The Wire Troll: Austin Slater Paying Early Dividends
Austin Slater is finally delivering for the Giants. (Darren Yamashita-USA Today Sports)
Welcome back to another week of Fantasy baseball. We’re nearing the end of July now, and with it, probably your trade deadline. Soon, the wire will be your only chance to make improvements.
This week, the Astros are the latest team to bitch about the schedule; Yankee Manager Aaron Boone‘s rant earned him an early shower; and Christian Yelich and Cody Bellinger continue to put up video game numbers in their quest for home run supremacy.
And now, let’s get to this week’s Fantasy baseball waiver wire picks…
Austin Slater, SF, 1B/OF (ESPN: 2.3 per cent; CBS: 4 per cent): Slater gained consideration as a Wire Troll All-Star last year, but this season he failed to make the team out of camp. After a very productive half season at Triple-A, he was recently recalled and has been doing a splendid job of getting on base. It’s early days, but Slater is racking up the counting cats (helped along by a grand salami a couple of weeks ago — see video below). His groundball rate is way down, while his line drives and fly balls are up big time, and so far, it’s a formula for success. Up to this point in his career, Slater has looked very much like a replacement level player, but right now he’s opening eyes with his bat and his rifle arm.
Sixto Sanchez, SP, Miami Marlins (ESPN: 0.9 per cent; CBS: 16 per cent): This righty, that reminds some of the great Pedro Martinez, threw another solid game Friday. Sanchez has now pitched at least six innings five times over his last six starts, and he’s starting to rack up the wins at Double-A. A splendid dynasty option, he’s starting to look like a potential keeper league asset as he gets closer to the bigs. Sanchez’s line drive rate is a tad worrisome, but he’s sharpened his control this season and looks like he’ll soon be challenging for a rotation spot with the Fish.
- So, we guess Bryce Harper is incapable of swinging the balance of power in the NL East given that the Phillies are now two games back of the Nationals. He’s heating up with three multi-hit games over the last four, driving in seven over the last three, but he’s hardly been a beast. Harper’s ISO has dipped in each of the last two seasons.
- Oh man, did Chris Sale ever need a start like that on Thursday. After giving up five earned runs in each of his last three outings (a career first), he shut the Jays out for six innings and combined with his bullpen on a two-hitter while fanning 12. Sale’s been healthy this year, but you wouldn’t know it based on his performance.
- Lorenzo Cain continues to dazzle defensively, and he’s picked up his offensive play a tad, batting .290 over the last week and on Thursday getting his second swipe in five games. He’s stayed moderately healthy this year, but other than a slight rebound in his extra-base sock, it’s been a very disappointing season.
- Hyun-Jin Ryu has looked a bit more human lately, but continues to be one of the key reasons the Dodgers are having such a great season. He’s lowered his homer rate for a third straight season and is now among the toughest pitchers in the game to take yard.
- Thomas Pannone‘s season has gone from bad to worse after getting shelled by the BoSox in each of his last two appearances. He’s seeing more action this season, but the results are horrible after he showed promise as a rookie. Pannone’s job in on this ice at this stage; perhaps the Jays should give Triple-A swingman Taylor Saucedo a look.
- A day after going off for two jacks and five RBI, Eduardo Escobar was robbed of another homer by Lorenzo Cain on Thursday. Escobar has stayed healthy the last couple of years, while really taking a nice step forward offensively. His ISO has gone through the roof with the D-Backs.
- OFer Brady Shoemaker, a 19th pick of the White Sox in 2009 who flamed out at Triple-A in 2016, has done well for himself in Indy ball. For a third straight year, he’s tearing it up for the Saint Paul Saints, batting .341 through 56 games with some nice power numbers. Shoemaker is probably too old to get another crack at organized ball, but it’s a nice story.
- Luke Voit went yard on Thursday for the first time since June 14. He also drew a walk and has now hit safely in four of the last five games as he looks to shake off the rust after a recent IL stint. Not surprisingly, he’s been unable to match last year’s pace, but he’s set career highs in all counting cats.
- Charlie Tilson, mired in an 0-for-13 slump, has been optioned back to Triple-A by the Pale Hose. He’s shown a modicum more extra-base sock this year in the majors, and was piling up the runs at Triple-A earlier this year, but he’s looking a bit like an organizational player, not worthy of our attention.
- Domingo German served up dingers to the first two batters he faced Thursday before settling down to earn yet another win. After a shaky stint from late May to early June, followed by an IL stint, he’s looked really sharp lately. Over his last three starts (18 IP), German has given up 12 hits and three earned runs (all on solo homers), walking two while fanning 18 and winning all three. He’s now reached a career high in starts as part of a breakout season.
RotoRob Tune of the Day
Here’s another track from Milwaukee’s own Violent Femmes off its compilation disc, Add it Up (1981-1993). This track, “I Hate the TV,” was previously unreleased.
Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below who your favourite Fantasy baseball pickup of the week is.