Brandon Pfaadt (SP-ARI) twirled a gem in the final regular-season start of his rookie campaign, tossing 5 2/3 scoreless innings against the White Sox. He scattered five hits and no walks while racking up eight strikeouts, throwing 63 of his 87 pitches for strikes. The 24-year-old righty didn't have much trouble carving up a lifeless Chicago lineup with nothing to play for, ending his first MLB season on a high note. That makes back-to-back outings with eight whiffs for Pfaadt, who didn't allow any runs in two of his final three outings. While his overall numbers were disappointing (3-9, 5.72 ERA), he did show improvement as the season progressed, posting a 4.22 ERA and a 9.3 K/9 over his final 13 outings (12 starts). That gives him some nice momentum heading into the postseason (assuming Arizona makes it) and gives him something to build on in 2024. He'll likely be undervalued in fantasy drafts and still has room to grow, so don't be afraid to take a chance on him.
Shane Bieber (SP-CLE) delivered a gem in his final start of the season, earning the win with six innings of one-run ball against the Reds on Wednesday. He allowed five hits and no walks while striking out seven, improving to 6-6 with a 3.80 ERA after throwing 57 of his 82 pitches for strikes. It was a nice rebound performance for Bieber, who got rocked for five runs in five innings during his return from the IL last week. That concludes a disappointing season for the former Cy Young winner, who missed roughly a third of the season and saw his numbers decline as well. The most alarming trend with him is that his strikeout rate dropped for the third straight season, plummeting to a career-worst 7.5 K/9. He can't be treated as a fantasy ace unless he brings that number back up considerably, but on the plus side at least he'll be motivated to have a big year in 2024 in his final season before free agency. Bieber's still an above-average hurler, but don't expect elite production from him next year.
Tyler Glasnow (SP-TB) dominated the Red Sox in his final start of the regular season on Wednesday, earning the win with five scoreless innings at Fenway Park. He yielded just two hits and a walk while striking out nine, throwing 45 of his 70 pitches for strikes. Glasnow got the early hook to save his arm for the playoffs but finishes the season at 10-7 with a 3.53 ERA and 162 strikeouts in 120 innings. Overall it was a great comeback season for Glasnow, who topped 100 innings for only the second time in his career after making just two starts last year due to injuries. While he's still never stayed healthy for an entire season (and probably never will), his elite ratios and ace-level production when he does take the mound make him the ultimate high-risk, high-reward fantasy player. He'd be a surefire All-Star and Cy Young candidate if he could just stay healthy, but who knows if or when that will ever happen. If you end up drafting him next year, make sure to have a backup plan.
Grayson Rodriguez (SP-BAL) earned the win on Wednesday after tossing 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball against the Nationals. He yielded six hits and no walks while striking out five, throwing 60 of his 87 pitches for strikes. The win improved his record to 7-4 with a 4.35 ERA, but that betrays how great he was down the stretch. He allowed three earned runs or less in 12 straight starts to close out the season, posting a 2.26 ERA and a 69:19 K/BB ratio over that time. It truly was a tale of two halves for the 23-year-old rookie, who figured things out after a rocky first half. He now looks like a fantasy ace heading into 2024 and will be a key member of Baltimore's rotation not just in this year's playoffs, but for years to come going forward. There's always the chance he gets better, too, based on the rapid pace of his remarkable growth this season. This former first-round draft pick is the real deal and should put up even better numbers next year.
Aaron Judge (OF-NYY) powered the Yankees to a 6-0 win over the Blue Jays on Wednesday, going 2-for-3 with two homers, three runs, four RBIs and two walks. Judge gave Gerrit Cole all the run support he would need with his two-run shot off Jose Berrios in the top of the fourth, breaking a scoreless tie at the time. He then added another two-run blast in the seventh for good measure. That was Judge's seventh multi-homer game of the season and second in his last four games, raising his season total to 37. He's up to 75 RBIs and 77 runs as well despite appearing in only 103 games so far due to injuries. While injuries have dogged Judge throughout his whole career (and probably always will because of his massive size), he can still be counted on to produce at an MVP level when healthy. His OPS (1.029) is over 1.000 for the third time in his career and he's also walking at the highest clip of his career (19.1 BB%) despite having a surprising lack of offensive talent around him.
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