This is it. We’re down to the final week. It looks like most have shifted their focus to 2017, as they rightfully should have, so we’ll probably keep it pretty brief in this space for the week, maybe with a look back on our 2016 performance at some point in time. For a few more days, we soldier on and trudge through the waiver wire.
On the agenda:
1. A beautiful moment
2. Various News and Notes
3. Streaming Pitcher Options
A beautiful moment
I’m hardly qualified to accurately put into words what Jose Fernandez meant to his friends, his teammates, his community, and to baseball as a whole, but I’ve spent the last two days unspeakably sad about the death of one of my favorite people in sports. Any time a 24-year-old passes, it’s obviously going to be sad, but Fernandez’s case is extreme. The hugs, the smile, the energy, the backstory, his importance to the local community, his family, that he was one of the best pitchers in baseball…it’s all just heartbreaking. I hope those close to him, and all those who loved him, find peace.
And shout out to Dee Gordon for producing just a beautiful moment last night, donning Fernandez’s batting helmet and batting stance, then taking one out of the park.
— nick pants (@nick_pants) September 26, 2016
— Richard Lee-Sam (@RLeesam) September 27, 2016
Various News and Notes
There’s a lot of potentially bad news for playoff hopefuls to sort through. It’s probably best to assume teams are going to play it pretty cautious with anyone a week before the playoffs, given that all six divisions are locked up.
NATIONALS: Bryce Harper underwent X-rays on his left thumb, but the results came back negative. There was some concern he may have re-torn his UCL when sliding on Sunday. Instead, he could be back in the lineup later this week. Things may not be as fine for Wilson Ramos, who left yesterday’s game with an apparent knee injury when jumping for an overthrow at home. He’s set for an MRI today. And Daniel Murphy probably isn’t going to be back this week, but the NLDS may be realistic.
BLUE JAYS: Throwing baseballs at people is dumb. In this case, it led to benches clearing and, somehow, Joaquin Benoit suffering a potential calf injury. Benoit has no fantasy relevance unless you’re tight on holds this week, anyway, but this serves as a reminder that sometimes, we humans are dumb.
INDIANS: Corey Kluber was pulled after four innings due to groin tightness, and uhh, the Indians can’t really afford for him to miss a playoff start. With Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco on the shelf, the Indians were plotting a three-man rotation for the postseason, and a Trevor Bauer–Josh Tomlin–Mike Clevinger threesome is hardly intimidating. For fantasy owners, it’s unlikely the Indians bother starting Kluber on Sunday, as locking up the best record in the AL probably isn’t worth using that Game 1 bullet.
METS: Don’t count on Steven Matz being back for the playoffs. Terry Collins just had to make sure Matz got one more mention in this space this year, suggesting Matz and his wonky shoulder are a long-shot for a postseason appearance.
NON-PLAYOFF: Nelson Cruz underwent an MRI on his sore wrist but stuck it out to play Monday. Rubby de la Rosa is undergoing a stem-cell treatment on his injured right elbow on Tuesday, which is cool science and may help keep de la Rosa from a second Tommy John procedure.
Streaming Pitcher Options
If you enjoy streaming pitchers or play DFS, tune into the Roto Riteup for recommendations each and every day.
A pitcher for today: Jose De Leon @ SD (Paul Clemens)
On the one hand, you could argue I should give it up with Jose De Leon, who has loads of talent but hasn’t appeared quite ready yet through three starts. On the other, there’s that ridiculous strikeout-minus-walk rate from Triple A and the fact that he’s done well to miss some bats in his 14.2 innings. Factor in that he draws the Padres, owners of the league’s worst offense over the last 30 days and its second-worst over the course of the season, and that he draws them in Petco, and the 23.5-percent home run per-fly ball rate doesn’t concern me much. Close it out strong, kid.
A pitcher for tomorrow: Mike Foltynewicz vs PHI (Adam Morgan)
Remember back to earlier in the year when we picked on the Braves regularly? Their horrible start still ranks them 28th on the year in total offense by wRC+, but they’ve been a dangerous No. 2 in the past month. The Phillies, meanwhile, are 29th overall and 25th in the last month, the kind of consistent mediocrity we hope for in this space. Mike Foltynewicz isn’t a world-beater by any means, but he’s done really well to limit walks while striking out 21 percent of opposing batters, presenting a nice mix of floor and moderate upside here.
Blake Murphy is a freelance sportswriter based out of Toronto. Formerly of the Score, he's the managing editor at Raptors Republic and frequently pops up at Sportsnet, Vice, and around here. Follow him on Twitter @BlakeMurphyODC.