As I intimated on his player page earlier in the day, the best part about Drew Pomeranz's performance in his spot start Wednesday night is that it reminded us just how valuable he could be next year, with Jon Lester and Jason Hammel presumably out of the picture.
And in keeper leagues -- particularly those that emphasize value by having you forfeit draft picks or auction dollars relative to what each keeper initially cost you -- that's an especially helpful reminder.
Which got me thinking: Who else is in Pomeranz's position? I'm talking players who are practically worthless now, making them readily available off the waiver wire, but whose projected roles next year makes them potentially bargain keepers.
I avoided potential closers because that's an endless list of candidates with few legitimate opportunities. I also avoided some of the more obvious prospects like Kris Bryant and Joc Pederson because, you know ... duh. So excluding them, here are a few of the names I came up with, in no particular order:
Marcus Semien, 2B/3B, White Sox: With Gordon Beckham out of the picture, the White Sox have an opening at second base. Semien will get a another audition in September, and with the way he's heated up at Triple-A, I bet he makes good on it this time.
Michael Choice, OF, Rangers: Choice's stock is on the decline, but Shin-Soo Choo's season-ending surgery gives him an opportunity to redeem himself. A player with his combination of power and patience will keep getting chances.
Josmil Pinto, C, Twins: Kurt Suzuki is signed for two years beyond this one, but Pinto's bat would profile just about anywhere. With the emergence of Kennys Vargas, a trade may be necessary to get him regular at-bats, but that's a plausible enough scenario.
Derek Dietrich, 2B, Marlins: The Marlins' outfield is coming together nicely, but they're still lacking answers around the infield. Between injuries and clashes with now-fired hitting coaches, Dietrich has shown good pop for a second baseman.
Dan Straily, SP, Cubs: Though he hasn't exactly dominated between the majors and the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League the last two years, Straily showed his potential by leading all minor-leaguers with 190 strikeouts in 2012. Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio has shown a knack for getting the most out of his pitchers.
C.J. Cron, 1B, Angels: Why the Angels have opted for an Efren Navarro/Collin Cowgill platoon over Cron with a division title hanging in the balance beats me, but I trust they'll arrive at a different solution in the offseason. Big-time power here.
Tony Cingrani, SP, Reds: Between his over-reliance on a junky breaking ball and a shoulder injury that has sidelined him for half the season, Cingrani has a couple different excuses for his disappointing sophomore showing. No way he doesn't get another chance.
Mike Foltynewicz, RP, Astros: After getting his feet wet with a bullpen stint this year, Foltynewicz should be poised to compete for a rotation spot next spring. He can hit triple digits with his fastball. What more do you need to know?
Rafael Montero, SP, Mets: Rumor has it the Mets will shop some of their surplus of young pitchers to fill other needs this offseason. Whether for them or someone else, Montero has proven he deserves a rotation spot.
Carlos Martinez, SP/RP, Cardinals: Though he didn't exactly set the world on fire in his first stint as a starting pitcher earlier this year, Martinez wasn't properly stretched out and is still a work in progress at age 22. His upside is second to none, though.
Nick Franklin, SS, Rays: CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman has spoken of the Rays' affinity for Franklin more than once on Fantasy Baseball Today, and I make a point to like whoever the Rays like. Maybe they think he's another Ben Zobrist.
Jurickson Profar, 2B, Rangers: Because of what seemed like a minor shoulder injury way back in spring training, 2014 has been a lost season for Profar, but he'll have a chance to prove his health in the Arizona Fall League. He still has all the ability that made him the top prospect and baseball entering 2013, but now, he's without the hype.