Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Ryan McMahon's loud return, Julio Urias' last hurrah highlight winners and losers
Ryan McMahon reminded everyone why he shouldn't have been on the waiver wire in the first place while Julio Urias may have to stay there. Scott White looks at the winners and losers.
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That's the Ryan McMahon we thought we were getting.
Back from the IL Thursday, the 24-year-old quickly made amends for a lackluster seven-game stretch at the start of the year that ended with a sprained elbow, going 3 for 5 with two homers and five RBI.
And I'll bet those who dropped him are feeling pretty silly today.
It was a cruel trick, the timing of the injury. Seven games wasn't enough time to make a determination on the biggest riser of spring training, and yet new players were emerging on the waiver wire and roster space was limited. Dropping him may have seemed like an easy call for some.
But of course, there's a reason why he was the biggest riser of spring training. He hit .424 (25 for 49) with three homers, nine doubles and a 1.232 OPS, having adjusted his swing to turn around big-league fastballs and look more like the guy who hit .355 with a .986 OPS in the minors two years ago than ... whatever we saw last year.
On Thursday, he showed just what kind of impact he can have, particularly as someone playing half his games at Coors Field. The upside could eventually make him must-start even in the shallowest of leagues — particularly once he picks up second base eligibility — so he's worth a flier anywhere you can get him.
He's available in about 40 percent of CBS leagues, 75 percent of Yahoo leagues, 90 percent of ESPN leagues and 0 percent of my leagues.
Four players to add from Thursday
- Luke Weaver, SP, ARI (49%) — A popular breakout pick a year ago, Weaver continues to showcase some of that forgotten potential, following a nine-strikeout effort with eight strikeouts to no walks in 6 1/3 innings Thursday. He recorded 16 swinging strikes, seven on his changeup.
- Christian Walker, 1B, ARI (46%) — After a mid-April skid, Walker seems to have caught his second wind, homering for the third time in four games. He has struck out three times in three of his past five games, so he's not without his risks. But the minor-league numbers suggest the power production is for real, and the playing time is assured for now.
- Mike Soroka, SP, ATL (42%) — Making his return to the majors after a lengthy bout with shoulder issues, the 21-year-old flashed an impressive four-pitch arsenal, striking out six in five one-run innings to give himself a chance of sticking with the club even after Mike Foltynewicz returns from injury. It's a battle between him and Touki Toussaint, basically.
- Homer Bailey, SP, KC (8%) — Though more of a deep-league flier given his past failures, Bailey may be onto something by making more extensive use of his splitter. He followed seven two-hit innings against the Indians last time out with six three-hit innings against the Yankees, striking out 12 between the two starts.
Winners and Losers
- Domingo German, SP, NYY — The 26-year-old furthered his breakout case with an overpowering outing against the Royals in which he struck out nine on 19 swinging strikes. Featuring three swing-and-miss offerings, he has allowed a total of nine hits while recording 23 strikeouts in 19 innings.
- Kyle Freeland, SP, COL — Freeland rebounded from a couple rocky outings with six two-hit innings in a home start against the Phillies. He has done a slightly better job of missing bats so far this year, so despite the suspicious ratios last year, he's worth waiting out for now.
- Zach Eflin, SP, PHI — Eflin also rebounded from a bad outing despite pitching at Coors Field, allowing two earned runs in six innings. With three good starts in four, he gets the benefit of the doubt for now, but his velocity is down from last year. Only two strikeouts in this one, too.
- Omar Narvaez, C, SEA — Narvaez is looking like a major find who anyone who went the cheap route at catcher on Draft Day, not only getting consistent playing time but continuing to make the most of it. He reached base five times Thursday and is currently on a 29-homer, 81-RBI pace.
- Julio Urias, SP, LAD — How could he be a loser after a dominant outing in which he allowed one hit and struck out nine in six innings? Because he's headed back to the bullpen with Hyun-Jin Ryu due back from the IL and Rich Hill soon to follow. It's an innings preservation thing, so there's not much hope of Urias leapfrogging anyone in the pecking order, which also a includes a soon-to-be-displaced Ross Stripling.
- Michael Pineda, SP, MIN — Pineda's velocity is down a couple miles per hour in his first year back from Tommy John surgery, and though he got away with it in his first three starts, he got a rude awakening Thursday, allowing six earned runs and two home runs to a miserable Blue Jays lineup.
- Jay Bruce, 1B/OF, SEA — Bruce was out of the lineup for the second time in five games, a recent slump making him the obvious choice to cede at-bats to Daniel Vogelbach, who reached base five times Thursday. Bruce may need to turn things around quickly to avoid being displaced altogether.
- Jeremy Jeffress, RP, MIL — His second appearance back from the IL confirmed what the first one showed: Jeffress isn't throwing as hard, by like 4-5 mph. It explains why the results were so bad on his rehab assignment, and while he may still gain it back, it's unlikely he assumes the closer role without it.
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