Christian Yelich (MIL) - Christian Yelich left Sunday's game after getting hit on the elbow by a pitch, but was back in action on Monday. Unfortunately, he went 0-for-4 with just a walk. Yelich has been a huge reason why the Brewers are in the playoff hunt this season and an even bigger reason why those who rostered him in fantasy are in the hunt for the championship. As we've been hitting on for the last several seasons at Fantistics, Yelich has unbelievable power potential if he uses a launch angle that elevates the ball more frequently. While his batted ball profile hasn't changed dramatically (he did lower his GB rate by 5% to 51%, but his FB rate remains just 23%), his ballpark did change and he moved from one of the least favorable parks for home runs to one of the most in Milwaukee. His 30+ home runs and 20+ stolen bases with a near league leading batting average will make him a lock to go in the first round of fantasy drafts next season, likely near the first half.
Jon Gray (COL) - Jon Gray made a surprise start on Monday after originally planned starter Tyler Anderson was scratched with shoulder soreness. Gray was once again sharp, going 7 innings while allowing just 4 hits, 3 walks, and giving up 1 earned run with 7 strikeouts. The move is interesting because there's a chance that he can now not only start this Saturday, there's an outside chance he would be available to start on short rest on Tuesday 10/2, should the Rockies need to play in the NL wild card game. Gray has pitched excellent since being demoted at the end of June and will once again be a tantalizing selection in the middle rounds given the high upside his talent has flashed, but with the downside risk of Coors Field.
Jeff McNeil (NYM) - It's time we talk about Jeff McNeil a little more seriously. On the season, the middle infielder has played 57 games with 3 HR, 32 runs, 19 RBI and 6 steals. If you play the dangerous "extrapolation" game, then that would be a pace that's nearly double digit home runs and steals with a slash line of .340/.394/.494. McNeil wasn't elite in the batting average department until this season in the minor leagues, but his 23% line drive rate is certainly a positive contributing factor. Nonetheless, it's silly to expect McNeil to continue getting hits at that pace over an entire season, but he's certainly put himself in the conversation of bring draftable in as middle infield option in next year's drafts.
Cole Hamels (CHC) - Cole Hamels pitched for the Cubs on Monday night as he tried to prep for his first post-season since 2016 and his third since 2011. Hamels pitched fairly well, giving up just a pair of earned runs on 5 hits and 7 strikeouts over 6 innings, but the Cubs offense failed to support him. In fact, the Cubs only run came on a Hamels home run. Hamels has arguably been the Cubs best pitcher since joining the team around the trade deadline. Depending upon what the Cubs decide to do with his team option, he may once again be relevant in fantasy baseball circles, if he stays with the Cubs. Walks remain a concern for him and will limit his upside, but he's a fine back-end starter.
Sandy Alcantara (MIA) - If he qualified, Sandy Alcantara would easily ranked as the luckiest starting pitcher in baseball. That's even after Monday's nightmare happened. Acquired from the Cardinals in the Marcell Ozuna deal, Alcantara actually managed to post a beautiful 2.35 ERA that was masking a horrendous 5.61 xFIP heading into Monday's start. His strikeout and walk rates do very little to instill confidence that a continuance of luck is probable (18% strikeout rate vs 17% walk rate) and the team he's playing for is unlikely to do him any favors. Unfortunately, after allowing 7 hits, 6 earned runs, and 5 walks, his season-long ERA raised to 4.00 with an xFIP of 5.94. He's a clear avoid in drafts next season, if he gains any momentum thanks to his unsustainable ERA.