It’s time again. Are you ready? Got your waiver trigger finger locked and loaded? With the news breaking that the Orioles are calling up Kevin Gausman, their number one pick (fourth overall) in the 2012 First –Year Player Draft, to start against the Blue Jays on Thursday, fantasy owners are tripping over each other as the run to the waiver wire to pick up the “next big thing.” We’ve already gone through Tony Cingrani, Jose Fernandez and Jurickson Profar, all youngsters rushed up to the big leagues and into fantasy stardom, so adding Gausman to the fray not only seems logical, but expected. Now the question is…is he worth it?
For those who opt not to scout the youngsters who are expected to arrive and make an impact on the 2013 season, Gausman was widely considered the best pitching prospect in the 2012 draft. He has a killer fastball, a solid change-up, and was developing a breaking ball (likely a slider) during his senior year at LSU prior to being drafted. The Orioles started him out in the New York Penn League, Low-A ball, instead of their rookie league and loved what he had so much that he was yanked after just two three-inning starts and sent right up to the Carolina League where he would face High-A competition. He got beaten up in his first outing but then turned things around immediately and was virtually lights-out in his final two starts of the season.
After a strong showing during spring training this year, the Orioles were so impressed with his development, that they had Gausman open up the season at Double-A Bowie. Right? After just 15 innings, he was already being advanced. And rightfully so, apparently, as he has now made eight starts and amassed a 3.11 ERA with a 49:5 K:BB over just 46.1 innings. He is killing it in the Eastern League and with Wei-Yin Chen hitting the DL this week, the Orioles feel like it’s time to promote their prized right-hander.
So how important will Gausman be to the fantasy world? Well, in all actuality, probably just as important as any other highly-touted rookie. In keeper leagues, his value is immense; especially when he’s advanced this quickly. In re-draft leagues though, probably not as much. The Marlins’ Fernandez has been a solid pick-up because the team doesn’t really have much in the way of alternatives, but the Orioles are really only making this move because of injury, similar to what happened with the Reds and Cingrani and the Rangers with Profar. They can afford to test the waters with the rookie because they know they will go back to their major league talent once they are at full health. Regardless of how well they perform, the team knows that their time spent in the bigs will be a limited one for now. Later on in the season is a different story. For now, though, this move is temporary.
So be careful with what you invest at this point in time. Chen has an oblique issue and should return once his 15 days on the DL are served. There is a strong chance that, even with just Freddy Garcia at the back end of the rotation, the Orioles send Gausman back once he [Chen] does come back and they continue the season, business as usual. Now obviously there’s a chance that Gausman sticks around longer, but he’s going to have to be beyond impressive for that to happen. Is it possible? Sure. But given the fact that he hasn’t thrown 50 innings beyond the Double-A level, it’s a remote chance at best. He might have an impressive start or two, but once major league hitters get a better look at him, things are going to be tough. I’d definitely kick the tires here and see what’s what, but in truth, I’m not dropping anyone of substantial quality to get him. As exciting as it can be to own and start such a hyped up prospect, I’m not upsetting my apple cart for a temporary starter.
Now let’s hit the highlights from Tuesday…
Fantasy Beast of the Day
|Mike Trout, OF LAA||4-5, 2 R, 2B, 3B, HR, 5 RBI, SB|
Well, it’s only fitting that I tell you to hedge your bets on a big-time rookie and then turn around and make last year’s biggest rookie prize the day’s Fantasy Beast. But believe me, as good as Gausman is, he’s no Mike Trout. The talent level with Trout is completely off the charts and if you take even the quickest of glances, at his numbers, you can see just how massive a talent he really is. He gets the nod here for his first career cycle. The Mariners didn’t know what hit them in the 12-0 romp by the Angels and Trout was just a madman. He even kicked in a stolen base just so his fantasy owners had a little something in every category. And now, after a quiet start that had most people freaking out about his added weight in the offseason, He is hitting .293 with nine homers, 34 RBI and nine stolen bases which puts him on pace for, at worst, a 30-30 season. Fantasy Beast of the Day? More like Fantasy Beast of the Decade.
