Wednesday should have been Nate Pearson day.
The most hyped rookie from the exhibition season made his major-league debut and had the sort of performance that, on a normal day, would have made him the talk of Fantasy Baseball, limiting the Nationals to two hits in five scoreless innings.
But he happened to debut on a day of jaw-dropping performances throughout the league, including an even better one from another pitcher making his first major-league start, Cristian Javier of the Astros.
We discussed the hot pitching options and much more on the Fantasy Baseball Today podcast. Follow all our podcasts and subscribe here.
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The most notable pitching performance of all, though, come from what might be the latest breakthrough for an organization with a reputation of maximizing pitching talent. I'm talking about Zach Plesac of the Indians.
Zach Plesac SP
CLE Cleveland • #34 • Age: 26
Plesac was no big-time bat-misser in 21 starts as a rookie last year, so you wonder how much the opponent may have contributed to his 20 swinging strikes. But he had both the slider and changeup working in this one and, it's worth noting, had a 1.70 ERA, 0.80 WHIP and 9.2 K/9 in 10 minor-league starts last year. When a guy puts together a performance like this one in his season debut, you take a shot on it and sort out the legitimacy later.
Nate Pearson RP
TOR Toronto • #24 • Age: 25
He didn't even have his best fastball in this one, averaging 96 and peaking at 98, but again, you won't find any fault in this debut, which saw him record 14 swinging strikes on just 75 pitches. He's here to stay and is too talented to pass up.
HOU Houston • #53 • Age: 24
He's an unconventional prospect who doesn't throw especially hard and doesn't have a particularly impressive set of secondary pitches. But he hides the ball and changes speeds so well that he finished with maybe the best line of any minor-league pitcher last year, delivering a 1.74 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 13.5 K/9 and .130 BAA. Maybe it collapses with regular exposure, but so far, so good.
SF San Francisco • #5 • Age: 31
Yastrzemski appears to have the everyday role he didn't have last year, starting every game so far, and came through with two big home runs Wednesday to move his OPS past the .852 mark he delivered in 2019. It was .915 in the second half, by the way, and actually better against lefties (.943) and righties (.826) for the year, which suggests he could be better than ever now that he's playing every day.
Wil Myers RF
SD San Diego • #5 • Age: 30
We have a pretty good idea who Myers is by now, and it's not somebody who's going to move the needle in a shallower points league. But his hot start has bought him some job security, particularly if he keeps getting on base, and his power/speed combo make a difference in 5x5 leagues. Last time he was an everyday player in 2017, he had 30 homers and 20 steals.
Nick Goody RP
NYY N.Y. Yankees • #64 • Age: 30
Goody worked an easy ninth inning to secure his first save after closer Jose Leclerc felt a twinge in his shoulder while warming up for the contest. Maybe the Rangers will go the committee route if Leclerc misses time, giving hard-throwing Jonathan Hernandez some looks, but Goody could be serviceable if he assumes the role. He has a 3.53 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 11.3 K/9 over the past three years.