Zach Wheeler, SP, NYM
It’s Wheeler’s turn to sit in the featured spot of a Mets’ fireballer primed for a bounce-back. Noah Syndergaard was here two weeks ago and has a 2.35 ERA, two wins, and 21 strikeouts over his last three starts.
Through nine starts, Wheeler sits at a pedestrian 4.85 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP with a meager three wins. But there is a lot of positive indicators in Wheeler’s performance that have me highly optimistic for the future.
Wheeler is punching out batters at an elite rate of 26.2%, up from last year’s number of 24.1%. He’s also raised his Ground Ball% to 50.9% from 44.2% last year. He has been quite unlucky on balls in play (.355 BABIP) but those hits won’t keep falling in all year, especially with a low percentage of hard contact allowed (28.9% Hard%).
I love Wheeler going forward as a #2 fantasy starter with potential upside as a top 15 pitcher. Wheeler’s stirkeout numbers are elite and his ERA and WHIP will catch up quickly.
Steve Cishek, RP, CHC
Cishek appears to have grabbed hold of the closer role in Chicago, with two saves in his last two appearances.
With Pedro Strop on the shelf with a hamstring injury, Cishek has a great opportunity to run with the rule. Cubs manager Joe Madden has said they will feature a committee to handle the role, but Cishek has experience as a closer with several other teams.
Cishek is pitching well on the year so far with an ERA of 2.75, a WHIP of 1.14, and a strong K rate of 26.4%. His Grond Ball% of 60.3% and Hard% of 14.3% are both elite.
If you are desperate for saves, now is the time to use your waiver priority to grab the veteran left-hander as he is only owned in 29% of CBS leagues, 44% of Yahoo leagues, and 10% of ESPN leagues.
David Dahl, OF, COL
Dahl is finally healthy and prospering after many years of bad luck with fluky injuries. And the Rockies, long known for blocking their young talent from getting regular playing with overpaid veterans, are actually letting him play.
Dahl is batting .298 with three home runs. He’s not delivering much power to date, but the Rockies always play a road-heavy schedule to start the season because of the chance of cold and snow in Denver in April.
Looking under the hood, Dahl’s batting average is a mirage. He has a .442 BABIP and is striking out in 34.3% of his plate appearances. With a Hard% of 35.8%, it’s impossible that his luck on balls in play will continue. Dahl is headed for a big time slump soon.
Now is the time to throw Dahl in a two-for-one deal to see if you can sell high before the bottom falls out.