Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Jose Quintana and Nathan Eovaldi highlight winners and losers

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It took a 24-year-old sophomore to say it out loud, but by this point, it probably could have gone without saying.

Spring training certainly seems to matter for pitchers.

Not in terms of results, but for reps. How else is a pitcher supposed to get comfortable with his secondary arsenal and fine tune his command?

Most every instance of a team saving those bullets for the regular season has gone disastrously here in April, with the entire Red Sox rotation being the clearest example. Nathan Eovaldi was the one who took his lumps Thursday. One of the game's best control pitchers last year, he walked four for the second straight start, getting pummeled by a miserable Blue Jays lineup.

Walker Buehler was the one the Dodgers held back, and he's willing to admit he's paying for it now, telling the Orange County Register, "I think it's hard not to say that had something to do with it."

It's not much, but it's the admission we needed — the admission we all knew to be true. 

Despite the poor showing Thursday, his second in three chances, Buehler should be fine. The velocity is there, and the breaking ball is coming around. He's behind, but he'll catch up. And we know the upside is tremendous.

Eovaldi, though ... I'm not sure the upside is worth the wait, assuming he even meets it. At his best, he's still worth less than a strikeout per inning, and the things he did well last year were pretty much brand new to him.

He'll probably matter at some point just because of the offense he has backing him, but I think it's safe to turn your attention to more exciting things.

Four players to add from Thursday

  • Daniel Vogelbach, 1B, SEA (50%) — Jay Bruce's Achilles injury appears to be just a day-to-day thing, but the Mariners were finding opportunities to play Vogelbach anyway, starting him for the seventh time in eight games Thursday and watching him hit his sixth home run during that stretch. He's second in the majors on average exit velocity and was an on-base machine in the minors. 
  • Jesse Winker, OF, CIN (61%) — After back to back games with a home run, Winker reached base three times Thursday, including twice via walk, which is an important part of his skill set that he hadn't demonstrated thus far. He's coming around and the Reds seem to know it, as he has started four straight.
  • Marcus Semien, SS, OAK (71%) — Semien homered for the third time and doubled for the fifth time Thursday, but it's the reduced strikeout rate that has my attention — something that began last year and may not be just a product of sample size seeing as he's already up to 72 plate appearances. He also struck out just four times in 45 plate appearances this spring.
  • Steven Matz, SP, NYM (67%) — Though the number of swinging strikes could be higher, Matz turned in his second consecutive eight-strikeout effort Thursday, limiting the Braves to two runs in six innings. The former top prospect had a 2.29 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 10.5 K/9 in his final seven starts last year.

Winners and Losers

Winners

  • Jose Quintana, SP, CHC — Quintana followed an eight-run outing with an 11-strikeout outing that might have saved him from getting dropped in a number of leagues. He threw 13 changeups, a pitch he spent the offseason honing, and got four whiffs out of them.
  • Chad Pinder, 2B/OF, OAK — Pinder made his third straight start Thursday, which is notable mostly because two of them were against righties. There's definite power here, and like Semien, his strikeout rate is way down. We need to see more, but keep an eye on him.
  • Franmil Reyes, OF, SD — Numbers like xBA and xwOBA suggest Reyes has been maybe the unluckiest hitter in baseball so far, but he homered Thursday and got to start alongside both Wil Myers and Hunter Renfroe — an alignment that hurts the Padres defense but presents a best-case playing-time scenario for Fantasy owners..
  • Jeff Samardzija, SP, SF — It was a throwback performance for Samardzija, who recorded seven strikeouts in seven shutout innings, but it was only the first sign that his new strategy of mixing in his secondary pitches earlier in games might actually work out for him. After the year he just had, we need more.

Losers

  • Ken Giles, RP, TOR — Just when you thought it was safe to trust Giles, who began the season with five dominant outings, he implodes against the Red Sox, walking three and surrendering two runs. His role is secure for now.
  • Pablo Lopez, SP, MIA — Not all hope is lost for Lopez, who continues to throw strikes and flash a quality changeup, but after back-to-back disappointing outings, it may be time to free up a spot for something else.
  • Christian Walker, 1B, ARI — For the first time since Jake Lamb went down with a quad strain more than a week ago, Walker was out of the lineup Thursday and may be losing his grip on the starting job after going 2 for 22 with 10 strikeouts in his past six games.
  • Spencer Turnbull, SP, DET — Turnbull followed up a 10-strikeout effort with four ugly innings against a miserable Indians lineup. He still had 11 swinging strikes and has proven to be a strikeout pitcher in the minors, but chances are you can do better off the waiver wire.

What are the Fantasy baseball trade values for every MLB players in head-to-head and Rotisserie leagues? And which surprising infielder is now a top-10 value? Visit SportsLine now to see the Fantasy baseball trade evaluator and chart, all based off the projections of one of the top Fantasy baseball analysts in the nation.

Senior Fantasy Writer

Raised in Atlanta by a board game-loving family during the dawn of the '90s Braves dynasty, Scott White was easy prey for the Fantasy Sports, in particular Fantasy Baseball, and has devoted his adulthood... Full Bio

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