As much as I'd like to follow up colleague Heath Cummings' recommendation of Francis Martes in Monday's edition of Waiver Wire with my own of Brad Peacock today, I can't. Peacock is already owned in 83 percent of CBS Sports leagues.
Which on the one hand is surprising because he has only once gone the minimum required for a quality start, but on the other hand is completely predictable given that he has struck out at least eight batters in five of his six starts. It comes out to a rate of 14.0 strikeouts per nine innings.
So it's clear the 29-year-old has finally unlocked the potential that once made him a standout in the Nationals farm system, taking a page out of teammate Lance McCullers' book by featuring his breaking ball, a slider, 35 percent of the time, and it's clear he brings something to the table in Fantasy. But what isn't clear is for how much longer.
Somebody will be making his final turn this week with McCullers due back from a back injury. It won't be Mike Fiers, not after a four-start stretch in which he has gone 3-0 with a 1.78 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 8.5 strikeouts per nine innings, and I would guess Peacock is also safe after the way Monday's start went. Martes' role may be at risk, though, seeing as he's a 21-year-old who didn't completely master Triple-A, so I think the difference in ownership -- Peacock's 83 percent to Martes' 48 percent is appropriate. Of course, David Paulino and Joe Musgrove haven't exactly seized the day either.
Then again, it's only a matter of time before Charlie Morton makes his return from a lat injury, reigniting this discussion. Basically, every Astros pitcher is fighting for his job every time out.
Matt Adams' below-average walk rate limits his upside at an overloaded position, but the bottom line is that he's thriving with the everyday role the Cardinals were reluctant to give him, showcasing the plus power he was long presumed to have with four home runs in his past seven games. He's the third-best first baseman in points leagues, his weaker format, since joining the Braves, so he's worth adding just as a hot-hand play.
Just when we were about ready to write off Alex Meyer because of a 4 2/3-inning, five-walk effort June 12, he turns around and delivers his best of the season Saturday, striking out nine over six two-hit innings while issuing just one walk. He credited the performance to a conversation he had with Garrett Richards, another hard-thrower with control problems in his early days, who encouraged the 27-year-old not to worry so much about putting his fastball right where he wants it and instead just get it over the plate any way possible.
"He was comparing me to him and the things that he struggled with coming up," Meyer told the Los Angeles Times. "What he did when he came up was throw it over the middle, let them swing, take your chances at 95-96 and let them get themselves out."
Richards himself turned his fortunes around almost immediately once he got the walks under control, so if Meyer can apply those same lessons, with his power fastball and whiff-tastic curveball, his 38 ownership rate will seem laughable a couple months from now.
We've been teasing it for weeks now, and it's finally happening. Wilson Ramos, who has spent the past few months recovering from a torn ACL, is on track to return Sunday, so particularly in leagues with weekly lineup locks, there's no excuse not to add him. Catcher is the greatest position of need in Fantasy Baseball today, with Buster Posey and Gary Sanchez (maybe Salvador Perez?) the only true standouts. Wilson Ramos ranked among that group last year, so even if you own one of the elites, he could open up your trade options.
How great is the need at catcher? so great that we're genuinely excited about a perennial fakeout with a near-40 percent strikeout rate. Mike Zunino can't keep homering every nine at-bats like he has since his return from he minors, so without a reduction in strikeouts, he'll struggle to hit even .220. But if the mechanical tweaks he made at Triple-A Tacoma in May -- he's trying to emulate Matt Holliday with his swing, basically -- put him just shy of Gary Sanchez in terms of power potential, he's a Fantasy asset regardless.
It's been a season of highs and lows for Yangervis Solarte, who basically dropped off the mixed-league radar with a horrendous May but has come roaring back with six homers in his past 12 games. It's a new trick for the high-contact hitter, who like so many around baseball is putting the ball in the air more this year, but his .272 BABIP would still suggest he has more ground to make up. At the very least, his triple eligibility makes him sort of a superior version of Marwin Gonzalez.
Jason Hammel is getting a lot of attention on the waiver wire after four straight quality starts, which speaks to the desperation at starting pitcher right now given that he has struck out just 6.3 batters per nine innings during that stretch. But his turnaround is tied to a mechanical change -- squaring up his shoulders more -- and it's not like he was a nobody in Chicago and Oakland the past two years. I'd rather roll the dice on someone like Francisco Liriano, personally, but there are worse pickups than Hammel.