Anyone reading this is looking for that edge. That extra something that could boost your fantasy teams to glory. It could be a player who hits a home run on the final day of the season when his team is playing out the string. Perhaps it’s a starting pitcher firing off 10 strikeouts in seven shutout innings in the heat of the pennant race. Maybe it’s a rookie getting much-needed at-bats in a late-season audition to be the starter in 2024.
So many scenarios – and some weirdness – could happen in the last week of the MLB season. Pitchers scheduled for starts suddenly get pulled if playoff hopes have been dashed. Hitters get pulled mid-game after reaching a milestone or to rest for the playoffs. Even a No. 5 starter could get obliterated in mop-up duty in the last game of the season to wreck a fantasy team’s title hopes. Someone’s wound is still fresh on that one.
All this is to say that so much of what makes baseball unique, maddening and fun all at once can happen in these last games of the season. Maybe one of these deep sleepers can help you win a title. Maybe you’ll see something in these last days that gives a glimmer of hope for 2024 greatness. Set those lineups, sit back and enjoy the wacky final games of the 2023 MLB season.
Fantasy Baseball Deep Sleepers & Waiver Wire Pickups
The rookie shortstop has been on this list multiple times this season. He’s now on the cusp of hitting 30%, but has not quite. In his last eight games, Ezequiel Tovar is 12-for-34, hitting .364 with a .879 OPS and nine RBI. He will finish the season in the lineup, and the Rockies will be at Coors Field for the final six. All of those games will be against the Dodgers and Twins, who are tuning up for the playoffs. They could be ripe for Tovar, looking to end his first year strong.
The Mariners are in a three-way dogfight for AL West supremacy and battling multiple teams for wild card berths. After missing almost two months on the IL, Jarred Kelenic has hits in four of his first six games back in the lineup. Someone needs to help Julio Rodriguez, and Kelenic is a fellow former top Mariners prospect who will be counted upon for the closing stretch. The final six games are at home, split between the two other teams in the division hunt: the Astros and Rangers.
The Reds are one of three teams tied at 79 wins, along with the Cubs and Marlins. Possibly, one or more of those teams makes the playoffs with a hot finish. Christian Encarnacion-Strand has three home runs and five RBI in his last four games to boost his totals to nine home runs and 27 RBI in 55 Big League games. The corner infielder could be hot at the right time for a Reds team that will need to hit its way into October if it’s going to get there.
LaMonte Wade Jr. (1B/OF – SF): Rostered: 12%
Lamonte Wade Jr. is back hitting at the top of the lineup against right-handers for the Giants and smoked a couple of home runs over the last week. He’s been a good table setter on the season, with 72 walks and a .377 OBP. That dual-position eligibility is key for fantasy teams with daily roster moves.
Luis Campusano (C/DH – SD): Rostered: 11%
With seven home runs, 30 RBI and a .305 average in 47 games, Luis Campusano is a ray of light for what’s been a disappointing season for the Padres. He is continuing to play, as the Padres need to find out if Campusano is someone who can bridge the catcher position until MLB.com’s No. 5 prospect, Ethan Salas, is ready. Salas finished the year in Double-A.
Brusdar Graterol (RP – LAD): Rostered: 17%
Since giving up a run on July 24, Brusdar Graterol has been as clean as the Dodgers’ home uniforms. In 22 innings, he has not allowed a run and has a 0.772 WHIP. He has three saves and seven holds during that span. Often, teams preparing for the playoffs give their closer a day off to give other relievers a taste of the ninth inning to simulate playoff pressure. That could be the case for Graterol, one of the most important relievers for the Dodgers.