Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Domingo German blanks Indians over six innings
Domingo German joins a group of exciting young pitchers as near must-adds.
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The first month-plus of the season has been full of surprising pitching performances that have kept us busy on the waiver wire. It seems like every time you turn around there's a pitcher on the waiver wire striking out a bunch of batters. That's partially just because strikeouts are up yet again in baseball. But that doesn't mean you should ignore it.
Domingo German dazzled in his first start of the season, striking out nine Indians over six shutout innings. While German has never been a top-100 prospect, this didn't exactly come out of nowhere either. As a 24 year-old, German struck out 119 batters over 109.1 innings in the minor leagues last year. When he did get the call to the majors, he held his own, striking out 18 in 14.1 innings. In 454.1 minor-league innings he owns a 2.54 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP with almost a strikeout per inning.
After Sunday's start, German should be owned just about everywhere. I'd pick him up in any points league (even 10-team leagues) because of his SPARP eligibility, and I'd be happy to own him in a categories league that is 12 teams or deeper. German should stick in the rotation at least until Jordan Montgomery returns, and maybe even longer if he keeps this up.
Trevor Cahill isn't a rookie, so his performance from the weekend won't draw as much hype, but it was even more important. Cahill whiffed 12 Orioles on Saturday and lowered his ERA to 2.25. He now has 31 strikeouts on the season in just 24 innings and has yet to allow a run in two home starts.
I understand if you're skeptical about a 30 year-old with a career 4.46 ERA who hasn't topped 100 innings in the majors since 2014. You should be. But what Cahill is doing right now is very impressive. He has a 33 percent K rate and a 59 percent ground ball rate. Clayton Kershaw is the only starter in the past 10 years to top a 30 percent K rate and 50 percent ground ball rate over a full season. So yeah, this will work.
It's not fair to expect Cahill to stay healthy or keep this up, and I wouldn't start him this week at Yankee Stadium. But I want to have him on my roster.
Of all the surprisingly good starters this year, Caleb Smith may be the most surprising. Smith was lit up in limited action with the Yankees last year, allowing 16 runs in just 18.2 innings. He's 26 years old and he's never been on anyone's top prospect list. He's also given up two earned runs over his past three starts, and two of those starts came at extremely good hitter's parks.
Smith now has a 12.6 percent swinging strike rate in 53 major league innings but he'll need to keep that up if he's going to continue to overcome 4.6 BB/9. On a bad team with those type of control problems, I'm skeptical of whether Smith can keep this up, but you can't ignore him any longer after his last three starts.
Ryon Healy was a sleeper pick of mine before the season but multiple injuries caused him to miss a big chunk of April. I was afraid while Healy was out that Dan Vogelbach would steal his job, but as soon as he was healthy, the Mariners put him back in the lineup and haven't taken him out. Healy has rewarded them by crushing the baseball.
Since returning on April 26, he sports a .333/.350/.744 slash line with five home runs in 10 games. He now has 43 home runs in 237 big league games and it's probably time to stop doubting whether he can keep this up. Healy is a good replacement for Miguel Cabrera in just about any league 12 teams or deeper and should be universally owned in any league that requires a middle infielder.
I really like it when I write about a player as a John Hicks did just that. With Cabrera on the DL, Hicks put on a show over the weekend in Kansas City. In four starts at first base he went 7 for 16 with a home run and two doubles. He won't keep hitting this well, but with catcher eligibility he doesn't have to. Add Hicks in any two-catcher or AL-only league.and he performs so well that I have to write about him again.
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