The Wire Troll: Brad Ziegler Back to Closing
We’re getting down to the nitty gritty of the season when the contenders separate themselves from the contenders, so it’s time to focus.
Now let’s get to this week’s Fantasy baseball waiver wire picks.
Brad Ziegler, RP, Arizona Diamondbacks (ESPN: 16.7 per cent; CBS: 21 per cent): Addison Reed has been removed as the closer in Arizona for the time being, opening the door for Ziegler, who bagged his first save since June on Thursday (see video below). Ziegler has tossed six straight scoreless outings to trim his ERA to a very tidy 0.90, and he’s been nearly unhittable with even better control than usual so far this season. He’s saved 34 games in his career, so is not a neophyte in this role; scoop him up if you need help in this department.
Didi Gregorius, SS, New York Yankees (ESPN: 3 per cent; CBS: 7 per cent): Sure, the Yankees could deal for Troy Tulowitzki and render Gregorius as bench fodder, but for now Gregorius is starting to show that he has some offensive capability to go along with his superb defensive skills. After struggling for the first few weeks, Gregorius is thawing, delivering five hits in the last three games, and homering on both Friday and Saturday for his first two blasts of the season. It would be nice to see him score more runs, but if he keeps getting on base more often, that will come.
Mike Bolsinger, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers (ESPN: 36.4 per cent; CBS: 32 per cent): With both Brandon McCarthy and Hyun-Jin Ryu out for the season with injuries, the Dodgers have tried several options to fill out the rotation, but seem to have really found something in minor league veteran Bolsinger, a 15th round pick by Arizona in 2010. Bolsinger finally made his MLB debut last year for the D-Backs and it didn’t go well (5.50 ERA through 10 games, nine of them starts). But this year, his dominant performance at Triple-A (undefeated through four starts with a 0.95 WHIP) has translated to the bigs. Through four starts with the Dodgers, Bolsinger has yet to lose and owns a stellar 0.71 ERA.
Joey Gallo, 3B, Texas Rangers (ESPN: 3.2 per cent; CBS: 28 per cent): We liked this power prodigy enough to include him among our Top 50 third basemen last month. His performance at Double-A has certainly vindicated our position as he’s batting a robust .330 with tremendous pop (.670 slugging), so if he’s not owned in your league and you have the time and room to stash him, we suggest you take action. The fact that he started playing some outfield last week is even more reason to be bullish that Gallo’s time is coming soon.
Tanner Roark, SP/RP, Washington Nationals (ESPN: 7.6 per cent; CBS: 28 per cent): Roark went 15-10 with a 2.85 ERA in 31 starts last year. His reward? A trip to the bullpen after the Nats signed Max Scherzer. Roark has pitched solidly in a relief role, but gets to make his first start of the season on Monday. It’s unclear how stretched out he is, but he’s proven he’s a very capable MLB starter, so feel free to pounce.
Shawn Tolleson, RP, Texas Rangers (ESPN: 19.1 per cent; CBS: 25 per cent): Neftali Feliz has been removed from the closer role in Texas, and Tolleson has emerged as the best bet in the interim. Tolleson is undefeated this year and has yet to blow a save in the couple of chances he’s had. He quietly had a breakout year last season and if he keeps racking up saves, he’ll build on that showing this year.
Carson Smith, RP, Seattle Mariners (ESPN: 4.1 per cent; 7 per cent): Smith has shown superb control leading to a microscopic WHIP and ERA and while he keeps racking up the holds with spotless eighth inning showings, closer Fernando Rodney looks like he’s unraveling more often than not in his outings. If you want to jump in pre-emptively on another potential closer switch situation, this is definitely one to monitor.
Others to Consider
A.J. Ellis, C, Los Angeles Dodgers (ESPN: 0.3 per cent; CBS: 1 per cent): Yasmani Grandal is on the 7-day concussion DL, giving Ellis and his wonky knees a chance to play more. Maybe Ellis will rediscover his extra-base pop.
Luis Severino, SP, New York Yankees (ESPN: 0.9 per cent; CBS: 12 per cent): Here’s another keeper league option, but judging by his latest start at Double-A (five hitless IP, no walks, five Ks), Severino isn’t far from the majors. The big concern here is whether he has the size and stamina to remain a starter.
Mark Buehrle, SP, Toronto Blue Jays (ESPN: 15.5 per cent; CBS: 30 per cent): For some reason, light-hitting Seattle IF Willie Bloomquist murders Buehrle, but after an ugly patch at the end of April/beginning of May, the veteran southpaw seems to be back to his usual innings-eating self, recording a 3.42 ERA over his last four starts.
Randal Grichuk, OF, St. Louis Cardinals (ESPN: 2.7 per cent; CBS: 5 per cent): Grichuk’s power potential (.550 slugging) remains intriguing any time he gets regular PT, which he is currently with Jason Heyward (hip) hurting.
Brian Bogusevic, OF, Philadelphia Phillies (ESPN: unowned; CBS: unowned): The Phils are the lowest scoring team in the majors and a few years ago we suggested that Bogusevic could be of use. He’s drawing walks, stealing bases and hitting for average at Triple-A, so remains a name to keep in the back of your mind should Philly need OF help at some point.
Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below who your favourite Fantasy baseball waiver wire pick of the week is.
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