Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Kevin Kiermaier is back, and Shelby Miller will soon follow
Who fills in as Cubs closer with Brandon Morrow on the shelf, and how excited should we be about Shelby Miller's return. Scott White looks at six players worth adding.
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Wednesday's Waiver Wire was full of ... whoa.
As in "whoa, how are these players still available in my league?" They were the sort of high-profile pickups owners in all Fantasy leagues could get behind, and naturally,.
Thursday's is more for the niche crowd. Players who meet specific needs. Hail Mary-level upside plays. They're players worth addressing, but they're lacking in mass appeal.
That is, with one exception — a player who's 63 percent ownership has defied reason and order for too long now, whose per-game production rivals that of Justin Upton and Nicholas Castellanos.
And he came through in a big way Wednesday afternoon.
Jeimer Candelario, who forfeited a couple weeks to a wrist injury late in May, has struggled so far in June. But he has gotten back to his roots lately, drawing seven walks in his past four games, and got back in the home run column Wednesday. His upside doesn't compare because of the disparate supporting casts, but his .841 OPS does rival Alex Bregman's .845 mark.
Two games into his return from a two-month absence for a torn thumb ligament, Kevin Kiermaier is 0 for 9 with three strikeouts, but he hit .412 (7 for 17) with only two strikeouts on a minor-league rehab assignment and had 15 homers and 16 steals in what amounted to two-thirds of a season last year. Roto owners with five outfield spots to fill should make him a priority.
The Cubs plan to go by-committee while Brandon Morrow is sidelined by a tight back, which may only be the minimum 10 days. Pedro Strop figures to be the leader of that committee as the right-hander most often tasked with pitching the eighth inning, and he has a longer track record of success than both Steve Cishek and Justin Wilson anyway. Clearly, though, it's a desperation pickup.
Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic believes that Shelby Miller, who has spent the past 14 months recovering from Tommy John surgery, will make his season debut Monday, lining him up for two starts right away. It'll take nerves of steel to start him in Fantasy, especially since he wasn't exactly must-own prior to the procedure, but the former All-Star still has a terrific heater.
Speaking of terrific heaters, Tyler Mahle got the most out of his Wednesday, piling up 17 swinging strikes against a Tigers team that ... well, that's made most every pitcher look like Jacob deGrom lately. The rookie has a limited arsenal, throwing his fastball nearly 70 percent of the time, but he has lowered his ERA from 4.76 to 3.89 over his past four starts.
Frankie Montas was a little too fastball-reliant in his first four starts, and it caught up to him against the Astros last time out. But he threw his slider nearly one-third of the time Tuesday, coaxing seven of his 12 swinging strikes with it. So a guy with RP eligibility has turned in four good starts in five and seems to be expanding his arsenal. That's enough to put Montas back on the radar in deeper leagues.
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