Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Fernando Romero is the real deal
Fernando Romero and Zach Eflin are among the latest waiver-wire pitchers to have attention-grabbing starts. But Chris Towers says he only believes in one of them.
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I profiled Fernando Romero , and plenty of you took the cue: His ownership jumped to 68 percent before his second start. And, after yet another impressive showing Monday against the Cardinals, Romero's ownership needs to jump again. Probably to 100 percent.
Romero shut out the Cardinals over six innings Monday, bringing his total to begin his career to 11 2/3 shutout innings. Those innings haven't been perfect — he's walked six batters to date — but that's about the only blemish on the record. He has struck out 14 batters and racked up 25 swinging strikes, with a ton of groundballs.
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This is what we saw from Romero in the minors; good strikeout numbers, a tendency to keep the ball in the yard, with those good bits tempered by some control and command issues.
Which is just to say Romero probably isn't an ace. Could he use a better changeup? Sure. But he doesn't need one to be worth owning in all leagues, and we've seen enough upside to buy into. Make sure he's not on waivers in your league before moving on.
Leonys Martin isn't trying to hit more fly balls. He was last year, and he told The Detroit News in the offseason that was a big part of why he struggled so much. But he isn't trying to hit more fly balls this year:
"I hit 15 homers the year before, but that's not my game, man. I always try to hit the ball to the gaps and I change it. And it doesn't work like that. If you work on something, you have to keep believing, believing in what you do. That's what I did wrong."
We have to take him at his word. Again: Leonys Martin isn't trying to hit more fly balls. But, the thing is… he's hitting more fly balls. A lot more, in fact. His groundball rate for the season is just 26.3 percent, more than 20 points lower than his career rate. Martin is also sporting a 37.4 percent hard-hit rate, which is to say… this might be real. Whether he intended to be or not, Martin has been a significantly different player than ever before this season, and he's also been a significantly better player, too. At least, so far.
I don't buy what Zach Eflin is doing, but I can't quite justify ignoring it, either. It's not like we've never seen him before; in fact, that's why I don't buy it. Eflin made 22 major-league starts in 2016 and 2017, and didn't have a single start with more than six strikeouts, so it should be pretty easy to write off his nine-strikeout start Monday as an aberration. However, Eflin has added nearly 2 mph to his average fastball velocity, while relying more on his slider than ever before. Maybe it's nothing, but we can't ignore it. At least until his next start.
Typically, in this space, I want to focus on players who are doing something new, rather than just hot streaks. Any player can get hot, but if it isn't sustainable, that's not particularly helpful for waiver-wire purposes. However, it's hard to ignore what Matt Adams is doing lately, if only because it could lead to a new role, if nothing else. We always knew Adams could crush the ball, so his current run isn't terribly surprising. However, that it has coincided with a slow start for Ryan Zimmerman as well as an injury could push Adams into more of an everyday role. He'll probably never be able to hit lefties, and Zimmerman won't go away completely, but if Adams starts against every righty, he's going to do enough damage to at least be owned in all category and daily lineup leagues.
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