Is Adam Wainwright back?

When the season began, I picked Wainwright up off of waivers before the 1st period began. I was hopeful that he would be the pitcher he was back in 2014 and the beginning of 2015 before he got hurt. Unfortunately, he got off to a rough start, compiling a 5.35 ERA over his first 7 starts. I dropped him after about 3 starts, figuring he wasn’t going to have a good year. However, there are signs that he might be back.

It’s easy to have forgotten about him, but if you look at his recent numbers, they’re elite. In his last 3 games, he’s 3-0 with a 0.44 ERA (1 run in 20 1/3 innings). The most impressive part is that he shut down the red hot Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. That’s an extreme feat even for elite pitchers. There’s certainly no guarantee that this isn’t a fluke, but with the dearth of starting pitching quality this year, you should pick him up as soon as you get the chance (he’s only owned in 76% of CBS fantasy leagues). He is now 5-3 with a 4.20 ERA on the season, so he’s a quality fantasy option – and a must-start pitcher when he has 2 starts.



Notable Pitching Performances in Period 8

The pitching has been surprisingly good this week so far – let’s take at the top 10 starting pitching performances this week (Monday-Wednesday).

  1. Ervin Santana – Santana had a stellar outing on Tuesday when he twirled a complete game shutout with only 2 hits against the Orioles. Santana has never been a star pitcher, but he has been so far. He has 8 quality starts in 10 games, and he has never pitched less than 6 innings.
  2. Jon Lester – Lester hasn’t been unhittable this year, but he was on Tuesday when he threw a complete game in which he allowed 1 run on 4 hits to go with 10 K’s. After giving up 3 runs in each of his previous 2 outings and only 4 quality starts on the season, he bounced back with a fantastic 5th quality start. He now sports a 3.19 ERA and looks like he’s bound for another great year.
  3. Clayton Kershaw – Kershaw pitched a complete game and allowed 1 run, yet he got a no decision against Lance Lynn and the Cardinals. He was unbelievable as always, striking out 10 and giving up 3 hits. Clayton is right on track for another Cy Young type of Year.
  4. Zack Greinke – Greinke is having a phenomenal bounce back year which continued on Monday when he went 8 2/3 and gave up 1 run on 4 hits while whiffing 12 batters. He seems to be settled in as a Diamondback and has 7 quality starts this year with a 2.82 ERA.
  5. Luis Severino – Severino had a tough year last year after going 3-8 with a 5.83 ERA, but he’s been awesome for the Yankees in 2017. He tossed 8 scoreless innings in the win, lowering his season ERA to 3.11.
  6. Sonny Gray – Who would have thought? Another guy who’s bouncing back from a rough 2016 campaign, Sonny Gray is off to a sparkling start after beginning the season on the DL. He pitched 7 innings, struck out 11, and gave up a single run in the win. His season ERA is now at 3.34 with 28 K’s in 29 innings. He has 2 starts for period 9, so if he’s still on waivers (owned in 89% of CBS fantasy leagues), pick him up ASAP.
  7. Mike Leake – Maybe the biggest surprise of all, Leake is having a GREAT season so far. He’s always been an average pitcher until this year in which his ERA is a dazzling 1.91. He is 9 for 9 in quality starts and went 8 innings allowing a single run  yesterday. He only has 42 K’s in 61 1/3 innings, but it doesn’t matter the way he’s pitching.
  8. Joe Ross – Ross has been hurt a lot this year, but he was stellar on Tuesday: he went 8 innings and gave up 1 run in the win for the Nationals. It was his first good start of the season, so keep an eye on him.
  9. Lance Lynn – I picked Lynn up for 2 starts a few weeks ago, and if I could go back in time, I’d go back and stop myself from dropping him. He has a 2.53 ERA – that’s someone I could really use right now. On Tuesday he was great against Kershaw, going 8 innings, racking up 10 K’s, and allowed just 1 earned run.
  10. Kyle Hendricks – After a rough start to the season, someone in my league dropped him. I was surprised, but I didn’t pick him up because I had so many players on the DL and no free roster spots (and I’m kicking myself for that now). He had another great game, going 7 innings and allowing 2 runs in the victory. He now has an impressive 3.25 ERA and looks like the pitcher we saw last year.

Unexpected fantastic performances

Joe Ross should probably be included here, but he was too good to leave out of my top 10.

  1. Jeff Hoffman – I’ve never heard of him if I’m being honest, but he went 7 innings and allowed 1 run for the Rockies.
  2. Tyler Chatwood – Chatwood has had some great games this year, including yesterday when he pitched 7 scoreless innings and got a win. He now has a 4.50 ERA on the season.


