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The Wire Troll: JJ Bleday Bringing It for Oakland

May 25, 2024 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
JJ BLeday is developing for the Oakland Athletics.
JJ Bleday keeps getting better. (NBC Sports)

Welcome back to another week of Fantasy baseball. May is nearly done, but you still have plenty of time to make your move. The wire is your friend.

This week, Texas lost yet another starter (Jon Gray) to the IL; Esteury Ruiz‘s tough season continued with a trip to the IL; and and Braxton Garrett turned things around in a big way, so hopefully you drafted him in DFS action.

So while you wonder whether the Dodgers still deserve to be the World Series favourite (currently +280 as per FanDuel) despite spinning their wheels lately, let’s get to this week’s…

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Picks

JJ Bleday, OF, Oakland Athletics (ESPN: 4.8 per cent; CBS: 22 per cent): Last year, Bleday graduated from our Top 100 Prospects, and he’s slowly but surely been coming into his own. He’s already off to a decent start this season, doing a better job of getting on base and showing a flair for the dramatic (see video below) while riding a seven-game hit streak — including homers in three straight — but now he’s been gifted with extra job security thanks to Ruiz (wrist) heading to the IL. Bleday’s fielding hasn’t been as good this season, but there remains upside in his bat. Coming out of college, he was considered to be an advanced hitter, so perhaps he’s just a late bloomer; recall that just six years ago, Bleday was considered the top prospect in the Cape Cod League.

Lucas Sims, RP, Cincinnati Reds (ESPN: 0.2 per cent; CBS: 2 per cent): Emilio Pagan has landed on the IL, so Sims’ hold on a higher-leverage role is even tighter, and the Reds will lean on him. This is a deep NL-only league special as Sims — while currently on a seven-game scoreless streak — has regressed overall this season with a meh record, a substandard ERA and a so-so ratio. A 2012 first round pick, Sims quickly flamed out as a starter, but last season was among the top set-up men in the game, so he could provide value in holds leagues.

Logan Allen, SP, Cleveland Guardians (ESPN: 11 per cent; CBS: 39 per cent): Allen headlined our wire picks just under a year ago, and it was a mixed pick as he pitched very well upon his recall in August before fading down the stretch. Despite a goodly amount of wins, he hasn’t done as well in his sophomore effort, but is sure turning it on now with back-to-back six scoreless inning outings before posting another decent start on Friday. Capable of dominating when he’s on, Allen is beginning to show why he was Cleveland’s top ranked left-handed pitching prospect last year.

Lars Nootbaar, OF, St. Louis Cardinals (ESPN: 18.8 per cent; CBS: 51 per cent): Heading into 2023, we considered Nootbaar to be a top 50 outfielder, and he more or less lived up to our billing even if he didn’t exactly break out. And while he’s hitting with more power this year, he’s mostly regressed. The good news is that Nootbaar is heating up, recording an OPS of 814 in May despite hitting a snag this week. He was recently shifted back into the two-hole, which increase his value further. Latch on to Lars while you can.

David Fry, C/1B, Cleveland Guardians (ESPN: 16 per cent; CBS: 37 per cent): We weren’t overly bullish when Fry took over first base for the Guardians in early August, and sure enough he was horrible that month and only slightly less bad down the stretch. However, thanks to some ridiculously good work against lefties, he’s been racking up the hits (and the runs, with eight in the last six games) this year. Fry can’t stop hitting this month (.415 BA) and he already has a career high in runs and RBI with an OPS+ of 225. Toss in catcher qualification and you need to seriously consider adding Milwaukee’s 2018 seventh round pick.

Michael Lorenzen, SP, Texas Rangers (ESPN: 7.4 per cent; CBS: 35 per cent): Lorenzen headlined our picks in mid-June, and for a while things worked out as he was brilliant in July, but he was meh in August and then lousy down the stretch. As good as he looked for Detroit, he was awful after getting dealt to Philly. This season, he’s split the difference for Texas and was already looking like a solid add (hurling at least six frames in six straight starts), but now has even more job security with Gray hitting the IL. Lorenzen’s record is nothing to squeal about, but we won’t complain about a 3.61 ERA.

Mike Baumann, RP, Seattle Mariners (ESPN: 0.1 per cent; CBS: unowned): Baumann has improved each season, but apparently not enough for the O’s, who DFAed him then peddled him to Seattle, where he has a better chance to carve out a somewhat meaningful role. He’s probably only a very deep AL-only league asset (if that), but it’s worth noting that his changeup has never looked better — he currently ranks second in the majors in terms of spin rate on this offering.

RotoRob Tune of the Day

Before becoming a full-time musician in 1963, David Bowie studied art, music and design. In 1997, he released Earthling in the City, a six-track promotional CD that was distributed in GQ magazine. The lead track was “Little Wonder,” which was recorded live in New York City on January 9, 1997.

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