With just over two weeks left, upcoming schedules become arguably the most important factor when assessing waiver-wire options. Here is a group of players who are set for success in the coming days on the strength of schedules that include some of the most appetizing opponents.
John Means, Baltimore Orioles (41 percent rostered)
Means is my favorite two-start pitcher for the penultimate week who is rostered in less than 50 percent of leagues. The southpaw has been stellar across 11 rookie-year starts (3.47 ERA, 1.11 WHIP) and of late (two or fewer earned runs in each of his past five starts). Next week he will face both of the two lowest-scoring lineups in baseball (Tigers, Mariners) since the All-Star break. Means is such a good option that he should be active in even the shallowest of leagues.
Zach Plesac, Cleveland Indians (32%)
For those who cannot grab Means, adding Plesac is a nice consolation prize. The righty gives up too many homers, but his fly-ball tendencies lead to plenty of easy outs. Overall, his 3.64 ERA and 1.20 WHIP across 19 starts are impressive marks during a season in which starting pitching is at a major premium. Plesac opens next week against a Tigers squad who since the All-Star break rank 29th in runs scored and first in total strikeouts, before facing a Phillies lineup that owns a mediocre .721 OPS when working away from their hitter-friendly home park.
Alex Young, Arizona Diamondbacks (39%)
Young is a terrific option for those who need a one-start streamer, as he will lead the red-hot D-backs into a favorable home matchup against the lowly Marlins. Miami ranks 29th in the Majors in runs scored this year, and they are an astonishing 79 runs behind the team in 28th place. Young has been excellent overall this season (3.38 ERA, 1.11 WHIP) and should be trusted to rebound from a poor outing against the Mets last time out.
Joe Jimenez, Detroit Tigers (30%)
Jimenez isn’t especially good (4.70 ERA, 1.34 WHIP), and although he has blown just one save since taking over as closer following the Shane Greene trade, he owns a 1.54 WHIP across that 11.2 inning stretch. But gamers who need saves can’t afford to be choosy down the stretch, and Jimenez should get his share of late-season opportunities. The Tigers play 17 games during the final 17 days of the regular season, with 11 of those contests coming against the Orioles (.322 winning percentage) and White Sox (.438 winning percentage).
Robinson Cano, New York Mets (37%)
Cano is doing his best to salvage something from an otherwise forgettable debut season with the Mets. Since returning from the IL on September 4, the former fantasy stud has slashed .429/.480/.905 while collecting three homers across 25 plate appearances. Gamers can stash Cano during this weekend’s series against a lights-out Dodgers staff before turning him loose next week when he visits hitter-friendly parks in Colorado and Cincinnati.
Nick Solak, Texas Rangers (22%)
Solak needs to be mentioned for a second time in this space, as his sensational debut has barely moved his rostership needle. The rookie is slashing .360/.473/.600 across his initial 91 plate appearances, picking up four homers, a steal, 15 RBI and 17 runs scored in the process. And his success certainly hasn’t come out of thin air, as the 24 year old collected 27 homers across 115 Triple-A games this year.
Christin Stewart, Detroit Tigers (2%)
Stewart has always had his share of pop, having collected between 24-30 homers across various levels in each season from 2016-18. But so far, the slugger hasn’t fully showcased his power skills in the Majors. Stewart has already gone deep three times this month, and the otherwise punchless Tigers are keeping him in the regular lineup. With four remaining games against the homer-prone Orioles staff and seven contests against the White Sox (4.96 team ERA), Stewart is in prime position to rip a few more round-trippers.
Dylan Moore, Seattle Mariners (2%)
Those who are looking for some category juice should target Moore, who also offers the benefit of being eligible at four positions. The utility-man has been playing regularly of late, and this season he has collected an impressive nine homers and 11 steals across 224 at-bats. For those who are interested in Moore, the best news is that his next three series come against the White Sox (4.96 ERA), Pirates (5.01 ERA), and Orioles (5.72 ERA).
Kyle Lewis, Seattle Mariners (4%)
Lewis has notable prospect pedigree, and he has homered in each of his three initial Major League contests. The 24 year
old did not have a terrific season in Double-A this year (.263/.342/.398 slash line), but he was drafted 11th overall in the 2016 MLB Draft and counts among the club’s top-10 prospects in most publications. At the very least, those who are looking to secure regular playing time in deep leagues should feel confident that Seattle will give Lewis every opportunity to continue his hot start.