The Wire Troll: Jake Woodford Jacks Value For Cards
Jake Woodford could be a useful asset down the stretch. (Viva El Birdos)
Welcome back to another week of Fantasy baseball. We’re now in the season’s final stretch and your playoffs have likely begun. This is your last chance to pick up something useful from the wire!
This week, the Jays laid a beat down on the Yankees, massively tightening up the AL Wild Card race; former big league Mike Montgomery lost his shit while pitching in the KBO; and MLB has adamantly shot down Hunter Renfroe‘s allegations that the Red Sox were instructed by the league to stop doing Covid-19 testing during its current outbreak.
And now, let’s get to this week’s…
Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Picks
Jake Woodford, RP/SP, St. Louis Cardinals (ESPN: 1 per cent; CBS: 1 per cent): A relative unknown, Woodford shifted into the injury-ravaged Cardinal rotation in mid-July and had a solid first start before struggling the rest of the month and getting farmed out. However, he’s looked like a different pitcher since being recalled last week. Woodford tossed 5 1/3 shutout innings at a very good Brewers’ squad and followed that up on Thursday with four sharp frames against the Dodgers (including three punchouts, as you can see in the video below), giving him a 0.96 ERA in September. That’s some impressive opposition to look good against, so consider giving him a chance down the stretch. Woodford has managed to reduce his medium-hit contact while raising his soft-hit contact, so he’s clearly made strides since his debut last season. It’s been a slow rise up the system for the 24-year-old righty, but remember that this dude was a first round supplemental pick (39th overall) back in 2015.
Lucas Luetge, RP, New York Yankees (ESPN: 0.5 per cent; CBS: 1 per cent): The Yanks suffered another bullpen loss when Jonathan Loaisiga (rotator cuff) landed on the IL. Considering how effective he’s been this year, this leaves a substantial hole in the bullpen, giving Luetge an opportunity for more responsibility for the rest of the season. Luetge has been around for some time, but has never really been a Fantasy factor — especially considering that before this season, he hadn’t pitched in the bigs since 2015. So no, he’s obviously not exactly a future Hall of Famer, but he’s been really strong this season, taking a workhorse role and proving tough to hit. Luetge has managed to lower his exit velocity since he last pitched in the majors and has put up a career-best line drive rate. He could prove useful in AL-only leagues this month.
- Back in late-May, Noah Syndergaard (elbow) was shut down, and he still hasn’t made it back. But he’s holding out hopes that he’ll return before the end of the season, and now that he’s out of quarantine after contracting Covid-19 (yet another complication on his road back from Tommy John surgery), he’s ready to ramp up. Syndergaard was scheduled to throw another bullpen on Friday, but he’s running out of time to make an appearance with the Mets.
- Hunter Dozier was a Wire Troll All-Star in 2019, but he tumbled last year and has been even worse this season. However, on Thursday he snapped a slump with a two-run homer, a double and two runs. Dozier has been hitting a bit better so far in September, but he’s going to need a big finish to avoid being relegated to a utility role next season.
- To give you a sense of just how long Albert Pujols has been around, Saturday marks the 13th anniversary of the day that he became just the third player ever to reach 100 RBI in each of his first eight seasons. Think about that for a moment. Pujols hit his first homer as a Dodger in May, and has added 11 more since, including dingers in back-to-back games earlier this week. Phat Albert is making the most of his limited PT in L.A., putting up his highest OPS in six years.
- Travis d’Arnaud has struggled to get on base this season and hasn’t been anywhere near as effective as he was in 2020 for the Braves. That’s why it was somewhat surprising to see Atlanta ink him to a two-year extension last month, especially considering top catching prospects Shea Langeliers and William Contreras are knocking on the door. d’Arnaud has done a bit better lately, drawing walks in three of his last four games, so midway through September he’s enjoying his best OPS month of the season. But there’s no way around it — it’s been a tough season for him and he’ll turn 33 just around when Spring Training starts next year.
- Baltimore starter John Means seems to finally be rounding into form. He got off to a great start, but slowed down a tad before hurting his shoulder in early June. Means returned in late-July and mostly struggled for a month, but has given up just two earned in each of his last three starts, so could be headed for a nice finish. He hasn’t piled up as many wins this season as his owners would like, but he does pitch for the sad-sack Orioles, so no surprise there. Still, Means is on pace for the lowest ERA of his career, so there has been some progress made here.
RotoRob Tune of the Day
American soul singer Billy Garner is best known for his 1974 hit, “You’re Wasting My Time.” It’s Detroit funk at its best.