Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Time to say yes to Ivan Nova?
Ivan Nova continues his efficient work, and Jose De Leon is in line for another start. Scott White assess their Fantasy value along with hitters Yulieski Gurriel and Ryan Schimpf.
I thought maybe you hadn't read enough about Jose De Leon this year.
So I thought I'd give it another go, and I promise this time it's for a good reason.
You know how he dazzled in his long overdue debut Sunday? Well, he gets to make a followup start next week at Yankee Stadium, perhaps the first of many with Scott Kazmir suffering setback on his rehab assignment Wednesday. De Leon is the one with innings still left in the tank, after all, while so many of the young pitchers around the game, including the Dodgers' own Julio Urias, push the limits of their yearly increase. De Leon is still 22 innings behind last year's total and needs some kind of increase to equip himself for even more next year.
And before you say his debut was just a product of facing the Padres, note that he was arguably the minors' premier bat-misser the last two years, thriving in a hitter-friendly environment at Triple-A Oklahoma City this year:
And unlike so many of the minors' top bat-missers, he has already demonstrated a mastery of the strike zone, issuing zero walks while recording 42 strikeouts over 27 2/3 innings in his final four starts, majors included.
The one pitcher who may prevent De Leon from taking a regular turn is Brock Stewart, himself coming off a dynamite year at Triple-A Oklahoma City (not to mention two other stops). He isn't as highly regarded as De Leon, but numbers this good should count for something:
So far, the Dodgers have handled him with kid gloves, removing him after five innings in each of his last two starts, but he struck out eight Cubs in the first of those starts before regressing to one the next time out, when he said he didn't have his best stuff. He allowed just one run between the two.
Ultimately, you'd prefer for De Leon to take a regular turn and should already be rostering him in that hope, but it's possible both he and Stewart do. And if Stewart does instead, it's not a total loss.
The more I hype Ivan Nova, the better he seems to get, turning in a complete-game gem against the Reds Thursday in which he walked none -- par for the course since joining the Pirates. Whatever magic elixir pitching guru Ray Searage has given Nova to make him a modern-day David Wells doesn't need to be examined too hard with a two-start week coming up.
Speaking of getting better, C.J. Cron's numbers in 17 games since returning from a fractured hand (.314 BA, 5 HR, .910 OPS) are nearly as impressive as in 20 games before the injury (.351 BA, 6 HR, 1.092 OPS). He's finally tapping into the power he showed in the minors, and as rarely as he strikes out, his floor is much higher than you've probably been led to believe. He's the miracle solution you've wanted for your DH spot.
Of course, Yulieski Gurriel may not be far behind now that he's shown us he's not selling out for contact in his first go around the majors with home runs in back-to-back games. Playing time is still a concern, but even if Carlos Correa's sprained shoulder really is just a day-to-day thing, forcing Alex Bregman back to third base, the Astros don't have a clear enough answer at first base to suppress a hot-hitting Gurriel.
With another home run Wednesday, Ryan Schimpf's .367 ISO (slugging percentage with singles removed) is now the highest for any hitter since Barry Bonds in 2004. He has 18 home runs, 15 doubles, 12 singles and five triples on the year, so the extent of his power potential really shouldn't be in question. And since he's no one-trick pony, also drawing his share of walks, he should be Fantasy owners' preferred option to Devon Travis and Jonathan Schoop by now.
After peaking at 70 percent last week, Hernan Perez's ownership percentage has dropped slightly with a 3-for-28 slump, but he has bounced back with two four-hit games in his last three and is still the ninth-best hitter in points leagues since he began playing every day July 19. And as scarce as stolen bases are, his Rotisserie value goes without saying.
Jharel Cotton put himself on the map by beginning his career with 6 1/3 two-hit innings against the Angels, but it was with Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Yunel Escobar out of the lineup. He had a good strikeout-to-walk ratio in the minors, but his inconsistencies otherwise makes him an awfully big gamble in standard mixed leagues regardless of the number of starts he's making.
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