D.J. Short

Waiver Wired

print article archives RSS

Waiver Wired: Click for Nick?

Thursday, April 12, 2018


Something very interesting happened over the past week, and with little in the way of fanfare. For the first time, the Mets’ big five (Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler) all made it through a turn in the rotation. It’s a fun and sort of sad factoid, really. Wheeler, fresh up from Triple-A Las Vegas, was the final one to take the baton on Wednesday night against the Marlins. And surprise, surprise, he was excellent.

Granted, it was the Marlins, but Wheeler tossed seven innings of one-run ball as the Mets improved to a major-league best 10-1. Efficient hasn’t been a word that’s been associated with Wheeler very often in the past, but he threw 83 pitches while allowing just two hits and one walk.

Wheeler struck out seven batters while amassing 14 swinging strikes. Eight of his whiffs were on his slider, an encouraging sign. According to Brooks Baseball, he averaged 95 mph on his fastball and topped out at 97.4 mph. And despite the other impressive talent in this rotation, he became the first Mets’ starter to record an out in the seventh inning so far this season. All in all, a very pleasant surprise.

Wheeler was dealt the bitter pill of a demotion to Triple-A after a disappointing showing during spring training, but he’s been hard at work on a mechanical change aimed at shortening his delivery. The early returns are very promising, but the question is how long he’ll have a rotation spot with Jason Vargas close to returning from surgery to repair a fractured hamate bone in his non-pitching hand. It’s a nice problem to have.

At the very least, Wheeler’s emergence allows the Mets to take their time. As of now, he lines up for another start next week against the Nationals. It’s not the easiest of matchups, but I could see picking him up in deeper mixed leagues while we wait to see how this situation shakes out. He’s owned in 18 percent of Yahoo leagues as of Thursday morning.

Editor’s Note: Fantasy Baseball season is here! Compete in a live fantasy baseball snake draft right now! Drafts take as little as 2 minutes to complete and last just one night. For a limited time, DRAFT is giving Rotoworld readers a FREE entry into a real money draft and a Money-Back Guarantee up to $100! Here's the link

Have specific questions about your roster? Ask @djshort on Twitter.

MIXED LEAGUES

(Ownership numbers are from Thursday (4/12) morning)

Nick Pivetta SP, Phillies (Yahoo: 18 percent owned)

It’s only natural to be hesitant with someone who posted a 6.02 ERA over 26 starts as a rookie last season, but it’s time to give Pivetta a second look. While the results weren’t there last year, the 25-year-old struck out 140 batters in 133 innings. That was reason enough to watch him going into this season. And things are looking positive so far. The 25-year-old allowed two runs over seven innings Wednesday against the Reds and now owns a 2.70 ERA and 19/2 K/BB ratio in 16 2/3 innings across his first three starts. The big thing to watch is his progress against right-handed batters. They mashed him to the tune of a .308/.378/.605 batting line last year. Paul Boye of The Good Phight recently went over Pivetta’s improved secondary pitches, which gives me hope that he can take a step forward this year. Granted, he didn’t get many whiffs with his breaking pitches on Wednesday.

Nick Senzel 3B, Reds (Yahoo: 29 percent owned)

Eugenio Suarez broke his right thumb when he was hit by a pitch on Sunday and is expected to miss a few weeks, so suddenly everyone is on Senzel watch. And with good reason. Ranked as the No. 7 prospect in the game by Baseball America over the winter, the 22-year-old batted .321/.391/.514 with 14 home runs and 14 steals over 119 games last season between High-A Daytona and Double-A Pensacola. The Reds initially wanted him to get some work at second base at Triple-A this season, but he was moved back to third base on Tuesday. It’s worth noting that April 13 is the day that the Reds can call up Senzel without losing a year of team control, so we could see something at any time. I’m not convinced he’ll be much of an asset in power right away, but he’s capable of contributing across the board and will find himself in a great home ballpark for offense.

Cesar Hernandez 2B, Phillies (Yahoo: 49 percent owned)

I was sort of shocked to see Hernandez under 50 percent owned, but those are the sort of quirks that we see in the early part of a season. A player has a slow first week or loses a start here or there and owners have a quick trigger finger. I get it. But Hernandez should be owned if he’s still out there. The 27-year-old muscled up for his second homer of the season Wednesday against Reds right-hander Luis Castillo and now has a .300/.440/.500 batting line with three steals and eight runs scored through 11 games. He owns a .375 on-base percentage since the start of 2016. Only 19 players (min. 500 PA) have a higher on-base percentage during that time. Sure, Scott Kingery will get some starts at second base here and there, but Hernandez could score 100 runs for the first time this year. And hopefully reach 20 steals for the first time, too.

Jordan Montgomery SP, Yankees (Yahoo: 47 percent owned)

Montgomery was dropped in a number of leagues after struggling against the Orioles last time out, but that could prove to be a mistake. I really like his chances of rebounding in a start against the Tigers this weekend. It’s tough to bank on wins, but he’s in a favorable situation with the additional support of a good lineup and a lockdown bullpen. And that goes beyond this weekend, obviously. While it’s true that Montgomery’s velocity has been down a bit so far this year, I’m willing to be patient here and play the matchups when appropriate. He was too good last year to let him sit on the wire like this.

