TDG Roundtable: Stretch Run Pickups
The Roundtable is back and better than ever! This week, Phil, Ryan, and Bob talk you through some stretch run pickups to make in your dynasty leagues. Thanks for reading!
I wouldn’t recommend any guys I won’t add to my own teams, so these three guys have been added to as many teams as I can fit them on. Most importantly, for an SP, is who their opponents are, because if they were great, they would already be rostered. First up my SP recommendation, Jose Suarez of the Los Angels of Anaheim. 34% rostered in Fantrax and 5% in ESPN, Suarez is a four-year veteran at 24 years of age. His career numbers are not great, but let’s look at the (very) recent history. Over his last three starts, he has three wins, 16 Ks, and an ERA of Zero in 17.1 innings. Now those opponents were the A’s twice and the Royals and his next matchup is versus the Mariners. The Angels have seven games against the Mariners, six versus Detroit, and three against Oakland, Detroit, and Cleveland the rest of the way. There are tough matchups in there as well, the Yankees, Astros, and Toronto, but just don’t start him against them.
Rowan Wick (5% rostered in ESPN, 37% in Fantrax) is my RP as he should be the closer for the Cubs the rest of the way. Being on a good team or bad team does not necessarily matter to getting saves, and Wick has a chance to rack up some as the season winds down. Wick last gave up a run on July 9th, since then, he has an ERA of 0.00, with 11 Ks to only three walks in ten innings pitched. Because Ryan always goes the extra mile, I’ll also suggest a holds league guy too, Alex Vesia of the Dodgers. Rostered in 18% of Fantrax leagues and 2% of ESPN ones, he has seven holds, two wins, 19 Ks to three walks, and a 2.31 ERA in 11.2 IP since June 30th. Dave Roberts is trusting Vesia, and you should too.
Adding hitters at this point in the season is tough, especially in Dynasty leagues of 16 teams or greater. Same as it ever was, but there are guys to target, and in this case, I am targeting steals, and with that, targeting Nicky Lopez of the Royals. He is still playing every day, even with the Royals in rebuild mode, and has four steals, scored six runs, with a .290 batting average over the last two weeks. He is 42% rostered in Fantrax (and 7% in ESPN) so he may be gone already in your league, but steals are steals, and Lopez can get your team those while qualifying at 2B, 3B, and SS in most leagues.
Ryan Felix Fernandes
When coming up with this TDG Round Table I felt I needed to give some context to this particular one with what might or might not be the Slack conversation we had about this one.
Taylor – Hey guys! Let’s do a roundtable in which you pick out a hitter, SP, and RP you will target for the rest of the season under 50% of rosters in ESPN or Fantrax leagues.
Me – Sounds good Taylor! I got a couple of guys in mind that will work for this.
Phil – Well, since it is only three players let’s go with players rostered in only 5% of all leagues.
Me – Phil, we aren’t all the Google of baseball players like you. Why do you have to make it so much more difficult? Don’t you have to work on the sequel of Killer Rabbits or something? We all know that you know more about everything in baseball than any of us!
Ross – Ummm…
Me – Ok besides Ross and his precious prospects! Can you two put your baseball genius aside this one time so I can actually contribute to this roundtable? You guys will still have the opportunity to make me look bad.
Ross – You do that on your own.
Me – Ross…. I’m not talking to you!! Can you go scout the statline or check your Twitter direct messages to see if Luis Arráez finally responded to any of the hundred messages you sent him.
Phil – Ok 6% rostered in leagues and check out my blog on Waypastcool.org.
Taylor – Okay guys we are getting off track. Let’s just stick with the 50% so Ryan can contribute to this one. Phil, you can go as low as you want. Also, you can listen to my podcast Dynasty’s Child on Spotify and Apple music for more players to target.
Phil – I guess I can dumb it down for Ryan this one time so he can do his schtick with comparing players to Dorito flavors or pretending to be Mike Rizzo.
Me – I got plenty of flavors to choose from.. Don’t you worry Phil! Nats = 2026 world champs!
Ross – The Statline knows all! Ar-Ross-arez forever! Also, check out scoutthestatline.com for more targets.
Me – How does everyone have their own website or podcast, but me? When are you guys inviting me to join your podcast or gonna ask me to contribute to your sites?
