The Wire Troll: Nick Pivetta May Get Another Rotation Shot
Nick Pivetta is a candidate to start again. (The Canadian Press)
Welcome back to another week of Fantasy baseball analysis. June has arrived, it’s freaking hot as hell, and you need to cool off your competition by dominating the waiver wire. Get to it!
This week, Max Scherzer expressed frustrations over the pitch clock situation (we’re curious what Odds by FanDuel would have pegged this at); we’ve been remiss in mentioning that Dustin May‘s going to be out for a while; and Chris Sale is hurt… again (see below for the Fantasy opportunity may present).
And now, let’s get to this week’s…
Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Picks
Nick Pivetta, SP, Boston Red Sox (ESPN: 5.6 per cent; CBS: 13 per cent): No one has ever questioned Pivetta’s strikeout potential, but it was fair to ask — as we did nearly four years ago — whether his future was better served in the rotation or as a multi-inning relief pitcher. About a year later, he was dealt to Boston, where he has mostly started — with mixed results. This year, Pivetta had more issues than usual starting, prompting a shift last month to the bullpen (see video below), where he’s been significantly more effective (508 OPS vs. 885 as a starter). But with Sale getting hurt again and landing on the IL with shoulder inflammation, Pivetta seems like the most obvious choice to slot back into the rotation. Thanks to his advanced numbers, Pivetta has always been one of those pitchers that looks better on paper than on the mound, and this year is no exception with an xFIP over a run lower than his ERA. He has a great pitcher’s frame, but it’s the difficulty he’s had developing an even remotely useful changeup that’s held him back, and without a true go-to pitch we worry about his usefulness as a starter, but he’s still worth a flier depending on how long Sale will be sidelined.
Adbert Alzolay, RP, Chicago Cubs (ESPN: 1.5 per cent; CBS: 9 per cent): A couple of years ago when he was starting, we liked Alzolay as a stash option. And while he was converted into a reliever after that season, he’s enjoyed continuously improving results since. Now, with Brad Boxberger (forearm) out and the Cubs’ closer gig seemingly an open competition, could Alzolay emerge as a real option for saves? We think so, even if his record is poor and he’s been a bit more hittable this season. Mark Leiter Jr. (who looked very sharp in bagging the save on Friday) is definitely also in the mix, but we just love how Alzolay has kept sharpening his control, so believe at the very least he could be a great non-closing option.
Nolan Jones, OF/1B, Colorado Rockies (ESPN: 1.4 per cent; CBS: 23 per cent): Just under a year ago, Jones headlined our waiver wire picks based on the on-base skills he was flashing. He enjoyed a solid month before fading in August, getting demoted and then ultimately dealt to the Rox in mid-November. Recently recalled from Triple-A, Jones has been getting a chance to play with both C.J. Cron and Kris Bryant hurting, and he’s been hitting very well. Jones has hit safely in six straight games that he’s started, and has been productive enough to be worth a look in some mixed leagues. He was easily a top 150 outfielder heading into the season, and will soon also qualify at 1B (if he hasn’t already depending on your format).
- It’s been way too long since we discussed Michael Wacha around these parts, but let’s give him some kudos given that he’s proving last year’s renaissance was the real deal as evidenced by nabbing NL Pitcher of the Month honours for May. Okay, so he endured some control issues on Friday, but he’s already won five of his 11 starts and had managed to whittle his WHIP for the third straight season before this outing. There might have been some luck involved last year, but Wacha’s results this year seem more sustainable based on his advanced numbers.
- Speaking of pitchers on a nice roll, Kevin Gausman sure has put that ugly May 4th start behind him, huh? Since then, he’s given up two earned runs twice, one once and none twice. Gausman is on pace to top 200 innings for the first time in his career, and he could flirt with 300 strikeouts the way things are going.
- Ozzie Albies has been inconsistent at best lately, so it was nice to see him come through with a huge two-run jack on Thursday to put the Braves ahead en route to a win over hapless Oakland. His walk rate keeps dipping (although he did draw a free pass on Friday), hurting his value in OBP leagues, but the good news is he’s been healthy and generally more productive than he was last year.
- Considering he’s averaged 118.5 runs over the last two seasons, it’s hard to imagine Freddie Freeman being a bigger asset in this regard, but before getting shut out on Friday, he had scored multiple runs in back-to-back games and at least one in four straight for an MLB-leading 49 on the season. Holy crap, he could score 140 runs this year.
- Seattle has another promising outfield prospect on the way in 21-year-old Jonatan Clase. He’s cooled off a bit lately, but after putting up video game like numbers at High-A, he was bumped up to Double-A a few weeks ago. Clase is still adjusting to the new level, but remains productive and, all told, is averaging a run per game this season with eye-popping speed and impressive power.
RotoRob Tune of the Day
James Brown was called the “Hardest Working Man in Show Business” for a reason. Here’s another track from his soundtrack to Black Caeser, featuring The J.B.s with “Sportin’ Life.”