Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Chasing upside with Eric Lauer, Franchy Cordero, more
It's all about upside on the waiver wire, so let's look for some.
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It's rare these days that a pitcher can put up good numbers in the minors and fly under the radar for Fantasy, but it still happens from time to time. That type of pitcher tends to get tagged with the "crafty" label – or perhaps "deceptive" if the writer wants to be generous – which is a nice way of saying it worked in the minors, but major-league hitters are too clever to fall for those tricks.
The Padres appear to have cornered the market on that exact pitching prospect. Of course, it's worked out pretty well for Joey Lucchesi so far, and Eric Lauer is going to get the chance to prove himself next, as he gets set to make his MLB debut Tuesday.
Lauer actually comes to the majors with more prospect pedigree than Lucchesi, as BaseballProspectus.com ranked him as the team's No. 8 prospect coming into the season, noting his polished repertoire of mostly middling stuff. His strikeout rate collapsed after a call up to Double-A last season, which supports the notion that he lacks high-end stuff, but he's set down 19 in 18 innings to open his Triple-A career before the call-up.
All told, Lauer isn't the kind of pitching prospect you run out and immediately add, but he's certainly worth a look in deeper formats. He should be owned in all NL-only leagues before his debut, and if you've got a spare roster spot in your 14-team-or-deeper league, go ahead an add him too. The stuff may not blow anyone away, but he does get to pitch in a good park, and the Padres have had success with this profile so far.
Don't expect much tonight in Coors Field, but don't just write him off if he struggles.
Just when I thought I was out, he pulls me right back in …
I was ready to give up on Kevin Gausman after his first few starts, as he came out throwing about 2 mph below his average fastball velocity, with the issues we've now come to expect from Gausman. And then he went out Monday night against a tough Cleveland offense and showed those flashes that make it hard to ignore him -- 30.8 percent of his pitches were splitters Monday. Anyone who has followed Gausman's career knows the splitter is a bell-weather pitch because when he's throwing it a quarter of the time or more, he tends to be pretty good. With the velocity gains and his increased splitter usage – he's been above 20 percent in four straight starts, something he didn't do until June last season – I'm willing to buy back into Gausman.
Maybe nobody realized Delino DeShields was back from the DL? His recovery from a hamate bone fracture went much quicker than expected, as he was back in the lineup Sunday after missing right around three weeks. He showed us what kind of potential he has Monday, going 2 for 4 with two steals on three attempts. The Rangers were talking up his 50-steal potential before the season, and given how scarce steals are, anyone with the kind of green light DeShields has needs to be owned. Go get him.
There aren't many players with more tools than Franchy Cordero, who ranks fifth in the majors with an average exit velocity f 96.5 miles per hour this season. He also ranks 10th in sprint speed – both stats courtesy of MLB.com's StatCast data – so it's easy to see why folks around the league are excited about him. It's not clear if Cordero is actually a capable baseball player yet – he's struck out in 40.7 percent of his MLB plate appearances across parts of two seasons – but it's hard to ignore the tools he's managed to show in game action. If you want to take a flier on the guy who could be 2018's Domingo Santana,this is it.
Trevor Cahill had a weird 2017 season: He was great with the Padres, and then was an absolute disaster with the Royals. It's hard to figure out what exactly went wrong in Kansas City, but he's looked like the San Diego version in his first two starts, striking out 14 batters in his first 12 innings – he struck out 10.6 per nine in 11 starts with the Padres last season. He used his curveball more than ever in San Diego, and has thrown it a bunch in the early going here. Whether it will last or not remains to be seen, but we've seen good stretches before, and he's pitching in a good park in front of a good defense, making him worth a look in mixed leagues.
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