Forward Thinking: Final Week of the Season Edition
With just a week left in the season, dynasty owners in the championship race are doing whatever they can to get that extra little help to put them over the top. Most of these moves are designed to help in the short term, but savvy owners still may be able to pick up players to help in the last ten days, and contribute beyond 2016. Below are four players who may still be available in small to mid-size leagues who can contribute more than just this season.
Matt Andriese, SP – Tampa Bay Rays: The 27-year-old’s season as a whole has been nothing close to spectacular, as he owns a 4.41 ERA over 27 games, 17 of which he started. Even over the last 30 days, he’s letting up almost an earned run per inning. But if you dive a little deeper, the peripherals show a glimmer of hope. In his past five starts, Andriese has struck out nearly a batter per inning. And on the season as a whole, Andriese’s DRA has him just outside the top 50 among big-league pitchers with at least 110 innings, while his cFIP is sitting around league-average as well. With one more start scheduled for the rest of this season, pitching-needy teams could take a flier on Andriese, and see if he can make the rotation to start next season.
Tyler Anderson, SP – Colorado Rockies: The rookie left-hander has flown relatively under the radar despite a stellar first 100 big-league innings. He’s currently striking out nearly a batter-per-inning, while holding the 21st best DRA in the league for pitchers with at least 100 innings. His biggest issue, pitching at Coors Field, hasn’t effected his season thus far. In fact, he’s actually pitching better at home, with a 3.00 ERA in his 78 innings pitched at high altitude. The 26-year-old has flourished at home, largely because of his arsenal. Anderson has limited the use of his curveball and sinker, two pitches I’ve mentioned recently are negatively effected by the thin air. He’s also been leaning heavily on his cutter, one pitch that does not have a major impact at Coors. Anderson, along with Jon Gray and Jeff Hoffman may be changing the way fantasy owners look at Colorado’s pitching, and smart owners need to be ahead of the trend before everyone else catches on.
Ryan Schimpf, 2B – San Diego Padres: The 28-year-old rookie has provided some unexpected pop for the owners who took a chance on him earlier this season. In just under half a season’s at-bats, Schimpf has hit 19 home runs to drive an absurd a .320 ISO. That ISO is tops in the league by a wide margin among batters with at least 250 plate appearances, eight points ahead of David Ortiz. Strikeouts have been an issue for the rookie, dragging his batting average down quite a bit, but his 12 percent walk rate gives him a significant bump in OBP formats. In deeper dynasty leagues where Schimpf might be available, he could help with a little bump in power, and he’s worth a flier to see if the pixie dust reserves run deep enough to spill into next season.
Jedd Gyorko, 2B – St. Louis Cardinals: The former top prospect probably isn’t available in deeper leagues this late in the season, but in shallower leagues, Gyorko may be a solid target for the last week-plus. In his first season with the Cardinals, his average has continued to suffer (partly due to a .244 BABIP), but the power returned, as he’s hit 27 homeruns in 409 plate appearances. Along with the power, Gyorko offers multi-eligibility for owners being hurt by injuries late in the season. With average exit velocity and success against the shifts, I expect the utility infielders average to rebound a bit, making Gyorko could be a solid addition for large keeper leagues.
Teams in the thick of the championship race with seven days left first and foremost need to focus on making the right moves to get to the promise land. But that doesn’t need to be their sole focus. There are players on most waiver wires who not only can help them make that little extra push, but may be able to contribute over the next few years. I’ve highlighted four of those players above.