Happy Wednesday, everyone! We're in the final scoring week for almost every Fantasy Baseball league, although I know many of you saw your leagues close out this past Sunday. We'll dive right into the action and lead today off with the impressive performance from Bryce Elder, who threw six shutout frames against the Nationals. Elder allowed just one walk, six hits and he struck out six. He really leaned into one specific pitch in this outing -- his slider -- and it looked like one of the best pitches of the night by any starter.
Elder brings his ERA down to a sparkling 2.76 after this outing, and although his minor-league numbers were awful this season, they were the opposite the year before. Elder is an intriguing name to keep an eye on moving forward.
We'll get into some more of the action below, but first, get caught up on Scott White's latest waiver wire plays. You can find all of his favorite plays here.
Scott's favorite waiver plays
Hunter Greene, SP: "There's no pitcher more deserving of a pickup for the final scoring period than Greene -- if not for your own sake, then just for the sake of keeping him away from everyone else. The rookie has been throwing smoke since returning from a shoulder strain, consistently topping 100 mph while registering a combined 19 strikeouts on a combined 40 swinging strikes in two starts. It's a fitting demonstration of his full potential to finish off an up-and-down rookie season, and his remaining matchups are against the Pirates and Cubs, two lineups full of hitters who barely pass as major-leaguers."
Taylor Ward, OF: "Remember that miserable stretch early in the season when a combination of cold temperatures and newly installed humidors was suppressing offense league-wide? Ward was a rare exception, hitting .370 with nine homers and a 1.194 OPS in his first 30 games. You may have presumed it was a fluke given the way his season has gone since then, but he's suddenly producing again. With a two-homer game Friday, he's now batting .325 with four homers and a .925 OPS in September. Ward's downturn in May began right about the time he missed a few games with a shoulder injury, so maybe it's taken this long for him to feel right again. Even if it's just a coincidence, you have to like that he's facing nothing but Athletics and Rangers pitchers the rest of the way."
Vinnie Pasquantino, DH: "Pasquantino has been a favorite of mine since before the Royals even called him up, and quietly, he's been exactly who I thought he'd be over his past 31 games, batting .359 (38 for 106) with six homers and a 1.034 OPS. So why hasn't it gotten more attention? Because it was interrupted by an IL stint for a shoulder issue. Pasquantino has looked fine in 14 games since returning, batting .354 (17 for 48), but it took until Saturday for him to deliver his first home run during that stint. And we all know home runs are what attract the most attention in Fantasy. Consider it a gift he's still out there because this may be the week he finally blows up."
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Impressive Orioles outfielders
It was a slow start to the season for Cedric Mullins, but he has really proved his Roto value with a strong second half. He added another homer and steal over the past two games and is now batting .261 with 16 homers and 32 bags. This makes him the 10th best outfielder in Roto and 39th-best player overall. This comes despite a dreadful .203 average and .573 OPS against lefties.
Anthony Santander is also coming around after hitting a double dong and collecting three hits on Tuesday. He is on fire with multiple homers in three of his last four games to bring his total to 33 on the season! Santander entered Tuesday as the OF15 in H2H points, OF18 in Roto (71st overall).
Fantasy news, injuries and notes
For a complete recap of every injury, update and more, make sure you're locked into the Fantasy Baseball Today podcast where Frank, Scott and Chris dive deep into every player note. For the CliffsNotes version, we'll recap the biggest news and notes you need to know right here:
- Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto said Julio Rodriguez is on track to return from the IL when first eligible on Monday, Oct. 3.
- Yordan Alvarez was pulled after rolling his ankle. His X-rays came back clean.
- Byron Buxton underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Tuesday. He finishes the season with a .224 BA, 28 HR, 6 SB in just 92 games. Buxton has not hit 100 games played since 2017.
- Michael Kopech likely won't pitch again this season, and it was a weird one for him in his first full year as a starter. Surface level numbers look OK, but the ERA estimators and swinging strike rates were not.
- Tim Anderson was also shut down for the season as he recovers from left hand surgery. He's now missed 31.5% of his available games over the past four seasons.
- Trevor Story is aiming to return for the Red Sox final series against the Rays next week in case you can set your lineups one more time.
- DJ LeMahieu could be activated Wednesday. His rehab process has reached the point of saying "let's go give this thing a go," referring to his toe injury.
- Lance McCullers was scratched Tuesday due to an illness.
- Yandy Diaz expects to be in Wednesday's lineup. He's missed seven straight with a shoulder injury.
- Zach Plesac is confirmed to start Friday against the Royals, which could affect Cody Morris' chance at a second start in this long scoring period.
- MacKenzie Gore is trending toward making one start for the Nationals before the end of the season. He gave up six earned runs over 3.2 innings in his latest rehab start Monday.
- Alek Thomas was optioned back to Triple-A Monday after a rough rookie season that saw him hit just .231 with a .619 OPS. The D-Backs highlighted pitch selection as what Thomas needs to improve most.
- Michael Chavis was DFA'd by the Pirates with old friend Miguel Andujar promoted to the active roster.
- Matt Carpenter could return during the Yankees' final series against the Rangers next week.