Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Sean Manaea makes promising return to A's rotation; could Jesus Luzardo be next?
Gavin Lux may be on his way, but Sept. 1 also reintroduced us to old friends like Sean Manaea and Nate Lowe. Scott White highlights some players to target.
Before you turn your attention to anyone else, you need to make sure he's already accounted for. He's been the most buzzed-about prospect of the second half, and it sounds like the Dodgers are rolling out the red carpet for him. You can , of course, but as September call-ups go, it won't get any bigger than him.
There could be a couple nearly as big, though, that we're still awaiting. Jesus Luzardo, who we've been awaiting since he strained his rotator cuff in spring training, struck out 10 over six one-run innings in his most recent rehab start Friday, showing that he's ready to take on a full workload again and that he remains as awesome as ever.
The Athletics haven't added him to the 40-man roster yet, so it's possible they're satisfied enough with their rotation as-is and wouldn't want to make service time an issue for their best prospect. I don't think it would be an exaggeration to say Luzardo would be their best pitcher right away, though, and they're still competing for a playoff spot. As impossible as competent starting pitching has been to find off the waiver wire this year, you have to stash him away just in case.
Kyle Tucker seems like more of an inevitability for the Astros given that he's already on the 40-man roster, and with the division more or less in hand already, it'd make sense for them to try him in the outfield down the stretch. Josh Reddick has been a virtual zero for them this year in terms of WAR and has been particularly dismal in the second half. Tucker has now been a Triple-A superstar two years in a row, even putting up a 30/30 line this year.
As pickups go, though, those two are obviously still speculative. Here are some who can help you today:
Gavin Lux 2B
LAD L.A. Dodgers • #48 • Age: 21
Yes, I addressed the Gavin Lux call-up forward and backward in a separate space, but for those of you who can't be troubled with a separate click, I'll give the CliffsNotes version here. You see his numbers for the season? They were even better in his 49 games at Triple-A, where he hit .392 (78 for 199) with 13 home runs and a 1.197 OPS. He has an advanced approach, takes a direct path to the ball and impacts it with considerable force to all fields. It's beautiful to watch, and with the Max Muncy injury opening the door to everyday duty, Lux could be the closest we get to a Bo Bichette-like impact from a September call-up.
Sean Manaea SP
OAK Oakland • #55 • Age: 27
Part of the reason Jesus Luzardo's path is unclear is because Sean Manaea's return went so well Sunday that now the Athletics have to figure out how to make room for him. The left-hander, who spent basically a full calendar year recovering from a torn labrum in shoulder, showed pretty good velocity early, contrary to some of the reports we had heard from the minors, and though he tired as he approached the five-inning mark, his final average velocity was within half a mile per hour of a year ago. Most importantly, the results were good (especially given the opponent), and the same was true during his final four rehab starts in an impossible Triple-A environment (during which he compiled a 1.90 ERA and 0.68 WHIP with 13.7 K/9).
Mark Canha CF
OAK Oakland • #20 • Age: 30
It still boggles the mind how Mark Canha is so widely available given his production since entering the lineup for good on July 7. He has started every game but one during that time, entering Sunday batting .315 with 11 homers and a .991 OPS. Maybe he's not actually that good — the batting average in particular seems high — but if you're scouring the waiver wire with a need to meet, I don't see how you can expect to do much better, especially given the Athletics' matchups against the Angels and Tigers rotations this week.
C.J. Cron 1B
MIN Minnesota • Age: 29
C.J. Cron is already pretty well established as a power hitter, having hit 30 homers last year, but he hadn't given Fantasy owners a reason to come back since missing most of July with a nagging thumb injury. With four homers in his past seven games, though, the power stroke finally seems to be back in form, and he has the right matchups to take the most of it against pitchers like Jordan Zimmermann, Rick Porcello, Nathan Eovaldi and Adam Plutko this week.
BAL Baltimore • #25 • Age: 24
Just when it looked like Anthony Santander was devolving back into the unappetizing player he was at Triple-A early this year, he cranks it up with a six-game stretch during which he has gone 13 for 25 with four homers and three doubles. Maybe the 24-year-old, having already spent time in the majors as a former Rule 5 pick, was just bored at Triple-A, because his batted ball profile suggests he has only slightly overperformed so far. He's a solid hitter with decent contact skills and moderate power and deserves more recognition, if only in five-outfielder leagues.
Nate Lowe 1B
TB Tampa Bay • #35 • Age: 24
Whether they know it or not, Nate Lowe is the best of the Rays' many first base options, and the fact they started him in his return to the big club Sunday suggests they at least have an inkling. Going 2 for 3 with a home run and walk hopefully bolsters his chances of playing enough to matter in deeper leagues, like 15-team Rotisserie. He has upside beyond that, showing the ability to hit for average and power, but given that the Rays were willing to send him back down when he was seemingly putting it all together in July, batting .313 (20 for 64) with five homers and a 1.022 OPS for the month, we can only assume they're less than fully committed.
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