alex-kirilloff.jpg

Normally in this space, we recommend players to add to your Fantasy team, but identifying who not to add can be just as instructive.

One player whose CBS page has gotten a lot of views lately is Dean Kremer, an Orioles right-hander who threw seven shutout innings at the Mariners  onTuesday. It marked his third straight scoreless outing, so as you might expect, his numbers through five starts are terrific:

BAL Baltimore • #64 • Age: 26
2022 Stats
W-L
2-1
ERA
1.29
WHIP
1.14
INN
28
BB
7
K
19

Or at least the ERA is. it's worth pointing out, though, that this isn't the 26-year-old's first foray into the majors. In 17 starts prior to this year, he had a 6.84 ERA. More convincing, then, would be the underlying numbers signaling a departure from the status quo, and ... they just don't.

Kremer has managed to avoid walks unlike in the past, but he still has just 6.1 K/9 and an uninspiring 9.8 percent swinging-strike rate. While he's allowed just one home run so far, his 46.4 percent fly-ball rate would suggest he's especially vulnerable to the long ball. He's throwing his fastball a little harder, but its attributes are otherwise unchanged, as is his general pitch selection. He also has a 4.68 xFIP and a 4.34 xERA. 

Nothing in Kremer's profile points to the sort of breakthrough that would make him a legitimate Fantasy asset. Fly balls that don't leave the yard typically become outs, so sometimes a fly-ball pitcher like him can enjoy a stretch like this. But sooner or later, it all comes crashing down, and those who bought in are left to pick up the pieces. I don't want that to be you.

So who, then, might actually be worth adding?

Possible waiver wire pickups
TEX Texas • #22 • Age: 30
Rostered
79%
Tuesday at Royals
INN
7
H
5
ER
1
BB
2
K
8
Gray's roster rate has already jumped quite a bit, but in shallower leagues, you may still have a shot at a pitcher who most everyone liked as a breakout pick coming into the year. In retrospect, immediate improvement was a bit much to ask. He had spent the past seven years tailoring his arsenal for an environment that suppresses movement and has had to rediscover what works outside of Colorado. A couple early IL stints also slowed his progress, but he's rolling now, his latest gem Tuesday giving him a 2.39 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 10.5 K/9 in his past six. The break on his slider, one of the pitches most known for losing its shape in the thin air of Coors Field, has noticeably improved.
MIN Minnesota • #19 • Age: 24
Rostered
67%
Since return from minors
AVG
.325
HR
1
2B
5
OPS
.866
AB
40
K
8
It's taken Kirilloff a minute to get going after his latest promotion from Triple-A, prompting fits of here-we-go-again from the disillusioned masses, but he finally delivered that breakthrough game Wednesday, going 3 for 4 with a double and his first home run. He now has six hits in his past three games. It was only a matter of time to see him do some real damage given that his average exit velocity is up over 93 mph since returning. He was straight-up murdering the ball at Triple-A, batting .359 with 10 homers and a 1.106 OPS. It's true his failures stand out more than his successes so far in his big-league career, but keep in mind he's been hampered by a wrist injury for most of it.
MIL Milwaukee • #11 • Age: 27
Rostered
65%
2022 Stats
AVG
.249
HR
15
OPS
.818
AB
249
BB
25
K
57
Well, well, well. Look who the cat dragged in? Tellez got our imaginations raging when he homered twice and drove in eight runs back on May 4, but he hit just .233 with four homers and a .682 OPS in the 45 games that followed. Suddenly, though, he has four home runs in three games, connecting for two more Wednesday. Statcast still suggests he's a force to be reckoned with, projecting him for a .273 batting average and .557 slugging percentage as opposed to his actual .249 and .494 marks. He's also striking out at just a 20 percent rate, which is impressive for a player with a 95th percentile maximum exit velocity. My one reservation about going all-in again is that he tends to sit against left-handers.
CLE Cleveland • #1 • Age: 26
Rostered
64%
June 2022
AVG
.376
HR
2
3B
2
2B
7
SB
6
AB
109
With another four hits Wednesday, including two doubles and a stolen base, Rosario is looking to put an exclamation point on an already loud June. For the month, he's batting .376 (41 for 109) with six stolen bases, and really, it's that second number that earns him special distinction here. We've seen him hit for average before -- and with his high contact rate and all-fields approach, it seems likely he will again -- but apart from one 24-steal season for the Mets in 2018, we haven't seen him make the most of his blazing speed. If he's showing a new willingness to do so, it could propel him to new heights, potentially even must-start territory.
MIN Minnesota • #59 • Age: 24
Rostered
53%
2022 Stats
SV
5
ERA
2.06
WHIP
0.83
INN
35
BB
6
K
46
Another day, another meltdown for Emilio Pagan, whose grip on the closer role has already diminished. At this point, it would be malpractice for manager Rocco Baldelli to hand the ninth inning to anyone other than Duran, the rookie fireballer with the near 8-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He's been not only the Twins' most effective reliever but also one of the best in all of baseball, and he did secure the team's most recent save chance Sunday, with Pagan entering in the sixth. On Wednesday, Duran handled the eighth and ninth innings, both scoreless, while Pagan blew it for the Twins in the 10th. Baldelli's bullpen management has been particularly frustrating for Fantasy Baseballers, but he's running out of excuses.
STL St. Louis • #36 • Age: 24
Rostered
40%
2022 Stats
AVG
.284
HR
9
OPS
.840
AB
162
BB
11
K
39
Yepez's big bounce-back continued Wednesday with two doubles in three at-bats. The portly rookie is now batting .333 (10 for 33) with four homers and four doubles in his past 11 games. After a blistering first week in the bigs, he endured a 31-game stretch in which he hit .222 (22 for 99) with a .632 OPS, which put his playing time in jeopardy, but he's back to starting now against both lefties and righties. While his average exit velocity leaves something to be desired, his peak exit velocity (95th percentile) confirms he has impact power, and his strikeout rate is respectable considering.
SEA Seattle • #37 • Age: 32
Rostered
40%
2022 Stats
SV
7
ERA
2.60
WHIP
0.72
INN
27.2
BB
7
K
28
Could it be that the Mariners have something like a dedicated closer now? Since the team traded Kendall Graveman to the Astros last summer, Scott Servais has mixed it up as much as any manager can. All of a sudden, though, Paul Sewald has three of the team's past four saves, and the one he didn't get came after he had worked back-to-back days. His strikeout rate isn't as impressive as a year ago, but his ERA and certainly his WHIP are. Of course, Ken Giles recently returned from the IL and could potentially create even more havoc, but Sewald's latest run is about as strong of a leaning as Servais has shown in the past calendar year.
ATL Atlanta • #33 • Age: 28
Rostered
35%
2022 Stats
SV
1
ERA
1.64
WHIP
0.79
INN
33
BB
5
K
44
The Braves believe Kenley Jansen's latest bout with an irregular heartbeat will keep him on the IL for only a couple weeks, but it's obviously not the most straightforward ailment. His replacement could be in line for ample save opportunities. Minter, who has been the team's primary setup man this year, converted the first chance in Jansen's absence Tuesday. Will Smith, who was the team's closer from start to finish last year, converted the second one Wednesday. Between the two, Minter had been filling the higher-leverage role and also has the better numbers -- good enough that you might just keep him around for ratios help, in fact. He was also likely unavailable Wednesday after working three of the previous four days.