Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Searching for A.J. Pollock replacements, while Andrew Heaney stars
Andrew Heaney turns heads by shutting down the Astros, and A.J. Pollock's thumb injury might require waiver replacements.
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We're going to talk about Andrew Heaney's terrific start against the Astros on Monday night, but first we have to react to the other big news of the night: A.J. Pollock's thumb injury.
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It's not yet clear how serious the injury is, but he is already scheduled to see a hand specialist Tuesday after spraining his left thumb, which is a potentially bad sign. With that in mind, let's target some potential replacements just in case:
Yasiel Puig Los Angeles Dodgers RF
|Yasiel Puig's ownership has started to dip thanks to a bad start, and there are certainly reasons to believe he may not turn it around — a 23.3 percent infield fly ball rate and 30.9 percent hard-hit rate chief among them. On the other hand, he had 28 homers and 15 steals last season, and you don't usually see that kind of upside on the wire, even in shallow leagues.|
Steven Souza Arizona Diamondbacks RF
|It's been a tough start to Steven Souza 's Diamondbacks ' career -- he is hitting just .152 in his first 10 games since returning from a pectoral injury suffered in the spring. Like Puig, however, there's too much upside to ignore coming off a 30-homer, 16-steal season in 2017.|
Mallex Smith Tampa Bay Rays CF
|There's no way to replace Pollock's all-around game, but Mallex Smith should at least be able to replace Pollock's speed and batting average abilities. He has nine steals already this season, and 41 in 623 career plate appearances. That'll do, especially since he's also hitting .281 since the start of last season.|
Jesse Winker Cincinnati Reds RF
|If you're looking for a speculative add, Jesse Winker does a lot of things well. He draws walks, he gets on base, and he hits the ball hard – Winker sports a 27.3 percent line drive rate and a 37.0 percent hard-contact rate. Eventually, he's going to hit a home run or two, right? In a deeper roto league, he still has more upside than you think.|
With 34 1/3 innings to date this season, Andrew Heaney has already matched his major-league total from the 2016 and 2017 seasons. That helps explain why this former top prospect has been so overlooked in Fantasy — out of sight, out of mind — but you should have already taken notice even before his 10-strikeout effort against the Astros on Monday. Heaney has gone four straight starts allowing two runs or fewer, and has thrown six innings in three straight now. He probably won't sustain his current 10.2 K/9, but he should be able to strike out nearly a batter per inning, with good control. There are so many intriguing young pitchers to contend with these days, but you should find room for Heaney.
I won't pretend to know who will be the Angels' closer, and I'm not sure Mike Scioscia knows. But if you're speculating on saves, let's chase after the latest guy to get a chance: Justin Anderson. A few weeks ago, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register mentioned Anderson as a potential closer option, and though the rookie has struggled with a 5.23 ERA this season, he got the save Monday, and has a 31.9 percent strikeout rate, so there is some upside here. It's a long shot, but he's more interesting than most of the Angels' options.
Look, it's probably nothing, but … Jose Bautista has homered in consecutive starts. After starting out just 3 for 21 to open his tenure with the Braves, he's gone yard twice in his past nine trips to the plate. I'm skeptical Bautista has much left in the tank, but when a former difference maker starts showing signs of life, we shouldn't ignore it. At least, not entirely.
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