Fantasy Baseball Today

Week 7 Fantasy baseball waiver-wire talk

By Chris Towers | CBSSports.com


Not everyone is buying Rick Porcello's breakout.(USATSI)
Not everyone is buying Rick Porcello's breakout. (USATSI)

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.

Colby Rasmus, OF, Blue Jays; 70 percent owned, +33 percent

Finally living up to the hype?

Once one of the most highly regarded prospects in baseball, Colby Rasmus' inability to make consistent contact has mostly limited his Fantasy impact through five-plus seasons. However, he was at his best a year ago, when he hit .276 and slugged 22 home runs, despite a career-high strikeout rate.

Rasmus is on the upswing right now largely thanks to an incredible power surge recently, having already hit five home runs in May after finishing April with four. We always knew Rasmus could hit for power, so that doesn't come as a surprise; he was on a 30-home run pace for 162 games last season. Unfortunately, though Scott White gave him a vote of confidence Friday, I'm not sold on this being much more than a hot streak.

Rasmus hits a ton of flyballs, which helps him maintain solid home run numbers even with his struggles making contact. And, he is putting the ball in the air a career-high 51.2 percent of the time, so it should be no surprise he is off to his best power start yet. Unfortunately, he'll be little more than an empty source of power while striking out in 32.4 percent of his at-bats, and there is little in his track to suggest much more than a .240 batting average moving forward.

If you need home runs, Ramsus is a fine pickup, but he won't do much more than that for you.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C, Marlins; 83 percent owned, +26 percent

A starter, at the very least

As Scott recently wrote on Saltalamacchia's player page, he is no sure-fire bet to keep his recent play up. I totally agree with that; Saltalamacchia's probably a .250 hitter, especially with his inflated BABIP and his lowest line-drive percentage since 2010.

That being said, Saltalamacchia's ownership is probably right where it should be now. Given how many leagues require two catchers, it made little sense that his was hovering in the 60's before this week. Salty is back to hitting flyballs with authority, and could end up putting up a better version of his 2012 line, when he hit 25 home runs, but managed just a .222 batting average.

C.J. Cron , 1B, Angels; 33 percent owned, +25 percent

Could make an impact

Cron has made his presence felt so far, hitting .400 in his first six games, with three of his first eight hits going for extra bases. Cron is an aggressive hitter who can put up solid power numbers but won't walk or hit for a huge average, based on his minor-league track record, but he still has a chance to be an AL-only option at this point.

Cron hit his first career home run Saturday, and probably has 15-to 20-homer potential in a full season; he hit 27 and 14 in his two full seasons in the minors. As Scott noted on Cron's player page this week, he is probably not worth much in mixed-league formats as a first baseman, but there is little reason not to give him a shot in AL-only leagues.

Rick Porcello , SP, Tigers; 80 percent owned, +21 percent

Not really a new man

Thanks to the Tigers' aggressive approach, Porcello is still just 25, despite having tossed 900 major-league innings. He was a roundly mediocre groundball pitcher for his entire career leading up to this point, but his youth at least portends upside, right?

I'm not so sure that is the case. Porcello has some good markers in his favor so far this season, starting with a career-best 3.49 ERA and a pretty 3.15 xFIP. Unfortunately, there are some red flags if you dig deeper into his numbers. He strikeout rate is down from a year ago, which is in line with his career-low average fastball velocity. He has made up for this by slicing off even more free passes off his already low walk rate and posting the best home run prevention numbers of his career.

The home run prevention seems like one obvious source for regression, given his career-low 43.9 percent groundball rate. He also sports a lower-than-expected .286 BABIP, which will come soaring up if he continues giving up three line drives for every batted ball he allowed. Based on tERA, which attempts to normalize expected ERA based on batted ball data, Porcello should have an ERA in the high-4's.

I wouldn't expected Porcello to regress that badly, but he seems more like the low-to mid-4's ERA pitcher he has been so far in his career. This might be a chance to sell high.

Tom Koehler, SP, Marlins; 56 percent owned, +21 percent

This won't last

Given the low opportunity cost of adding a player owned in less than half of CBSSports.com leagues, it makes sense to take a flier on Koehler, given how consistently well he has pitched. At 28, Koehler is the veteran of the Marlins staff, and his 1.99 ERA has gone unnoticed amid the flamethrowers surrounding him.

Koehler has tossed six quality starts in seven trips to the mound, and has done a good job keeping the ball low and taking advantage of the spacious confines of Marlins Park. Still, he is in well over his head, and should be in for a major regression, with an xFIP nearly two and a half runs higher than his current ERA.

All of Koehler's peripherals indicate he is still the same pitcher who put up a 4.41 ERA in 143 innings a year ago, and his performance should reflect that before long. He remains little more than an NL-only option.

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