~ Taylor, Ross, and Phil have left this thread ~
Bob – Who is Ryan? I just jumped on the thread to see who Phil picked. Phil is the best!!!!!
~ Bob has left the thread ~
So after creating a Luis Arráez burner account on Twitter to mess with Ross and eating two family-size Sweet Chilli Doritos I came up with the three guys you should target using my patented Dorito-metrics using a 1 to 10 scale with 10 being caliente or the best.
Elehuris Montero – Colorado Rockies 1B/3B 31% rostered on Fantrax – Poppin’ Jalapeno Level – 5ish
Since being called up Montero has earned playing time this time in the majors after Kris Bryant was put on the IL. After three cups of coffee with the Rockies, Montero seems to have earned some steady playing time. He has hit .263 going 21-80 with a home run, 7 RBIs and 9 runs scored. With 21 games left at home it will only be a matter of time for Montero’s power to show in not only for this season, but beyond. Montero should have a spot on the major league roster. The question will be where with CJ Cron who had a good season at 1B signed through next year and Ryan McMahon at 3B with that 6-year extension. Montero might split time at 1B and DH next year with Cron probably being trade bait next season. Yeah, I already eliminated the Rockies from the playoffs next year, but Montero should be a really good fantasy player.
Drew Smyly – Chicago Cubs SP 30% rostered on Fantrax – Cool Ranch Level – 1-2ish
Somewhere Chris Knock is smiling with me adding a Cub to this list. I did just watch the Field of Dreams game in which Smyly got the win with five shutout innings and nine strikeouts. (By the way, that part with Griffey Jr and Sr playing catch made me call my dad and apologize for making him run all over his backyard trying to catch my horrible throws.) Smyly has pitched pretty well in three out of four starts. Not counting the start in San Francisco, he has averaged 6 innings a start with only two runs allowed and 17 strikeouts. The Cubs remaining schedule isn’t too brutal, but I wouldn’t start him against the Cardinals on August 22nd and his next turn is against Toronto on August 29th or 30th. The rest of the season though, he will be pitching against teams out of the playoff picture or teams he has had pretty good success against this season. If you need a spot start against favorable opponents Smyly is someone you might want to target, but yeah it probably will be better to go with Phil’s and Bob’s guys first before picking Smyly up.
Alexis Díaz – Cincinnati Reds RP 40% rostered on Fantrax – Flamin’ Hot Limon – 9-10!!!!!!
Ok pick this guy up now! Don’t waste time reading this! Pick him up now! Stop eating those Doritos and pick him up! Why are you still reading this without picking him up? You didn’t do it yet? Well, I tried… I understand a guy who isn’t the primary closer in the Reds’ bullpen doesn’t get you excited right now. With them not winning many games and Díaz only getting save opportunities when Hunter Strickland isn’t available doesn’t sound like a guy who you should rush to get. I am telling you though this is just the beginning of him following in the steps of being a shutdown closer like his big brother Edwin over in Queens. In his last 14 appearances, he only has given up one run with 24 strikeouts and 5 walks. If your league gives points for holds you that should warrant you taking a chance on Diaz now for the rest of the season and if not for dynasty reasons you still will want him on your roster because it is only a matter of time till he is officially the closer for the Reds with Strickland who has four blown saves in eleven opportunities and an ERA of 5.74 this season. Hopefully, Díaz will have a cool entrance song when he closes games like Edwin. If you haven’t seen the clips of Edwin Díaz entering a game for the Mets you should check it out. It will make you pretend you are playing the trumpet. My vote for Alexis’s song goes to Vivir Mi Vida (Live my Life) by Marc Anthony. So you still haven’t picked him up yet? I bet if Phil or Taylor said to pick up Diaz you would have by now. I can get one right too!!
Coming soon – Dorrito-metrics.com
Finding hitters that stand out from the crowd and are available on the waiver wire in a majority of leagues is not easy, but the Gurus are here to help! Let’s start with a former first-round draft pick who has been getting regular playing time lately and taking full advantage. Nick Gordon of the Minnesota Twins has been on fire lately putting up a slash line of .333/.385/.515 over the past 14 days. He is only 38% rostered in Fantrax, but this sort of performance may not go unnoticed for much longer. Gordon’s spot in the batting order fluctuates, but he finds himself closer to the middle more often than not which is leading to solid counting stats (six runs and five RBI in the last 14 days). There is a bit of swing-and-miss in his game (24.3 K%), and he does not walk a ton (4.9 BB%), but his batted ball metrics are very solid with quite a bit of red on his Statcast page. Gordon has triple eligibility (2B,SS,OF) allowing you to cover several roster spots for the stretch run while contributing in categories across the board.
