Fantasy Baseball Week 8:|
If you've been saving your waiver wire priority for saves or upside this is the week for you. Two of the most cherished assets in Fantasy Baseball are both available in a high percentage of leagues. That doesn't mean the prospects will pan out, or even stick. It doesn't mean the prospective closers will hold onto their roles. But they're worth making a move for right now.
Freddy Peralta, Brewers, 47 percent owned
Coors Field doesn't seem like a very good place for a pitching prospect to make his major league debut, but it sure didn't bother Freddy Peralta on Sunday. Peralta struck out 13 Rockies and allowed just one hit over 6.1 innings in his major-league debut on Sunday. This was supposed to just be a sport start, but after that show, Craig Counsell wants to see more.
So what should we expect from the 21-year-old? Strikeouts, and a lot of them. Peralta had thrown 34.2 innings in Triple-A this season and he'd struck out 46 batters. Last year he struck out 169 over 120 innings between High-A and Double-A. In 400 career minor league innings he's struck out 470 hitters. The kid knows how to miss bats. His one flaw? He misses the strike zone quite often as well.
I'm not ready to blow my season-long FAAB on Peralta, but I'm definitely making an effort to add him in every league I can.
Unlike Peralta, we've been waiting on Jack Flaherty all season. The 22 year-old has twice been called up only to be sent back down, and he's getting another chance on Tuesday. What's different this time? It seems like the Cardinals are finally realizing what we've suspected for two years -- Adam Wainwright doesn't have anything left.
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Flaherty was a consensus top-100 prospect coming into this year and he's done nothing to diminish the hype. In the minors he's shown great control while striking out 41 batters in 31.2 innings in Triple-A this season. I'm especially encouraged by the innings he's thrown over the past two seasons. With 134 in 2016 and 170 last year, Flaherty should be able to slot into the rotation and not look back. Let's hope the Cardinals are done messing around.
Franmil Reyes, Padres, 13 percent owned
The Padres have a roster full of guys who have mashed the ball in the minors, but have contact and defense issues. And they're calling up another. Franmil Reyes is getting the call after terrorizing the PCL for the first 35 games. Reyes has a .346/.440/.748 line with 14 home runs in 150 plate appearances. In the month of May he has been even better, with nine home runs and a 2.054 OPS in 11 games.
I'm not sure what his playing time will be or if he can make enough contact in the majors (134 strikeouts in 2017), but with that type of pop I'm trying to add him in all five-outfielder leagues.
Bruce Rondon picked up his first save of the season on Sunday for the White Sox. Joakim Soria and Nate Jones were both available. Do you need any more information to act? OK, I've got some: Rondon is the best bat-misser in the White Sox bullpen. Soria has been shaky at best this year; and the team used Jones in this game ... in the 8th inning.
Sure, Rondon's 4.15 ERA is scary, but he has a 2.53 FIP and has mostly been hurt by a terribly unlucky strand rate (57.9 percent). At the very least, you should be adding Rondon in any league where saves as particularly scarce.
Another reliever who picked up his first save on Sunday was Edubray Ramos. Ramos closed out the Phillies win, which is something that closer Hector Neris has struggled mightily with. Neris has a 5.17 ERA (5.13 FIP) and three blown saves already this year, and his BB/9 matches his ERA. That can be a good thing, but not when they're both over five.
Gabe Kapler made it clear that Neris has not lost his job, but also said they'd use the most appropriate reliever for the situation. So, like Chicago, this isn't a clearcut change in roles, but Ramos and his 1.13 ERA are worth speculating on.