Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: It's Hector Rondon's job now for the Astros
With Ken Giles optioned to Triple-A, it's Hector Rondon's job in Houston now. He needs to be on your roster.
If you need pitching help, you're in the right place, because that's all we've got today.
Clearly, you were waiting for some kind of sign that it was okay to invest in Hector Rondon. It's been clear for quite some time that he was the closer in Houston, but Fantasy owners have been hesitant to buy in — after all, we've seen Ken Giles lose his job, only to take it back in short order.
It might happen again this time, but it's going to take a while. Giles was optioned to Triple-A Wednesday after yet another meltdown, clearing the way for Rondon to own the ninth inning for the foreseeable future. Of course, Giles wasn't much of an impediment even before this, as Rondon has seven of the team's 10 saves since June 1, but his biggest potential obstacle is out of the way.
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And Rondon has been a difference-maker this year already, sporting a 1.62 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in his 33 1/3 innings, with 44 strikeouts. He struggled a year ago, his last with the Cubs, but had a 2.44 ERA from 2014 through 2016, so this isn't exactly coming out of nowhere. Maybe Giles comes back sometime later in July and takes the job back, but for now, the coast is clear. Rondon is closing for arguably the best team in baseball, and he's pitching like a stud. There's no reason he shouldn't be owned in every league.
If you drafted Luke Weaver, his season hasn't gone how you might have hoped. One of last year's late-season breakouts, Weaver has seen his ERA rise nearly a run, while he's lost two strikeouts off his K/9 from his 2017 pace. It hasn't been all bad, of course, but like many young pitchers, his season has been marked by inconsistency, and this latest stretch is no different. He has allowed three runs in 14 innings over his past two starts, but was tagged for eight in his last start prior.
That consistency could continue to be an issue, but we're seeing better signs from Weaver of late, with no more than two walks in any of his last four starts, and seven or more strikeouts in three of those four. When he's right, Weaver can still be a difference-maker, and now that the hype has died down a bit, he's worth adding and stashing to the end of your bench where available. The upside is still quite high.
Carlos Rodon still isn't quite right, but he's getting close, and Wednesday was probably the closest we've seen him get to where he needs to be. He stymied the Cardinals over 7 1/3 innings, limiting them to three hits and no runs, while striking out seven and walking just two. It's the best we've seen of Rodon, and perhaps not coincidentally, he leaned on his changeup more than ever.
Rodon threw 24 changeups in the outing, the most he's ever thrown in a major-league start, and his usage his been trending up as the season has gone on. That pitch has long been key for Rodon, who has struggled to get out right-handed batters. If he's more comfortable with that changeup moving forward, it could help fuel his development as a starter.
We know Rodon has always had the upside, but this could be a sign of him living up to it.
It's been a battle for Trevor Cahill just to stay healthy, but he's been impressive when he's been on the mound this season. Before going on the DL, Cahill had a 2.77 and 3.07 FIP, with 47 strikeouts in 48 2/3 innings. It's a lot like what he did last season with the Padres, before he fell apart following a trade to Kansas City.
If he can pick up where he left off, Cahill has shown the ability to be a positive contributor, and he's making his return to the rotation against the Astros. Don't be surprised if Thursday's start doesn't go well, but Cahill could be a decent replacement option if you lost Garrett Richards and Rodon or Weaver aren't available.
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