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The Wire Troll: Jordan Wicks Wows in Debut

September 2, 2023 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
Jordan Wicks has been very impressive for the Chicago Cubs.
Jordan Wicks made a great first impression. (AP Photo/Matt Freed)

Welcome back to another week of Fantasy baseball. The season may be growing very old, but this week we’ve got one pitcher and one hitter to help you, plus some nuggets of Fantasy baseball wisdom.

This week, we sure hope you had Braxton Garrett active on Thursday; Baltimore’s AL East lead is getting smaller, but the team remains +1200 faves to win the World Series according to FanDuel sportsbook; and the Angels’ free fall resulted in a boatload of players getting waived.

And now, let’s get to this week’s…

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Picks

Jordan Wicks, SP, Chicago Cubs (ESPN: 5.7 per cent; CBS: 44 per cent): Wicks was very impressive in his MLB debut last weekend, fanning nine over five frames while allowing just two hits and one earned run and then had another solid start on Friday (see video below). The Cubs’ first rounder in 2021 possesses an elite changeup with solid offerings in both his fastball and slider as well. Wicks is likely to be on a short leash down the stretch considering he’s already set a career high in innings pitched and is an important piece of the team’s future. Consider this: between Double-A, Triple-A and the majors, he’s now made 22 starts this season and has yet to lose.

Davis Schneider, 2B, Toronto Blue Jays (ESPN: 11.8 per cent; CBS: 30 per cent): The ease at which Schneider has hit MLB pitching in his first tour of duty has been so impressive that he’s forced his way into an everyday role over the last week (with help from a Matt Chapman injury). Before only managing a single and two walks on Wednesday and simply a double and walk on Friday, all Schneider had done is gone yard in four of the previous five games. Averaging an RBI per game so far, he’s a hitting machine that needs to be owned in all formats.

Quick Hits

  • On pedigree alone, Washington pitching prospect Cole Henry has the chance to be a very good starter in the bigs, and as recently as last year we thought that might happen soon. But injuries keep derailing his progress, so despite his prodigious strikeout potential, he remains sidelined, even though he was expected to return from his latest malady late last month.
  • Yankee fans haven’t had much to cheer about this year, but watching Anthony Volpe become just the 15th rookie with 20 homers and 20 steals is a definite highlight. No. 6 in our Top 100 Prospects entering the season, he took an 0-fer Friday, but has previously put up at least one hit and a run in three straight to cap his finest month of the year (889 OPS). There’s a ton of room for growth here, but the baseline Volpe has set in terms of power and speed is a very Fantasy friendly profile.
  • As if Houston isn’t hot enough — having recently passed Texas in the AL West — now it’s got Michael Brantley back, who had missed over 14 months in the wake of shoulder surgery. Playing in his second game on Wednesday, he had a single, double, run and two RBI before flying out in a pinch-hit appearance on Friday. Brantley has regressed offensively since 2020, but can still provide some value.
  • Things have really gone downhill for Arizona pitcher Tyler Gilbert since his fine rookie season in 2021. Last year, his WHIP soared, and it’s gotten even worse this year despite the fact he’s (a) pitched exclusively out of the bullpen; and (b) has the second highest splitter spin rate in the game. Unfortunately, Gilbert has gotten disastrous results with the pitch this year (somewhat driven by bad luck), but he’s also barely used it, so it doesn’t completely explain his lack of success. At any rate, he was farmed out a couple of weeks ago after getting shelled in the first half of August, so who knows if we’ll ever see him back in the Show (although he remains on the 40-man roster, so there is hope).
  • In five starts since being demoted to Triple-A, Miami starter Edward Cabrera has managed to rein in the walks, especially when you remove one wild outing in which he issued five free passes. He looked very inconsistent during his time in the bigs after a 2022 half-season in which he seemed to establish himself as a hurler capable of winning a lot of games in the majors. Do not give up on Cabrera just yet.
  • Alex Lange‘s transition from setup man to closer this season hasn’t been seamless. On Thursday, he was handed a three-run lead and blew the save, his fourth in 23 tries (note that he did successfully earn the save the next day). Although it was the home run ball that undid Lange in this one, he’s actually gotten better at keeping the ball in the yard every season. No, it’s his command and specifically his wildness (over seven walks per nine) that is undermining his chances of becoming a dependable ninth-inning man. Despite not issuing a free pass on Thursday, Lange walked 13 batters in 10 innings in August. You don’t need us to tell you that won’t cut it.
  • Carlos Rodon was rocked in his first two outings last month, then missed time with yet another injury, but has looked much better since his return. He gave up just one run over six innings vs. Washington, then punched out a season-high seven on Sunday against Tampa Bay. On Friday, he had another promising start, this time against a red-hot Astros’ lineup. Still, the rust from all the health woes has really showed in Rodon’s first season in Pinstripes.

RotoRob Tune of the Day

From Volume 6 of the superb jazz-funk compilation series SoulShaker comes “I Dream of Bahia,” by Ray Lugo’s L.E.S. Express, featuring Elani.

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