Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Pedro Strop injury paves way for a familiar face
The Cubs are down a closer, but the replacement could be even better, according to Scott White. Meanwhile, Mallex Smith and Michael Conforto continue to make a name for themselves.
But he found himself in an unfamiliar spot Thursday: picking up a bat and striding to the batter's box. It was there — or more accurately, on his way to first base — that he strained hamstring, an injury that could sideline him for a couple weeks.
So where do the Cubs turn next? Bat-misser extraordinaire Carl Edwards? Former Marlins closer Steve Cishek? What about Justin Wilson, who did a bang-up job closing for the Tigers before the midseason trade that brought him to Chicago last season?
It could be any one of them, really, but it won't be for long. What Strop's injury actually did was clear up some confusion, paving way for what could be the best solution of all.
Going right back where they started.
Brandon Morrow, who was of course a dominant closer for 3 1/2 months before going down with biceps inflammation, has looked good in recent bullpen sessions and hopes to be back by the end of next week, according to MLB.com. So chances are it'll be only a week when the Cubs are relying on a committee to close games. With Strop out of the way, Morrow should reclaim the ninth-inning role in short order. Of course, he might get only one week to deliver in it before the season ends, but the bottom line is you're wasting your time investing in the others.
When Mallex Smith was hospitalized at the end of August, ultimately landing on the DL, there was some concern it would slow the momentum that had earned him the leadoff spot in the Rays batting order and at least put him on the radar in Fantasy. But no, he has stolen six bases in nine games since returning, making him the 20th-best outfielder in points leagues (arguably his lesser format) since the All-Star break, even with the time he missed.
But, uh ... Michael Conforto is the No. 10 outfielder during that same stretch. He's also less available than Smith and in fact on the verge of crossing the 80 percent ownership threshold that would render him ineligible for this list, and it's well deserved. He had a big day in a doubleheader Thursday, continuing the trend of second-half ISO correction that makes perfect sense given that he was making his way back from shoulder surgery in the first half. The BABIP is due for more correction, too.
Turns out Ramon Laureano is more than just a big arm. The numbers above are from the point when he became the Athletics' primary center fielder and look an awful lot like what he did at Triple-A, hitting .297 with 14 homers and a .905 OPS in 64 games.
Aaron Sanchez isn't my favorite two-start sleeper for Week 26 (Sept. 17-23) — there's another place you can find that information — but just to diversify, I'd like to point out after his two strong outings against unfavorable opponents that he'll face the Orioles next time out, kicking off a two-start week. Not a bad time to make a play for the one-time Fantasy standout who has been beset by injuries over the past couple years.
Though it hadn't translated to big Fantasy production until this week, David Dahl is doing many of the same things that attracted so much attention during his abbreviated rookie season in 2016. His strikeout and walk rates are virtually identical. His line-drive rate and ISO are actually higher. So isn't still trying to rediscover his form after a long injury layoff — he's found it. He has to play more regularly to matter outside of five-outfielder leagues, but Thursday three-hit day out of the leadoff spot could help with that.
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