by Will Overton
The season is obviously winding down now as we are seeing a lot of pitchers take the mound for the last time this season. So with that in mind we are doing a lot of reflecting on this season as a whole for these players and keeping an eye out for next season and what that might bring:
1) The Mets Ace Is Clearly Noah Syndergaard At This Point
Noah Syndergaard kept it rolling last night for the Mets and he’s clearly established himself as the number one pitcher on this team. Syndergaard mowed down the Miami Marlins last night with six innings of one run ball, scattering five hits, walking none and striking out eight. This is five quality starts in his last seven outings for Syndergaard and the strikeouts are piling up now too. Syndergaard has 30 K’s in his last 21.2 IP and he’s now up to 218 for the season in 183.2 innings. The Mets have a nice stable of young pitching, but Syndergaard tops the list and will be one of the top starting pitchers off the board in fantasy next season.
2) Slump Buster: Tyler Austin Breaks Out Of His Slump In A Big Way
The Yankees young first baseman, Tyler Austin, was 1 for this last 18 at the plate going into last night’s game with the Red Sox. The slump was ended yesterday though in a pretty big way as Austin went 3 – 3 with a homerun and a pair of runs batted in. Austin has shown some power, now having 4 HR’s in his 74 AB’s, good for one every 18.5 AB’s. However he often seems in a little over his head, striking out 31 times. Austin has been getting an audition of sorts to try and earn a more regular playing spot next season, but that will be tough to do with Greg Bird coming back.
3) The Ever Impressive Aaron Sanchez Is Great Again
Another big spot for Aaron Sanchez last night and he came through in it yet again. Sanchez held the Blue Jays to just one run in six innings, allowing five hits and three walks and striking out 10. Sanchez picked up the win, running his record to a very impressive 14 – 2 for the season. Sanchez is now also the AL leader in ERA for pitchers with enough innings to qualify. The Jays are being careful with Sanchez at this point as he has reached 185 IP, but he’s showing no signs of slowing down due to the high usage and he should be ready to go come playoff time.
4) Double Digit Strikeouts Yet Again For Justin Verlander
For the third time in five, Justin Verlander went out and struck out 10 or more batters. Last night the total ended with 12 K’S over 7.2 scoreless innings of work. The total for the season is now up to 246 over 220.2 IP. Verlander may still take the mound one more time too which could put him over 250 for the third time in his career. Verlander is also clearly on a mission to get the Tigers in the playoffs if he can make it happen, allowing only two runs in 20.2 IP over his last three outings. It has been an incredible career resurgence from the 33 year old pitcher.
5) Tim Anderson Brings Back The Power
Early on this season fantasy players were impressed with the surprising power that Tim Anderson was showing, but it kind of died off as of late. Going into last night’s game Anderson had homered in a game since August 17th and had just two HR’s total in the last two months. Anderson found the power again last night though, hitting one out as he went 3 – 5 from the plate. Anderson scored twice and knocked in three runs total. The HR last night brings Anderson’s total to eight for the season which isn’t very eye catching, but it’s good for him and at 23 the power is still developing. I think Anderson has 15/15 upside, possibly as soon as next season assuming the White Sox give him the reigns at SS again.
6) Making A Splash: Hunter Renfroe Announces His Presence In A Big Way
The Padres have had Hunter Renfroe up for a week and he’s already establishing a name for himself. Renfroe picked up his third multi-hit game last night in just four starts. Not only that, but Renfroe made the most of both hits, both of them being HR’s and one even being a Grand Slam. Renfroe drove in a total of seven runs in the game. We saw the power at Triple-A where Renfroe had 30 HR’s and 100 RBI earlier this year, but now we’re seeing that it seems as though that power is transferrable to the big leagues too. Renfroe doesn’t have a whole lot of time to get his name out there, but he’s making the most of the opportunity now.
7) Bounce Back: Matt Moore Rebounds From His Last Start
After only being able to record just three outs in his last start and allowing six runs, Matt Moore needed to bounce back last night and he did it. Moore gave up just on run to the Rockies over 7.2 IP, and he struck out 11 batters while walking none in the outing. Moore has been a bit of a mixed bag for the Giants since they acquired him with some really great outings like last night and then some real bad ones like the one before this. There is real upside given his K potential and how good he look when he’s on, but the inconsistency is maddening for fantasy owners.
8) Four-Hit Night For Brandon Crawford
Moore also got an overwhelming amount of run support last night and a big part of that was Brandon Crawford who was 4 – 5, 2 R and 2 RBI. Two of the hits from Crawford were triples as well which is an impressive feat. Crawford hasn’t been getting the same buzz in fantasy circles this season as he did last and the HR’s are down from 21 to 12, but the overall numbers are basically just as good or better. Crawford now has 82 RBI and 64 R, comparable to the 84 RBI and 65 R from last season. Crawford has also raised his average by 16 points to .272. The power has tailed off a little, but he also has 11 triples, many of which were near misses for HR’s. I think you’ll be able to get Crawford at a discount in your draft next season despite him being even better potentially than coming into this season.
9) Ricky Nolasco Is Somehow One Of Baseball’s Hottest Pitchers Right Now
It may not make sense to us, but Ricky Nolasco is getting the job done in a big way right now for the Angels. Last night Nolasco went eight innings and allowed only one run that wasn’t earned. This is now three straight starts and 21 IP for Nolasco without allowing an earned run to score. Nolasco has an ERA of 1.47 in his last six outings now as well so it goes beyond just these three outings. I’m not sure I’ll be buying him, but Nolasco has probably locked up a rotation spot for next season with the strong finish to this one.
10) Another Angel Finishing Strong In Kole Calhoun
Looking to end the season on a high note, Kole Calhoun has been racking up the hits as of late. Calhoun went 3 – 3 last night, all three extra-base hits, scoring a pair of runs and knocking one more in. Calhoun is now 9 for 14 in his last four games, jumping his average by 10 points as the end of the season draws near. Calhoun doesn’t get a lot of attention with Mike Trout next to him in LA, but it’s been a solid season with 90 R, 17 HR, 71 RBI and a .271 average. I’m not sure Calhoun has as high of a ceiling as some other OF’s in the same kind of production range as him, but he is proving to be a very steady source of production which can’t be overlooked.