Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Mike Soroka, Alex Verdugo make their case; Chris Paddack highlights winners & losers

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After taunting us with his potential his first four times out, Chris Paddack was finally the pitcher we wanted him to be Wednesday against the Mariners.

Or was he?

Certainly, the line allows no room for complaint. Over seven innings, he one-hit what had been high-octane offense:

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Chris Paddack SD • SP • 59
Wednesday vs. Mariners
IP7
H1
ER0
BB1
K9

But you could argue he fell short in the same way he had been falling short. For the fifth straight start to begin the season, he finished shy of 90 pitches, which speaks to his efficiency in this start, sure. But it took that level of efficiency — no-hitter type efficiency — for him to make it beyond six innings. It's rare he'll be quite that good.

By now, it's fair to assume the 90-pitch cutoff is by design — a way for him to pitch deeper into the season after throwing just 90 innings last year (his first back from Tommy John surgery), which is a noble cause. But it's sub-optimal for Fantasy players, who'd benefit more from a higher-impact pitcher over a shorter period of time than one whose win and strikeout potential will be stifled every time out.

Paddack is still must-own, of course, and possibly must-start in anything other than points leagues. But I wouldn't get used to him throwing seven or even six innings at a time.

Four players to add from Wednesday

  • Mike Soroka, SP, ATL (69%)  — That's two consecutive impressive outings with more than a strikeout per inning for a top prospect who looks to have a permanent spot in the Braves rotation. Soroka could have been more efficient in this one, throwing 109 pitches over 5 2/3 innings, but control was one of his strong suits in the minors.
  • Vince Velasquez, SP, PHI (48%) — Perhaps because of his limited arsenal, the Phillies have been careful not to let Velasquez go deep into starts even when the pitch count has allowed for it, and he has responded with excellent ratios. Five more shutout innings Wednesday lowered his ERA to 1.99.
  • Alex Verdugo, OF, LAD (45%) — How is anybody's guess, but the Dodgers are going to have to find more at-bats for this recently graduated prospect and soon. Home run power was supposed to be the big question mark for Verdugo, but he's already up to four despite sparse playing time — and with the expected contact and line-drive rates, that should make him a .300 hitter.
  • Renato Nunez, 3B, BAL (42%) — Nunez is exactly the sort of passed-over prospect who can end up being a major find for a rebuilding club. Two more hits Wednesday brought his batting average to .301, and the home run power, considered his best skill when in the Athletics organization, has certainly been there.

Winners and Losers

Winners

  • Vladimir Guerrero, 3B, TOR — Much has been written about it elsewhere, but for those who aren't plugged into the MLB news feed, it's worth reiterating here: Guerrero is being called up to the big leagues Friday, presumably for good.
  • Josh Bell, 1B, PIT — Another home run and double puts him on pace for 37 and 44 to go along with 15 triples. Factor in his .385 OBP and that he's doing it all with a perfectly viable BABIP, and the Bell breakout is getting harder to deny.
  • Eduardo Rodriguez, SP, BOS — Sure, it was against the Tigers, but by striking out seven over six two-hit innings, Rodriguez is now riding a three-start hot streak and has more than a dozen swinging strikes in four of his five outings. His third pitch, a slider/cutter, is improved this year, and it's beginning to show.
  • German Marquez, SP, COL — Marquez wasn't bad in his last outing at Coors Field but gave up 10 hits in five innings. He went seven strong in this one, which should hopefully quiet concerns about him being a pitcher you can only start on the road. After all, he did have a 1.90 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 12.9 K/9 in his final seven home starts last year.
  • Michael Chavis, 3B, BOS — Wednesday's game makes it three out of four that Chavis has started at second base, and in it, he contributed in unexpected ways: walking three times and stealing a base. Mostly, it's home runs we're looking to see from him, but he's buying himself more chances either way.
  • Felix Hernandez, SP, SEA — In what was the clearest indication that his efforts to reinvent himself may amount to something, Hernandez allowed one run on three hits with eight strikeouts in seven innings. His changeup has always been his moneymaker, but pulling back on it in favor of his curveball has led to three decent outings in five.

Losers

  • Cody Allen, RP, LAA — The Angels are pulling him from the closer role for now in an effort to get him right. He has allowed at least one run in four of his past five appearances. Hard to say how long he'll need or who will replace him (Ty Buttrey worked parts of the seventh, eighth and ninth Wednesday), but he's a sit for now.
  • Walker Buehler, SP, LAD — After crediting the Dodgers' analytics department for getting him back on track last time out, Buehler again appeared lost at the Cubs, recording just one strikeout in 5 2/3 innings. Since the velocity is OK, I trust he'll eventually get back on track.
  • Jesus Aguilar, 1B, MIL  — Ice-cold to begin the year, Aguilar was out of the lineup for a third straight game, and his replacement, Eric Thames, homered for a fifth time. Thames strikes out way too much for everyday duty, and it's possible the Brewers are just giving Aguilar some time to get his swing right. But he needs to deliver soon or risk being dropped everywhere.
  • Anibal Sanchez, SP, WAS — Sanchez's redemptive 2018 already seemed too good to be true, but if he's not throwing strikes, he has no chance of repeating it. His five walks Wednesday gave him three starts with four walks or more.
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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