The Wire Troll: Tyler Soderstrom Time
Tyler Soderstrom is now a big leaguer. (Jeffrey Hyde)
Welcome back to another week of Fantasy baseball. The All-Star break is done, so it’s time to get deadly serious about your championship pursuits and that means tapping that waiver wire.
This week, Yordan Alvarez (oblique) began a rehab assignment; Matt Bush is back in the Texas organization; and the Phils continue to excel (15-6) when their pitchers keep the ball in the yard.
And now, let’s get to this week’s…
Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Picks
Tyler Soderstrom, 1B, Oakland Athletics (ESPN: 3.2 per cent; CBS: 25 per cent): Soderstrom, who checked in at No. 40 in our Top 100 Prospects list this spring, was recalled and made his MLB debut on Friday, drawing a walk. Oakland had a very forgettable first half, so is clearly hoping that promoting some prospects will provide a spark, and the 21-year-old (who may qualify at catcher in some leagues) is certainly capable of providing that with his power. How about 20 homers through 69 games at Triple-A for Soderstrom (including some no-doubters; see video below)? He’s piled up the runs and extra-base knocks while showing slightly better plate discipline than what he exhibited in his first taste of Triple-A last season. Soderstrom projects to offer elite raw and game power in time, but isn’t much of a runner. Given the exit velocities he’s been delivering for a couple of years, there’s very little doubt his bat is ready for the bigs, so grab him now.
Matt Manning, SP, Detroit Tigers (ESPN: 2.7 per cent; CBS: 29 per cent): Just last season, Manning was given some consideration as a Wire Troll All-Star, but he got off to a lousy start this year and then busted his foot. Since returning a couple of weeks ago, he’s looked solid in two of three starts, including throwing the first 6 2/3 frames of a combined no-hitter in his last outing. Manning has proved harder and harder to hit as the season has progressed, and while we’d like to see him get back to the control he showed last year, this may be your final chance to jump on a potential second-half steal.
Johan Rojas, OF, Philadelphia Phillies (ESPN: 0.1 per cent; CBS: 2 per cent): With both Josh Harrison and Cristian Pache out, the Phils have summoned Rojas to make his MLB debut. Rojas has built his status as one of the team’s top prospects with his glove and his wheels, but as a righty, he’s likely ticketed for the weak side of a platoon in CF, so we’re not expecting much yet. Still, he’s shown emerging extra-base pop, strong on-base skills and — as advertising — tremendous base stealing prowess at Double-A this year, so he bears watching at the very least.
Steven Matz, SP/RP, St. Louis Cardinals (ESPN: 1.4 per cent; CBS: 14 per cent): It’s been over five years since we last checked in on Matz, who was enjoying a nice run at the time. Well, things fell apart for him the next month before he improved down the stretch in 2018. Matz slipped for a couple of years, bottoming out in 2020 before bouncing back with one of his best efforts in 2021. Last year, however, came more regression, and this year — while recording better bottom line numbers — he’s bounced back and forth between the rotation and bullpen. However, with Adam Wainwright out for a while and Jordan Montgomery now hurting (and perhaps a trade candidate), Matz’s job security looks stronger for the second half, especially after enjoying his finest start of the year last time out. He’s doing a much better job of keeping the ball in the park this season, so could be a second-half sleeper.
Ryan Pepiot, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers (ESPN: 0.6 per cent; CBS: 13 per cent): Pepiot has yet to pitch this year thanks to an oblique injury, but started a rehab assignment at Triple-A on Friday, so could factor into the team’s decimated rotation within a couple of weeks. In his first look in the bigs last year, he was effective (sub-3.50 ERA), although there was definitely some good fortune involved (5.31 xFIP). Still, Pepiot’s average exit velocity was just 89 mph, which would have ranked him in the top 30 had he qualified, so it’s not as if he was getting pounded.
Cristopher Sanchez, SP, Philadelphia Phillies (ESPN: 3.4 per cent; CBS: 24 per cent): Sanchez has taken a massive step forward this year, but is he as good as his numbers suggest? Over his last three starts, he’s been very strong (other than some long ball issues), making him worth a long look in mixed leagues. Frankly, we thought Sanchez would spend a fair bit of time in the bullpen this year, but so far has been used exclusively as a starter, so you might as well roll with him while he’s enjoying success, even if it may not be sustainable long-term.
RotoRob Tune of the Day
Italian-French singer Dalida was active from 1956 until her death in 1987. In 2001, a 10-CD box was released, entitled Les Annees Barclay, L’Integrale – Versions Originales 1956 -1970, and Volume 8 of this set focused on the years 1966-67, including the track “Les Gens Sont Fous (People Like You).”