The final Wednesday night of the MLB regular season features a solid 12-game fantasy baseball slate. There are still multiple playoff spots up for grabs as teams battle to the wire and also plenty of personal milestones on the table as well. There’s always a higher degree of uncertainty with so many players available on rosters, but the September call-ups also offer plenty of value.
As you look at the 24 teams in action under the lights and build your team, take a look at these five players, who I think are poised to step up and deliver more fantasy production than their affordable salary indicates.
SP JEFF SAMARDZIJA, SF vs. COL, $7,500
Samardzija had been scuffling but seemed to re-discover his groove with a strong outing at Fenway Park last Wednesday. He allowed just one run on two hits and had 15.9 DKFP while improving to 11-12 on the season with a 3.64 ERA.
The 34-year-old veteran is had an impressive seven-start run from mid-July to August, going just 2-2 but posting a 1.52 ERA with 30 strikeouts in 41 1/3 innings while averaging 18 DKFP per start. He already has made two starts this season against the Rockies in San Francisco and posted 31.35 DKFP and 10.25 DKFP in those two outings. Colorado’s lineup is a much easier matchup away from Coors Field, and the Shark is a solid play as he makes his final start of the season.
SP ROSS STRIPLING, LAD at SD, $6,600
Stripling won’t pitch enough innings to be a traditional solution at SP but still makes sense in a good matchup against the Padres. Ideally for his fantasy value, Stripling would serve as a bulk reliever and work following an opener, so he would qualify for the win without having to pitch five innings.
He has worked two or three innings in each of his past four outings, totaling 10 innings and allowing just one run while striking out nine. Stripling has 85 strikeouts in 86 2/3 innings on the season with a 3.32 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. He threw two scoreless innings in his only appearance this year at Petco Park and should be able to return good value if he can be effective again in this matchup. Unlike some of the other cheap pitching options, his risk is limited since the Dodgers won’t leave him hanging out there.
2B/3B BRAD MILLER, PHI at WAS, $3,300
In just over 12 months, Miller bounced from the Rays to the Brewers to the Dodgers to the Indians to the Yankees before ultimately landing with the Phillies after they acquired the veteran infielder from New York in exchange for cash considerations on June 13 of this year. Despite his journeyman history, Miller is pouring it on as a disappointing season winds down for the Phillies. In September, Miller is 11-for-41 (.268) with five home runs and a .951 OPS.
In Tuesday’s doubleheader, Miller started both games and swatted a pair of home runs in the nightcap on his way to an impressive 32 DKFP. The multiple-home run game was his second in his past four starts, and he has hit safely in five of his past six games with multiple at-bats. The lefty should be back in the lineup against the Nationals and Anibál Sánchez ($9,200), who has allowed lefties to hit .249 with a .746 OPS this season. Miller has power potential and is playing well enough to land a spot on the Phillies or another team next season.
1B/OF RYAN MCBROOM, KC vs. ATL, $3,000
Another player trying to prove he belongs in the Majors with a big September is McBroom, who the Royals acquired from the Yankees in exchange for cash considerations on Aug. 31. The Royals were interested in the 27-year-old McBroom after he had a breakout in Triple-A, hitting 26 home runs with a .976 OPS in 117 games.
McBroom has looked solid in his audition so far, hitting .313 (20-for-64) with five doubles, six RBI and a .771 OPS in 19 games. Somewhat surprisingly, he hasn’t homered in the Majors yet, but he could be in a good spot to pick up his first career long ball as the Royals face the Braves on what will be a bullpen day after Josh Tomlin ($7,200) serves as an opener. McBroom has hit safely in six straight and 10 of his past 11, so he is a low-risk play who should find some way to contribute at an affordable $3K salary.
OF PABLO REYES, PIT VS. CHC, $3,000
If you’re looking for a cheap play with good BvP numbers, check out Reyes as the Pirates face the Cubs and lefty Jon Lester ($8,300). Reyes is 4-for-7 against Lester with a walk, a double, a triple and two RBI.
Reyes has been getting a look this month especially against left-handed pitching, and he has gone 11-for-51 (.216) against southpaws with 11 runs scored. He has been hitting in a nice lineup spot against lefties too, even hitting third when the Pirates faced Cubs lefty José Quintana last week. If he’s in that premium lineup spot again in this matchup, he has solid upside as the Pirates try to eliminate the Cubs from postseason contention by sending them to their eighth straight loss.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.