Jake Arrieta (SP-CHC) - A hamstring injury had limited Arrieta to just 2.1 innings of work since August 29, but he took the hill against a tough Brewers team Thursday and held them to just one run on five hits over five solid innings. A pitch count kept him from going deeper into the game, and though he struck out just two, the Cubs have to be happy with what they saw from him. The free-agent-to-be has probably cost himself millions with a so-so 2017, but 14-9 with a 3.43 ERA and 159:54 K:BB could still put him in line for a $100 million-plus deal in free agency this winter, especially if he has a strong showing in the playoffs. Arrieta's career year will obviously wind up being his 2015 season (1.77 ERA, 236 K, 22 wins), but the 31-year-old still has plenty left in the tank.
RA Dickey (SP-ATL) - I'm still stunned that a contending team couldn't pry Dickey away from the rebuilding Braves in July. Dickey held a great Nationals lineup to just two runs over eight innings Thursday to improve to 10-10 with a 4.32 ERA. Dickey has allowed a few more hits than IP and his HR/9 is a bit high at 1.2, but he got it done on Thursday. Given Dickey had allowed four or more runs in five of his previous six starts, he's a risky play going forward, as you never know when the knuckler will be....knuckling. Still, he's the perfect innings eater and veteran presence for the young Braves. I expect they will re-sign him this winter.
Jose Martinez (1B-STL) - Count me in on the Martinez bandwagon. Batting cleanup against the Reds on Thursday, Martinez went 2-for-5 with an RBI single to raise his slash to an impressive .311/.375/.520 in 254 at-bats over 98 games. Martinez has 13 homers and 42 RBI while striking out just over 19% of the time. He's pulverized LHP to the tune of a 1.347 OPS (DFS play) while essentially making Jedd Gyorko a utility player. At 29, he's not your typical rookie, but in 2015 the Venezuelan did post a 1.024 OPS in Triple-A, and it appears that's translating fairly well at the big league level. Maybe pitchers will figure him out next year, but it doesn't appear that the Cardinals will need to pursue a big name free agent first baseman this winter.
Homer Bailey (SP-CIN) - Bailey allowed four runs on seven hits over four innings against St. Louis on Thursday, taking his ERA to 6.96 and his WHIP to 1.75. Bailey has shown flashes (5.2 IP, 1 ER, 7 K vs. PIT last time out), but overall, hitters are batting .317 against him and a 63:39 K:BB in 84 innings is mediocre at best. Bailey is averaging 93.5 mph with his fastball, his highest mark there since 2014, but the secondary stuff and control just aren't as crisp. Keep in mind though, he's made just 25 starts over the last three years (17 this season), but if he can just get to be 100% and back to his old mechanics, there's still hope. I am still pretty much done with the guy, but that probably means he'll go 18-8 with a 2.88 ERA and 210 strikeouts next season.
Mark Leiter Jr. (SP-PHI) - Leiter notched the quality start in a no-decision Friday against the Dodgers, holding them to three runs (only one earned) on five hits over six innings. Leiter walked one and struck out three, allowing a home run to Curtis Granderson in lowering his ERA to 4.69. Like his dad, Leiter has the ceiling of a back-of-the-rotation starter. Her performed well last year in Double-A, putting up a 3.39 ERA in 103.2 innings with a 94:30 K:BB, though he's had his ups and downs this year. Two starts after holding Miami to one run over seven shutout innings, Leiter allowed the Mets(!) to touch him for eight earned in just 3.1. Given the so-so velocity (91 mph average) on his fastball, Leiter needs to be precise with his location. In 86.1 innings, his K:BB is a respectable 79:28.
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