Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Austin Riley, Mike Soroka and Monday's winners and losers
Heath Cummings says a couple of young Braves look like stars and discusses Monday's winners and losers.
It would be easy to look at some of my preseason writings and think I had something against the Braves. Ozzie Albies and Mike Foltynewicz were listed as busts, I questioned whether Ronald Acuna was worth a first-round pick and I called Julio Teheran one of the worst starters in baseball. That had everything to do with perception and nothing to do with the Braves. In fact, there are a couple of young Braves that may just be turning into stars before our eyes.
Mike Soroka picked up his fifth win on Monday, allowing just one run against the Giants across eight innings. He's now made seven starts this season and he's yet to give up more than one earned run in a start. His 1.01 ERA is the best in baseball (minimum 40 innings) and his FIP (2.89) looks elite too. The rest of Soroka's metrics suggest a pitcher who is good, just maybe not quite this good. But having elite control and a 56% groundball rate is a good way to outperform your peripherals.
Soroka's teammate, Austin Riley, continued to mash on Monday as well. He hit his third home run in six starts and continued to crush the ball whenever he makes contact. It would be nice if he made contact a little more often, but if he keeps raking like he is, it's going to be very difficult for Ender Inciarte to get back in the lineup.
Soroka and Riley are both rostered in at least 88% of leagues, but here are some guys you might be able to add on the waiver wire:
Three to add from Monday
Roenis Elias (42%) -- The Mariners found someone to take Anthony Swarzak off their hands on Monday, which likely means Elias will be the closer for at least the near term. Elias has five saves this season and his FIP (2.71) is even better than his ERA (3.04). He could have competition when Hunter Strickland returns, but should dominate save chances until then. Strickland is a good speculative add in deeper leagues.
Matt Olson (72%) -- I understand why players were slow to add Olson coming off a hand injury. Any loss of power could be devastating to his Fantasy value. But he's now hit four home runs in his first 15 games back, I think you can stop worrying about a loss in power. Olson should be rostered in all formats and he's must-start in categories leagues.
Miguel Sano (57%) -- I'm not quite as sold on Sano as I am Olson, but the upside is so immense he needs to be more than 57% owned. He's still just 26 years old, he's healthy, and his career pace is for 36 home runs and 101 RBI. He's also played every day since he returned, so playing time doesn't look like a concern for now.
Monday's Winners and Losers
David Price -- Price returned from the injured list and delivered five shutout innings against the Blue Jays. Over his past five starts he now has 33 strikeouts in 29 innings with a 2.17 ERA. He's once again a must-start option.
Rafael Devers -- It was a slow day, so it's a good opportunity to remind you how good Rafael Devers has been. He had three more hits on Monday and owns a .351/.405/.535 slash line since April 17. Devers has cut his strikeout rate and improved his walk rate while also hitting the ball harder. This breakout looks real.
Gleyber Torres -- Torres delivered his second double dong in the past week on Monday and is officially lava-hot. His second base eligibility makes him a must-start option, but if he keeps hitting like this he'll be must-start at shortstop too.
Mike Minor -- Minor's past two outings hadn't been bad, but they hadn't actually been convincing either. Monday was. He struck out 11 Mariners over six innings and walked just one. This is looking a lot like 2013 Minor with more strikeouts. That's a borderline ace.
Mychal Givens -- It's been a really tough year for borderline closers, maybe none as much as Givens. He earned a save in four consecutive outings in late April and early May. Those are the only four saves he has all year. I don't imagine allowing five runs on Monday will help anything.
J.A. Happ -- It seems quite possible Happ has just lost too much at 36 years old to be a good starter. His four seam velocity, never blazing, is down to 91.2 MPH. That may have led him to throw the two seam more often, but it's down to 88.8 MPH, the lowest of his career. Neither pitch has been effective and the whiff rate on his slider is down to 22.4%.
Christian Walker -- Walker went hitless on Monday with three more strikeouts. He has one home run sine April 22 and his strikeout rate is back up over 30%. He owns a .675 OPS over the last month, and it's fair to wonder if he'll start losing playing time soon.
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