Pitchers to look for at the end of fantasy season
D.J. Short and Eric Samulski give some suggestions on pitchers that could help you as the fantasy baseball season draws to a close.
Rotoworld's Pickups of the Day column is designed to help fantasy managers uncover a handful of widely-available targets over the course of the season. It could be a breakout candidate, a prospect stash, an injury replacement, a pitcher with a favorable matchup or week, a player who is due some better luck, or any other number of scenarios. If there's value to be found on the waiver wire, we will find it and bring it your way.
In today’s column, we’re going to take a look at a hot-hitting outfielder that has been punishing the baseball since returning from the injured list and a nice streaming option for Wednesday’s slate of MLB action.
PICKUPS OF THE DAY
Ryan O’Hearn, 1B/OF, Orioles
Available in 82 percent of Yahoo leagues
Alright, maybe it’s time that we all need to start taking Ryan O’Hearn seriously. Many in the fantasy baseball community still think of him as an underperforming first baseman that flamed out with the Royals – and not as the absolute stud that he has been for the Orioles this season.
We have been doing this column for the entirety of the 2023 season. During that time, we have not profiled O’Hearn at all – despite the fact that he has been ridiculously under-rostered the entire time. Somehow, he still finds himself on just 18 percent of rosters in Yahoo leagues, despite the fact that he’s raking to the tune of .311/.339/.519 with 14 homers, 59 RBI and even four stolen bases for good measure across 331 plate appearances.
The Statcast numbers seem to support what he’s doing – hitting the ball extremely hard. He ranks in the 95th percentile in hard-hit percentage and in the 92nd percentile in average exit velocity this season.
He’s been locked into the lineup on a nightly basis with Ryan Mountcastle sidelined and has been riding another heater at the dish – hitting .366 (15-for-41) with three homers and nine RBI over the last two weeks.
The 30-year-old slugger qualifies at first base and in the outfield, and can absolutely provide value to your fantasy squad over the final week and a half of the 2023 season. Stop what you’re doing, add him now, and reap the rewards as the regular season draws to a close.
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Reese Olson, SP, Tigers
Available in 75 percent of Yahoo leagues
No one, even the most die-hard Tigers’ fans, have likely been paying close enough attention to their squad over the past month to realize just how good Reese Olson has been as of late.
If you look at his overall numbers on the season, they’re actually pretty appealing. In 19 appearances (16 starts), the 24-year-old right-hander holds a 4.30 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and a 91/29 K/BB ratio over 92 innings. The ERA is a touch high, but that comes with a 4.03 xFIP and a 4.10 SIERA.
Narrow the focus a bit though, and we see that Olson has been absolutely dealing lately. Over his last four starts, he has registered a 1.50 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and a 23/9 K/BB ratio over 24 innings. He has gone six innings or more in each of his last three starts, and has registered seven or more strikeouts in three of his last five.
He draws a difficult matchup on Wednesday night, having to take on the Dodgers in Los Angeles, but it’s at least a good pitcher’s park. He’s a large underdog to earn a victory in the game, but his chances of delivering a quality start with a handful of strikeouts seem relatively high – especially for someone so widely available on the waiver wire at this critical juncture of the fantasy season. If you’re still playing the streaming game, you’re going to want to roll the dice on the Tigers’ hurler on Wednesday evening.