Howdy Razzballero! I hope you all had a great Independence Day, and I’m not referring to the movie sequel that was released about a decade and a half too late. Doesn’t Hollywood have any original ideas anymore? Why are there so many mediocre sequels and remakes/reboots in the theaters at any given time? I briefly considered making a rare trip to the movies during the holiday weekend, but since the thought of dropping $20 a person on tickets, popcorn, and drinks while settling for the new Tarzan flick or another crappy sequel (Independence Day, The Purge) didn’t seem all that appealing to me, the decision was made to stay home and watch the old Dolph Lundgren flick I Come in Peace (also listed as Dark Angel in some places) instead. It’s a cheesy late 80s/early 90s sci-fi/action movie about an alien drug dealer who induces heroin overdoses in humans and then harvests their endorphins. And it features Ivan Drago kicking ass. Yes, it’s as awesome as it sounds. Kind of like a cooler version of Independence Day. So I guess the moral of the story is to save your money and watch old Lundgren movies. But I digress. What were we talking about? Oh yeah, fantasy baseball! That brings us to this week’s most added player in ESPN leagues, Washington Nationals pitching prospect Lucas Giolito (54.5% owned; +46% over the past week). Giolito has long been a coveted commodity in fantasy circles due to his mid-high 90s fastball and 80 grade hammer curveball. His buzz died down a bit following mediocre results in his first eight Double-A starts this season (18% K%, 13% BB%, 4.08 FIP, 3.82 ERA), but that was mostly due to early season mechanical adjustments that were made to his delivery. Over his last six Double-A starts, Giolito was much more effective (28% K%, 8% BB%, 2.39 FIP, 2.52 ERA). His control has been iffy at times, but he clearly has swing and miss stuff and the natural sinking action on his fastball tends to keep the ball in the park (13 HR allowed since his professional debut in 2012). A couple of popular current comps for Giolito are Noah Syndergaard and Stephen Strasburg, but he also reminds me of a couple of big righties with the hard fastball/hammer curve combo from their early Marlins days (Josh Beckett and A.J. Burnett). Strasburg’s DL stint prompted his call up, and Joe Ross’ current one has allowed him to extend his stay in the majors. The upside here is obvious. If he’s still somehow available in your league, Giolito is a must add.
Here are a couple of other interesting adds/drops in fantasy baseball over the past week:
Junior Guerra: 30.1% owned; +14.8%
Guerra is a player who wasn’t on anyone’s radar entering this season. He was 31 years old, bounced around four different MLB organizations, and was essentially out of the league during a recent six season stretch (2009-14). That makes his production over his last ten starts (64.2 IP, 58/20 K/BB, 2.37 ERA, 0.99 WHIP) all the more remarkable. Guerra features three above average pitches which include a 94 mph fourseamer, a hard slider, and one of the best splitters in the game. His contact and swinging strike rates compare favorably to frontline starters like Jake Arrieta, Jacob deGrom, and Chris Sale. The facts that he’s an older, unknown player who pitches for the lowly Brewers might result in others being skeptical of his unexpected success continuing. From what I’ve seen, Guerra looks like the real deal. TREASURE.
Brandon McCarthy: 7.9% owned; +6.8%
Remember this guy? The one that I wrote about last offseason? Yeah, well he’s also the same player who blew out his elbow last April and was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery that same month. Fast forward fourteen months and McCarthy appears to be back with a vengeance. He struck out eight Rockies across five shutout innings in his return to MLB action last Sunday, and perhaps more importantly, his velocity appeared to be back to normal and he claims to be completely healthy and ready to go. With Kershaw’s back becoming an issue and Urias quickly nearing his innings limit for this season, McCarthy will get every chance to prove himself in the rotation. His next matchup on Saturday against the Padres looks like a good one. Give McCarthy a whirl if you need a pitching boost. TREASURE.