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The year was 2019, a simpler time in many ways. But one complicating factor was Nick Pivetta, a pitcher believed to be of great potential. He was one of the trendiest Fantasy Baseball picks heading into that season. It did not pan out.

But in the years since then, he's shown occasional flashes that lead us to wonder "could it still?" The latest such instance came Wednesday, when he became only the fourth pitcher to throw a complete game this season, limiting the vaunted Astros lineup to two hits.

Was it just a blip, or was it something more?

The first thing you should know is that it was Pivetta's third straight quality start. During that time, he has allowed just two earned runs in 22 innings with 20 strikeouts compared to one walk. He's had more impressive strikeout rates in the past, but I'll note that he had 20 swinging strikes in this one, including nine just on the fastball.

And again, he was facing a team that isn't known to swing and miss much. 

Possible waiver wire pickups
BOS Boston • #37 • Age: 29
Rostered
38%
Wednesday vs. Astros
INN
9
H
2
ER
1
BB
0
K
8
So what's changed for him in these past three starts? "It's my mechanics, it's my timing, just that, to be honest with you," he said. "I had a lot of people help me out, a lot of the coaching staff really dug deep, a lot of the KinaTrax [technology], and they helped me out." It's some kind of explanation, anyway -- not enough for me to turn a blind eye to his mostly uninspiring track record, but if you're hurting for pitching help, Pivetta isn't the worst choice to try out.
WAS Washington • #40 • Age: 24
Rostered
77%
Wednesday at Marlins
INN
6
H
6
ER
3
BB
0
K
7
Josiah Gray isn't as available, but if he's available to you, he would be the preferred pickup to Pivetta. His line Wednesday wasn't as impressive, but there was a critical change underneath it. He threw his best pitch, the slider, 44 percent of the time, about twice as often as usual, and it was responsible for 15 of his season-high 18 swinging strikes. Missing more bats is good for any pitcher but is especially critical for him since he's so vulnerable to the long ball, having served up a combined eight homers in his previous two starts. This change, if it sticks, could help bring out the full extent of his potential.
CHC Chi. Cubs • #8 • Age: 27
Rostered
63%
2022 Stats
AVG
.281
HR
3
OPS
.812
AB
110
BB
22
K
28
For all the times Ian Happ has been hyped as a sleeper in the past, it's a wonder he's not generating more interest right now. His long standing strikeout issues appear to be solved. In fact, the walks have nearly caught up to them, giving him a .403 on-base percentage. His home run Wednesday represents only his third so far, but power has never been his shortcoming. His barrel rate is about half what it usually is, so he's probably just due for a hot streak. Remember, this is a guy who hit .323 with 14 homers and a 1.065 OPS over his final 44 games last year.
MIN Minnesota • #16 • Age: 26
Rostered
49%
2022 Stats
W-L
1-1
ERA
2.75
WHIP
1.22
INN
19.2
BB
5
K
16
Bailey Ober is set to return this weekend from the groin injury that has sidelined him for the past three weeks, but you see how he was doing before the injury. And actually, those numbers are skewed a bit by the start when he left injured. They also under represent the way he was missing bats. He has a 14 percent swinging-strike rate, which would place him in the top 10 among qualifiers. He seemed to pick up where he left off on his Triple-A rehab assignment, striking out 7 in five innings with an 18.1 percent swinging-strike rate. He's a bit unorthodox since he doesn't throw particularly hard, but he's a terrific control pitcher who seems to have figured out how to maximize his stuff.
KC Kansas City • #1 • Age: 23
Rostered
37%
2022 Stats
AVG
.265
HR
2
OPS
.813
AB
34
BB
4
K
10
MJ Melendez homered again in a 2-for-4 performance Wednesday, making him a perfect 2 for 2 in games started since Salvador Perez went down with a sprained thumb. Last year's minor-league home run leader had looked good in limited chances as Perez's backup, making consistently hard contact with a disciplined approach at the plate, and now we're seeing it come to fruition. His upside makes him one of the top 10 catchers to roster in Fantasy, it being the position most devoid of upside, and I think I'd slot him ahead of someone like Alejandro Kirk just because Melendez has more helium right now.
TEX Texas • #56 • Age: 34
Rostered
13%
2022 Stats
AVG
.242
HR
5
OPS
.740
AB
99
BB
6
K
26
Anyone who begins to make an impact offensively deserves some measure of attention given the scarcity of offense around the league so far, and Kole Calhoun has homered four times in his past four games. He's now batting .341 (15 for 44) in May and seems to have captured an everyday job with the Rangers. The underlying data is strong, his hard-hit and barrel rates the highest they've ever been, which is what you'd expect for someone who's hot at this still-early stage of the season. I'm skeptical of the 34-year-old remaining useful for long and couldn't imagine adding him in a three-outfielder league, but he did hit 33 homers as recently as 2019.