Earlier this week, I delivered an article identifying 10 impact pickups for the stretch run, figuring it could stand for itself as sort of an all-encompassing, rest-of-season edition of Waiver Wire. After all, those 10 players are still widely available, and they remain your best hope of getting impact for free this late in the season.
But I'm told that more is required, my obligations to the content monster having yet to be fulfilled. Feed me, it bellows as I toss a few croutons its way.
Croutons are all I have left, you see. You've already gotten the meat and potatoes from me, not to mention the bulk of the salad, but your appetite for pickups being what it is, the pantry must be emptied completely.
Still, I feel like I must address, if only one more time, the most impactful of the 10 impact pickups, because they all happened to come up big Tuesday. I'll try to do it quick and dirty so that we can fully dedicate our mouths to those croutons.
First is Ranger Suarez, a ground-ball generating extraordinaire who continues to maintain an ERA around 1.50 even though he joined the starting rotation nine turns ago.
He's scheduled to face the Orioles and Pirates next week, followed by the Marlins in the season's final week, but frankly, the matchups are irrelevant. He's just darn good, and at 74 percent rostership, he's close to being fully appreciated.
Next is Frank Schwindel, who continued his two-month onslaught on major-league pitchers with a 2-for-5 performance Tuesday, which included a home run and a double, .
The 29-year-old is an accomplished minor-leaguer hitter and is making the case that he's more than just a late-season fill-in on a trade-depleted club. The Cubs have some of the best hitter matchups over the final two weeks, too. Schwindel is currently 61 percent rostered.
Finally, let's talk about Nestor Cortes, who's 65 percent rostered and just spun this gem against an unsuspecting Orioles club:
But they should have been suspecting because he's allowed two earned runs or fewer in seven of his past nine starts now. What was different about this one was the strikeout total, his previous high being only seven. Indeed, he has no remarkable numbers other than his 2.60 ERA and 1.05 WHIP, which might explain the widespread hesitance, but his unique throwing style, which involves varying his delivery from pitch to pitch, seems to keep hitters off balance.
OK, now for the table scraps.
KC Kansas City • #16 • Age: 27
Andrew Benintendi collected five hits Tuesday, albeit all singles, continuing a seven-game stretch that has seen him hit .581 (18 for 31) with three homers. He's batting well over .300 since the middle of August, which has gotten his season batting line back up to a respectable level. His upside from one week to the next is only so high, but it just so happens the Royals have some of the most favorable hitter matchups over the final two weeks, facing the pieced-together Indians pitching staff for two series and the Tigers and Twins staffs each for one.
Miguel Sano 1B
MIN Minnesota • #22 • Age: 28
Sure, he's volatile, but we know Miguel Sano is still perfectly capable of putting balls in the bleachers when he's going right, continuing to deliver the same elite hard-hit rate and average exit velocity that he always has. He's enjoying maybe his best stretch of the season right now, and while putting your trust in him could leave you holding the bag, now isn't the time to play scared. If you're trying to catch up in the home run category, he's among your best bets, particularly with the Cubs, Tigers and Royals rotations in his sights the next two weeks.
LAD L.A. Dodgers • #26 • Age: 27
Granted, he's not fully stretched out yet, having thrown 55 and 67 pitches in his first two starts back from a bout with shoulder inflammation, but Tony Gonsolin has looked much improved from the last time we saw him back in June and July. His velocity is up, most notably on his slider, which has him pitching more like the guy who generated so much enthusiasm last year. The efficiency is back, too, which is how he managed to go five innings on just 67 pitches last time. It's a gutsy play picking him up for a two-start week with the first being at Colorado, but then again, the second is at Arizona.
Bobby Dalbec 1B
BOS Boston • #29 • Age: 26
I mentioned Miguel Sano as a possible pickup if you're chasing home runs, but Bobby Dalbec might be an even better call. His matchups aren't quite as favorable next week, but he's at the Orioles for three and at the Nationals for three in the season's final week. The rookie slugger went on a similar power binge last September, which is what put him on the map in Fantasy, and this latest surge appears to have spared him from forfeiting his job to Kyle Schwarber. His shortcomings are mostly strikeout-related, but he's kept them in check lately.
TB Tampa Bay • #36 • Age: 31
Don't look now, but Andrew Kittredge has secured five of the Rays' past seven saves, and the two he didn't get were of the oddball three-inning variety. So just like with Nick Anderson last year and Emilio Pagan the year before, it looks like manager Kevin Cash has indeed finally settled on a closer. Collin McHugh is about the only other viable candidate left, and the Rays prefer him in a multi-inning role. No guarantees, of course, but I'm ready to say Kittredge is usable beyond just ratio help.
MIA Miami • #77 • Age: 24
I've been hesitant to recommend Bryan De La Cruz because he's been getting it done with a .434 BABIP, but after his performance Tuesday, which saw him homer, walk twice and score three runs, I guess I'm at my breaking point. He did, after all, hit .324 with an .880 OPS for the Astros Triple-A affiliate earlier this year, maintaining basically the same level of production in the majors. I actually don't love the Marlins matchups over the final two weeks, so I still think of De La Cruz as a deeper-league pickup. But hey, the roster rate fits.