Pickups of the Day: Blackburn Has Been Balling
Rotoworld’s Pickups of the Day column is designed to help fantasy managers uncover a handful of widely-available targets over the course of the season. It could be a breakout candidate, a prospect stash, an injury replacement, a pitcher with a favorable matchup or week, a player who is due some better luck, or any other number of scenarios. If there’s value to be found on the waiver wire, we will find it and bring it your way.
In today’s column, we’re going to explore Chris Taylor’s second-half resurgence and an unheralded streaming option that can help fantasy managers on Wednesday.
PICKUPS OF THE DAY
Paul Blackburn, SP, Athletics
Available in 82 percent of Yahoo leagues
We’re pulling into the home stretch of the 2023 fantasy baseball season. For many, that means all-important playoff matches in head-to-head leagues, or trying to grind out every available point in roto formats. Staying on top of things and streaming the best possible pitching options is crucial in these situations.
For Wednesday’s MLB slate, I present to you Paul Blackburn. The unheralded 29-year-old doesn’t own eye-popping numbers overall on the season – and he presents some risk in the WHIP category – but otherwise he makes for a terrific play on Wednesday.
The Athletics’ hurler has been especially good as of late – registering a 2.52 ERA, 1.44 WHIP and a 51/20 K/BB ratio over 50 innings in his last nine starts dating back to July 22. During that stretch, he has surrendered more than two runs in an outing only one time.
The matchup isn’t perfect on Wednesday – as he’ll do battle against the Astros in Houston – but it’s not a reason to avoid him completely. Blackburn kicked off this current nine-start stretch with a start against the Astros in Oakland in which he allowed just one run on five hits while punching out five batters across his 5 1/3 innings.
If you’re scratching and clawing for every point in the WHIP category specifically, Blackburn may not be the right play for you on Wednesday. Otherwise, he should deliver 5-6 quality innings with a handful of strikeouts, a shot at a victory and limited risk of a blowup. For a player that’s readily available on the waiver wire in most formats, we’ll take it.
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Chris Taylor, 2B/3B/SS/OF
Available in 68 percent of Yahoo leagues
While he’s not finding himself in the lineup every night, Chris Taylor has experienced a nice resurgence in the second half of the season and could wind up delivering terrific value down the stretch – especially in leagues that utilize daily lineups.
The versatile 33-year-old carries four positions of eligibility and can fill in any place that he’s needed on your fantasy roster. He has been sizzling at the plate over his last 23 games dating back to August 11 – slashing .339/.442/.554 with three homers, 13 RBI and five stolen bases across 77 plate appearances.
He’s a must start against all left-handed pitching at the moment, and makes for a viable option against right-handers when he finds himself in the lineup as well. He also gets the added benefit of a series against the Tigers – and a four-game set against the Rockies in Colorado over the final two weeks of the regular season.
He’s not the superstar that’s going to single-handedly lead your squad to a fantasy title down the stretch, but he is one of the glue pieces that can help to bring it all together. Scoop him up today and reap the rewards.