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Success in fantasy sports is ultimately about looking ahead and predicting the future. We all make mistakes on draft day and in-season, but taking a chance on the right player at the right time can still pay huge dividends no matter how that player has performed in the past.
There are few players in 2022 who can be considered a bigger fantasy bust than Marlins lefty Trevor Rogers. After a breakout 2021 season, this season has been one he'd like to forget with a 5.51 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, and only four wins over 21 starts. This season has also included time missed to injury, most recently a back issue.
The good news is that Rogers has looked like last year's version since returning from his time off. He's dominated in starts against the Rays and Phils, with a 3.00 ERA and 13/1 K/BB over 12. Innings. There has been a clear improvement in Rogers' control, and he's also leaned more on his fastball and changeup than we've seen for much of this season.
The sample size of two starts is much too small to definitively say that Rogers has fixed his issues, but the upside is intriguing enough to overlook the struggles for most of the season if you're desperate for an injection of pitching upside down the stretch.
In the best case, Rogers will continue to pitch well down the stretch and build some real momentum for 2023. That scenario could also win fantasy managers leagues over the final 3.5 weeks. A very favorable two-start week against Texas and Washington puts the odds of continued success in Rogers' favor.
-It's September, so as usual, teams are getting a look at their future prospects before the regular season concludes. Astros starting pitcher Hunter Brown has arguably been the most impressive recent promotion, tossing six scoreless innings in his debut against Texas. We should keep the mediocre opponent in mind, but it speaks well for the Astros youngster that he was able to establish his control in his first start after posting a so-so 3.8 BB/9 at Triple-A Sugar Land this season. He should continue to see opportunities until Justin Verlander returns from injury, and has a spectacularly favorable two-start week coming up against the Tigers and A's. The elite 54% groundball rate that he showed in the minors this season should help Brown succeed, even if the control escapes him in a future outing.
-Oakland is getting a similarly interesting look at Ken Waldichuk, a lefty acquired from the Yankees in the Frankie Montas trade. A flyball pitcher, Waldichuk would seem like a nice fit with his new home digs in roomy Oakland, and he's had no trouble at all missing bats in the minors with a career 13.4 K/9. He's building toward a rotation spot to open 2023 with two nice outings so far, and has a chance to keep it going at Texas in his first start next week before a much tougher scheduled start at Houston.
-It's important in prospect evaluation to not only consider future MLB ballpark, but also the impact of minor league parks. Arizona's Ryne Nelson had an ugly 5.43 ERA at Triple-A this season after a breakout 2021 season in which he posted a 3.17 ERA between High-A and Double-A. However, the former second-round pick's ERA was very much inflated by the Pacific Coast League, and more directly, by a hitter haven in Reno. As such, it shouldn't come as a complete shock that Nelson was effective in his first MLB start, though we should also be mindful of his drop in strikeout rate, from 12.6 K/9 in 2021 to only 8.5 K/9 this season. The great first start makes Nelson an interesting pickup, though a brutal two-start week against the Dodgers and Padres ought probably make fantasy managers hesitant if fighting for positioning this season.
Note: Probable pitchers as of Friday, September 9, and are subject to change.
Alek Manoah: TB, BAL
Jeffrey Springs: @TOR, TEX
Michael Kopech: COL, @DET
Hunter Brown: @DET, OAK
Eduardo Rodriguez: HOU, CHW
Nick Pivetta: NYY, KC
Joe Ryan: KC, @CLE
Ken Waldichuk: @TEX, @HOU
Glenn Otto: @MIA, @TB
At Your Own Risk
Kris Bubic: @MIN, @BOS
Yusei Kikuchi: TB, BAL
Xzavion Curry: LAA, MIN
Cody Morris: LAA, MIN
Jacob deGrom: CHC, PIT
Sandy Alcantara: PHI, @WAS
Tyler Anderson: @ARI, @SF
Chris Bassitt: CHC, PIT
Yu Darvish: @SEA, @ARI
Jordan Montgomery: MIL, CIN
Kyle Wright: @SF, PHI
Alex Cobb: ATL, LAD
Bailey Falter: @MIA, @ATL
Trevor Rogers: TEX, @WAS
At Your Own Risk
Zach Thompson: @CIN, @NYM
Mike Minor: PIT, @STL
Ryne Nelson: LAD, SD
Bryse Wilson: @CIN, @NYM
Luis Cessa: PIT, @STL
The following pitchers are generally available in over 50 percent of fantasy leagues and have favorable match-ups this week:
Tuesday, September 13: Jose Suarez @ CLE
Suarez has caught quite a bit of momentum in the second half of the season, with a 1.76 ERA in the last seven outings. His next outing is a great chance to keep the ball rolling, facing a Guardians squad with a .627 OPS against lefties.
