Zach’s Postseason Musings (10/8)
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NL Wild Card Game – Cubs @ Pirates
Jake Arrieta, fresh off an absolutely dominant second half in which he went 12-1 with a 0.75 ERA, 0.73 WHIP and 113 strikeouts across 107 1/3 innings, turned in a near flawless performance last night (9 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 11 K, W). The Cubs righty is pretty much a lock to win the NL Cy Young award, and his ascent to ace status is even more impressive when taking into account his prolonged struggles during his first few years in the big leagues. I’ve seen enough from Arrieta over the course of this season and last season to convince me that he’s a legit fantasy ace going forward, and his draft day price still won’t be as high as the established aces, so there’s still some room for profit here. I think it’s safe to say that the Orioles wish they had not made the July 2013 trade that sent Arrieta along with Pedro Strop to the Cubs in exchange for Scott Feldman.
Gerrit Cole (5 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, L) uncharacteristically served up two homers last night, this after allowing just 11 longballs over 32 starts this year. Still just 25 years of age, Cole is coming off his finest season to date, and since I’m not one to take a starting pitcher in the first few rounds, I wouldn’t hesitate to draft Cole as my ace in the fifth or sixth round of a 12-team mixed league.
Kyle Schwarber (2-for-3, HR, 3 RBI) batted a mediocre .246 while with the Cubs this season, but 16 homers in 69 games will get your attention. The power is for real (34 home runs in 147 career Minor League games) and a significant improvement in the AVG department would not be surprising being that he batted .333 in the Minors. Of particular interest to fantasy owners, however, will be whether he catches enough games next season to maintain his catcher eligibility for future seasons. While that doesn’t affect his 2016 value, it is something that Schwarber owners in keeper leagues need to be aware of, especially since his trade stock is so high right now.
Dexter Fowler (3-for-4, solo HR, 3 R, SB) might not be a star, but his power/speed contributions make him a valuable fantasy commodity, and his career .363 OBP suggests that he will continue to serve as a reliable source of runs as long as he remains in the leadoff spot. Consider him a quality OF3/OF4 in 12-team mixed leagues and a high-end OF3 in leagues that use OBP instead of AVG.