Fantasy Baseball Analysis: The Big Story of Week 9

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Michael Wacha

Prospect Michael Wacha getting called up Thursday to start for St. Louis (photo courtesy of SBNation).

Wacha Gonna Do?

The St. Louis Cardinals are finally calling up top prospect Michael Wacha for Thursday’s match-up with the Kansas City Royals.  Wacha was a first-round pick for the Cards in the 2012 MLB Draft, and coming into 2013, he was ranked in the top 100 by both Baseball America and MLB.com.  Last season in the minors, Wacha dominated in a relief role, and when I say "dominated," I'm talking about a K/9 of 19.13.  Yeah, his stuff is that good.  So far this year, he holds a 4-0 record in 9 starts, with a 2.05 ERA, but with diminished strikeout totals.  The main concern with Wacha presently is his limited pitch counts, especially since he tends to fall behind hitters but has the overpowering stuff to get out of trouble-- that's a recipe for throwing a lot of pitches, which could mean a bunch of starts where he doesn't make it to the sixth inning.

Considering the defense behind him, his home ballpark and the powerful St. Louis offense, Michael Wacha is worth a flier in nearly every format.  Additionally, looking at the early returns on guys like Tyler Lyons and John Gast (combined 4-0 in 5 starts), we can infer that perhaps the Cardinals know what they’re doing.  As long as you don’t expect another Stephen Strasburg or Matt Harvey, you shouldn’t be disappointed.  Keep in mind, however, that scouts and team brass can be wrong from time to time, as Orioles fans are finding out now with Kevin Gausman.

Don’t Believe the Hype

Middle infielder Nick Franklin seems to be causing quite a stir in the Emerald City.  And while there is nothing wrong with exuberance and fan excitement, this is probably one of those situations where Franklin is a better baseball player than he is a fantasy player.  His defense is shaky at times which could lead to a platoon, and he hasn't hit for power since his 2010 season in single-A ball.  I would rather have Neil Walker or stash Aaron Hill-- both of whom are owned in less than 70% of leagues-- than the no. 7 hitter on the Mariners.  Just sayin’.

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