Fantasy Baseball Category Impact: Wins
Each week, Colby Conway provides in-depth analysis on specific category contributors who may be lingering on your waiver wire.
Saturdays might be for the boys, but Fridays are for Category Impact! Yeah, we are back! This article drops every Friday, as you likely already know, and this week we are discussing pitchers that can help with some wins in the weeks ahead for us fantasy owners. I would be running to the available free agents and adding at least one of these guys immediately. For reasons of their own, each player has an interesting niche the rest of the way, and we can exploit this.
Without further ado…
Taylor Clarke , SP ARI – We’ve had a nice look now at Clarke, and while it hasn’t been flashy, or even exceptional really, he could rack up a few wins down the stretch run for fantasy owners. His strikeout numbers aren’t great, and the home runs (2.15 HR/9) are a real problem, but he’s been pitching decent of late. He’s allowed three or less earned runs in five of his last six starts, and has faced formidable offenses during that span, including the Nationals, Yankees, and Dodgers. Quality starts may elude the 26-year-old righty, as he tends to not get too deep into games. Even though he was set down, he’s worth tossing a couple of bucks in FAAB settings, because he will be back up at some point. He’s not the flashiest option, but when he pitches, he tends to fare fine. Just be savvy when you deploy him, notably against teams that lack big-time pop in the lineup.
Aaron Sanchez , SP HOU – One man’s trash is another man’s pleasure! Sanchez was garbage in Toronto this season, but in his first start with Houston, he’s a part of a combined no-hitter. Go figure. Houston works its magic again. He’s hardly owned right now, but after this impressive with start with the ‘Stros, it’s climbing, rapidly. His pitch usage changed, as he hardly used his sinker, and rode his fastball, curveball and changeup to success. It’s no surprise that his 50 percent fastball usage was the highest its been all season, as was the 30.4 percent usage of his curveball, per Baseball Savant.
His next start has the makings of a good one as well, as the right-hander gets to square off against a Baltimore squad that is struggling and has players trying to fight its own coach! It’s been a rough year for Sanchez and those who drafted him thinking he would pay off, and while he hasn’t for the majority of the season, he could be an incredibly useful fantasy asset down the stretch, thanks to a mentality shift and one of the game’s best offenses backing him.
Jacob Waguespack , SP TOR – While he’s a relatively unheard of commodity, run to the waiver wire and scoop up Waguespack while he’s pitching well. To be frank, he’ll need to win games, because he oftentimes won’t do much else for your fantasy team. He’s not a big strikeout guy, but he shouldn’t do a lot to hurt your ratios either. The 25-year-old is a tall right-hander with average velocity, and posted a 5.30 ERA (5.42 FIP) at the Triple-A level before getting called up. Not the most glorious statistical season, and his numbers faltered as he climbed the minor league ranks, but take some of the Triple-A numbers lightly, considering they play with bouncy balls in launch pads. He’s generally done a good job of keeping the ball in the park, thanks to forcing a ground ball rate near 50 percent for his career, and while his next start against the Yankees isn’t the most encouraging, there are some matchups ahead worth starting him, just not against Atlanta or Houston near the end of the month.
Zach Plesac , SP CLE – His ownership has climbed in recent weeks, approaching damn near 50 percent, but he’s still worth mentioning because he’s been pitching so well. He’s won three of his last four outings, notching three quality starts in the process. Strikeouts have been hit or miss lately, and his upcoming start against Boston certainly isn’t the friendliest, but he does have one of the league’s hottest offenses putting up runs for him. José Ramírez is back to hitting like the first-round fantasy talent he was last season, and the team added Franmil Reyes and Yasiel Puig to provide a facelift to the lineup. Overall for the season, the strikeout numbers leave some to be desired, but he does have a 3.25 ERA on the season and has been racking up wins when he’s toed the rubber of late. After Boston, he does face the Yankees, but then he gets a soft schedule after that with the likes of the Royals, Tigers and White Sox in his following three starts. Sign me up for some Plesac, and perhaps if he struggles against Boston and New York, someone in your league will dump him and then you can scoop him up for some excellent outings against those lesser offenses.