Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: George Springer injury opens door for Kyle Tucker, but are there more exciting outfield pickups out there?
Prospect Kyle Tucker didn't have a path to playing time until George Springer collided with an outfield fence Tuesday. Between that and Dylan Cease's favorable schedule, Scott White has some interesting pickups to share.
Nobody wants to see a player of George Springer's caliber go down, particularly this time of year.
But if there's a silver lining to his awkward tumble into the center field fence Tuesday and the concussion that potentially resulted, it's that there's now a possible opening for one of the prospects the baseball world has been dying to see: Kyle Tucker.
It's true we've seen him already, for a couple different stints in 2018, but the playing time was sporadic and the assessment far from complete. Mostly what we have to go on is that he's been a top-20 prospect (according to Baseball America) three years running and has put together this line at Triple-A Round Rock this year:
He was a .332 hitter at the same level last year, striking out at a respectable rate, so I don't think it's a stretch to say he offers five-category potential.
Early reports on Springer are encouraging, so maybe nothing changes. But the truth is Tucker should have had a path to at-bats anyway, given the decline of Josh Reddick. The Astros could also turn to Jake Marisnick's glove in center for however long Springer is sidelined.
But what was already difficult for the Astros to justify will be even more so if they're without Springer for any length of time. At least in five-outfielder leagues, Tucker is worth stashing until we see how this scenario plays out.
Of course, he may not be the most exciting outfield pickup you could be making right now ...
OAK Oakland • #22 • Age: 25
After a six-week absence for a stress reaction in his shin, Ramon Laureano is set to return to the Athletics lineup this weekend, and it's worth noting he was doing what could only be considered a best-case scenario for Tucker in the weeks leading up to the injury, batting .326 (71 for 218) with 16 homers, 12 steals and a 1.017 OPS in 61 games. Come to think of it, that's a best-case scenario for most anyone. The plate discipline is suspect and the season-long numbers probably more befitting of his abilities, but still, this caliber of player usually isn't so widely available.
Dylan Cease SP
CHW Chi. White Sox • #84 • Age: 23
For his inconsistencies across 11 major-league starts, Dylan Cease certainly has upside and showed it with his 11 strikeouts Tuesday. He ended up getting tagged for four earned runs in 6 2/3 innings but looked sharp overall, incorporating all four of his pitches and avoiding the control issues that have plagued him from time to time. It was encouraging enough for him to warrant a second look given his upcoming schedule. Two of his final four matchups are against the Mariners and Tigers, and if he gets pushed back just one day — which is more than likely here in September — the other two will line up against the Royals and, again, the Tigers.
BAL Baltimore • #25 • Age: 24
I mentioned Anthony Santander's hot hitting of late in Monday's edition of Waiver Wire, but he homered again Tuesday to give him five home runs in eight games. And I may have undersold his utility overall. He entered the day ranked directly between David Dahl and Andrew Benintendi in Head-to-Head points per game — a couple spots ahead of Laureano, in fact. He may be overachieving some with the batting average, but he makes good contact with moderate power, which makes him usable even in three-outfielder leagues.
Josh Rojas LF
ARI Arizona • #9 • Age: 25
Taking a sudden turn for the deeper here, Josh Rojas still hasn't shown us the full extent of his potential, but the Diamondbacks are at least entrusting him with a lineup spot again, having started him in five consecutive games. And this time, he's making good on it, following up a four-hit game Monday with a couple singles Tuesday to raise his batting average to .291. He's been hitting line drives and making hard contact, so while we have yet to see the plate discipline and base-stealing ability he showed in the minors, he's on the right track.
Seth Brown LF
OAK Oakland • #65 • Age: 27
Among the Triple-A-curiosities-turned-deep-league-outfield-pickups, Seth Brown has delivered more than Rojas so far — and in unexpected ways. His two triples Tuesday give him five extra-base hits in 29 at-bats, but none of them are homers after he hit the second-most in all the minors this year. It's the kind of performance that should keep him in the lineup for now but doesn't totally jibe with the skill set, and with Laureano gearing up to return, Brown will need to show he can hit the ball out of a major-league park before his strikeout rate rises and his BABIP falls. Still, there's a chance for him to stick and enough reason for enthusiasm in deeper leagues.
Ty France 3B
SD San Diego • #11 • Age: 25
The most surprising of all minor-league hitters this year looked like he might not get a fair shake when Andy Green had him splitting starts at second base to end the month of August. But Ty France has gotten a larger share to begin September and has responded with his most significant production at the major-league level so far, homering twice Sunday and again on Monday. He then struck out three times Tuesday, but the point is he won't be fading into obscurity. And as long as there's opportunity for him, I don't see who wouldn't be intrigued in leagues of 15 teams or more, considering the minor-league production.
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