Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Two saves for Juan Nicasio and two starts for Brandon Woodruff
Some closer situations are up in the right air now, but Scott White sees one clear newcomer to the role. He shares his thoughts on that development as well as the return of Tyler Glasnow.
Blake Parker looked like he had the closer gig all locked up for the Angels ... until he blew a save, got a week off and found himself setting up for Yusmeiro Petit the next time Mike Scioscia called his name.
I don't know what's going on at the back end of either of those bullpens, but I do know what's going on with the Diamondbacks'.
Fernando Rodney is still the closer despite his four-run meltdown Saturday and despite the fact that Archie Bradley, who has been the superior pitcher all season long, recorded his first save Sunday. Yup, manager Torey Lovullo cleared that one up right quick.
"We would not be where we are at without Fernando Rodney," he said prior to Sunday's game, noting afterward that he simply gave the 40-year-old Rodney a night off.
So if you need a closer in a pinch, where can you turn at this late stage of the season?
In the more than three weeks since Trevor Rosenthal went down with a season-ending elbow injury, we've waited for the Cardinals to solidify their plans for the ninth inning, assuming it would be either the left-hander Tyler Lyons or the rookie John Brebbia, and it looked like we finally had our answer when Lyons recorded a save Wednesday.
But that very same day, the Cardinals acquired Juan Nicasio from the Phillies, and while Lyons may not have been available when Nicasio recorded his first save for the Cardinals Friday, he certainly was when Nicasio notched his second Saturday, seeing as he worked the eighth inning, This late in the year, two saves in as many days is as much clarity as you can hope for.
Sad as Jimmy Nelson's season-ending shoulder injury was for his Fantasy owners (not to mention his 2018 prospects), it more or less assured Brandon Woodruff would be a two-start pitcher in Fantasy Week 24 (Sept. 11-17), with matchups against the Pirates and Marlins. Woodruff two-hit the Nationals over seven innings last time out, striking out eight. While he didn't fare well at Triple-A Colorado Springs this year (who would?), he showed his upside with a 2.68 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings in two minor-league stops last year. He's clearly worth the gamble with two starts.
Tyler Glasnow won't make his long-awaited return until Wednesday, and after the way his previous big-league stint went, you probably wouldn't want to gamble on him for just one start. But if that start goes well -- and we have good reason to think it will -- you'll be happy to enjoy the final 2-3 starts he'll make to close out the season. He ditched the windup upon his return to the minor leagues, and it helped solidify mechanics, not only improving his velocity but also drastically improving his command. Not convinced 3.1 walks per nine innings is evidence of a different Tyler Glasnow? Well, he had 1.8 in his final seven starts.
Turns out Matt Carpenter's shoulder injury won't force him off third base, so Jose Martinez gets to stick at first base for the time being. He has impressed in part-time duty all season but has fared especially well since claiming the first base job Sept. 2, batting .414 (12 for 29) with three homers and just four strikeouts in eight games. With Tommy Pham's ongoing vision issues, Martinez should have plenty of opportunity to stick in the lineup even if Jedd Gyorko makes a sooner-than-expected return from a hamstring injury, and he has great matchups this week.
Jake Junis (or Jakob Junis, as he's sometimes known) brought his major-league numbers closer to the 2.92 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings he put together in 12 starts at Triple-A Omaha earlier this year with 6 1/3 strong innings Saturday. And while he hasn't done it with a bunch of swinging strikes (the most trustworthy indicator of dominance), he has excelled in another way; his percentage of pitches inside the strike zone hypothetically ranking first in all of baseball (according to FanGraphs) if he had the innings to qualify. He's pitching like a poor man's Aaron Nola, basically.
In some ways, I've been disappointed by Mitch Haniger's production this year -- which I understand is ridiculous since part of the reason I liked him in March was because so few expected anything from him -- but even during this late-season resurgence, his poor plate discipline is cause for skepticism. He has 17 strikeouts to two walks since returning from a facial laceration Aug. 19. Still, he's a reasonable hot-hand pickup at a position where, just by virtue every format requiring multiple, there's always some need.
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