed at least one run in four of his past seven appearances. Homers have been a major problem for Hudson (3.1 HR/9 rate), and he would probably have been removed from the closer’s role by now if Washington remained in the postseason race. Those who have been relying on Hudson may now want to pivot to Toronto closer Rafael Dolis, who remains available in 60 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Wainwright defies Father Time
I have to admit that I didn’t see this Adam Wainwright resurgence coming. The 39-year-old entered 2020 on a string of four straight forgettable seasons before turning back the clock to the tune of a 2.87 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP. And he showed no signs of slowing down Wednesday when he tossed a complete-game (seven innings) in a win over the Brewers. Looking at Waino’s advanced metrics don’t offer many reasons for his resurgence. The veteran is using the same pitch mix as in recent years and has similar batted-ball data. His 4.05 FIP likely paints an accurate picture of someone who would be due for regression if this season wasn’t so short. Keep this in mind before drafting Wainwright next year.
Ken Giles was placed on the IL, ending his regular season and ensuring that Rafael Dolis will remain the Blue Jays closer.
In other Toronto news, Teoscar Hernandez was activated from the IL. He should return to the starting lineup in the next day or two and ought to be activated in virtually every league.
Gleyber Torres continued to sit out and remains day-to-day. But in positive Yankees news, Aaron Judge was activated from the IL.
J.T. Realmuto remains out of the lineup with a day-to-day hip injury.
Adam Eaton left the Nationals win over the Rays in the fifth inning with a bruised finger.
Dylan Moore departed after being hit in the head by a pitch, but did not seem seriously injured and should be considered day-to-day.
Favorable Weekend Hitting Matchups
The Yankees hitters should thrive during a weekend series in Boston. Most of their regulars are must-start in all formats, including Clint Frazier, who remains available in roughly two-thirds of Yahoo leagues.
The Blue Jays, Phillies, Marlins and Nationals will all play four games from Friday to Sunday. Toronto can offer Randal Grichuk as a streamer in most formats and Travis Shaw in 15-team leagues, while their opponents from Philadelphia have plenty of streaming options, including Alec Bohm, Jean Segura and Andrew McCutchen. Among the many Marlins who are commonly on waivers, Jesus Aguilar, Brian Anderson and Miguel Rojas are preferable options. Remarkably, the defending World Series champs don’t have much to offer in terms of streamers.
The Dodgers will spend the weekend at hitter-friendly Coors Field, with utilityman Chris Taylor ranking as my preferred streamer from their lesser-rostered group. Additionally, Joc Pederson has the perfect venue to turn around an otherwise disappointing season.
Starters to Stream
Jordan Montgomery (@BOS)
Adrian Houser (vs. KC)
Pablo Lopez (vs. WSH)
Tyler Mahle (vs. CWS)
Ryan Yarbrough (@BAL)
Sandy Alcantara (vs. WSH)
Deivi Garcia (@BOS)