Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Shohei Ohtani is back (as a hitter), while Avisail Garcia continues to rake
The two-way player is down to a one-player for the time being, but Scott White says Shohei Ohtani may be all the more valuable in some leagues. He looks at the top waiver wire pickups.
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That tingle you felt on the back of your neck at about 10 ET Tuesday night, there was a reason for it.
Shohei Ohtani was back on a major-league diamond, and all was right in the world again.
OK, so maybe not all. He's only back to hitting, and that may be all he's doing for the foreseeable future. His damaged elbow ligament doesn't impact that side of things, and the Angels think rehabilitation, not surgery, is the proper course to get him back on the mound.
Still, the rehabilitation could be a lengthy one. An examination a couple weeks from now, in fact, should determine if he'll be able to return to the mound at all this year.
Frankly, I'm not sure what to root for.
As exciting as a two-way player is, rostering one presented some challenges in Fantasy. To do both, Ohtani had to do each less, and since most Fantasy providers forced owners to choose between one contribution or the other, it made him less valuable than he seemed like he should be.
But the truth is he was everything he was advertised to be, a revelation in both roles. Yeah, he went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts Tuesday after a month of collecting rust, but he came off the DL batting .289 with six homers and a .907 OPS in 114 at-bats while flashing elite exit velocity.
This transition, albeit temporary, to full-time DH is especially notable in Yahoo leagues, where Ohtani is divided into two distinct players, the pitcher version and the hitter version. The hitter version is only 41 percent owned, which obviously needs to change.
But even in CBS leagues, which offer one dual-eligible Ohtani that you have to designate either a pitcher or a hitter at the start of each scoring period, there's reason to think his value might improve moving forward. The presumption was that you'd pretty much always commit to using him as a pitcher since the at-bats would never be regular enough for him to compete with the full-time hitters. But now, maybe they will be.
Of course, it's possible whatever work he's doing with his elbow on the side will prevent from batting every single day. If the Angels have a schedule in mind, they haven't shared it. But the upside is enough that I think you have to hold on to Ohtani and see where this goes.
The headliner ofWaiver Wire column was at it again Tuesday night, homering twice more. He also drew his first walk of the season, which is the bugaboo for him, but if he's genuinely the high-BABIP guy he showed himself to be last year, these last couple weeks may be more of a turnaround than a hot streak.
Andrew Heaney followed up maybe his worst start of the season (against the Red Sox, so ...) with one of his best, striking out 10 with 19 swinging strikes. It was his fifth start of seven innings or more, which means the Angels aren't taking it easy on him in his first year back from Tommy John surgery. The results could be more consistent, but the highs are high enough that he's probably must-own.
Zack Wheeler has gotten more out of his secondary stuff over the past six weeks or so, allowing his high-90s fastball to play up, and the result is a 3.32 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 8.4 strikeouts per nine innings over his past nine starts. He's decidedly mixed-league material again, but only 62 percent owned.
You think it's safe to declare Hector Rondon the Astros closer yet? He has handled six of the team's past seven saves, converting one of the four-out variety Tuesday, and has numbers that will certainly suffice in the role. Not to mention a history of closing from his time with the Cubs. The pace has been slow of late, but as good as the Astros are, he could pile up saves in the weeks ahead.
Home runs aren't in the highest demand these days, but Mark Trumbo is just a year removed from hitting 47 of them. He was a celebrated slugger in his Angels days, too, and saw a big spike in fly balls — the kind necessary to get him back to that level — in June. And you can see where it's taken him in his past 24 games.
Max Stassi took a pitch off the hand Tuesday and is day-to-day with a bruise — an inauspicious start to his stint as the Astros primary catcher. But with Brian McCann sidelined 4-6 weeks following knee surgery, Stassi still has plenty of time to challenge the top 12 at the weakest position in Fantasy, which seems plausible given his part-time work.
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