Are we really gonna go there?
Second-to-last week, with the season on the line, are we really going to turn to a pitcher making his season debut after a hurried rehabilitation from a significant arm injury?
When it's one of the caliber of Luis Severino, maybe.
My biggest hesitation is related to the hurried buildup. Will he be able to pitch deep enough to make a legitimate impact? Well, he just threw 64 pitches in his latest rehab start Wednesday. If he ups it to 75 next time out (meaning in his season debut), it's enough for him to last five innings, assuming he's good. And then he could push it even further — maybe to, like, 90 — in his second start ... against the lowly Blue Jays.
In a crap year for pitchers, I can think of worse choices to fill my fifth SP spot.
For those forced to turn to the waiver wire, though, Week 26 is shaping up to be not such a bad one. A low number of legitimate must-start options lined up for two creates more opportunities for sleepers, after all.
John Means, who's riding a quality start streak, has two optimal matchups. There's less chance someone like Marco Gonzales is available, but if he is, those two starts against the Pirates and Orioles are looking pretty sweet. If you're willing to push your luck in a points league, Martin Perez and Dylan Bundy could surprise, though you'd be wagering your ERA and WHIP in a categories league.