Bonus baseball! Not only do we get the standard Friday afternoon 2:20 PM ET matinee when the Cubs are home for the weekend, the Cardinals and Cubs will play again under the lights. The remaining 14 games are all evening affairs, with the spotlight in Fenway Park where Gerrit Cole and the Yankees open a series with Nathan Eovaldi and the Red Sox.
The fantasy slate is ripe with pitchers to stream and batters to fill a hole. Here are Friday's featured players, everyone available in over half of all ESPN leagues.
Logan Gilbert (R), rostered in 39% of ESPN leagues, Seattle Mariners at Los Angeles Angels: After finishing August in a rut, Gilbert has enjoyed a solid September, boasting a 2.01 ERA and 0.94 WHIP which is supported by 23 strikeouts with only three walks in 22 1/3 innings. The rookie is in a good spot to finish the month strong facing an offense with the fifth lowest wOBA facing righthanders for the past month.
Tony Gonsolin (R), 27%, Los Angeles Dodgers at Arizona Diamondbacks: Last time out, Gonsolin followed Clayton Kershaw. With the Dodgers giving Kershaw an extra day, Gonsolin draws Friday's starting assignment. He worked five frames in his last start on September 14, coincidentally also against Arizona. Considering the Diamondbacks have slithered to last in wOBA against righthanders for the last month, Gonsolin is in good shape to throw at least five innings.
Ryan Yarbrough (L), 27%, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Miami Marlins: September has been rough for Yarbrough as he's posted a bloated 15.68 ERA and 2.52 WHIP. The crafty lefty has yielded 23 hits, including three homers in 10 1/3 stanzas this month. Some could be attributed to some bad luck, but he also hasn't been as sharp. While this adds a layer of risk, historically Yarbrough keeps opposing lineups in check. On Friday, Yarbrough draws a Marlins lineup with the league's lowest wOBA versus southpaws for the prior 30 days plus will benefit from following David Robertson, allowing Yarbrough to pitch fewer than five frames and potentially still earn a win.
Carlos Hernandez (R), 25%, Kansas City Royals at Detroit Tigers: Even after surrendering seven earned runs in just four frames in his last start, Hernandez has transitioned well to the rotation with a 2.75 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in nine second half starts. However, fanning just 35 with 17 free passes in those 52 1/3 frames indicate he's vulnerable to weak outings. Even so, Hernandez is in play against a Tigers lineup with the tenth worst wOBA and fifth higher strikeout rate with a righty on the hill over the past 30 days.
J.A. Happ (L), 14%, St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs: The Cardinals have won five of Happ's nine starts since being acquired at the trade deadline with the veteran southpaw credited with four of those victories. His 4.33 ERA and 1.24 WHIP aren't sparkling, but they're a tick better than league average which is playable with the right matchup. Since the break, the Cubs are league average facing lefties, but they're fanning at a 26% clip, putting Happ in play.
Bullpen: In Thursday's notes, my colleague Mike Sheets suggested adding Giovanny Gallegos. With the Cardinals playing a pair on Friday, let's double down on that advice. If Gallegos isn't available, his teammate Luis Garcia has been a holds machine lately, collecting 10 since August 19. Garcia could snag a save if the Redbirds use Gallegos in the opener. On the other side, Rowan Wick has compiled four saves for the Cubs since taking over as closer on August 31. Wick is available in 94% of ESPN leagues.
For the latest team-by-team closer situations, please consult our Closer Chart.
Catcher -- Austin Nola (R), 22%, San Diego Padres vs. Atlanta Braves (LHP Max Fried): Nola has been ceding playing time to Victor Caratini with a righty on the hill, but he's been behind the dish when the Padres face a lefty. Missing a few games hasn't affected Nola as evidenced by a .450/.476/.750 line over his last five games.
First Base -- Brandon Belt (L), 40%, San Francisco Giants at Colorado Rockies (RHP Peter Lambert): Starting Belt in Coors Field is one of the easiest calls of the season as his fly ball tendencies are ideal at altitude. In five games in Colorado so far this season, Belt has posted a .450/.500/.800 line.
Second Base -- Dylan Moore (R), 34%, Seattle Mariners at Los Angeles Angels (LHP Jose Suarez): Moore's 21 steals are already impressive, but the fact he's achieved that number with a 28% on base rate shows he's running almost every time there is an opportunity. For the past two weeks, Moore is sporting a .400 OBP to go along with three steals accrued in that span.
Third Base -- Andy Ibanez (R), 2%, Texas Rangers at Baltimore Orioles (LHP Alexander Wells): Ibanez was on a roll when a strained hamstring landed him on the IL in late August. The utilityman has picked up where he left off, batting .368/.400/.421 in the five games since returning.
Shortstop -- Brendan Rodgers (R), 23%, Colorado Rockies vs. San Francisco Giants (LHP Alex Wood): Curiously, 12 of Rodgers 15 homers have come on the road. Consider this an anomaly as Rodgers is very much in play with a lefty on the hill.
Corner Infield -- Jeimer Candelario (S), 39%, Detroit Tigers vs. Kansas City Royals (RHP Carlos Hernandez): Candelario has been solid all season. However, he's taken it up a level in September, posting a .294/.351/.662 this month.
Middle Infield -- Cole Tucker (S), under 1%, Pittsburgh Pirates at Philadelphia Phillies (RHP Kyle Gibson): A shortstop by trade, Tucker's recent uptick in production has earned him time chasing fly balls in the outfield. On Friday, Tucker enjoys a park upgrade against a pitcher whose pedestrian skills are finally getting a visit from the regression monster.
Outfield -- Harrison Bader (R), 11%, St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs (LHP Justin Steele): As has been discussed many times this season, trusting a hitter in a doubleheader is risky, since he may only play seven innings. On the other hand, identifying someone with a solid chance to play in both ends yields some bonus at bats. As the Cardinals best outfield defender, Bader is a solid bet to play in both games. At minimum, he'll enjoy the platoon bump on a weak southpaw.
Outfield -- Gavin Lux (L), 38%, Los Angeles Dodgers at Arizona Diamondbacks (RHP Humberto Castellanos): With Cody Bellinger on the IL, the Dodgers are using Lux in center field. It doesn't hurt that the infielder by trade has put up .438/.514/.656 production since coming off the IL a couple of weeks ago.
Outfield -- Bryan De La Cruz (R), 6%, Miami Marlins at Tampa Bay Rays (LHP Ryan Yarbrough): De La Cruz has cooled off in September, though he remains useful in points leagues with a .350 OBP this month. He's also slugging 100 points higher with the platoon edge for the season.