I can't believe we're already in mid-September. It feels like the season zipped by until I start to think about it in more detail and realize that we have made our way through five-plus months. Keep your foot on the gas as the six-month haul and football creeping into the minds of your competitors creates a potential advantage in plenty of leagues, even high-end ones.
Our No. 1 starter recommendation should be held the rest of the way and several hitting recommendations are in Coors Field and should remain on the roster through the rest of that series. Good luck winning those titles!
Zac Gallen (R), rostered in 31% of ESPN leagues, Arizona Diamondbacks at New York Mets: I don't understand how Gallen is still down at 31% roster rate. He has a 2.50 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in 68 1/3 innings split between the Marlins and Diamondbacks. The 23-year-old righty took a no-hit bid deep into his last outing, winding up with seven shutout innings of one-hit ball along with eight strikeouts against just one walk. The Mets aren't an easy matchup, but Gallen hasn't been intimidated by difficult matchups, including the likes of St. Louis, Washington, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Milwaukee and a trip to Colorado.
Chase Anderson (R), 10%, Milwaukee Brewers at Miami Marlins: Anderson put together a 10-start run of 2.89 ERA through mid-August before a 10-run pummeling spoiled all the good work. Since then, he's been OK with two solid outings and one dud in his three starts. The Marlins give him an opportunity to really get back on track as arguably the worst offense in the league. He's a must.
Ronald Bolanos (R), fewer than 1%, San Diego Padres vs. Chicago Cubs: This 22-year-old righty threw 130 1/3 innings of 3.66 ERA and 1.24 WHIP across High- and Double-A before his call-up. He has just one MLB start during which he threw six strong in Arizona, allowing just two runs and fanning four. The Cubs are no joke, but I'm intrigued by Bolanos with his mid-90s heater and four-pitch mix.
Catcher -- Mitch Garver (R), 51%, Minnesota Twins vs. Washington Nationals (RHP Anibal Sanchez): Even in one-catcher leagues, I can't fathom how Garver might be available. He's hit 29 homers in just 82 games along with a remarkable .274/.363/.639 line. Imagine if he hadn't spent most of the season in a timeshare with Jason Castro. Garver has been one of the best breakouts in all of baseball this year.
First Base -- Mike Ford (L), 2%, New York Yankees at Detroit Tigers (RHP Edwin Jackson): Ford cooled off after an obscene week two weeks ago, but his power has been incredible with 10 home runs in 133 plate appearances. Jackson has been hit hard by both righties and lefties so I'd get any Yankees I could for this matchup (and series, to be honest).
Second Base -- Kolten Wong (L), 38%, St. Louis Cardinals at Colorado Rockies (RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez): Wong is slowly creeping up the Player Rater at second base, currently sitting 14th with 10 homers and 20 stolen bases on the season. With a strong finish in September, he could crack the top 10 and a trip to Coors Field will help that. Wong has been platoon neutral on the year but Gonzalez hasn't, with lefties carrying a 201-point platoon advantage, up at a .983 OPS.
Third Base -- Nick Solak (R), 3%, Texas Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Rays (LHP Ryan Yarbrough): Solak has been strong since reaching the majors, hitting .328/.449/.500 in 78 plate appearances. He's done his best work against lefties with a 1.073 OPS in 30 plate appearances. The Rangers should keep finding ways to get him in the lineup, so if you need AVG help down the stretch, Solak is your guy.
Shortstop -- Tommy Edman (S), 53%, St. Louis Cardinals at Colorado Rockies (RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez): I'm bending a couple rules here, repeating a team and pushing just over the 50% roster rate threshold, but I have to make sure you have as many guys in Coors as you can get. Edman is the latest out-of-nowhere Cardinal to absolutely go off. He has 7 homers and 11 stolen bases (on just 12 tries) in his 267 plate appearances and he's been great in September, toting an .866 OPS with 2 HR and 2 SB.
Corner Infield -- Ryan O'Hearn (L), 2%, Kansas City Royals at Chicago White Sox (RHP Ivan Nova): O'Hearn is quietly surging after the last two weeks, hitting .333/.442/.722 with 4 homers in 43 plate appearances. I tabbed him as a potential breakout after a late-season flourish last year (.950 OPS, 12 HR in 170 PA), but it hasn't gone that way at all as even with the recent surge, he's only at a .619 OPS. Hopefully a strong finish gives the 25-year-old slugger something to build on for 2020.
Middle Infield -- Ryan McMahon (L), 28%, Colorado Rockies vs. St. Louis Cardinals (RHP Michael Wacha): McMahon is our third Coors reco since I cheated a bit with Edman. Like O'Hearn, I had McMahon down for a 2019 breakout, but unlike O'Hearn he's started to pay some real dividends. The 24-year-old finished June with just .719 OPS, but since then he's at .888 with 13 homers and 4 stolen bases in 201 plate appearances. Part of it is that the Rockies finally committed to just starting him instead of jerking him around. He now has 20 home runs and could finish the season with an OPS over .800, meaning the hype will likely soar again heading into 2020.
Outfield -- Franmil Reyes (R), 44%, Cleveland Indians at Los Angeles Angels (LHP Jose Suarez): The Franimal was carrying a sharp platoon split for a good part of the year, but he's tightened up to where he's now useful against both righties and lefties. He started slowly with Cleveland, but he's really turned up of late with a .291/.378/.593 line and 7 HR over his last 98 PA. If you're chasing HRs, you should put Reyes on the roster.
Outfield -- Chris Taylor (R), 32%, Los Angeles Dodgers at Baltimore Orioles (LHP Ty Blach): Taylor has smacked lefties this season with an .894 OPS and 7 of his 11 homers. Blach has sputtered through his 24 2/3 innings this season with a 10.95 ERA and 2.15 WHIP so make sure you start Taylor and any other Dodger you might have on the roster, even your non-stars.
Outfield -- Garrett Cooper (R), 6%, Miami Marlins vs. Milwaukee Brewers (RHP Chase Anderson): I've been hyping Cooper all season long in this space and he's been a perfectly capable bench bat to spot in for periods of time. He's a rare reverse platoon guy where his best work has been against righties as he's hitting .306/.377/.473 against them with 9 home runs. A .234 BABIP has stifled his production against lefties and the season might end before that can really normalize, but I'm open to using Cooper in just about any matchup, especially as an injury replacement.