Marcus Semien SS, Athletics (Yahoo: 37 percent owned)

We have seen Xander Bogaerts and Elvis Andrus both go down with injuries in recent days. Andrus appears to be more serious than Bogaerts, but it really hurts in both cases. Young Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia (Yahoo: 47 percent owned) has struggled so far this season and is worth grabbing in shallow formats where he’s still available, but Semien might be a more realistic target in standard mixed leagues. The 27-year-old has his flaws, but he clubbed 27 homers in 159 games in 2016 and has reached double-digit stolen bases in each of the last three seasons. A nice bonus is that he bats leadoff against left-handed starters. Diamondbacks infielder Ketel Marte (Yahoo: 7 percent owned) hasn’t done much so far this season, but he’s been hitting second in the early part of the season. He’s a name to consider in deeper formats.

Nate Jones RP, White Sox (Yahoo: 32 percent owned)

I targeted Jones over Joakim Soria in drafts this spring, mostly because I saw him as the superior upside play. It wasn’t a shock that Soria saw the early chances, but he blew a save last Thursday and Rick Renteria turned to Jones on Wednesday as the White Sox snapped their five-game losing streak. It’s not like Soria has been used heavily recently, so it’s worth picking up Jones on the chance that this is a sign of things to come. The hard-throwing 32-year-old required a nerve-positioning procedure in his elbow last July, but he’s looked very good in three out of his four outings so far this season. As I wrote with Soria last week, the one thing to remember is that Jones is likely to end up as trade bait this summer.

Logan Morrison 1B, Twins (Yahoo: 29 percent owned)

It’s hard to imagine Morrison’s tenure with the Twins getting off to a worse start, as he’s 3-for-31 (.097) through nine games. This has caused some owners to drop him in favor of a hot bat, but don’t get too carried away here. Morrison isn’t striking out more than he has in the past and he’s sporting a .130 BABIP. He has earned some of this — look at things like the infield fly rate and his soft contact rate — but again, we’re talking about nine games. The 30-year-old slugged 38 homers last season and I’m confident that the power will shine through soon enough.

Matt Albers RP, Brewers (Yahoo: 16 percent owned)

Corey Knebel’s hamstring injury has thrown the Brewers’ bullpen into complete disarray. Josh Hader would look great as a closer, but the Brewers understandably prefer to have him a flexible multi-inning role. This leaves Albers and Jacob Barnes as the most likely alternatives. Neither has looked great with Knebel out — Barnes has two blown saves in that time — but Albers notched the most recent save on Wednesday against the Cardinals and probably deserves to be treated as the guy until further notice. Albers rebounded in a big way last year with a 1.62 ERA over 63 appearances with the Nationals, but he got there with a .203 BABIP and the swinging strike rate was below the league average. I don’t have a ton of faith in him, but he’s fine if you need saves and are willing to roll the dice.

Dexter Fowler OF, Cardinals (Yahoo: 48 percent owned)

I just mentioned Morrison, but Fowler is another case of a player who is being dropped based off some small sample noise. Take advantage if you can. Fowler isn’t going to have a .171 BABIP all year. We know Fowler isn’t going to stand out in any one category, but he owns a .365 career on-base percentage and finds himself locked into the leadoff spot for the Cardinals. He’s missed some time with injury over the past two years, but he’s a useful contributor in counting stats when he’s in the lineup. He slugged a career-high 18 homers last season despite appearing in just 118 games.

Jed Lowrie 2B, Athletics (Yahoo: 20 percent owned)

Another middle infield option for those who lost players to injury over the past week, Lowrie has picked up from where he left off last season by hitting .333/.390/.556 with three homers, three doubles, and 11 RBI through his first 13 games. He’s hit all three of his homers in the span of his last five games. It’s a little surprising he’s not getting more attention following a year where he put up 14 homers and an .808 OPS. He’s also hitting third in Oakland’s power-packed lineup. Underappreciated and useful in most formats.


continue story »
12
D.J. Short is a Rotoworld senior baseball writer and hosts the Rotoworld Baseball Podcast. You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook.
Email :D.J. Short



Highest Searched Players over the last 7 days



Video Center

  •  
    Waiver Wire: Top Targets

    Waiver Wire: Top Targets
  •  
    Waiver Wire: Get Tucker

    Waiver Wire: Get Tucker
  •  
    MLB: Snag Odor and Eovaldi

    MLB: Snag Odor and Eovaldi
  •  
    Waiver Wire: Grab Ohtani

    Waiver Wire: Grab Ohtani
  •  
    NASCAR: Grading picks

    NASCAR: Grading picks
  •  
    Waiver Wire: Go Conforto

    Waiver Wire: Go Conforto
  •  
    MLB: Buy Kiermaier & Story

    MLB: Buy Kiermaier & Story
  •  
    NASCAR Fantasy: Michigan

    NASCAR Fantasy: Michigan