taylor-ward.jpg

That's more like it for Patrick Sandoval.

The popular breakout pick turned in the sort of start we expected all along Tuesday against the Guardians, striking out nine over seven two-hit innings. The performance brings his ERA to, um ... 0.00. That's right: He didn't allow an earned run in his first two starts either, but you're forgiven if you don't remember them being any measure of remarkable. Each lasted only four innings, and his swinging-strike rate between the two was a solid but less-than-studly 11.5 percent.

It wasn't the pitcher we were promised, the one whose bonkers changeup figured to make him a bat-missing extraordinaire, and apparently, some of those who drafted him became disenchanted. I was surprised to discover his roster rate is only 82 percent.

LAA L.A. Angels • #43 • Age: 25
2022 Stats
INN
15
H
9
ER
0
BB
6
K
20

I say "only," but of course, 82 percent is too high for me to feature Sandoval here in Waiver Wire. Still, roster rates for starting pitchers tend to be especially high in CBS Sports leagues, for a number of reasons, so if your league is hosted by a competitor site, it's even more likely Sandoval is available. And Tuesday's start should serve as a reminder of what we saw in him in the first place.

That bonkers changeup? It was back in full force, his most-thrown pitch at 34 percent and responsible for nine of his 15 swinging-strikes. He threw it only 19.2 percent of the time in his first two starts, which would explain the so-so whiff rates, but coming off a shortened spring training, it stands to reason it wasn't in midseason form yet. Now that he's over that hump, you can expect him to throw the changeup more.

And you can expect more starts like Tuesday's.

Let's see who else is available ...

Possible waiver wire pickups
STL St. Louis • #39 • Age: 33
Rostered
75%
Monday vs. Mets
INN
7
H
4
ER
0
BB
1
K
5
Though Monday's outing was his best so far, Miles Mikolas hasn't had a bad one in four tries, compiling a 1.21 ERA. The hot start is reminiscent of his 2018 season, his first after remaking himself in Japan, when he went 18-4 with a 2.83 ERA. Of course, most of us were pretty skeptical of that performance, given the lack of strikeouts, and he obviously hasn't come close since. He's also more of a fly-ball pitcher now and has somehow avoided serving up a home run this year. As the weather heats up, he'll be more vulnerable to the long ball, but it doesn't mean he can't be a stable innings eater and matchups play, if that's all you need.
COL Colorado • #15 • Age: 30
Rostered
64%
2022 Stats
AVG
.341
HR
2
OPS
.945
AB
44
BB
3
K
8
It was only a few days ago I was recommending Randal Grichuk even though he had yet to barrel up a single ball on the young season. He was thriving just on BABIP, which is exactly what we hoped to see with his move to Colorado, an environment that gives him a chance to hit for batting average along with his usual power. Now that the power seems to be coming around -- he has homered twice in his past three games -- what could possibly be stopping you from picking him up?
BAL Baltimore • #25 • Age: 27
Rostered
55%
2022 Stats
AVG
.241
HR
2
OBP
.433
AB
54
BB
14
K
14
I'm a little hesitant to hype Anthony Santander given how high his roster rate already is, but I can't deny being intrigued by him. He has teased us with big power before, particularly during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, but putrid plate discipline (along with injuries) has held him back. His 14 walks this year, though, are already more than halfway to last year's total of 23, which was a career high. In fact, he has walked at least once in all but four games so far. It's rare to see a player improve so much in that area mid-career, but if plate discipline is no longer a liability for him, he still has the contact skills, exit velocities and launch angles to make a real impact.
LAA L.A. Angels • #3 • Age: 28
Rostered
35%
2022 Stats
AVG
.353
HR
3
SB
1
AB
34
BB
10
K
9
My interest in Taylor Ward is even higher than in Anthony Santander, particularly now that manager Joe Maddon has moved him to the top of the lineup, ahead of Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout. It might be the most favorable lineup spot in all of baseball, and Ward responded with two home runs in his first game there Monday. For all the hysterics surrounding the Angels' decision to platoon Brandon Marsh and Jo Adell in left field, it may just be they were right to award Ward an everyday job. The 28-year-old has slashed .330/.439/.588 in 179 career games at Triple-A, after all.
LAA L.A. Angels • #25 • Age: 30
Rostered
31%
Monday vs. Guardians
INN
6
H
3
ER
0
BB
4
K
3
I wouldn't say I'm eager to pick up Michael Lorenzen yet, but three starts into his first year starting, there are enough interesting signs for me to feature him here. You may, after all, play in a points league, where his relief pitcher eligibility could come in handy. If nothing else, he's at least worth monitoring over his next few starts to see if he can optimize his pitch selection. How someone with six pitches got confined to a relief role is anybody's guess, but his usage has been all over the place in the early going, which suggests he's still formulating a method of attack. Even so, his above-average ground-ball and swinging-strike rates together show signs of promise.