Other noteworthy performances:

Tanner Roark (7 innings, 1 run allowed)

Chris Sale (7 1/3 innings, 3 runs allowed)

Matt Shoemaker (6 1/3 innings, 0 runs allowed)

Jose Berrios (6 1/3 innings , 3 runs allowed)

Scott Feldman (6 innings, 1 run allowed)

JC Ramirez (6 2/3 innings, 2 runs allowed)

Danny Duffy (7 innings, 2 runs allowed)

Michael Pineda (6 1/3 innings, 2 runs allowed)

Jordan Montgomery (6 2/3 innings, 1 run allowed)

Ty Blach (7 innings, 3 runs allowed)

Lance McCullers (5 innings, 0 runs allowed)

German Marquez (6 innings, 1 run allowed)

Charlie Morton (7 innings, 2 runs allowed)

Julio Teheran (6 innings, 0 runs allowed)

Daniel Norris (6 1/3 innings, 1 run allowed)

Jake Odorizzi (6 innings, 2 runs allowed)

Dylan Bundy (7 innings, 2 runs allowed)

Michael Fulmer (7 innings, 1 run allowed)

Tyler Glasnow (6 innings, 2 runs allowed)

Jordan Zimmerman (6 innings, 2 runs allowed)


Relief Pitchers: Period 9

There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing relief pitchers every week. In one of my leagues, you need 3 per team; but in standard leagues you need 2. Nonetheless, it can be a challenge finding 2 or 3 reliable relievers. If you drafted Jeurys Familia or Mark Melancon, for example, you might be looking for replacements.

My top 10:
1. Craig Kimbrel
2. Cody Allen
3. Wade Davis
4. Kenley Jansen
5. Greg Holland
6. Danny Duffy
7. Dylan Bundy
8. Ken Giles
9. Roberto Osuna
10. Seung-Hwan Oh

Waiver Wire Pickups
1. JC Ramirez, Anaheim Angels (owned in 53% of CBS fantasy leagues)

He’s really a starter, but he’s eligible as a reliever. If you’re in need of a reliever, take full advantage of that. His ownership is at its peak due to his 2 starts this week, but you could still start him with 1 start next week. He won his game on Monday with 6 2/3 innings pitched and 2 runs allowed against the Rays. Ramirez has a decent 3.81 ERA and he’s 4-3, so he’s a solid start any week. If you picked him up for 2 starts last week, keep him if possible.

2. Edwin Diaz, Seattle Mariners (owned in 78% of CBS fantasy leagues)

Diaz was relieved of his closer duties about a week ago. So why is he on this list? A lot of owners dropped him, but it seems as though he may return to his closer role soon. He has strikeout potential with 22 k’s in 17 1/3 innings. He had 7 saves and 2 blown saves prior to his removal, which isn’t terrible. He’s worth picking up and monitoring over the next few days to see if he returns as the closer for the 20-26 Mariners.

3. Koda Glover, Washington Nationals (owned in 44% of CBS fantasy leagues)

Koda Glover is by no means the obvious closer for the Nationals. But if he pitches well, his value is going to skyrocket, considering the team he is pitching for (The 27-17 Nationals). He is considered to be the number 1 option for the closer spot right now; Glover is sporting a 2.77 ERA as well. Don’t hesitate to pick him up if you really need a reliever – his ceiling is very high. Let’s just hope he pitches well (although I wouldn’t mind if he didn’t, I’m a Mets fan).

I thought I’d also mention Cam Bedrosian, who should be back soon. He should return as the Angels closer, and he was great before he got hurt (0.00 ERA in 6 2/3 innings with 3 saves.) If you have an extra roster spot, it’s worth adding him.


Catchers: Period 9

Finding a quality fantasy catcher is one of the hardest tasks in fantasy baseball. It is the position with the least production, so if you find a good one, you’re lucky. Here’s my top 10 rankings as of 2 days into Period 8.

Must Start:

  1. Buster Posey
  2. Jonathan Lucroy
  3. Gary Sanchez
  4. Salvador Perez
  5. Wellington Castillo
  6. Yasmani Grandal
  7. J.T Realmuto
  8. Evan Gattis (note- McCann is on the DL, so he’s the primary catcher for now.)
  9. Wilson Contreras
  10. Matt Wieters

Waiver Wire Pickups

  1. Wellington Castillo, Baltimore Orioles

Castillo shouldn’t even be on this list – he’s owned in 82% of CBS fantasy leagues. You’d be lucky if he’s still available. That being said, he’s a free agent in one of my leagues; I have Salvador Perez so I don’t need him, but I’m surprised nobody has picked him up given the lack of depth at the catcher position.

Wellington had a decent year last year, hitting .264 with 14 home runs and 68 RBIs in 416 at-bats. He seems to enjoy playing in Baltimore this year, hitting .330 with 4 homers in 97 at-bats. Any time a catcher gets hot, it’s worth a look. Castillo has always been a decent hitter with a good amount of power, so if you’re a Brian McCann owner, pick him up ASAP.

2. Yan Gomes, Cleveland Indians

Remember him? In 2014, Gomes hit .278 with 21 homers and 78 RBIs in 485 at-bats, making him a great fantasy catcher. 2015 and 2016 were extremely underwhelming, but he’s off to a good 2017 campaign. He’s hitting .255 with a .346 OBP, and he’s 5 for his last 15 with a home run. Yan Gomes hasn’t been a decent hitter in a while, but if you need a catcher, he’s worth giving a try.

3. Alex Avila, Detroit Tigers

Alex Avila hit .213 in 2016 and .191 in 2015. Yet he’s off to a scorching 2017, in which he’s been mashing at a .360 clip. He’s also hit 5 home runs to go with 18 RBIs in 75 at bats. Not to mention his ridiculous .473 OBP thanks to 16 walks. He seems like a completely different hitter in 2017; why not take a chance? He doesn’t have a track record, but you can’t ignore what he’s done so far.

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