Another pickup who is even more widely available (only 31% rostered in Fantrax) is Cleveland Guardians outfielder Oscar Gonzalez who recently returned from a stay on the IL. In his games back, he has gone 14-for-43 (.326) with a .465 SLG. Gonzalez has also found himself batting in the middle of the Guardians lineup that does a surprisingly good job of getting on base and manufacturing runs. He does not walk much, only a 2.9 BB%, but he also does not strike out much with only a 20.2 K%. His batted ball metrics are solid with an average barrel rate and above-average hard-hit rate but to me, the most intriguing part of his profile is a max exit velocity of 113.1 mph which is in the top ten percent of the league and shows true power potential (not to mention the 31 home runs across AA and AAA in 2021!).
As far as pitcher pickups go, it’s even tougher, as most names available on the wire at this point are nothing more than streamers. My first piece of advice here is to look ahead at matchups and target matchups against the weaker offenses in the league (ARZ, DET, WAS, COL-away, PIT). This can bring you plenty of success during the remainder of the season, but it can also be an emotional roller coaster. Understand what categories you need to target in roto to make up points and look for the best streaming matchups later in the week in case you need a boost in a head-to-head matchup. I like to keep a roster spot open for streaming at all times personally, especially as we get into the later parts of the season, but remember to watch for guys that pop up and can stick on your roster too.
One potential name that could stick on a roster would be Clarke Schmidt of the New York Yankees. He is currently mowing down the opposition in AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. In his last outing on August 11, Schmidt threw six perfect innings with 11 strikeouts, and he only needed 78 pitches to do so. After some interesting moves at the trade deadline, the Yankees starting pitching depth is now precariously shallow leaving Schmidt as the next man up. He spent time in the bullpen earlier in the year and had reasonable success as a reliever, but it was clear that the Yankees wanted to keep him stretched out to be able to start at some point. Now with names such as Montgomery, Sears, and Waldichuk off the depth chart, he is the next arm up should there be an injury or innings need to be limited for someone like Nasty Nestor. Judging from the names the Yankees were willing to move on from, it would seem they have confidence should Schmidt be called into action. Schmidt has shown the ability to keep the ball on the ground and strike out more than a batter per inning using a rather deep pitching arsenal that contains three plus pitches. Stashing a guy in the minors might be hard right now, but having him on your roster may be worth it if/when he gets the call back to the bigs.
Relief pitchers…okay…here we go. Typically any RPs added at this point of the season are with the hopes of finding saves. Unfortunately, the pitchers available are usually of questionable skill and pitch for below-average teams. Despite that, saves are saves, and it’s typically a category where you can pick up some standings points late in the season. Check for names such as Rowan Wick (CHC), Alexis Diaz (CIN), Kyle Finnegan (WAS), Ian Kennedy (ARZ), and Johnathan Hernández (TEX). For the record, I would take Hernández out of all the names in this group.
For leagues that reward both saves and holds it’s important to target talented bullpens of good teams. One group of arms that has been standing out lately is that of the Seattle Mariners. Paul Sewald still seems to be the favorite for saves, but there are plenty of other talented arms behind him that will be picking up holds and the occasional save. Andres Munoz and Erik Swanson have both been superb lately and can help with strikeouts and ratios along with saves plus holds.
I want to throw in one bold prediction here as well, that Lou Trivino will earn multiple saves for the New York Yankees during the last two months of the season. The back end of the Yankees bullpen has been shaky lately and I am not sure if they truly have a set closer right now. Clay Holmes has been struggling, I don’t think they trust Aroldis Chapman currently, and Jonathan Loáisiga just isn’t pitching well. Trivino pitches with high velocity and high spin rates and I bet the Yankees can tweak something to help him have better results, similar to what they did after acquiring Holmes at last year’s trade deadline. He has not given up a run since the trade so his performance has been solid, and his closer experience makes him a viable option for the ninth inning.