I don't have a great deal of confidence in Michael Wacha, really.
I'm not surprised his ownership has sagged to about 70 percent in CBS Sports leagues (probably lower elsewhere). I wasn't even willingthis week.
But there was a time just five weeks ago when I did have faith in him. We all did. Up to that point, we had put together a 2.74 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in seven starts, which was more in line with what we've seen with him for most of his career than whatever happened last year.
And I say "whatever happened" because, even at the time, it wasn't entirely clear. Wacha is in kind of the same boat as Sonny Gray. All the measurables were more or less the same but the results were nothing short of miserable. It would make sense he'd bounce back from that, right?
But of course, then came the next six starts, which bumped his ERA up from 2.74 to 4.76 and caused us to question him all over again. I'm still questioning him even after a bounce-back effort Monday against the Reds in which he allowed one run in six innings.
And that's OK.
Some of us get stuck on the idea that the time to pursue a player is when you know what's next for him, but that's not true at all. Pursuing him just means you want the first claim to whatever comes next.
We know the upside for Wacha. He could be a steady pitcher in an era when steadiness is next to godliness. So let's not let him slip too far off the radar.
Because Wacha has never been much of a bat-misser, his success depends largely on his location, and he said he redoubled his efforts to throw the ball downhill in this start. Upping the use of his changeup probably helps with that. His struggles began when he shied away from arguably his most effective pitch, but judging by its usage this time out, hopefully he's back on the straight and narrow.
Even with me hyping him as the ultimate two-start sleeper this week because of his matchups against the Padres and Athletics, Sean Newcomb is still owned in just 67 percent of CBS Sports leagues. The truth is he shouldn't even need those matchups to soar well past that number given his pedigree and performance so far. Maybe it's too late to get him active this week, but now may be your last chance to roster him if Tuesday's start goes as hoped.
Mike Montgomery got plenty of attention as a potential relief pitcher-eligible starting pitcher this spring, before we knew the job would go to Brett Anderson instead, so you'd think he'd get more attention now that he's in the role. Our pitching needs have only intensified over the last three months, after all. His poor walk rate in relief probably has something to do with our apathy, but he has issued a manageable five walks in his last three starts and now has a 2.70 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 8.4 strikeouts per nine innings in 11 appearances as a starter over the last two seasons.
I'll hype Tommy Pham again because I'm about to highlight even lesser hitters while Pham himself is still owned in just 27 percent of CBS Sports leagues. The multi-talented outfielder did just about everything except the thing he has become most known for, hitting home runs, in Monday's game. The stolen base was his seventh in just 46 games. Project his numbers over 150 games, and he's a 29-homer, 22-steal guy with an .371 on-base percentage, which is enough for me to overlook the escalating strikeout rate.
With Dexter Fowler sidelined by a heel spur, Randal Grichuk is back at Tommy Pham's flank after a so-so minor-league stint in which he had 21 strikeouts vs. four walks. But hey, he has homered in back-to-back games, and that power has tantalized us for the better part of three seasons now. Home runs aren't the scarcest of contributions these days, and Grichuk's limitations -- meaning both his plate discipline and his window of opportunity -- make him far from an across-the-board add. He's making his presence known, though, and if you do need to make up ground in that one category, a hot streak from him might be just the ticket.
Starlin Castro left Monday's game with a hamstring strain that he believes is fairly mild, but seeing as the Yankees have already decided to bring Tyler Wade to the majors, you can assume the 22-year-old has some at-bats in his future. He's a whole-is-greater-than-the-sum-of-the-parts guy without any standout tools, so there's some question whether or not the steals will translate. But his shortstop eligibility will give him some measure of Fantasy utility as long as he puts the bat on the ball.