The Wire Troll: Brian Johnson Back in BoSox Rotation
Welcome back to another week of Fantasy baseball. We’re into mid-April now, so there’s no need to panic if you’re off to a sluggish start. There are plenty of goodies on the wire to help you make a move.
This week, Derek Jeter opted to skip the trip to New York for his team’s series against the Yanks, saying it would be “awkward” for him to go; Nolan Arenado and Luis Perdomo have each earned five-game suspensions for their role in Wednesday’s brawl; and Dinelson Lamet needs Tommy John surgery (see more below), thereby ending his season.
And now, let’s get to this week’s Fantasy baseball waiver wire picks…
Brian Johnson, SP/RP Boston Red Sox (ESPN: 1.2 per cent; CBS: 8 per cent): Johnson began the season in the BoSox rotation and did nothing to lose his spot (hurling six innings of one-run ball for the win in his only start). However, the return of a couple of other starters pushed the lefty to the pen, where he had one rough outing but has rebounded with two sparkling multi-inning games on back-to-back days. Now, with David Price getting pushed back a day for precautionary reasons, Johnson will slot back into the rotation for a spot start on Monday against the Orioles. Johnson looks like a sneaky DFS play, although his innings may be capped. Given an opportunity, he could top out as a decent fourth starter with solid command. With a 2.70 ERA through 10 innings of work so far, Johnson bears watching. Speaking of watching, check out his impressive work with the bat in the video below.
Forrest Whitley, SP, Houston Astros (ESPN: NA; CBS: 22 per cent): Yes, Whitley will serve a 50-game drug suspension to begin his minor league season. But if you don’t think he’s a good stash for the second half, you haven’t been paying attention. He’s the fifth high school pitcher to reach Double-A in his first full professional season over the last 20 years. The others? Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Dylan Bundy and Chad Billingsley. Expect Whitley to return to Double-A when the suspension is up, but he won’t last there long. He will be a factor in Houston after the break.
Dillon Tate, SP, New York Yankees (ESPN: 0.1 per cent; CBS: 4 per cent): Another forward looking recommendation, Tate could easily play a role for the Yanks in the second half. The righty was dominant in his season debut at Double-A, striking out nearly a batter per frame while doing a splendid job of inducing groundballs. Tate may find himself outgrowing this level fairly quickly now that he’s back to his pre-draft form that made him the fourth overall pick in 2015.
Raimel Tapia, OF, Colorado Rockies (ESPN: 0.6 per cent; CBS: 6 per cent): We recommended Tapia in early July, and it was a decent short-term pick as he scored a few runs in July before his extra-base pop went AWOL in August. He finished strong, but didn’t have enough PT in September to be a factor. Back at Triple-A this season, Tapia looks like he’s going to force his way back to the bigs very soon, averaging over a run per game and flashing much improved power numbers. Yes, he had a stinker on Friday (0-for-5, three strikeouts), but this kid’s power-speed-average potential is through the roof. If you have room to stash him, do so.
Francisco Cervelli, C, Pittsburgh Pirates (ESPN: 18.5 per cent; CBS: 43 per cent): Obviously, this veteran backstop will need plenty of rest — especially given his propensity to get hurt in recent years. However, Cervelli can still hit, as evidenced by six base knocks in his last three games, including a pair of dingers and seven RBI. Yes, we all know he’s injury prone, but when he’s raking like this, you’ve got to grab him and take advantage while you can.
Tyson Ross, SP, San Diego Padres (ESPN: 3.1 per cent; CBS: 15 per cent): Ross hurled his finest game of the season on Friday, giving up just one unearned run over six innings for the win. With news that Lamet is done for the season, Ross’ rotation spot just got a hell of a lot safer, and now that Ross is back to the site of his finest seasons, his ERA has responded. With a 3.50 mark through three starts, Ross is at his best since 2013-15 with the Padres, when he rattled off marks of 3.17, 2.81 and 3.26 while pitching almost exclusively as a starter.
- St. Louis 3B Jedd Gyorko (hamstring) will start a rehab assignment shortly. Depending on how things shake out, he may qualify at second and shortstop as well, providing some great roster flexibility and a solid bat to your Fantasy squad.
- For the second time in three starts, new Cub “ace” Yu Darvish was kicked around pretty convincingly on Friday. He gave up a season-high nine hits and four walks while surrendering a dinger for the third straight outing. Don’t worry, Cubs’ fans, you only have him for six years.
- Francisco Liriano has looked pretty sharp so far for Detroit with a 0.95 WHIP in his first two starts. Just be careful using him against the Yankees on Sunday, assuming they can play the game, which is just another reason to skip this outing for our purposes.
- So, $14 million closer Greg Holland is now with the Cards, but when the first save opportunity since his arrival transpired on Friday, who came in? Bud Norris. Um, okay. Good thing we invested in Luke Gregerson, right? Colour us confused about the Cardinal closer situation. The job will be Holland’s in time, but right now, toss a dart at the board when it comes to figuring out who will toe the rubber in the ninth.
Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below who your favourite Fantasy baseball waiver wire pick of the week is.