Ah, Nick Pivetta. Here we are again, getting excited about Nick Pivetta.
This time, we really should be.
The Phillies might have lost 8-0 Sunday, but this time around, it wasn't Pivetta's fault. In fact, we saw every bit of Pivetta's upside, as he struck out nine and walked none over six innings, while allowing just three hits.
Pivetta had it all working, racking up 16 swinging strikes, and actually showed a necessary willingness to mix his pitches up; 11 of 21 pitches thrown while behind in the count were either sliders or curveballs, a big change for one of the most predictable pitchers in baseball.
In the past, Pivetta has just thrown fastball after fastball when behind in the count, but confidence in his breaking pitches even in hitter's counts — and a willingness to issue a walk, if necessary — could be a key to making him less hittable.
Of course, it's just one start. We've seen flashes in the past from Pivetta, but he's always fallen back on bad habits in the end. Still, this was a start, and a reminder of the kind of upside we'll always be chasing with Pivetta.
Four more players to add on waivers
Andrew Heaney (75% owned) — Pivetta will rightly garner a ton of attention, but Heaney might just be the better pitcher. The upside hasn't been apparently as high in the past, but Heaney's first two starts this season have been exactly what we've hoped we would see from Pivetta — 18 strikeouts, one walk, and 35 swinging strikes on 177 pitches. The four homers in 11 innings are also pretty Pivetta-esque, of course.
Avisail Garcia (54%) — We've been hesitant to buy into Garcia's hot streaks in the past, but this one looks different. Per StatCast, he's in the 86th percentile in average exit velocity, 88th in hard-hit rate, and 93rd in expected batting average. This one might be for real — though keep an eye out for his status before lineup locks after he missed Sunday's game with a hamstring issue. If he is good to go, he needs to be in your lineup — and Scott White concurs.
Danny Santana (22%) — It's not entirely clear how the Rangers will look to replace Joey Gallo (oblique) in the lineup, but it was Santana who got the call Saturday and Sunday. He has slowed down a bit after a hot start, but the underlying data still shows Santana as a solid player, someone with power and speed — if not a bit too much swing-and-miss. Still, if he gets regular playing time, there's reason to be interested in categories leagues.
Yuli Gurriel (66%) — Gurriel isn't the kind of player who gets the blood flowing for Fantasy, but that also tends to make him a bit undervalued for categories leagues. He's not going to/ hit for a ton of over-the-fence power, but he just finished May hitting .291, and he's likely going to hit fourth for the forseeable future given the Astros' injuries.
Lucas Giolito — After yet another dominant start Sunday — nine strikeouts, zero walks, 7.1 innings — Giolito is now down to a 2.54 ERA for the season. With a 2.63 FIP. And a 29.9% strikeout rate. This may turn out to be a fluke in the long run, but this is awfully tough to fake. Giolito is a must-start player right now.
Juan Soto — Remember the sophomore slump? Soto shrugged that off easily, reaching base two more times Sunday and pushing his season line to .293/.394/533. The only downside to this weekend? Saturday's 0-fer cut his hitting streak short at 14 games.
Keston Hiura — It looked like Hiura's spot on the roster might have been in jeopardy with Travis Shaw set to return from the IL this week, but Hiura played like a man who didn't want to go back to the minors this weekend, going 5 for 14 with two homers between Friday and Sunday.
Chris Sale — After going five straight starts striking out 59 over 33 innings with a 1.91 ERA, Sale has stumbled just a bit of late. The strikeouts are still there — 25 in 17.1 IP over his last three — but he's also dished out eight walks in that span, with nine earned runs allowed. This just continues to be a rougher season than we've seen from Sale.
Luke Weaver — Weaver's breakout season has been derailed, and it's probably going to be a while until we see him back on the mound. He won't need Tommy John surgery, but he was diagnosed with a right UCL and flexor pronator strain this weekend and will attempt to rehab through it. Unfortunately, you can probably safely drop Weaver.
Andrew Benintendi — The Red Sox were hoping they could make their lineup even more impressive by pushing Andrew Benintendi up to the leadoff spot and allowing Mookie Betts to serve as more of a run producer. Unfortunately, neither has played up to expectations. The move to the No. 2 spot in the order for Benintendi obviously isn't a killer, but it's an acknowledgment by the Red Sox of what has become obvious: He's not the guy they (or we) were hoping he would be.