There are plenty of waiver wire columns out there that provide an exhaustive list of the most added players in fantasy leagues. This isn’t one of them. Here, we’ll run down a few lesser-known, lesser-considered, or lesser-owned players, with perspective on who deserves a your attention, who deserves your patience, and who deserves to go straight to bed without dessert.
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3 TO CATCH
Nate Eovaldi | Miami Marlins | SP
By fWAR, Eovaldi has been the fifth-best pitcher in baseball so far this season. It’s not that surprising to see a young power pitcher in that spot, but Eovaldi isn’t your typical young flamethrower.
He racks up plenty of strikeouts, but does it without missing a ton of bats. His 7.4% swinging strike rate isn’t an aberration. His slider pretty good, but not outstanding. His changeup is more of a credible rumor than an actual major league pitch. His fastball is elite, but it actually doesn’t get a ton of whiffs.
I suppose you could say that Eovaldi pitches to contact, just contact that doesn’t end up in the field of play. At 97 miles per hour, on average, hitters just can’t square up his heater. The foul ball per swing rate on his fastball is nearly four standard deviations above league average, per Brooks Baseball.
His four-seamer gets on hitters so quickly and has so much life, Eovaldi can just pound the strike zone with it, knowing he’ll either end up with a strikeout or weak contact most of the time. It’s a great approach, and one he’s executed exceptionally well this season. His 71.8% zone percentage leads the major leagues; his 66.2% first strike percentage ranks 15th.
This all has to be taken with a bit of caution, as Eovaldi has struggled with his control in the past, but if he can continue to hammer the strike zone with his fastball, there’s no reason to think these excellent results won’t continue.