Note that these aren't my top 10 sleeper pitchers for Week 27 (Sept. 27-Oct. 3). We're still a few days away from that, and in the meantime, rotations could realign, throwing off the matchups and ruining half the list. Predicting which pitchers will start on which days even a week in advance is dicey enough. Trying to do so with two weeks to go is generally not worth the trouble.
But we're not dealing with general circumstances right now. This is it -- one more lineup lock to go. It means you can act a little more aggressively in the interest of getting the jump on your competition, which may only be one team if it's a Head-to-Head league.
So why not scoop up every available starting pitcher who might be of some use in the season's final week, if not for your own needs then to block the other guy? Better to do it than to have it done to you.
Again, the matchups could change in the meantime, but the priority now is to be the one to act first. With that in mind, here are the 10 who stand out the most to me, ranked from most desirable to least desirable.
Joe Ryan SP
MIN Minnesota • #41 • Age: 27
As long as he doesn't show any ill effects from that recent liner off the wrist when he faces the Cubs this week, he'll be an obvious play with matchups as good as these and is still widely available. The Twins don't seem to be handling him with kid gloves either.
TEX Texas • #52 • Age: 31
I normally wouldn't mention a player already rostered in 80 percent of leagues, but it's disproportionately low for the caliber of play we've seen from Montgomery, who's been remarkably steady while showing flashes of dominance. He's a good enough bat-misser that he's always worth the gamble with two starts, even when the matchups are iffy.
Alex Cobb SP
SF San Francisco • #38 • Age: 36
His splitter continued to play up last week in his return from a lengthy IL stint, leading to the same sorts of outcomes that have given him a 3.16 xFIP for the year. He only threw 66 pitches, which made him impossible to recommend against the Astros this week, but he should be fully stretched out for this much more favorable matchup next week.
Cole Irvin SP
BAL Baltimore • #19 • Age: 30
The bipolar matchups are always tricky, but I generally buy into the premise that two starts are better than one. The Astros may be resting their starters by the time Irvin faces them anyway. At least you don't have to worry about an early hook with him, which isn't the case for so many pitchers this time of year.
CLE Cleveland • #59 • Age: 36
After a long wait for his season debut, he hasn't been as dominant as we're used to him, particularly with regard to missing bats. He's done a good job of limiting damage lately, though, and the Marlins lineup should help with that. Check on the status of his thumb in his start at Milwaukee this week.
Tylor Megill SP
NYM N.Y. Mets • #38 • Age: 28
As with Carrasco, the weakness of the Marlins lineup should prevent a disaster scenario, and Megill is just two starts removed from striking out 10 Yankees. He has two above-average secondary pitches and a fastball that also gets its share of whiffs, so it's easy to see the upside.
COL Colorado • #49 • Age: 29
He hasn't gone about it in the most conventional way, but Senzatela's streak of seven straight quality starts isn't a fluke either. There's something to be said for throwing strikes and keeping the ball off the ground, both of which he has done at an elite level. The matchup is right next week, particularly with no threat of Coors Field shenanigans.
OAK Oakland • #32 • Age: 29
He had been in something of a tailspin, but a near demotion to the bullpen may have pulled him out of it seeing as he two-hit the Angels over six innings last time out. The long ball is usually his undoing, but he gets a weak lineup in a big park next week.
LAA L.A. Angels • #31 • Age: 34
The Angels offense has been a mess in the second half and this month especially. Meanwhile, Tyler Anderson has been delivering quality starts with some frequency and is coming off a seven-inning gem at the Athletics last time out.
DET Detroit • #38 • Age: 35
Pineda has spent much of the year on the IL and may not be fully built up yet, but his velocity has been up since his return. His first three starts have gone well enough, and the matchup is favorable. You could do worse than him in a pinch.