I'll admit this article feels a tad redundant to me, having already delivered myand for the final scoring period. The thing about the final scoring period is ... well, there's nothing after that. So if I've already given you my favorite pickups for what amounts to the rest of the season, how could I possibly top that here?
But not everyone reads every article, of course. Some may gravitate more toward "waiver wire" as a search term than "sleeper." For them, I've compiled what's sort of a greatest hits version of the other two lists -- with a couple of surprises thrown in for the total diehards.
CIN Cincinnati • #21 • Age: 23
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 RF
LAA L.A. Angels • #3 • Age: 28
Remember that miserable stretch early in the season when a combination of cold temperatures and newly installed humidors was suppressing offense leaguewide? 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.
KC Kansas City • #9 • Age: 25
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.
STL St. Louis • #62 • Age: 33
The knock on Quintana all season is that he doesn't pitch deep enough into games to be a major factor in Fantasy, even as he's maintained an ERA in the low threes. That's changed in his past two starts, though. First came the eight shutout innings against the Reds and then came the 6 2/3 shutout innings against the Dodgers, of all teams. Those starts were his longest and fourth-longest of the season, and it's not like he was unusually efficient in them. It's just that the Cardinals let him throw more than 100 pitches, something he had done only three times previously. Good timing, too. Quintana gets to face the Pirates twice in the final scoring period.
CLE Cleveland • #39 • Age: 24
Power was supposed to be Gonzalez's carrying tool seeing as he hit 31 homers between Double- and Triple-A last year, but he needed 22 games to hit his first major-league home run this year. It seems like he's been working to play catch-up ever since then, but throughout it all, he's maintained a strikeout rate below 20 percent, keeping his batting average steady. It all seems to be coming together during this final month, in which he's homered six times, including twice on Saturday. The Guardians' remaining schedule is stacked with left-handers, which can only help a right-handed hitter like him, and includes six straight against the Royals pitching staff.
Joey Meneses 1B
WAS Washington • #45 • Age: 30
The guy is basically Babe Ruth at this point. I don't know what else to say about him. I understand the hesitance to add Meneses. He's a 30-year-old rookie who was unknown to everyone about two months ago, but he just doesn't let up. He homered for the third time in four games Sunday, bringing his batting average back up to .326 after it had briefly dipped below .310. It doesn't seem to matter how tough the matchups are, which is good since the Nationals still have a few quality pitchers on the schedule, but they are one of just a handful of teams with 10 games remaining. Meneses has the exit velocities to back up his production and has maintained a respectable strikeout rate throughout. No reason to back down from him now.
Luis Rengifo 2B
LAA L.A. Angels • #2 • Age: 25
The underlying data doesn't really back up Rengifo's performance this season, but there's no denying he's hot right now, batting .306 (15 for 49) with four homers over his past 11 games. It's good timing, too, with the Angels looking at six games against Athletics pitchers and three against Rangers pitchers the rest of the way. Better yet, four of the opposing pitchers throw left-handed, and Rengifo is batting .331 (49 for 148) with a .948 OPS against lefties this year. Between those splits and his quadruple eligibility in CBS Sports leagues (second base, third base, shortstop and outfield), Rengifo is primed to do a lot of people a lot of good.
MIA Miami • #60 • Age: 25
Garrett didn't quite make the cut for my sleeper pitchers in Week 26, but he easily could have and is more widely available than many who did. Part of my hesitance was that he simply hasn't pitched much in the majors lately, missing time due both to injury and an overcrowded Marlins rotation, but he allowed just one run over six innings in a start against the Nationals this weekend. Over his past 10 starts (again, with multiple interruptions), he has a 2.84 ERA, a 0.95 WHIP and 9.3 K/9. He closes out the season with a start against the Braves, which could spell trouble, but he'll also face the Brewers, who struggle against left-handers. If you're chasing wins or strikeouts in a Rotisserie league, Garrett makes for a solid choice.
Cody Morris SP
CLE Cleveland • #36 • Age: 26
Morris actually made the cut for my sleeper pitchers in Week 26, so I like him more than his 13 percent roster rate would suggest. It's strange the way the Guardians have introduced him to the majors, having him build up there after losing most of the minor-league season to a shoulder strain, but now he's gone five innings in back-to-back starts. He's clearly stretched out enough to factor in Fantasy, in other words, particularly with favorable matchups against the Rays and Royals on tap. Though his outings have been short so far, Morris' 13.4 percent swinging-strike rate would rank 10th among qualifiers, and it's worth pointing out he had a 1.64 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 14.4 K/9 in the minors the past two years.
Bryce Elder SP
ATL Atlanta • #55 • Age: 23
If you're really looking to cram as many starts into your lineup as possible, then Elder is someone to consider now that we know he'll continue to fill Spencer Strider's rotation spot for the Braves. His raw stuff doesn't earn particularly high marks, but he generates ground balls at a good rate and has more or less dominated in his past three major-league starts (albeit with minor-league stints in between), allowing a combined two runs on nine hits with 22 strikeouts in 18 2/3 innings. Granted, all were against weak opponents, but the same is true for his upcoming start against the Nationals. The Mets will follow, which is a little scarier, but at least Elder is backed by a strong lineup. Again, this is primarily a volume play, and the risk should be noted.