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Stock Watch: Late September Hope

I was thinking to myself that the end of the season is truly the mirror image of its beginning. 

Then I realized how obvious that idea is and I felt kinda dumb.

I guess breaking it down won’t do it much good, but maybe it’ll help a little. We’ve got about two weeks of games left at this point (more like 11 or 12 games actually), and instead of making our waiver wire picks based on a small sample size we hope to extrapolate into a large one, we’re making picks based on a nice, large sample…and hoping they work out over a stretch of 12 games.

And I thought the era of two Wild Cards was supposed to give us hope in late September.

The good news, though, is that there are things we can know about and can predict: things like quality of opponents and tendencies of parks. The sorts of things that help fuel those epic late-year drives…and the collapses that are their all-too-frequent corollaries. Stock Watch won’t be a perfectly exact science this week…but it ought to do you better than random guessing.

But no promises.

Shallow Leagues (30-50% Owned in Yahoo! Leagues)

Javier Baez (47%) will wreak havoc on your batting average—but that power is here to play. Consider him a situational pickup for those who’ve give up average or who are so good they can handle his sub-Mendoza line.

Adam Eaton (46%) is playing good and stealing bases. His schedule is pretty mixed, but those games in Detroit don’t look as bad as they used to.

Russell Martin (46%) is way better in real baseball, but he’s got plenty of fantasy value. The Brewers’ and Reds’ pitching staffs should see to that. Jordy Mercer (31%) is another Pirate who could have a good end to the year.

Lonnie Chisenhall (42%) doesn’t have any schedule-related extremes that should keep you from picking him up if you need 3B help. He’s not as good as the beginning of the season, but he’s not useless either.

Kennys Vargas (40%) has too many games in Minnesota (which should help his team score runs but depress his homers), so if you’re looking for homers look elsewhere—but, then again, Vargas has a lot of power and isn’t facing any pitching that still scares me. Call him a maybe, I guess.

Dioner Navarro (40%) is a great potential source of homers. All the rest of his games are at home, at Yankee Stadium, or in Baltimore. But mostly at home. Pick him up. Adam Lind (31%) should also enjoy the last couple weeks of the season.

Kolten Wong (34%) is a must for anyone interested in speed or second base. Why do I keep talking this guy up? Because he’s playing the Brewers and Reds at home (hitters’ park, bad opposing pitchers) and finishes the season in Arizona (extreme hitters’ park, terrible opposing pitchers). You don't have to be good to hit with a schedule like that! Pick up any Cardinals you see.

By the way, why is Steve Pearce (34%) still on the waiver wire? Seriously.

James Paxton (47%) should be owned just about everywhere—he’s picked up right where he left off at the beginning of the season. He should rise above some relatively tough matchups.

Brandon McCarthy (41%) has been great and should also get two more starts after today’s: at home against a (probably) resting-the-veterans Orioles and then against the Red Sox.

Henderson Alvarez (40%) is another guy starting today who should get two more starts: his are against the hapless Phillies and against the, again, probably resting-the-stars Nationals at the very end of the season. Jarred Cosart (30%) gets those same matchups.

Bartolo Colon (38%) should be pitching the last game of the year against the Astros. At home. Got to like that. 

Jake Odorizzi (37%) is really good. But that’s tempered by the fact that his last couple starts are nothing exciting.

Derek Holland (35%) not only looks good for this year, but I’d be getting ready to draft him for next year.

Medium Leagues (20-30% Owned)

James Loney (28%) shouldn’t be prevented by his schedule to keep doing what he does.

Juan Lagares (27%) looks like he’s emerging as a steals threat. Also, most of the rest of the Mets’ games are on the road. Not that he’s a power guy, but it should help. Travis d’Arnaud (25%) should also be happy to be playing on the road for a while.

A.J. Pollock (23%) has just been great since coming back. Arizona’s got a hitting-favorable schedule, but I’d have been recommending Pollock anyway. 

Drew Stubbs (22%) is just the guy for your team…through Sunday. This series at home against Arizona is just the time to use Stubbs. Then let him go, because the Rockies finish the year on the road in San Diego and Los Angeles.

Lorenzo Cain (22%) keeps on stealing…when he plays.

Oscar Taveras (21%) is another Cardinal to take advantage of.

Yusmeiro Petit (29%) doesn’t seem to have much left to prove. Roll him out there.

Don’t use Jorge De La Rosa (23%) tonight, but his next start will be in San Diego; then he should get the season’s last game in LA, against a Dodgers team that will (presumably) be preparing itself for the playoffs. A sneaky-good pickup, if you ask me.

Deep Leagues (Under 20% Owned)

Guess who Jon Jay (17%) plays for. Yeah, the Cardinals. Go for it.

Avisail Garcia (17%) is an interesting see-what-you-have kind of play.

Conor Gillaspie (15%) doesn’t have the time to help your batting average, but if you’re needing a third baseman to do no harm, he’s your guy.

Mike Zunino (14%) and Mark Reynolds (13%) offer power-at-all-costs. Same as always.

Oswaldo Arcia (11%) has been relatively productive lately; home games could cost him homers but help in other areas.

Gerardo Parra (9%) and the Brewers have a pretty good hitting schedule for the rest of the year. I wouldn’t be surprised if they produced decently—which is usually a lot to ask at this level of ownership.

Jose Ramirez (6%) is finding favor with the Indians, plays both middle infield positions and steals some bases. Cool.

Chris Owings (6%) should benefit from Arizona’s favorable schedule for hitters.

If Jarrod Dyson (5%) can steal bases off the bench for Kansas City, he probably can for you too, if you’re desperate for speed.

Trevor Bauer (14%) has a couple of okay starts left…I guess I’m not that excited, but this is the level at which excitement is usually unwarranted.

Shane Greene (12%) should have three starts left. So if you need quantity, he could be your guy. The Blue Jays, Orioles, and Red Sox could be easier opponents, though.

Jeremy Hellickson (10%) gets the White Sox and Indians. Could be worse.

Odrisamer Despaigne (7%) has two starts left, both against the Giants. His next one is at home, so he’s worth using for that. See how hard the Giants are fighting for the Wild Card before making a decision to use Despaigne in the less-friendly game at San Francisco next week.

Drew Pomeranz (5%) is supposed to get a spot start against the Phillies on Saturday. That’s the sort of thing to watch for and take advantage of.

Run Away (Seriously, Don’t Pick These Guys Up)

Brandon Belt, Michael Morse, and Angel Pagan all look like they could help a shallow league team…but they can’t. After today’s Arizona game, the Giants will be doing nothing but play in pitchers’ parks in San Diego, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Stay away from Giants hitters.

For the same reason we like the Blue Jays’ hitters, we have to stay away from their pitchers—even the highly talented ones like Marcus Stroman. Save Blue Jays pitchers for next year.




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