|Daniel Descalso, 2B STL||3-3, 3 R, 2B, HR, 5 RBI, BB|
|Chris Dickerson, OF BAL||3-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI|
|Jimmy Paredes,, OF, HOU||3-3, R, HR, 3 RBI, BB|
|Max Scherzer, SP DET||W, 1.13 ERA, 0.38 WHIP, 7 K|
|Dan Straily, SP OAK||W, 0.00 ERA, 0.29 WHIP, 5 K|
We’ve got some new faces in this section here, but to be honest, this group hardly seems like it’s got the ability to make more than just the random appearance. Chris Dickerson is a fourth outfielder, at best, who only got the start because Adam Jones needed to take a day off from the field. His two home runs were nice, but there’s probably not a single fantasy owner who had him active.
The same goes for Daniel Descalso who got a rare start for the Cardinals. The usual middle infield tandem is Pete Kozma and Matt Carpenter, so while this was a great day for him, again, it’s highly doubtful that a single fantasy owner reaped the benefits. Descalso should be right back on the bench come Wednesday’s game.
Jimmy Paredes might have a bit more staying power actually as Astros manager Bo Porter said that Paredes was going to be one of his starting outfielders for the foreseeable future. Probably at least until Justin Maxwell comes back. But Paredes is really just average at best and maybe if you play in a real deep AL-only league will he have some value. But he doesn’t have much in the way of power, so it’s his speed that you will be looking for. How much of that you see if obviously dependent on whether or not he can improve that .311 on-base percentage.
Not much more we need to say about Max Scherzer that we don’t already know. Nice to see a veteran presence in this section though, that’s for sure. Scherzer continues to be a dominant force on the hill for the Tigers with his 6-0 record, his 10.83 K/9 and 3.61 ERA that will likely only get lower over the next few weeks.
Quite the outing for Dan Straily though, huh? Shutting down the Rangers like that was pretty damn impressive for a guy who gave up 10 earned runs over his previous two starts (9.1 innings). You had to show some real balls to start him in Arlington like that, so if you did, congrats. If you didn’t, totally understandable. He’ll take on the Giants in a Battle of the Bay game next and I’m thinking that I’m going to use him this time around…
|Charlie Blackmon, OF COL||0-5, 3 K|
|Mitch Moreland, 1B TEX||0-3, 3 K|
|Aaron Hicks, OF MIN||0-5, 3 K|
|Aaron Harang, SP SEA||L, 17.18 ERA, 2.45 WHIP, 4 K|
|Zack Greinke, SP LAD||L, 11.25 ERA, 3.00 WHIP, 1 K|
Any surprises here? Didn’t think so. Not even Zack Greinke who was making his second start since coming back from the broken collarbone. It ewas a tough match-up with the Brewers in a hitter’s park anyway, but he’s likely to be up and down for another start or two before he’s back to 100-percent. Buy low if you can, but if you own him, just be patient. He’ll be fine. Bit of a bummer that Mitch Moreland is slowing down lately, but it was a helluva ride though, wasn't it?
Shane Victorino, OF BOS – hamstring (day to day)
Rafael Betancourt, RP COL – groin (day to day – headed for MRI)
Ronny Cedeno, SS HOU – illness (day to day)
Salvador Perez, C KC – hip (day to day)
Erick Aybar, SS LAA – knee (day to day)
Luis Cruz, 3B LAD – elbow (day to day)
Scott Van Slyke, OF LAD – leg (day to day)
Trevor Plouffe, 3B MIN – concussion (7-day DL)
Chris Stewart, C NYY – groin (day to day)
John Jaso, C OAK – leg (day to day)
Jed Lowrie, SS OAK – foot (day to day)
Carlos Ruiz, C PHI – hamstring (day to day)
Ryan Vogelsong, SP SF – hand (15-day DL)
David Freese, 3B STL – thumb (day to day)
Matt Joyce, OF TB – hamstring (day to day)
Jose Molina, C TB – hamstring (day to day)
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over a decade on a variety of web sites. You can find his personal musings on RotobuzzGuy.com and for questions, thoughts or comments, you can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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