Week 4 Fantasy baseball waiver-wire talk
Fantasy owners are desperate for pitching, thanks to injury and under performance among the elite ranks. Will they find what they are looking for on the waiver wire?
At the end of every Fantasy week, I'll take a look at some of the most interesting names on the most-added players list, with an eye on their future.
A change of pace making all the difference
Chavez was a two-start pitcher in Week 3, so that explains at least part of his big jump in ownership. Of course, bringing that up first is a great example of burying the lede, because Chavez's consecutive nine-strikeout starts is a much better explanation for why he has become such a highly sought after commodity. Chavez will be 31 in August, so he isn't a natural breakout candidate, but as Al Melchoir noted in a recent episode of Fantasy Baseball Today, Chavez has changed up the way he attacks hitters in a way that makes him a candidate to sustain at least some of his recent dominance.
Chavez first introduced a cut fastball into his arsenal in 2012, but it really started to pay dividends as a reliever last season, when he posted a 3.92 ERA in 57 1/3 innings, the best mark of his career. He has thrown the cutter over 40 percent of the time in two of his three starts this season, and induced a swinging strike on eight of his 47 cutters in his most recent gem. In fact, though he can reach the mid-90's with his heat, Chavez has been at his best keeping hitters off balance with his offspeed stuff, inducing a swing-and-miss on 11.4 percent of his pitches, 94.1 percent of which have come via his changeup, curveball or cutter.
Chavez probably can't sustain quite this level of success moving forward, but you can't ignore what he is doing right now. His track record of success is incredibly short, but with how many pitchers we've already seen go down with injury, Chavez looks worth a flier at the very least.
Back with a vengeance
Mesoraco was never quite able to find a consistent role under former Reds manager Dusty Baker, despite his pedigree as an elite prospect coming through the team's system. His play also didn't really justify a larger role, as he hit just .225/.282/.359 in 538 at-bats through his first three major-league campaigns. He looked like someone with major split issues entering this season, especially after he put up a paltry .576 OPS against RHP last season, compared to an .874 mark vs. southpaws.
Since coming off the disable list, Mesoraco is absolutely demolishing righties this season, with three home runs and 11 hits in just 20 at-bats through his first seven games. This is still a terribly small sample size, so nobody should expect Mesoraco to turn into a star all of a sudden based on a good week's worth of games. Still, given his minor-league track record -- and the fact that he is finally getting consistent at-bats -- Mesoraco seems more than worth a flier in two-catcher leagues.
This won't last
It says a lot about how the Twins spent their money this offseason that Kyle Gibson, making the major-league minimum, has been by fair their best pitcher so far. Gibson has been fantastic through three starts, and the team's offseason starting pitcher acquisitions have been worse than anyone could have expects so far.
Unfortunately for Minnesota -- and the 29 percent of CBSSports.com users who added Gibson this week -- we're far more likely to see Ricky Nolasco or Phil Hughes return to form than Gibson keep this up. Nobody is expecting Gibson to sustain an ERA below 1.00, but his true talent level isn't even in that stratosphere. Gibson has just one more strikeout than walk through three starts, and 90.5 percent of baserunners who have reached have been left there, compared to a 71.3 percent rate entering the season. Even as a two-start pitcher, it's hard to make an argument for Gibson being worth running out and grabbing, given his dreadful strikeout rates.
The ride's over
Kelley is a pretty good relief pitcher who has been thrust into a high-profile closer's role thanks to injury. This is a story we'll see repeated all year, and Kelly isn't even the first or best example of it this season. There really isn't much to say about him; he's a solid fill-in option while David Robertson is out, and will be dumped as soon as Robertson is back. Since Robertson told reporters Saturday he is healthy enough to return to the majors, this is just about the end of the line for Kelley.
Same old Juan Uribe
It is always interesting when a known commodity sees a jump in ownership like this. At 35 years old, there isn't a soul following baseball who doesn't know exactly who Juan Uribe is. He's got some pop in his bat, but doesn't get on base much and rarely hits for average. Through 17 games, he's got 11 extra-base hits and only one walk, so he's checked off two boxes on the Juan Uribe checklist. It is that .362 batting average that jumps out at you, and probably explains why Fantasy owners are flocking to him. Uribe is a career .254 hitter who had a .237 average in three seasons with the Dodgers entering 2014, so Fantasy owners should be quick to cut bait when he starts turning into a pumpkin again.
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