Fantasy baseball Waiver Wire: It's almost time for Wheeler's debut
This is an exciting time of the baseball season for prospect gurus. Now that the Super Two deadline has passed, teams can call up their most prized prospects and still maximize their control over the player's arbitration status. This week's wire will focus on a number of youngsters who are about to get called (or, in a few instances, recalled) to the majors, starting with the Mets' Zack Wheeler.
Wheeler (available in 73 percent of Yahoo leagues, 29 percent of CBS leagues, and 87 percent of ESPN leagues) was the centerpiece of the trade that sent Carlos Beltran to the Giants a few years ago. The sixth pick in the 2009 draft, he absolutely dominated at Double-A Binghamton in 2012, going 10-6 with a 3.26 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 117 strikeouts in 116 innings. He has taken a few more lumps at Triple A Las Vegas this year, but we can chalk some of that up to the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. He's still striking out a ton of batters, fanning 66 in 63 innings; he's also walking 3.57 batters per nine innings, shaving nearly a full batter off his BB/9 rate. The Mets haven't announced exactly when he'll make his debut, but it looks like it will be sometime during their series in Atlanta that starts June 17. He should be owned in all mixed leagues.
Let's get to the rest of the wire.
• SP Tony Cingrani, Cincinnati Reds (Yahoo: 61 percent, CBS: 25 percent, ESPN: 73 percent): Cingrani had plenty of success in his first stint with the Reds this year, but he was squeezed out of a deep rotation once everyone was healthy. Now that Johnny Cueto is back on the DL, Cingrani will get a second run with the big league club. Even if he's only here for the time Cueto spends on the shelf, he's still worth adding in all formats. He did struggle in his last few starts before going back to Triple A Louisville, but he proved his major league bona fides by posting a 3.27 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 41/9 K/BB ratio in 33 innings. Assuming an owner who couldn't justify keeping him around while he was in the minors cut him loose, go ahead and make the addition.
• SP Gerrit Cole, Pittsburgh Pirates (68, 36, 87): Cole's the other big-name pitcher set to make his major league debut this week; he'll take the ball for Pittsburgh Tuesday against the Giants. Cole is considered one of the best prospects in all of baseball -- Baseball America ranked him seventh in all of the minors coming into this year, while MLB.com ranked him ninth. He's gone 5-3 with a 2.91 ERA and 1.06 WHIP at Triple A Indianapolis this year, but he only has 47 strikeouts in 68 innings, which is definitely unexpected. He struck out at least a batter per inning at every other stop in the minors. Still, that shouldn't scare you away from him. If he sticks with the Pirates the rest of the season, he could pay enormous dividends for fantasy owners. He should be universally owned.
• OF Wil Myers, Tampa Bay Rays (65, 21, 77): We've been patiently awaiting Myers' promotion, and now it appears to be right around the corner. It certainly helps that he has been crushing the ball for Triple A Durham recently. In his last 16 games, Myers has eight homers and 27 RBI. He's now hitting .286/.359/.515 with 12 home runs and 52 RBI, and on top of that, he seems to have added a different speed element to his game, with six steals already this year (his career high is nine). Ranked the No. 4 prospect by both Baseball America and MLB.com, he has the potential to immediately become a huge fantasy asset. Like the guys mentioned already, he should be added in all mixed leagues.
• OF/1B Kyle Blanks, San Diego Padres (88, 84, 96): After a big weekend series against the Rockies, Blanks is now slashing .298/.379/.527 with six homers on the season. Entering June, he was hitting .256/.357/.415 with three home runs. Blanks has always had plenty of power, but has had trouble with his consistency. This year, he has a career-best 20.7 percent line-drive rate, which is helping him to what would be by far the best batting average of his career. He offers eligibility at first and in the outfield, and while those aren't positions of need for many fantasy owners, the flexibility is always nice. Feel free to add him as necessary.
• C John Buck, New York Mets: After his ridiculous start to the season, Buck has fallen way back down to his usual level of production. At the end of April, he was hitting .241/.269/.575 with nine homers. He's now at .219/.276/.417 with 11 homers. Hopefully you got a lot out of him in April, because chances are you aren't going to get a whole lot more the rest of the season. Go ahead and cut bait here.
• 2B Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee Brewers: I know second base is shallow and I know what Weeks has been capable of in the past. I've always been a Weeks apologist, but things have just gone too far this season. He's hitting .199/.298/.314 and has just four homers and four steals. Even while his batting average fell off a cliff last year, he maintained value by hitting 21 homers and stealing 16 bases. Without either of those, there's simply no reason to own him.