Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Mike Foltynewicz, Dinelson Lamet suddenly matter again
Two pitchers of past interest to Fantasy players are making a case to be added again while a new one, Aaron Civale, offers his own reasons for optimism. Scott White looks at the waiver wire.
There he is.
Well, he came back Tuesday doing Foltynewicz-like things.
Of particular note was the slider. He threw it 42 times -- more than even his fastball. It was responsible for 10 of his 16 swinging strikes. He seemed completely at ease with and in control of it, which is a stark contrast to his previous work in the majors this year.
That pitch was the key to his breakthrough last year, when he put together a 2.85 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 9.9 K/9. It's all he has, really, aside from a 97 mph fastball, which makes it a make-or-break pitch. And it was clearly broken early on.
The flareup in his elbow, a product of loose bodies that may need to be addressed through surgery someday, made him wary of another, which made him reluctant to snap off his best pitch, he told The Athletic back in June.
"When something like that happens, it's in the back of your head. If you rip a slider, what's going to happen?' It makes it tough to go out there and pitch 100 percent."
"I'm just going to have to learn to throw the slider, let it go and hope for the best," Foltynewicz said.
Judging by what it did Tuesday, he appears to have done just that.
ATL Atlanta • #26 • Age: 27
The final line ended up being less than stellar because manager Brian Snitker left him in too long. Foltynewicz served up a couple home runs in that ill-fated sixth inning to a team that's on pace to set the major-league record for home runs. In other words, most pitchers would get a pass for anything that happened against the Twins, but the truth is Foltynewicz doesn't really need one. The story is the return of the slider, and if you need any more assurance he's on the right track, note that he had a 2.67 ERA in six starts after getting sent to Triple-A.
SD San Diego • #29 • Age: 27
Perhaps the biggest pitching storyline from Tuesday is what Dinelson Lamet did, striking out 12 over seven two-hit innings at the Mariners. Given that he's still working his way back from Tommy John surgery, it was his first start of at least six innings, much less seven, though that's mostly out of an abundance of caution. Tuesday also represented the first time he reached the 90-pitch threshold in six chances. Lamet's K/9 now sits at 12.6, and though the walk rate is similarly high, you should pursue upside wherever it reveals itself at starting pitcher. The 27-year-old is himself known for having a nasty breaker.
Aaron Civale SP
CLE Cleveland • #67 • Age: 24
Pursue upside wherever it reveals itself, you say? Yes, even in the unlikeliest of places, which is what Aaron Civale would have represented coming into 2019. He had only 6.6 K/9 as a full-time starter at Double-A last year, doesn't throw particularly hard and doesn't have an obvious swing-and-miss pitch, but the 24-year-old appears to have figured something out this year. It wasn't the six three-hit innings with seven strikeouts Monday any more than it was the six two-hit innings with six strikeouts back in June. But combine those numbers with the ones he put up in Triple-A -- a 2.13 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 9.8 K/9 -- and there's reason for optimism.
J.D. Davis LF
NYM N.Y. Mets • #28 • Age: 26
J.D. Davis hadn't to this point attracted much notice in Fantasy because he seemed confined to a reserve role with the Mets. But all of a sudden, he has started 10 of the past 11 in left field, batting .405 (15 for 37) with three homers during that stretch. Honestly, it's a continuation of what he's been doing all along, and while the knee-jerk reaction is to assume the batting average and OPS are too good to be true, his xBA and xwOBA suggest he's actually better than both. With a low strikeout rate, line-drive swing and up-the-middle tendencies, he looks like the real deal.
MIL Milwaukee • #2 • Age: 22
In how many consecutive Waiver Wire columns should the same guy appear? Look, we've had a lot to say about Trent Grisham since his promotion just after the trade deadline, but here's the latest: He's started three straight games, including most recently against a left-hander Tuesday. True, Christian Yelich was out with a sore back, but Ryan Braun sat twice in a row before then, which may reveal where the Brewers stand on the fading 35-year-old. Meanwhile, Grisham went 5 for 11 with a homer, a double and just two strikeouts in those three games.
Jose Leclerc RP
TEX Texas • #25 • Age: 25
Jose Leclerc has recorded two saves with Shawn Kelley sidelined by a strained biceps, but neither in particularly dominant fashion. And with Kelley on the verge of returning this week, it seemed like Leclerc may have missed his opportunity to reassert himself. But Levi Weaver of The Athletic reported Tuesday that Leclerc would remain the closer, with manager Chris Woodward saying he had earned his way back. Yes, the season numbers are still suspect, but since May 1, the 25-year-old has a 3.38 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 13.3 K/9. Maybe you go Scott Oberg over him, but Leclerc was of course a big find for Fantasy players down the stretch last year.
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