Waiver Watch: Pitchers For Week 1
James Paxton: The flame thrower from Seattle started out of the gates fast. The big thing with Paxton is you’ll get a nice bump in strikeouts and strikeouts are as hard as homers to find and there’s nothing like picking up a nice supply week 1 of the Fantasy Baseball season. Jump on while you can and look at my Mariners’ article for the reasons why I love this team.
Scott Kazmir: Fantasy Baseball owners were not believing that Kazmir could do it again. The funny thing is people drafted Ubaldo Jimenez even though he signed with the Orioles to pitch in a hitter’s park in a nightmare of a division, but wouldn’t touch Kazmir in Oakland. I wasn’t going to overpay for Kazmir in drafts, but I did take him pretty late where I could and picked him up off the waiver wire where he went undrafted because he was just too good to be sitting there. He’s available in a lot of 12 team leagues and that just shouldn’t be the case. Go grab him and hope he holds up physically.
Jenrry Mejia: Mejia can pitch. He’s a lot like Johnny Cueto and looks like a lesser version of Pedro Martinez. Think…Pedro towards the end of his career. He’ll throw a hook in any count and spot a fastball that only runs 90MPH, but looks 97 after his off speed pitches. He would have been a lot of analysts favorite sleeper if he had won the 5th starter job for the Mets earlier in Spring Training. Don’t expect big K numbers, but he’ll help your ERA and WHIP.
Erasmo Ramirez: The Eraser is a personal favorite of mine, but not because I think he’s going to be a top 30 starter or anything. It’s just the way he pitches. He spots his fastball and puts a little on and takes a little off all while having a very good change up. I think his ceiling is Kuroda-esque.
Jake Odorizzi: I have no doubt that Odorizzi is going to have a big impact on many fantasy teams this season. I think he has the ability to pitch well enough to have the Rays think twice about giving Hellickson back his rotation spot and he could keep his spot if David Price is moved before the trade deadline. Odorizzi is one of these young starters that actually found a change up that works early in his career. If he can continue to hone that change up he can help you win your league.
Nate Eovaldi: Eovaldi is an underrated commodity in fantasy baseball right now. The Marlins are an up and coming team (that is currently playing above their talent level on offense) that should help Eovaldi continue to build on his skills. He is an injury concern and is known as a one-pitch pitcher, but he has tried to work in a league average change up that just might make his hard sinker look even harder.
Before I start, I know that many of you have had these guys picked up already in your leagues. These lists are mainly for Fantasy Baseball GM’s that do weekly waivers or Faab.
Sergio Santos: Santos is one fill-in closer that I would actually target. There is no guarantee that Casey Janssen will make it back quickly and even if he does, Santos may have already nailed down the closer’s role. Of the injury fill-ins he’s my top guy.
Jose Valverde: I was lucky enough to watch a lot of the Mets’ spring training (wait did I just say I was lucky to watch that?, Oh never mind.) and it was clearly visible that there was something wrong with Bobby Parnell. His velocity was way down and he had no command. Luckily for the Mets they had given Valverde a shot to make the team and now it looks like he may be the closer for the rest of the year. (I know that Parnell may try to rehab, but I have my doubts that it will work.) The Mets have some decent starters (Gee, Wheeler, and Mejia) and not much offense so there should be some opportunity for Valverde to get some saves.
Francisco Rodriguez: K-Rod is back in the closer’s spotlight thanks to Jim Henderson being out of sorts. The Brewers strongly hinted that the job will be Henderson’s if and when he gets his stuff together. Personally I would stay away if I could, but if your league weighs saves heavily then you could do worse than K-Rod.
Josh Fields: Bo Porter, Houston Astros Manager, is going with the company line that his relievers just get outs when called upon. I think Fields will get the bulk of the early opportunities and if he pitches the way he did the other night when he nailed down his first save against the Yankees, he may just shift the company stance.
Matt Lindstrom/Nate Jones: An injury to Jones slowed hi this spring and it gave Matt Lindstrom the chance to win the White Sox closer’s job out of Spring Training. Both have struggled so far, but I think it will eventually be Jones that wins the job. For now I would stay away unless I had unlimited DL spots and then I would take a chance on Jones since he’s currently on the DL for a Glute problem.
Jonathan Broxton: Broxton looks to be the closer in Cincinnati until Aroldis Chapman is fully recovered. Broxton should be coming off the DL some time next week and Hoover has pitched himself out of the temporary closer situation. The Reds have a very good rotation that could lead to a bunch of opportunities for Broxton in the short term.
***Check Back Tomorrow For Position Players***