Kevin Gausman’s bottom line numbers mask some major improvements. (NBC Sports)
Welcome back to another week of Fantasy baseball. We’re now into late-August and nearly at the season’s halfway point (for the non-Covid-striken teams, that is), so keep working that wire.
This week, Stephen Stasburg‘s season is suddenly in doubt because of carpal tunnel syndrome in his pitching hand; the Mets are the latest NL team to be afflicted with Covid-19, causing a postponement of this weekend’s scheduled Subway series; and Cleveland Manager Terry Francona remains away from the team after a medical procedure.
And now, let’s get to this week’s Fantasy baseball waiver wire recommendations…
Kevin Gausman, SP/RP, San Francisco Giants (ESPN: 29 per cent; CBS: 43 per cent): We were bullish on Gausman as a multi-inning reliever, recommending him just over a year ago. Unfortunately, it wasn’t our best call as he was ripped in August (6.14 ERA), but somewhat vindicated us by finishing strong (3.65 ERA in September). Signed by the Giants this winter, Gausman has found himself as a full-time rotation member again, and despite his less-than-stellar bottom line numbers, he’s actually pitching better than ever. After flaming out with the Braves and then being used in relief in Cincy, his command has been phenomenal this year and he’s whiffing batters at a way higher rate than ever before, thanks to a split-change that just dives off the table (see video below). Is it possible that the fourth overall pick from 2012 — who has certainly shown flashes before — has finally come of age? It’s worth grabbing Gausman to find out.
Clarke Schmidt, SP/RP, New York Yankees (ESPN: 2.3 per cent; CBS: 15 per cent): The injury-prone Yanks have been nailed again with James Paxton headed to the IL, but it could mean Schmidt will finally get his shot in the Yankee rotation. Schmidt looked really impressive in Spring Training, so it may be time to see what the 24-year-old righty can do in the Show. The Yankees’ first round pick in 2017 (16th overall) has a tremendous slider, helping him move up last year to Double-A, where he went undefeated and averaged a strikeout per frame in a late-season look. Schmidt is a better dynasty option, but could provide a surprise boost in redraft leagues should he be promoted, which seems likely at some point this season.
Brendan Rodgers, 2B, Colorado Rockies (ESPN: 5.4 per cent; CBS: 21 per cent): There have been plenty of prospects recalled this week, Rodgers among them. PT may be an issue for him at first, but he did manage a two-run single in his season debut Thursday before taking an 0-for-5 with two Ks Friday. Rodgers struggled to hit with any power in his first taste of the bigs last year, but if he can take over second base on a regular basis, he’ll be an asset playing in the hitter’s paradise that is Coors Field. He slipped to No. 53 in our Top Prospect Rankings this year after an injury-filled 2019 and poor MLB debut, but he still has an excellent hit tool (.350 BA in limited time at Triple-A last year), although doesn’t offer much speed for a middle infielder.
Tyler Wade, 2B/SS, New York Yankees (ESPN: 0.4 per cent; CBS: 1 per cent): It’s been over three years since we last touted Wade, but he’ll get another shot to be Fantasy relevant now that Gleyber Torres (hamstring) is on the IL (joining fellow middle infielder DJ LeMahieu). On Thursday, Wade paid immediate dividends with a double and a run. He hit better last year, but so far this season has mostly been used as a late-inning defensive replacement with precious few at-bats. Once upon a time, Wade seemed to destined to be a Fantasy relevant super sub, and while he’s hardly washed up at age 25, his chances are dwindling, so this is a great opportunity for him to add value in deeper AL-only leagues while he tries to cement his status as a big leaguer.
- On Friday, Marlin shortstop Miguel Rojas returned from Covid in style, spanking a three-run jack in his first at-bat since coming off the IL, where he’s resided since July 26. A Fantasy non-factor pretty much his entire career, the 31-year-old came out blazing this season, and seems to have picked up where he left off, with five runs, eight RBI, a pair of homers and a steal through his first four games of 2020.
- Atlanta Manager Brian Snitker has said there’s “a good chance” that SP Ian Anderson — No. 79 on our 2020 Top Prospects Rankings, will make his MLB debut at some point this season. Given the injury issues in the Braves’ rotation, the team’s top pitching prospect and first round pick in 2016 could be pressed into action before Atlanta would prefer. Anderson’s best offering is his changeup, but a 1.39 K/BB ratio at Triple-A last year suggests his command remains a work in progress.
- Evan Longoria‘s time in San Francisco has not exactly been all wine and roses. In his first season with the Giants, a broken hand limited him to 125 games, and while his extra-base power rebounded ever so slightly, it wasn’t a good debut. Last year, he remained slightly healthier and hit a bit better, and he’s built on that this season as his current BA is actually at its highest level since 2016. On Friday, Longoria reached a milestone with his 300th career long bomb — the most homers by any third baseman since 2008 when he debuted. If he can manage to stick around long enough to accumulate another 10 to 12 WAR, he’d have a solid Hall of Fame case.
RotoRob Tune of the Day
American Hip Hop group Arrested Development got its start in 1988, and after a four-year break, is still at it today. In 1992, the band released its debut album, 3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days in the Life of… From this effort comes “U,” a tune that samples Ramsey Lewis‘ take on “Mighty Quinn.”
Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below who your favourite Fantasy baseball waiver wire pick of the week is.