Sunday marks the end of the MLB regular season with a 15-game slate starting at 3:05 PM Eastern time. It's best to avoid top performers from playoff-bound teams for the most part, as their managers could opt to remove key contributors early even if they're penciled into the lineup to start. With that in mind, these are the day's top value plays...
Jason Vargas, KC vs. ARI ($33): Vargas comes into this one with wins in four consecutive starts and could gain sole possession of the league lead in that category if he can earn a 19th victory against an Arizona team that's locked into the hosting the NL Wild Card game. With Arizona's best players likely taking it easy in preparation for the postseason, Vargas has a golden opportunity to lower the 2.01 ERA from his current winning streak even further. The southpaw's lackluster 17.7 percent strikeout rate lowers his ceiling even against the strikeout-prone Diamondbacks (9.01 K/game) but he's still a bargain at just $33 given the situation.
Anibal Sanchez, DET at MIN ($28): Sanchez is another affordable pitcher who's been strong down the stretch and will be facing a playoff-bound opponent with little to play for. After struggling for most of 2017, the 2013 AL ERA champion has regained the form that earned him that distinction with just four runs allowed and a 25:5 K:BB in 18 innings over his past three starts. He hasn't been rewarded with a win yet over that stretch, but that could well change with Bartolo Colon (6-14, 6.72 ERA) on the mound for Minnesota.
Welington Castillo, BAL at TB ($13): Castillo's having another strong season against left-handed pitching with a .393 wOBA in 93 at-bats. Expect him to close the season with another strong effort against Rays southpaw Blake Snell, who lasted just one inning while allowing four earned runs on four hits and four walks in his last outing.
Rhys Hoskins, PHI vs. NYM ($20): Hoskins will be looking to end a tremendous rookie campaign on a high note in front of his home crowd. He sports a wOBA over .400 against both lefties and righties, so Hoskins will be in position to succeed regardless of who New York brings out of the bullpen after recovering starter Noah Syndergaard pitches his scheduled one inning. Citizens Bank Park's league-leading 1.42 home run park factor also maximizes the 24-year-old slugger's chances of adding to his impressive total of 18 home runs in 49 games.
Joe Panik, SF vs. SD ($16): Panik's excellent batting eye makes him a tough matchup for wild Padres starter Luis Perdomo. The left-handed hitting Panik has a 33:32 K:BB against right-handed pitching in addition to a decent .339 wOBA in that split, and should get plenty of run-scoring opportunities out of the two-hole in the San Francisco order. Perdomo's 3.68 BB/9 has contributed to his unimpressive 4.65 ERA, and the righty has issued multiple walks in 12 of his past 13 starts, including each of the last seven.
Ryon Healy, OAK at TEX ($15): Healy has easily outplayed his $15 valuation with a .370 wOBA against lefties. Globe Life Park in Arlington's 1.22 park factor puts him in position to raise that number even further against Rangers southpaw Cole Hamels, whose 5.90 ERA over his past seven starts shows he's far removed from his heyday in Philadelphia.
Paul DeJong, STL vs. MIL ($11): DeJong's been strong in righty-on-righty matchups, producing a .350 wOBA and 19 of his 25 home runs in that split. The affordable shortstop should notch one final strong performance at home against scuffling Brewers starter Zach Davies, who has faded down the stretch with a 6.60 ERA and 5:4 K:BB in 15 innings over his past three starts.
Shin-Soo Choo, TEX vs. OAK ($14): Choo's taken advantage of Globe Life Park in Arlington's second-ranked park factor, posting a .352 home wOBA overall and a .365 mark against righties. The veteran outfielder should be able to capitalize on the hitter-friendly conditions once more against A's starter Daniel Mengden, who allowed four earned runs in six innings last time out and comes in with a paltry 5.25 K/9.
Aaron Altherr, PHI vs. NYM ($17): Altherr's another bat in the Philadelphia lineup capable of producing regardless of who the Mets throw at him. With a wOBA over .350 against pitchers from both sides and a spot in the heart of the order, Altherr's likely to drive in some runs given at least eight innings of opportunity to exploit a bullpen that ranks 28th with a 4.74 ERA.
Giancarlo Stanton, MIA vs. ATL ($22): In case you haven't heard, Stanton needs just one more home run to reach 60 this season. Manager Don Mattingly has said he's doing everything to help his star hitter achieve that milestone, so there's no risk of Stanton sitting out the finale or getting pulled early without going deep first. Even if he doesn't launch one into the seats, Stanton should have a productive performance against left-handed starter Max Fried given his .477 season wOBA in that split.