Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Francisco Mejia makes his case at catcher
Homering twice in your first start goes a long way toward earning playing time, especially when you're a catcher. Scott White makes a case for Francisco Mejia, Luis Castillo and others on the waiver wire.
Well, that's one way to earn more playing time.
Francisco Mejia, who was already in line for close to a 50-50 split with Austin Hedges behind the plate, gave the Padres reason to wonder if that's really enough in his first start Thursday at Cincinnati, homering twice to give the Padres four of their five runs off Luis Castillo.
Home runs aren't even what Mejia is most known for, though in today's environment, they seem to be par for the course for players with his bat skills. The 22-year-old who once put together a 50-game hitting streak in the Indians system, hit .355 with 11 homers and a .969 OPS in his final 68 games between the two organizations' farm clubs this year. He profiles as a high-average hitter, if nothing else, and if Thursday's performance is any indication, he's more than ready for this opportunity.
Mejia reportedly earned high marks from starter Eric Lauer, who struck out eight in four shutout innings. Manager Andy Green has already hinted the 22-year-old could make his second start Friday, and how could he not? Even if he gets just two-thirds of the starts down the stretch, Mejia offers enough Fantasy potential to function as a top-12 option at a position where Tucker Barnhart has been a top-12 option all year.
Yeah, Luis Castillo gave up three home runs Thursday, which is obviously bad, but he also missed a ton of bats for a second straight start and walked no one, giving him a total of nine baserunners allowed in his past two starts. And believe it or not, he has a 3.20 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings in eight starts since the All-Star break. Our little Luis might be growing up.
An important consideration this time of year is what a pitcher's upcoming schedule looks like, and Shane Bieber's, if he continues to start every fifth day, looks a rebuild special — Rays, White Sox, Red Sox (ew) and Royals. The rookie has already demonstrated uncommon control and efficiency during his time in the majors and could see his high floor become a high ceiling with those machups (three of them, anyway).
Pedro Strop didn't get the save Thursday; Jesse Chavez did, but only because the game went to extra innings. Strop is clearly the fill-in for Brandon Morrow, having piled up 10 saves in about six weeks' time, which means he'll probably spend the rest of the year in the role given manager Joe Maddon's recent suggestion that the Cubs will be "lucky" to get Morrow back.
Yeah, I also recommended picking up Jake Junis a couple days ago, which makes two Royals pitchers in three days. But it's September. We're scraping the bottom of the barrel at this point. Brad Keller doesn't strike out many batters but has a standout skill that makes his 3.14 ERA not as fluky as you'd think: He has the third-best ground-ball rate in baseball. His upcoming matchups, meanwhile, are the White Sox, Twins, Tigers and Reds.
Johan Camargo homered Thursday. It was his third in nine games. His ownership probably won't rise much past 60 percent, which makes him a nice crutch for me in this space. Still, as a high-contact hitter with pretty good pop, he offers high floor at a position (shortstop) that can be difficult to fill in a pinch.
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