The MLB contests starting on Wednesday will include the postseason action from Wednesday and Thursday nights. That’s the NL play-in game between Chicago and Pittsburgh and Game 1 of both ALDS (TEX @ TOR & HOU @ KC). With such a limited array of options, below are some players at every position you should – or should not – target for your rosters. Good luck.
Jake Arrieta @ PIT ($14,200) – Arrieta is good – you know that. He’s expensive, and for good reason. He has pitched against the Pirates three times since the beginning of August: 7 innings, 2 hits, 0 runs, 5 K’s; 8 innings, 6 hits, 1 run, 7 K’s; and just last week, 7 innings, 1 hit, 0 runs, 9 K’s; 2-0 record.
Gerrit Cole vs. ChC ($10,600) – For when almost 30% of your budget is just too much. Hard to love him with Arrieta on the mound opposite, but his 2.60 ERA and 1.09 WHIP didn’t happen by accident. And the Cubs aren’t exactly murderer’s row. They don’t strike out a lot, but they don’t do enough damage that this pick will kill you. The only way this pick is what loses you the night is if Arrieta scores 40.
Yordano Ventura vs. HOU ($8,600) – With the way Gallardo has been pitching and the way the Blue Jays often hit at home, you might want to just avoid that situation. And that means Ventura might be highly owned, but it could be worth it anyway, giving you a little breathing room to work with when choosing your hitters. He’s facing a team that didn’t have a chance to get it’s rotation lined up perfectly for the series, and, of all the playoff teams, Houston has by far the highest K% against right-handed pitching, so the chance it actually there that this could be an upside play.
Russell Martin vs. Gallardo ($3,700) – He doesn’t have a particularly great history against Gallardo, but he has hit for somewhat more power at home this season, and for only $3,700, the cost difference isn’t prohibitive. By which I mean, all the other options have bad matchups too, and they’re not as good as Martin, and not playing in offenses that might score 10 runs.
Miguel Montero @ Cole ($3,000) – He is 3-for-5 this season against Cole, and ended the season with two hits in two of his last three games, so for a cheaper option, he could be someone who helps you stock up at the top end of your lineup without destroying your chances.
Edwin Encarnacion vs. Gallardo ($5,200) – Probably the Blue Jay you want to own, if you can afford him, he closed the year out real strong, with three home runs in his last four games. He has also owned Gallardo in the past, hitting .313 with three home runs in 16 at-bats.
Anthony Rizzo @ Cole ($4,500) – He ended the season hitting safely in five straight, including a couple of doubles and a home run. He also has an OBP of .450 in 19 plate appearances against Cole, so the matchup isn’t going to intimidate him for this one.
Prince Fielder @ Price ($4,100) – You might think $4,100 is a good price to get a hitter this talented, even if he is facing a lefty. Well, it isn’t. He has 2 hits in twelve tries against Price, both singles.
Evan Gattis @ Ventura ($3,900) – He got to rest a bit playing at Arizona at the end of the year, and then came back last night with an 0-for-4 that you know he would like to redeem himself for in this series.
Jose Altuve @ Ventura ($5,100) – He is a full thousand dollars more expensive than the next option, and he has one hit in seven tries against Ventura – a single. Maybe it’s a good night to spend up somewhere else?
Ben Zobrist vs. McHugh ($4,100) – In just a handful of at-bats against McHugh (five to be exact), he has two hits, and they both went for extra bases (a double and a triple). He ended the year with six hits in his last five games, and might be the last name on the list with actual double-digit upside.
Rougned Odor @ Price ($3,500) – OK, Odor has upside too. But with 5 zero point outings in his last ten, you have to be careful. He’s a lefty who hits lefties just about exactly the same as righties, but he has never seen Price, and Price isn’t just any old left-handed pitcher.
Kris Bryant @ Cole ($4,300) – 3-for-9 against Cole in his lifetime, Bryant ended the year hitting consistently, but with no pop. You probably don’t want him out there in a big GPP, but there is a good chance he doesn’t leave you high and dry if you’re just counting on him for something in a cash game.
Adrian Beltre vs. TOR ($4,000) – Remember that time you slugged over .500 from the All-Star break to the end of the season. Adrian Beltre does. He is also hitting .303 in 33 career at-bats against Price, with six extra-base hits, including two home runs.
Carlos Correa @ Ventura ($5,000) – He hasn’t had much exposure to Ventura (1-for-2 with a double). He hasn’t had much exposure to the postseason. But the fact is, he hasn’t had much exposure to anything, but he’s still probably the #1 shortstop picked in drafts next year. Twenty-two home runs and 68 RBI in 100 games will do that. This could be the week he becomes a household name.
Elvis Andrus @ Price ($3,200) – He closed out the regular season with three of four games with at least 9 fantasy points (and a high of twenty), so hopefully some of that carried through the day off. Also, for as good as Price is, Andrus isn’t scared: 10-for-25 with seven walks equals a .400 average and .545 OBP.
Starlin Castro @ Cole ($2,900) – He has four double-digit games in his last nine, including one 4-for-5, three runs scored, two RBI explosion about a week ago. He also six hits and four RBI in 17 at-bats against Cole (.353). You could do worse than that upside for this price.
Jose Bautista vs. Gallardo ($5,400) – The most expensive outfielder on the board, and the centerpiece (or one of them) for maybe the best offense going right now. But, a word of warning: 1-for-12 in his career against Gallardo, with just a lone single and three walks in 15 tries.
Andrew McCutchen vs. Arrieta ($4,400) – If you like to look into this sort of thing, you might notice that McCutchen has actually had a lot of success against Arrieta, hitting .348 with a couple of extra base hits. But if the Pirates as a team aren’t going to do anything, what are you rooting for? A home run? That’s about the only thing that might allow him to return any value for you, even at a slightly more affordable than usual price.
Ben Revere vs. Gallardo ($3,900) – This might be the offense with the best chance to have a real big day, which helps everyone. Revere doesn’t have a lot of upside, but could be a great fill-in at the bottom of your roster if you just want to make sure you get something, or a nice play in a cash game. He did finish the year hitting .306 and in 17 at-bats against Gallardo, he is hitting .353 with a pair of doubles.
Colby Rasmus @ Ventura ($3,200) – Averaging over 10 fantasy points a game for the last week and a half of the season is, just so you’re aware, typically something you accomplish by having both consistency and upside. Not Colby Rasmus though, no sir. He did it with five goose eggs, an 8-point game, two 16-point games and two 31-point games. If you’re looking for boom-or-bust, I think you found it.