by Ray Kuhn
Way back in April, this seemed like quite a long way away. But now with three or four games left for each team, we really are approaching the end of the 2016 regular season. Depending on your position in the standings, you either want the season to end (because you are currently in the money or haven’t been in contention since July) or you want the games to continue as you push to progress in the standings. Either way, you shouldn’t stop paying attention, as even if the results can’t help you for this season, there some value for 2017. Let’s take a look at some of the performances that made an impact from the last Wednesday of the regular season.
1) Kyle Seager Goes Deep
It is human nature, but we gravitate towards round numbers. In the case of Seager, that is what we have this season. The third baseman went deep on Wednesday in Houston, and it was his 30th home run of the season. Seager’s three run shot provided some insurance for Seattle to truly put the game out of reach, and it gave him 99 RBI on the season as he has now reached career highs in both categories. After batting between .259 and .268 in his previous four seasons, Seager’s average sits at .281 on the season after a recent cold spell; .175 in his last 15 games. Don’t overlook Seager for next season.
2) The Weather Helps Out Shelby Miller
After the package Arizona gave up for Miller, big things were rightfully expected of the right-hander. Instead, he picked up just his third victory of the season on Wednesday in Washington. Miller did it in style as he recorded a complete game shutout in his final start of the season. However, thanks to the rain, Miller only needed to pitch five innings to get it as the game was called as soon as it became official. Miller allowed five hits and one walk while striking out five and lowering his ERA to 6.15. While you can’t argue Miller has been bad this season, and the only way to go is up from here which makes him a rebound candidate (to some degree for 2017), luck also hasn’t worked in his favor. Miller has had to deal with a .340 BABIP as well as a 65.4% strand rate which has contributed to his 4.86 FIP.
3) John Jaso Hits for the Cycle
Now that he has lost his catcher eligibility, Jaso is not as valuable from a fantasy perspective. On Wednesday though, the first baseman hit for the cycle against the Cubs. Jaso did it in style as he hit a three run home run, his seventh of the season, and drove in five runs in total. In 370 at bats, Jaso has just 40 RBI as he is not your traditional corner infielder from the power perspective.
4) Miguel Cabrera Walks Things Off
There were two games limited by weather last night, and the other was in Detroit. That is is how Cabrera was able to hit a three run, walk off, home run in the fifth inning last night to lead the Tigers to victory over the Indians. Cabrera also added a single as he closes out yet another elite season with 36 home runs, 105 RBI, and .317 batting average. Down the stretch, the 33-year old has shown no signs of slowing down as he is batting .318 with eight home runs and 25 RBI in his last 30 games.
5) Francisco Liriano Shuts Down the Orioles
While the Blue Jays ultimately lost the game, it was due to no fault of Liriano’s. The southpaw kept Baltimore off the scoreboard for 6.1 innings while scattering six hits and one walk to go along with 10 strikeouts. After a rough start to the season, Liriano’s ERA is down to 4.69 on the season, and it’s hard to argue with the performance he’s given to Toronto over his last seven games (five starts); 2.56 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 36 strikeouts in 31.2 innings. Overall, Liriano’s performance has begun to even out as evidenced by his 4.23 xFIP this season as he has overcome BABIP’s of .365 and .321 in June and July while benefiting from a .246 BABIP in September.
6) Anthony DeSclafani Picks up the Victory
By the time DeSclafani finally returned from injury, the Reds’ season was already over, but the right-hander hasn’t let that impact his performance. The right-hander closed out his solid season with his ninth victory of the year. DeSclafani held the Cardinals to just one run over six innings on six hits and two walks while striking out three. After making 20 starts this season, DeSclafani closes things out with a 3.28 ERA and 1.22 WHIP as he looks to build on that for next season.
7) Tyler Chatwood Continues His Road Dominance
Granted last night’s start did come in San Francisco which is an extreme pitcher’s park, but it is clear that Chatwood benefits from pitching away from Coors Field. At home, Chatwood is downright unusable, 6.12 ERA in 78 innings, but on the road he is elite; 1.69 ERA in 80 innings. It is clear that the altitude negatively impacts Chatwood’s off-speed pitches, and this is something Colorado will have to address for 2017. On Wednesday, Chatwood shutout the Giants for eight innings while limited them to just three hits and two walks to go along with nine strikeouts. If you look Chatwood based solely on his 3.87 ERA, you see a solid starting pitcher, but by taking a closer look, you can save your ERA a lot of pain.
8) Jarrod Dyson Finishes Out the Season Strong
In some cases, you don’t need a lot of at bats to make a fantasy impact. Dyson is clearly more valuable in leagues with daily roster moves as you can adjust for his playing time, but with stolen bases at such a premium, it’s hard to ignore him. Last night, Dyson got the start in the lead-off spot and he didn’t disappoint as he went 2 for 4 to raise his batting average to .268. But of more importance to fantasy owners, Dyson stole his 29th base of the season with just 287 at bats. The problem though, is that Dyson is truly just a one category contributor. However, there is clear value in that category.
9) Carlos Gomez Has a Three Hit Night
At this point, it is clear that the move to Texas, and atop their order, has paid dividends for both the Rangers and Gomez. On Wednesday, Gomez went 3 for 4 with 2 runs scored and three RBI. That included his 22th double of the season as well as his 13th home run. While he is batting just .232 on the season, Gomez is hitting a solid .292 in his last 30 games, but that mark jumps to .345 in his last 15 games. For obvious reasons, Gomez should not be trusted to be drafted where he was this season, but he could be a good source of value if owners let him fall too far in 2017.
10) Miguel Gonzalez Shuts Down Tampa
No one is going to confuse Gonzalez with an ace, but overall he had a pretty solid season for the White Sox when he was healthy. He concluded his season by picking up his fifth victory of the season last night with 8.1 shutout innings. Gonzalez, who did spend some time on the disabled list, ends the season with a 3.73 ERA in 24 games (23 starts) and a 1.24 WHIP. No one is going to confuse Gonzalez with a dominant pitcher, 95 strikeouts in 135 innings, but he showed that he can at least be a solid spot starter and match-up play for the back end of your rotation. It is worth noting, that in his last seven starts, Gonzalez walked just two batters and has a 2.95 ERA to go along with a 1.06 WHIP.