The Rays' Chris Archer hurled a complete game shutout Sunday. Where does that put him in this week's waiver pickups?
A new week, another batch of waiver-wire adds, just the way you like 'em—hot and fresh out of the oven.
Some players mentioned last time—including Carlos Quentin, Jacob Turner, Eric Young Jr., Gordon Beckham, Jeremy Hefner, Felix Doubront and Darin Ruf—are already owned in many leagues by now, but they remain quality pickups if still available. In the interest of keeping the names new, though, let's avoid any repeats.
All ownership percentages come from ESPN Fantasy Baseball. Players owned in more than 51 percent of leagues were not considered.
Alexi Ogando, RHP, Rangers (46.8 Percent Owned)
Expected to return from a lengthy disabled list stint the first week after the All-Star break, Ogando (pictured) should be well rested and has the arm to put up strong starts more often than not.
Corey Kluber, RHP, Indians (15.2 Percent Owned)
He remains somewhat of a no-name, but Kluber is intriguing because of his 4.3 strikeout-to-walk ratio, not to mention his whiff-per-inning pace.
Justin Smoak, 1B, Mariners (3.4 Percent Owned)
You know what they say: Fool me 37 times...but Smoak is slashing .333/.416/.603 with five homers and 14 RBI in his 22 games since returning from the DL. With Kendrys Morales a trade chip, Smoak could see an increase in PT soon.
Jarred Cosart, RHP, Astros (1.4 Percent Owned)
The second of three rookie arms to take a no-no into the late innings in their first big league start—in the same week!—Cosart has always had a big arm. Once he's recalled after the break, he could be startable in AL-onlies.
Aaron Hicks, OF, Twins (1.0 Percent Owned)
C'mon, dude is still hitting under .200! Yes, but the rookie is also hitting .271 with a pair apiece in homers and steals since returning from his DL stint 13 games ago.
Wilson Ramos, C, Nationals (13.2 Percent Owned)
Trend much? Upon coming back on Independence Day after nearly two months on the shelf, Ramos has gone 12-for-32 (.375) with two homers and 11 RBI in nine games. He'll grab the starting catcher job from Kurt Suzuki soon enough—if he hasn't already.
Brandon Workman, RHP, Red Sox (N/A)
And here's that third near-no-no rook, as Workman (who's not even in ESPN Fantasy's player pool, by the way), pitched pretty brilliantly against the A's Sunday: 6.1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 5:1 K:BB. More of an AL-only play.
Sonny Gray, RHP, Athletics (0.0 Percent Owned)
Gray was leading the Triple-A Pacific Coast League—one of the toughest pitcher's environs around—in strikeouts (107 in 102.1 frames), so even though the A's are currently deploying the 2011 first-rounder in the bullpen, he bears monitoring, especially in deeper leagues.
You've probably passed over Edwin Jackson's name—not to mention, that 5.11 ERA and 1.44 WHIP—a few times as you've done your waiver-wire diligence this year, but it might be worth stopping now.
While his season stats are still kind of icky, the 29-year-old has been much, much better of late. Over his seven turns, Jackson has five really good ones—all wins—and a 3.46 ERA overall. Yeah, he's prone to the clunker, but his underlying numbers suggest Jackson's pitched much better all season, as he has a 3.72 FIP per FanGraphs.
Finally healthy after years of arm trouble, Danny Salazar has been one of 2013's breakout prospects.
He whiffed 100 on the dot in 76 innings across Double-A and Triple-A, while also posting a 3.08 ERA and 1.11 WHIP—all of which got him called up to Cleveland.
And in his first-ever big league start, the 23-year-old flamethrower took a no-no into the sixth inning against the Blue Jays last week.
Click that video to see your new pickup in action.
Ivan Nova has missed a chunk of this season due to injury, and he also spent some time toiling away at Triple-A while rehabbing and biding his time to find a way to fit back into the Yankees' rotation.
That finally happened when David Phelps went on the disabled list, and Nova has been lights out in his two turns filling in: a 2-0 record, 17 innings, eight hits, three runs and a 17:3 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Phelps will eventually return, and Michael Pineda (a pickup suggestion last week) is waiting in the wings, too, but New York may also trade Phil Hughes to help things breathe a bit.
