Expected to be a quiet affair, the 2020 deadline appears poised to exceed the hype. First, let’s look at the moves that have been made thus far.
The Padres have been the most aggressive team to date, adding slugger Mitch Moreland, reliever Trevor Rosenthal and two catchers – Austin Nola and Jason Castro. Moreland has been stellar this year (1.117 OPS) and is expected to play regularly despite having mediocre career numbers against southpaws. Whether he was dealt or not, Moreland (career .770 OPS) should have been expected to slow down in September. This is mostly a lateral move for his fantasy value, and he remains a solid option in leagues of 12 teams or more. Rosenthal is the boom-or-bust member of this paragraph. Having gone 7-for-7 in save chances with the Royals, the 30-year-old should garner ninth-inning attention in San Diego. But Drew Pomeranz is the team’s best reliever and will factor into the closer situation. The expectation here is that the right-handed Rosenthal and lefty Pomeranz share ninth-inning work, based on matchups.
The Braves got some much-needed rotation help in the form of Tommy Milone. The southpaw had some success (3.99 ERA, 1.26 WHIP) in six starts with the Orioles, and his 31:4 K:BB ratio in 29.1 innings is a strong mark. But Milone struggled in his Atlanta debut on Sunday, giving up seven runs across 2.1 innings. For now, he should stay on waivers in mixed leagues.
Now for the rumors
Cleveland is dangling Mike Clevinger and apparently has offers that they are taking seriously. The right-hander has not been at his best (on or off the field) but a fresh start could help him to realize his vast potential down the stretch.
Beyond Clevinger, the big-name starters most likely to move ahead of the deadline are Lance Lynn and Dylan Bundy. Lynn has been pitching like an ace this year and should continue to succeed on a new team. But I worry more about Bundy, who has briefly found his stride after years of disappointment in Baltimore. Fantasy managers with Bundy on their roster should hope that he stays put.
In addition to Lynn, Texas is also shopping Joey Gallo, Mike Minor and just about anyone else with a pulse. Minor has been dropped in some leagues but was effective last season and would warrant some attention with a fresh start elsewhere.
Departures create opportunity
While some fantasy managers obsess over the players who are traded near the deadline, youngsters who replace departed veterans on rebuilding teams often deliver under-the-radar production.
Boston is turning first base over to Bobby Dalbec. The 25-year-old compiled 59 homers and 182 RBIs across the past two minor league seasons, and although he is unlikely to hit for average (career .261 MiLB hitter), he should provide enough power to help in deep-mixed leagues. True to form, he homered in his first MLB game.
The Royals have an opening at the back end of their bullpen. Ian Kennedy has closer experience but has been awful this year and will likely be skipped over for either Josh Staumont (0.66 ERA, 27 K’s in 13.2 IP) or Scott Barlow (1.45 ERA, 23 K’s in 18.2 IP). Either Staumont or Barlow should be grabbed in Yahoo leagues as soon as they step on the rubber for a save chance.
Rookies to the rescue
Fantasy managers are desperate for rotation help this season, and a handful of rookies showed over the weekend that they are ready to provide a spark.
Dane Dunning tossed five scoreless innings against the Royals. The 25-year-old has recorded seven whiffs and one walk in each of his initial two MLB starts, making him a must-start option for this third career outing, which will come in the form of a rematch with Kansas City.
On Saturday, Josh Fleming earned his second win in as many starts when he shut out the Marlins for 5.1 innings. The 24-year-old is more of a control artist than a swing-and-miss hurler, and he could deliver solid ratios as part of a Rays staff that tends to have more successes than failures. Fleming will take on the Marlins once again in his third career outing.
Deivi Garcia’s Major League debut was a memorable one, as the 21-year-old struck out six while allowing one unearned run across six innings. With James Paxton on the shelf for an extended period of time, the Yankees will likely give this potential phenom every opportunity to show he can help them in the postseason. His next start is a favorable matchup against the Orioles.
Favorable Monday-Thursday Hitting Matchups
The Rockies play three games at home, two of which are against a Giants pitching staff that has allowed the most runs in the National League. Daniel Murphy is a solid option in the coming days, while Raimel Tapia is available in most Yahoo leagues and has been playing regularly.
The Braves get to face the least-effective pitching staff in baseball when they spend three days at Fenway Park. This gives me the perfect chance to mention Austin Riley, who has fared well of late and is sitting on waivers in most leagues.
The exciting Padres offense will play one game at offense-inducing Coors Field before facing an Angels pitching staff that has struggled this year. Trent Grisham has had major peaks and valleys but deserves the nod this week. And Jake Cronesworth should continue his strong rookie season.
Starters to Stream
Marco Gonzales (@LAA)
Spencer Howard (vs. WSH)
Ian Anderson (@BOS)
Jon Lester (@PIT)
Tristan McKenzie (@KC)
Elieser Hernandez (vs. TOR)
Taijuan Walker (@BOS)
Dylan Cease (@KC)
J.A. Happ (@NYM)