This year the NFBC’s Main Event market has shifted from a mere focus on pitching to a near obsession. Those that kicked against the goads and opted for a contrarian hitting plan were no doubt left wanting unless they were fortunate enough to land Roberto Osuna and Luke Gregerson, and even then they may be forced to semi-punt strikeouts as the elite strikeout options typically dried up mid to late 3rd round. If you drafted at the end of the 1st round and opted to go with two hitters in rounds one and two, suddenly you were faced with the stark realization that you had dug an enormous hole in whiffs. At the end of the 9th all of the reliable closer options had left the building.
Most of what’s on the waiver wire is pretty ugly, and also dangerous for your ratios, but with a little skill and a lot of luck, you can minimize the damage and find a few gems if you turn over the right stones.
Tony Zych – Small sample sizes, but the Mariner rookie posted elite K/BB ratios in his first season with Seattle (24/3 in 18 IP) and in spring training (81/1 in 9.2 IP). Joaquin Benoit is the setup man and supposedly the next man up if Steve Cishek doesn’t perform well or stay healthy. Zych could end up in the role eventually and in the meantime act as a poor man’s Dellin Betances, helping in ERA and WHIP and avoiding the potential disasters of having scrubs in your starting pitching lineup. Similarly Adam Warren on the north side of Chicago could fill a similar role.
Adam Morgan – This spring he looked ready for prime time. Repeating his delivery of multiple pitches from the same arm slot and inducing nothing but weak contact. The former 3rd round pick features a changeup that sits around 82 mph, a fastball that sits at 92 mph, and a curve from the same angle again at 82 mph. His arm speed seemed about the same so the hitters weren’t tipped off as to what was coming. Think of a rich man’s Charlie Morton and temper your Win expectations on an offensively challenged Phillies team and you won’t be disappointed.
Sean Manaea – Injury prone and a little raw, this 6’5” southpaw has been largely overlooked this draft season. He’s a little injury prone and needs to use his secondary pitches more, but when opportunity knocks there’s a lot of upside here. Injuries to Felix Dourbront, Henderson Alvarez and Jarrod Parker, along with Jesse Hahn’s and Rich Hill’s command problem should create an opening in the Athletics rotation soon.
Alfredo Simon – I drafted this Cincinnati Red Leg in every 15 team Main Event draft. If he regains his 2014 form (3.44 ERA/1.21 WHIP) he’s a great no-risk #9 filler or streaming option while you trove the wire for better options.
Cody Anderson – Still probably floating around in some 12-team leagues. He shouldn’t be. The former 14th round pick posted a nifty 3.05 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. Of course, that doesn’t reflect his 4.34 FIP or his low BABIP. None of that matters because he’s added a few ticks on his fastball. It’s cliché to say that someone is in the ‘best shape of his life,’ but that doesn’t change the fact that sometimes that actually happens. When a finesse hurler starts touching 97 mph, the wise will take notice. It should be noted that Carlos Carrasco attributes part of his recent success to tips he’s learned from working with Corey Kluber, who acts as a second coach and mentor to others that seek his advice. When I hear others ridicule team chemistry, I don’t try to change their mind. I just smile, affirm how right they are, and invite them to join my fantasy league.
Chris Young – the soft tosser extraordinaire just keeps racking up quality starts and decent ratios. His FIP and xFIP are always terrible. That’s what he does. Don’t let your tools fool you. The strikeouts are too low to be a weekly fixture in your lineup, but there’s 2-start streaming value here, which is important in a tournament with 1,644 teams competing for the most Wins and K’s.
Tanner Roark – with Dusty Baker in town to fix team chemistry, Washington should rack up the wins this year, with ‘Roark Flair’ gathering his fair share.
Jake Peavy – I don’t know why this veteran with a 1.12 WHIP pitching for a World Series contender is rotting on the waiver wire in some leagues.
Doug Fister – his velocity is back up to 90 mph. The next question is can this groundball specialist get his GB% back up over 50%.
Drew Pomeranz – this former first round pick flashed his potential in Oakland’s Coliseum back in 2012. His fantasy arrow is pointed up now with the potential of 16 starts at sea level with more break on his pitches and a bump in strikeouts, if he can stay healthy.