Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Yulieski Gurriel arrives; David Phelps thrives
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OK, so he’s here. Now what?
I’m not sure anyone knows. The Houston Astros started Yulieski Gurriel at DH Sunday, but unless they plan on making Evan Gattis their primary catcher, that’s not an everyday solution. He played primarily third base in both the minors and Cuba, but now that Alex Bregman has finally gotten going, manager A.J. Hinch is reluctant to move his prized rookie off that position.
No, more likely, Gurriel will play some left field and some first base, Hinch told MLB.com Sunday. But will he play every day — or at least enough for Fantasy owners to care? Eh …
“He doesn’t have to define this team,” Hinch said. “He doesn’t have to be Superman, or try to carry this team. He’s a piece of what we’re doing. He’s joining a good team that’s played well over the last couple of days. He needs to fit in more than anything, and part of it is going to be my job to keep him comfortable in the positions we’re going to ask him to play. Some of the other guys are doing pretty well, so I’ll defend those guys in the lineup.”
I mean, that’s not a no, but I’d like a little more assurance, to be perfectly honest.
And I’m guessing most Fantasy owners would, too. That’s the only explanation I can see for why Gurriel is still only 43 percent owned in CBSSports.com leagues. You could point to the fact that he’s a 32-year-old who hit an uninspiring .250 with a .691 OPS between four minor-league stops, I suppose, but it was in only 56 at-bats after a year away from the game. You have to think some rust was at play.
Let’s not overlook the fact that in his final year in Cuba, he hit an astonishing .500 with 15 home runs and 38 walks to just three strikeouts in 174 at-bats. Not even Jose Abreu had a season that good over there.
Of course, Gurriel is a bit older than Abreu was to start out and has had nothing promised to him, but I prefer him as a pray-for-rain-type pickup to Dansby Swanson , who’s basically just window dressing as a 22-year-old rookie in a miserable lineup.
And I’ll tell you this much: Gurriel isn’t available in any of my leagues.
50 percent owned
David Phelps SP/RP / Miami Marlins (as starter)
|ERA: 1.31||WHIP: 1.02||IP: 20 2/3||BB: 7||K: 26|
David Phelps is following in the footsteps of Danny Duffy , having extended what made him so effective as as a setup man across four, five and now six innings. And as impressive as his two-hit, nine-strikeout effort Saturday against the Pittsburgh Pirates was, his best may be yet to come with the San Diego Padres on tap this week.
66 percent owned
Robbie Ray SP / Arizona Diamondbacks (last seven starts)
|ERA: 3.16||WHIP: 1.05||IP: 42 2/3||BB: 10||K: 59|
Robbie Ray joined Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling (got your attention, didn’t I?) as the only Arizona Diamondbacks to record 13 strikeouts while allowing just one hit, and Saturday’s gem may just be the tip of the iceberg for a pitcher whose stuff has accounted for the second-best strikeout rate in baseball, behind only Jose Fernandez . He’s actually throwing it over the plate now, averaging 2.1 walks per nine innings over his last seven starts.
28 percent owned
Keon Broxton OF / Milwaukee Brewers (2016 season)
|BA: .250||HR: 6||SB: 17||OPS: .808||AB: 136|
Maybe you knew Keon Broxton was piling up stolen bases, otherwise known as the scarcest of categories, in a semi-regular role but feared he’d cripple you in all the others. His two-homer game Sunday should help ease those concerns, especially when you consider he’s now on what would be about a 25-homer, 70-steal pace. Rotisserie owners, take note.
42 percent owned
Anibal Sanchez SP / Detroit Tigers (last three starts)
|ERA: 4.26||WHIP: 0.89||IP: 19||BB: 4||K: 22|
Anibal Sanchez may not be a pickup for the long haul, but ’tis the season to gamble on a pitcher making two starts against last-place teams ( Minnesota Twins and Los Angeles Angels ). And considering two of his last three starts were throwback low-hit, high-strikeout efforts (with an eight-run disaster in between), he may have more staying power than any of us realize.
52 percent owned
Alex Gordon OF / Kansas City Royals (last 11 games)
|BA: .400||HR: 5||AB: 40||BB: 7||K: 10|
I’ll admit I had pretty much left Alex Gordon for dead, but his resurrection has been swift and fierce, stifling my skepticism once and for all with a two-homer game Sunday. If nothing else, his plus plate discipline never abandoned him, and again, ’tis the season: You won’t find a hotter hand than him right now.
35 percent owned
Jedd Gyorko 1B/2B/3B/SS / St. Louis Cardinals (2016 season)
|BA: .246||HR: 20||OPS: .805||AB: 272||K: 59|
Though his teammate, Brandon Moss , has gotten far more attention as an underappreciated source of power in recent days (and remains underowned at 59 percent), Jedd Gyorko has homered five times in his last eight games and is on what would be a 40-homer pace. And he looks like a fixture in the St. Louis Cardinals lineup now, albeit one who bounces from position to position, having started 19 of their last 20 games.