Wednesday, September 14: Dane Dunning vs. OAK
With a decline in velocity, Dunning is having a somewhat disappointing year. The good news is that he has the A's scheduled for next week, with the second worst OPS in MLB against right-handers. He's fared well against them this season, allowing four earned runs in 10.1 innings.
Thursday, September 15: Dylan Bundy vs. KC
He's rarely gone deep into games, but Bundy has usually kept the Twins in them, allowing three or fewer runs in each of his last seven starts. KC continues to struggle hitting, with the fourth worst OPS in MLB vs. right-handers (.675).
Wednesday, September 13: Nick Lodolo vs. PIT
Lodolo has started to back up the hype in the second half of the season, with a 2.89 ERA and 53/18 K/BB over his last eight starts. Somehow he has yet to face the division-rival Pirates this season, who have a .651 OPS against lefties.
Saturday, September 17: Patrick Corbin vs. MIA
Looking to live dangerously? It's been another nightmarish season for Corbin, but he's performed well in three straight outings (four earned runs in 18.1 innings) and faces a Marlins squad that has the worst OPS in MLB vs. lefties by a wide margin. Part of that futility has taken place against Corbin over two outings, allowing only three earned runs in 13 innings.
Sunday, September 18: Wade Miley vs. COL
Back from the IL last week, Miley is still trying to salvage his season. He has performed well in the five starts he's made, and the Rox struggles on the road are well-documented with an NL-worst .629 OPS away from Coors Field.
5: BAL, BOS, NYY, SEA,
6: CHW, DET, KC, LAA, OAK,
7: HOU, MIN, TEX
8: CLE, TB, TOR
5: COL, MIL, WAS
6: ATL, CHC, LAD, PHI, SD, SF
7: ARI, NYM, STL
8: MIA, PIT
Here's some injuries to prominent players from the last week, and other players to watch for in the coming week. You can get a full listing of injured players at NBCSports Edge's Injury Page.
Xander Bogaerts: Day-to-day (back)
Dylan Carlson: Placed on IL (thumb)
Aaron Civale: Placed on IL (forearm)
Willson Contreras: Placed on IL (ankle)
Franchy Cordero: Out for the season (ankle)
Brandon Drury: Placed on IL (concussion)
Joey Gallo: Day-to-day (elbow)
Lourdes Gurriel Jr.: Day-to-day (hamstring)
Jose Iglesias: Placed on IL (hand)
Max Kepler: Day-to-day (hip)
Eric Lauer: Status uncertain (elbow)
DJ LeMahieu: Placed on IL (foot)
Gavin Lux: Day-to-day (back)
Starling Marte: Day-to-day (hand)
Brad Miller: Placed on IL (hip)
Tyler O'Neill: Day-to-day (neck)
Adam Oller: Placed on IL (ribs)
Freddy Peralta: Placed on IL (shoulder)
Zach Plesac: Out for the season (hand)
Luis Robert: Day-to-day (finger)
Victor Robles: Day-to-day (neck)
Keibert Ruiz: Status uncertain (groin)
Max Scherzer: Placed on IL (oblique)
Giancarlo Stanton: Day-to-day (foot)
Justin Steele: Placed on IL (back)
Lou Trivino: Day-to-day (back)
Kolten Wong: Day-to-day (knee)