Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Reinforcements coming –

You’ll often hear a lot in the first few months of the season about “The Super Two Deadline,” but that’s kind of a misnomer. There is no deadline. There is no one date after which teams can just call players up without worrying about losing a year of cost-control, which is why there isn’t one day when we are inundated by a deluge of callups.

Instead, it’s usually a trick; one team assumes it is safe and calls up a big name, and then other teams will follow suit as they get more comfortable as the weeks go on. By this point in the season, the “deadline” is all but assuredly past, which means teams can and will be much more liberal with their minor-league additions, and we saw some interesting names get the call this week.

But before we talk about them — and we will! — it is worth spending a moment speculating on what the Washington Nationals may do in the coming days, because Stephen Strasburg landed on the disabled list yet again over the weekend with a back strain. Strasburg is eligible to return from the DL later this week, but given his history, it probably doesn’t make much sense to assume a quick return. The Nationals are invested in Strasburg for the long run, and have every incentive to make sure he is 100-percent healthy, so it might be a few more turns in the rotation before we see him.

They may just call on long reliever Yusmeiro Petit to handle it if it ends up being just one or two starts more, and Petit has proven he can handle himself if needed. However, he doesn’t have much in the way of Fantasy appeal, so let’s look at some other options who might be worth speculating on if the Nationals need to plug that hole.

You have to start with Lucas Giolito here. The No. 5 prospect in all of baseball entering the season is well known to Fantasy players, and he has mostly held his own in Double-A this season, posting a 3.17 ERA, justifying his perception as one o the top arms in the minors. However, the 21-year-old has also walked 4.3 batters per nine and sports a 1.423 WHIP, and is proving to be more hittable than anyone expected in his second run at Double-A. In the long run, Giolito still looks like a stud, but the Nats might decide he needs more seasoning even if they opt for a Strasburg replacement.

A more natural replacement option may be 24-year-old Austin Voth, currently pitching at Triple-A Syracuse. Voth is three years Giolito’s senior, and may not have much left to learn in the minors, with more than 250 career innings under his belt between Double-A and Triple-A. Voth isn’t near the prospect Giolito is, but he has a 2.99 ERA in Triple-A and a 2.75 overall mark in the minors since being a fifth-round pick in 2013, with a strikeout per inning overall.

We’ll see what the Nationals opt to do with Strasburg’s spot in the rotation, but they aren’t short on options. If they choose one of the minor league guys, Fantasy owners should be ready to pounce.

A.J. Reed, 1B, Astros (61 percent owned)

The Astros got a big boost from Tyler White early in the season, but he tailed off badly and eventually lost his spot on the roster, an outcome that made Reed’s callup all but inevitable. Reed is one of the top hitting prospects in all of baseball, sporting a career .311/.399/.566 line in the minors. Reed sports plus power and a good approach at the plate, two skills that should help him handle the transition to the majors pretty well, however it’s worth noting that he struggled a bit in Triple-A this season, hitting .266 with more than twice as many strikeouts as walks, so there might be a bit of a transition period here. Especially against left-handed pitching, a pretty typical issue for young left-handed batters. Reed still walked a bunch and hit for decent power against lefties in the minors, but he hit just .234 against them overall, thanks to a 27.9 percent strikeout rate. Still, Reed looks like a star in the making and has as much talent as any rookie hitter, and should be owned in all leagues as he gets his first taste of the majors.

Brandon Nimmo, OF, Mets (13 percent owned)

Based on the way he hit last season and in April this season, Michael Conforto looked like an absolute stud, with the potential to be one of the best hitters in baseball. However, his struggles to hit lefties and overall regressing over the last two months ultimately proved too much for the Mets, who sent him back to the minors this weekend. They called on Nimmo from Triple-A, an interesting option, given Nimmo’s up-and-down career. Nimmo was a top-100 prospect after the 2014 season, but hit just .269/.362/.372 between Double-A and Triple-A, which helped his prospect star take a hit. However, an interesting thing has happened as he has advanced through the minors; Nimmo has just gotten better. Since getting to Triple-A last season, Nimmo is hitting .311/.405/.484 in 95 games, including with a .917 OPS this season. Those are great numbers, however it might be tough for him to translate them to Fantasy value, because Nimmo’s best traits are a strong approach at the plate, with relatively few peripheral contributions overall. He has hit eight homers in 95 Triple-A games, and while his 10 stolen bases don’t look bad, he has been caught stealing 11 times, a pretty bad sign for his chances of being an impact Fantasy player. Still, his ability to get on base and hit for average should provide some value, especially in H2H leagues, making Nimmo an interesting pickup in Conforto’s absence.

Chad Kuhl, SP, Pirates (6 percent owned)

Kuhl wasn’t the Pirates pitching prospect we wanted to see get called up, but he isn’t a bad one if you need a fill-in. He got the best of an uncharacteristically shaky Clayton Kershaw in his debut Sunday, but he didn’t exactly blow us away either, allowing three runs in five innings, with four hits and four walks allowed. However, his minor-league career has been defined by pinpoint control and homer prevention, so Sunday doesn’t look representative. He comes into the majors sporting a career 2.79 ERA in the minors, and could be a fine option to pick up in deeper leagues — until Tyler Glasnow proves he is ready, at least.


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