Most likely, you've already missed your shot at Carlos Rodon, at least if you play in a CBS Sports league, where he has an 83 percent chance of being rostered already. He was originally in line for two starts this week, after all, and already had some helium after striking out nine in his first start.
But maybe silly you doesn't play in a CBS Sports league. Maybe those yahoos you play with didn't see it coming. Maybe their ESP(n) didn't kick in this time. Believe it or not, rostership rates tend to be lower on other sites, so it's worth checking to see if Rodon is available. He may have cemented his breakthrough with this effort Tuesday:
That's right: no hits and no walks through nine innings. He would have had a perfect game if Roberto Perez hadn't taken a pitch off the top of the foot with one out in the ninth. It was a near-flawless performance from a pitcher who had been pretty flawed to this point in his career, most especially fresh off Tommy John surgery last year.
But as a former third overall pick, he was long thought to have potential and began flashing it again this spring, delivering a 1.34 ERA with 16 strikeouts to one walk in 13 2/3 innings. Then, there was that first start at Seattle in which he struck out nine over five two-hit innings.
This one didn't start out with him missing a bunch of bats. He didn't record his first of seven strikeouts until the fourth inning, instead keeping hitters off balance by mixing in his slider and changeup. But as the game went on, he turned up the heat, going from 92-93 MPH in the first three innings to 94-95 over the next three to 96-97 over the final three. At one point in the ninth inning, he lit up the radar at 99.
Seeing him gain strength over the course of 114 pitches will only encourage manager Tony La Russa to let him go deeper, and with that adrenaline rush, Rodon wound up with 19 swinging strikes. That's two starts in a row for him with 15-plus.
So where did this transformation come from? Well, there were reports this spring of him overhauling his delivery with new pitching coach Ethan Katz, a former high school coach who previously helped Lucas Giolito get back on track. The idea was for Rodon to make better use of his legs in his delivery, making it more repeatable and more direct to the plate, thus improving command. It seems to be working.
Hopefully, you still have a shot at him, but if you don't, here are some other players, you might be able to pick up.
LAA L.A. Angels • #47 • Age: 25
Griffin Canning's performance Wednesday doesn't jump out of the box score, but it was his second straight throwing his slider nearly 50 percent of the time. The whiffs are piling up as a result -- 15 this time after 16 last time -- and if he continues down this path, it's sure to yield high strikeout totals and possibly big success. He couldn't rely on the slider last year, remember, because of some elbow troubles early on, but it was his best pitch as a rookie in 2019.
MIN Minnesota • #19 • Age: 23
Alex Kirilloff was the 27th man for a doubleheader against the Red Sox Wednesday, meaning he was sent back to the alternate training site at the end of the day. But the fact the Twins turned to him, even giving him a start in Game 1, shows they weren't put off too much by his sorry spring. And now that his official debut (last postseason didn't count) is out of the way, what's stopping them from bringing him back once the requisite number of days to retain a year of control has passed? He could be up for good next week.
DET Detroit • #40 • Age: 33
Improbable though it may be for a 33-year-old whose career high is 22, Wilson Ramos is tied for the major-league lead with six home runs, having tallied two more Tuesday. Statcast shows he's genuinely crushing the ball, delivering the highest average exit velocity (100.2 mph) and hard-hit rate (81 percent) of any hitter so far. He's bound to regress, probably finishing between 15 and 20 homers still, but that's still pretty good from a catcher, particularly one who typically hits for average. Unless you have a genuine stud at that volatile position, I see little harm in swapping yours out for Ramos.
MIA Miami • #2 • Age: 23
Maybe the Marlins will make out OK in the Zac Gallen deal after all. The athletic Jazz Chisholm hit his second home run, a long drive to center field, and stole his third base Wednesday. He's hitting the ball so hard that he actually has an even higher xSLG (.702) than his actual slugging percentage of .630. The walks have been a nice surprise -- and in the end, I'm sure they'll still be dwarfed by the strikeouts -- but really, it's the power/speed combo that sets him apart among middle infielders.
Yimi Garcia RP
MIA Miami • #93 • Age: 30
Having recently replaced an ineffective Anthony Bass, Yimi Garcia is now 2 for 2 on save chances and recorded a win in an extra-inning game in between. He's made it look easy, too, allowing just one baserunner while striking out four in those 3 1/3 innings. As unpredictable as the distribution of saves has been this year, this seems like as sure a bet as you could hope to get off the waiver wire. Garcia allowed just one earned run in his 15 innings of work last year, too, striking out 19.
NYM N.Y. Mets • #23 • Age: 25
I'm not sure what to make of this one, really. David Peterson surprised with a 3.44 ERA as a rookie, standing out mostly for limiting home runs, and his 5.11 xERA suggested it wouldn't last. Strikeouts weren't his game, which is why this performance against the Phillies stands out. He got hit pretty hard in his previous start, also against the Phillies, but also got more swings and misses than we're used to seeing, giving him a 13.9 percent swinging-strike rate through two starts. It's a what-do-you-have-to-lose sort of pickup for deeper leagues.
Travis Shaw 3B
MIL Milwaukee • #21 • Age: 31
You may remember that in 2017 and 2018, Travis Shaw averaged 31.5 homers with an .844 OPS. He tried making some changes to his swing in 2019 that sent him on a downward spiral, but with his third home run Wednesday, he's looking like he may have figured things out. It's most evident in his 19.5 percent strikeout rate, which is closer to what we saw from him during his best years than the past two. His .292 xBA and .508 xSLG, according to Statcast, aren't far off from his actual numbers.
DET Detroit • #32 • Age: 28
Michael Fulmer is more widely available than David Peterson, but he would be my preferred choice to add right now. The Tigers shifted him to the bullpen when he showed improved velocity there this spring, and the velocity held in his return to the starting rotation Wednesday. The former Rookie of the Year is back to snapping off his slider like he did pre-Tommy John and no longer looks anything like the guy who had an 8.78 ERA in 10 starts last year. His stock could rise quickly.