Fantasy Baseball: Hurry to add Luke Weaver but not to drop Greg Holland
Greg Holland's meltdown continued Wednesday, and Scott White thinks it may be time to protect your investment. Meanwhile, rookies Rhys Hoskins and Luke Weaver continue to impress.
Rich Hill threw nine no-hit innings and lost.
Yet even among NL West clubs, it wasn't the most confounding defeat Wednesday.
Suddenly and inexplicably, Greg Holland is on thin ice. The all-everything closer has taken a page out of Aroldis Chapman's book with meltdown after meltdown over the span of ... well, only six appearances.
In those appearances, he has allowed 12 earned runs, inflating his season ERA from 1.56 to 3.77. He has blown three of four save opportunities after blowing just one of his first 34.
He appears to be healthy, which is worth noting since he missed all of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery. His velocity is fine, and he hasn't complained of any discomfort, as far as I know. But his slider, the pitch that made him every bit as unhittable over the first four months as he was from 2011 through 2014 with the Royals, has lacked its characteristic drop.
"We've got to get him to the point where he's locating the slider, locating the fastball and getting that last out or making that last pitch to get the save," manager Bud Black told MLB.com. "That's been the case the last three times when he's been one out away, one strike away, and just hasn't executed that pitch."
Now, it's worth noting that on the same night Holland served up a walk-off three-run homer to Eric Hosmer, Edwin Diaz struck out three in 1 1/3 perfect innings. Diaz himself had allowed six earned runs over his previous five appearances, his second such rough patch this season. In what I'll recklessly coin the juiced-ball era, the line between dominance and incompetence is thinner than ever. Even the most effective pitchers, when not of sound mechanics, are exposed, often in dramatic fashion. But it can turn around just as quickly, and to Black's credit, he's not backing down from Holland just yet.
"We'll talk about it, but my initial instinct is to keep Greg where he is," Black said. "We wouldn't be where we are without him."
You wouldn't either. One bad week doesn't erase four dominant months from Holland, and every closer goes through rough patches of some severity or another.
But this one has been severe enough that you'll at least want to safeguard your investment.
It's possible the Rockies could turn to Pat Neshek, recently acquired from the Phillies, instead. He's a right-hander, after all, which makes him easier to confine to the ninth inning. But Jake McGee has more of a history in the role and more the look of a closer, boasting a high-90s fastball. Even if the Rockies did turn to McGee at the next sign of trouble for Holland, I imagine it'd only be temporary. But in leagues where saves are scarce, you don't want to be caught without them this time of year.
John Brebbia would seem like a long shot to take over closing duties from Trevor Rosenthal, who is headed for Tommy John surgery. After all, Seung-Hwan Oh, the Cardinals intended closer coming into 2017, has fared better since moving back to a setup role and, you know, isn't some obscure 27-year-old rookie. But Oh entered in the eighth inning like usual Wednesday -- and struggled, it's worth noting, failing to record an out -- while Brebbia was reserved for the ninth inning. Granted, he pitched with a five-run lead, but left-hander Tyler Lyons, the only other logical choice for saves, was also used in the eighth. Brebbia throws hard and doesn't beat himself with walks, and as unsustainable as his WHIP may appear, he had a 0.79 mark in the minors this year.
Rhys Hoskins again? It's bordering on overkill, I know, but when a guy who's only 68 percent owned homers, doubles and drives in five runs, he can't go unmentioned. The rookie has now scored a whopping 64.5 Fantasy points over the last two weeks, 10 more than anyone else -- and that's in only his second and third weeks in the majors. He was setting home run records in the minors but isn't some one-dimensional slugger, as the strikeout-to-walk ratio shows.
"The thing about Hoskins is he knows the strike zone," manager Pete Mackanin told MLB.com.
Pick ... him ... up.
Yup, that's exactly how I hoped it'd go when I hyped Weaver Adam Wainwright on the DL.of Waiver Wire. Granted, it was against the Padres, and 10 swinging strikes is kind of an underwhelming number for a 10-strikeout effort. To call the successful outing fluky would be unfair, though. He had 14 swinging strikes in his last major-league start Aug. 2, allowing two earned runs over 6 1/3 innings with eight strikeouts against the Brewers. Another start like this one Tuesday, and the Cardinals might have to make excuses to keep
Eugenio Suarez is already 82 percent owned in CBS Sports leagues, so including him in this column is cheating. But seeing as he's the ninth-ranked third baseman in Head-to-Head points leagues and the 11th-ranked in Rotisserie this season, he's certainly underowned. It's understandable. He has basically had two good months, the one we're currently seeing and April, batting .236 with a 743 OPS during the three months in between, but I'm not going discount him for the timing of things. He maintained a high walk rate even during the cold spell, putting him on an 89-walk pace, and already showed he could hit for power last year. He's like a poor man's Anthony Rendon.
That's right: another closer possibility. If the Zach Britton owner in your league knew what was good for him, he would have kept Brad Brach close, because from the beginning, it wasn't clear even after his second trip to the DL for the same forearm injury that Britton was completely healthy, compiling a 4.96 ERA, 1.71 WHIP and 6.6 strikeouts per nine innings in 20 appearances since his return. And now he's scheduled to have an MRI Thursday on his knee, which has supposedly bothered him for years but must really be bothering him now. Maybe he's fine and doesn't miss a game, but given the other warning signs, I'm grabbing the guy I already know can handle the role.
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