And just like that, there's only a week and a half left in the Fantasy Baseball season. Any moves that we make either help us this weekend in daily lineup leagues or next week in weekly lineups. With that being said, you should be targeting Nationals hitters for the final week, particularly Lane Thomas and Keibert Ruiz. In 34 games with the Nationals, Thomas is batting .294 with six home runs and three steals. Even more enticing is the fact that the Nats play three games in Coors Field next week.
Along with Thomas, Keibert Ruiz is a catcher to stream even in one-catcher leagues with those three games in Coors. On top of that, Ruiz comes with massive prospect pedigree plus he's starting to hit. He has five hits with five RBI over his past two games. Even without Trea Turner, the Nationals offense found a way to stay afloat thanks to names like Thomas, Josh Bell, and of course Juan Soto. If you need an outfielder or catcher for the final week, Thomas and Ruiz are your guys.
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Gausman limping to finish line
Giants SP Kevin Gausman was one of the best stories as a Fantasy Baseball breakout this season and one of the biggest reasons why San Francisco has taken the MLB by storm, but he's certainly not closing out the season strong. On Tuesday, Gausman got hit up by the Padres to the tune of four earned runs and nine hits over just four innings pitched.
Over 13 second-half starts, Gausman now holds a 5.05 ERA. He has allowed a .361 BABIP in the second half and a 3.31 xFIP before Tuesday's start. Gausman is making it really hard to trust him in Fantasy drafts next season but more importantly for the final week of the season. Some of you have likely already removed him from your lineups, and it's hard to blame you for that.
Gausman will close out the season with a two-start week and that will make it even more difficult to bench him. This becomes more apparent when you factor in that one of those starts will come against the Diamondbacks (with the other coming against San Diego).
News and notes
- Chris Bassitt will indeed return Thursday and start against the Mariners. He's 76% rostered and 14% started. James Kaprielian is moving back to the bullpen.
- Carlos Rodon reported more soreness after his start Monday, needing 69 pitches to get through three innings against the Tigers. Apparently his next start will come next Wednesday against the Reds. He's averaging 93.6 MPH on his fastball through three September starts compared to 95.6 MPH on the season. Does it even make sense to hold on to him or just stash a better pitcher for next week?
- Shane Bieber will be activated from the 60-day IL to make a start later this week so long as he doesn't suffer any setbacks following Tuesday's bullpen session. Would you throw him back in the lineup in daily leagues?
- If you're wondering why Bieber is even returning at all, I found this in Zack Meisel's article on The Athletic: "Bieber has stressed that a normal offseason, with a customary build toward spring training, is the goal. So he would prefer to make an appearance or two before the end of the MLB season to have tangible results to reference after the completion of his recovery from a shoulder strain."
- Jacob DeGrom threw a 20-pitch bullpen session Tuesday and still expects to return before the end of the season.
- Rays manager Kevin Cash indicated Wander Franco should be ready to return Friday against the Marlins.
- Andrew Kittredge went on the IL with neck tightness Monday. Dietrich Enns recorded the final out for his second save Monday. JT Chargois got the first two outs in the 9th.
- Cody Bellinger was placed on the IL with a left rib fracture, retroactive to Sept. 18. Give me a 2-3 round range where you expect Bellinger to be drafted next season.
- Clayton Kershaw will get an extra day of rest and make his next start Saturday against the Diamondbacks.
- A.J. Pollock will be activated off the IL Thursday. He's 58% rostered and has six home games next week.
- Carlos Carrasco's thumb is fine after he jammed it during his most recent start. He's expected to be back on the mound for his next turn in the rotation against the Brewers.
- Mitch Garver returned to the Twins Tuesday and was batting eighth. He's 51% rostered with six games next week.
- Cool moment when Luis Severino pitched in relief Tuesday, went two innings, allowing two hits with two strikeouts. It was his first time pitching in a major league game since 2019.
- Jack Flaherty could be used in an opener role during one half of Friday's doubleheader against the Cubs.
- Garrett Whitlock was placed on the IL with right pectoral tightness.
- Seth Beer will undergo surgery on his dislocated left shoulder Thursday.
Pitchers to add for final week
Scott White broke down the 10 pitchers he's looking to stash ahead of the final week of the season here. Let's break down some of our favorite stashes:
Twins SP Joe Ryan: 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.
Yankees SP Jordan Montgomery: 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.
Angels SP Alex Cobb: 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.