And they're certainly not going to take Nova out of the rotation while he's pitching this well.
Jose Quintana just gets it done.
He's not elite, which is why you can still pick him up in your league, but he almost never gets hit around, either. The 24-year-old has allowed more than four earned runs only once—and that was in his first outing of 2013 on April 5.
The wins will be hard to come by on the South Side, and Quintana isn't a huge strikeout guy (7.1 per nine), but since June 1, he's sporting a 3.67 ERA, a 1.17 WHIP and a 7.4 K/9.
All in all, Quintana is pretty close to being the AL's version of another Chicago southpaw—the Cubs' Travis Wood.
We've been here before with Zack Wheeler, but it's worth revisiting, especially after what the 23-year-old did to the team that drafted him last week.
For the highlights, click above.
Sure, the Giants are pretty terrible right now, but Wheeler looked strong in dominating them by allowing just three hits and a run over a career-high seven frames.
Wheeler is going to have more growing pains than other 2013 rookie starters like Shelby Miller of the Cardinals and Jose Fernandez of the Marlins, mainly because his command and control still need some work. But when he's on, he'll be worth using in all formats.
Anyone know what's going on in the bullpen out in the desert these days?
Does Kirk Gibson even know?
The Diamondbacks manager apparently has shifted to a close-by-committee approach, where approximately 28 relievers will get chances to close.
Really, it's more like four—David Hernandez, Brad Ziegler, Heath Bell and J.J. Putz—but you get the idea here.
Frankly, none of the options are all that great, but Hernandez has the best stuff of the four at this point in time, and he also notched a clean save on Friday.
Of course, just a day later, Ziegler earned his third in the past two weeks, so he's a waiver add, too.
But it's about time the 28-year-old Hernandez, who's been one of the best setup men for the past few years, gets a real shot to handle the ninth.
While we're in the desert, let's hang out a while and discuss Adam Eaton.
'Member this guy? He was supposed to be a National League Rookie of the Year fave, but the 24-year-old injured his elbow late in spring training and then had a setback several weeks later.
In other words, it took Eaton until July 9 to make his 2013 debut.
Arizona has plenty of outfield depth, but Eaton may be the best fit as the club's starting center fielder and leadoff man due to his skill set, which will at some point translate to fantasy in the form of batting average, runs and steals.
Some of the luster is gone by now, and Eaton certainly won't be winning any ROY hardware this year, but he does have a chance to make up for lost time.
Evan Gattis has some good timing. Just as the Braves outfielders are going down, the rookie is coming back.
After missing nearly a month with an oblique strain, the 26-year-old is ready to resume crushing baseballs like grapes, as Matthew Berry of ESPN Fantasy might say.
Expect Gattis to spell starting catcher Brian McCann still, but with both Uptons and Jason Heyward ailing, Gattis could have more opportunity to add to his rookie-best 14 homers while getting some action in the green grass in the short term.
You're either going to like his or hate it. That's sort of the way it goes with the all-out Brett Lawrie.
Some argue he's a fantasy breakout waiting to happen, while others see him as ridiculously overrated.
Right now, the latter camp is clearly winning the argument, but it's on Lawrie, 23, to make amends, and he has the tools to do it.
Of course, he'll need to stay on the field to do so, and that's been one of Lawrie's biggest problems over the past year and a half, as he came back from missing 41 games on the DL only over the weekend.
Where things will get even more interesting for Lawrie, who possesses 20-20 potential but has yet to prove as much on the field, is that he's playing second base for the Jays, so he should soon add that eligibility in your league.
At some point, you figure, it'll happen for Lawrie. When that'll be, though, is anyone's guess.
Chris is doing his best to become the best Archer out there.
Aside from a couple little blips, the Rays rook has been dynamite since getting called up on June 1. To wit, the 24-year-old with the killer fastball-slider combo is rocking a 2.96 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 7.0 K/9 in his nine starts.
And his last one? Well, that was a gem of a complete-game shutout with more whiffs (eight) than hits allowed (five).
Yes, he's faced the Astros twice, including Sunday, and the Twins, so not exactly boffo lineups, but it can't hurt that the kid has dominated 'em and is building up his confidence.
He may make a push for American League Rookie of the Year over the second half.