The Wire Troll: Desperately Seeking Saves
Zach Jackson is the A’s closer… by default. (Robert Edwards-USA Today Sports)
Welcome back to another week of Fantasy baseball. May has arrived, and while it’s still too early to panic, it’s never too early to add reinforcements from the waiver wire. Do it!
This week, Justin Steele keeps on rolling; Matt Harvey has hung ’em up (what do you think Odds by FanDuel would have suggested about him managing just 50 career wins?); and Astro starter Luis Garcia needs Tommy John surgery, ending his 2023 season and a good chunk of next year as well.
And now, let’s get to this week’s…
Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Picks
Zach Jackson, RP, Las Vegas Oakland Athletics (ESPN: 0.6 per cent; CBS: 5 per cent): Among possible closing options in Oakland, Trevor May (anxiety) has paused his rehab assignment, while Jeurys Familia and Domingo Acevedo have pitched their way out of jobs and have been designated for assignment. That leaves Jackson as pretty much the last logical ninth inning man left standing (assuming the woeful A’s ever get another save opportunity). While he served up a game-tying homer on Wednesday, he bounced back Friday to wrap up a win in a non-save situation and has worked out of some major jams (see video below) while actually showing some improvements this year after enjoying a strong rookie effort in 2022. Jackson’s been a real workhorse so far and has been used in higher leverage situations compared to last season, and while he’s allowing too many baserunners, it hasn’t hurt his bottom line numbers yet. A third round pick by Toronto in 2016, Jackson’s biggest issue throughout his career has been walks, so that’ll be something he needs to overcome to become a successful closer. But if you’re hard up for saves in an AL-only league, give him a look.
Gavin Williams, SP, Cleveland Guardians (ESPN: 0.7 per cent; CBS: NA): The pitching factory that is the Cleveland Guardians has another great arm on the way in the form of Williams, No. 55 on our Top 100 Prospects for 2023. He proved unhittable (.120 BAA with 20 Ks in 14 1/3 IP) at Double-A, so was bumped up to Triple-A about a week and a half ago, and while he’s been a bit wild so far, he remains unhittable and is now undefeated through five starts combined. Williams looks like a great stash candidate who can help you in the second half.
Matt Mervis, 1B, Chicago Cubs (ESPN: 7.5 per cent; CBS: NA): One prospect who has already arrived is Mervis, recalled Thursday to take over first base with Eric Hosmer being meh and Trey Mancini not looking much better for the Cubs. Realistically, Mervis should have been called up a while ago considering the power display he had been putting on at Triple-A (.560 slugging after bashing 36 dingers in the minors in 2022). He wasted no time making an impact, delivering an RBI single in his MLB debut on Friday, and honesty, since this kid tied for the home run lead in the AFL last autumn, this moment was inevitable.
Garrett Hampson, OF/SS, Miami Marlins (ESPN: 0.2 per cent; CBS: 3 per cent): Once promising prospect Hampson failed to really gain any traction in Colorado, but really hit rock bottom last year when he was highly unproductive, and got Covid to boot. The Rox non-tendered him and he had to take a minor league deal with the Fish. So far this season, he’s hitting better (with hits in four of his last five games) and is currently seeing extra PT in the outfield with Avisail Garcia (back) hurt, so give Hampson a look in deeper NL-only formats as he could provide a bit of value on a short-term basis until Garcia and Joey Wendle return.
Michael Toglia, OF, Colorado Rockies (ESPN: 0.1 per cent; CBS: NA): From former Rockie to future Rockie with Toglia, who ranked 140th in our Top Outfielder Rankings this spring and someone we considered a sleeper. Colorado is notoriously horrible about blocking and/or ruining its prospects, so bear that in mind, but this former UCLA stud is off to a great start at Triple-A (.271 BA, 915 OPS with a current 11-game hit streak) and has a ton of power, so consider stashing him. Toglia made his MLB debut last year and seemed a bit overmatched, but as a switch-hitting version of Joey Gallo who will play half his games at Coors, he’s extremely intriguing.
Michael King, RP, New York Yankees (ESPN: 8.8 per cent; CBS: 41 per cent): How much longer do the Yankees keep Clay Holmes as their closer? King, meanwhile, just keeps getting better every season. He was killing it as a set-up man last year before missing the second half with an elbow woe, but seems none the worse this season, again posting a microscopic WHIP. A 12th round pick in 2016 by Miami, King looks like a closer-in-waiting, so scoop him up in all formats.
RotoRob Tune of the Day
Formed in 2006, Australian band Deep Street Soul is proof positive that funk is alive and well outside of North America. On its 2009 eponymous album, the band (featuring Tia Hunter) covered the MC5 classic “Kick Out the Jams.”