We've got new leads this week, sales team, so please listen up.
In the tiers below, you'll find three names that we haven't yet discussed in this feature — young pitchers who are serving as placeholders for injured vets, all with short-term opportunities to achieve fantasy relevance. I'm giving each of these kids a test-drive somewhere, so I thought I'd give you a few thoughts on each, beginning with the dude pictured above. Important: None of these guys profile as must-adds in public-style mixed formats, so there's no need to get too transaction happy. As always, do whatever feels right for your league.
Now let's hit the basics...
RHP Nathan Eovaldi, Los Angeles Dodgers, age 22 — Entered the season ranked by Baseball America as the No. 3 prospect in the Dodgers' system, so the expectations are relatively high. He's a hard-thrower (95.0 mph average fastball) with a solid slider, and he's racked up 129 Ks in 138.0 innings at Double-A over the past two seasons. Command has been an issue, but his walk-rate has come down this season, both in the minors and with LA. Eovaldi made six starts and 10 appearances for the Dodgers last season, and managed to hold his own (3.63 ERA, 1.38 WHIP). So far this year, he's been even better: 30.2 IP, 20 Ks, 2.35 ERA, 1.30 WHIP. He hasn't actually delivered a win yet, but that's not entirely his fault — he hasn't allowed more than three runs (earned or unearned) in any of his five starts. He'll face the Giants and Mets in the week ahead.
RHP Chris Archer, Tampa Bay Rays, 23 — Archer's major league debut went fairly well on Wednesday, though he didn't come away with a win. He struck out seven Nats over 6.0 innings, allowing just three hits, one walk and one earned run. He was one of the key prospects (along with SS Hak-Ju Lee) involved in the Matt Garza deal with Chicago. Nice fastball/slider combo, mid-90s velocity, but a history of control issues. His career minor league walk rate is a bit scary (5.2 BB/9), and it was no better at Triple-A this season (5.3). But the strikeouts keep us interested; he's posted 90 Ks in 76.2 innings at Durham so far this year. Archer is in line to face KC and Detroit this week.
RHP Justin Grimm, Texas Rangers, 23 — The scouting profiles will tell you that Grimm projects as a mid-rotation starter if all goes well, yet his numbers from Double-A Frisco this season are as good as any you'll find: 8-3, 1.87 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 77.0 IP, 67 Ks, 14 BB. His big league debut went rather well, too, as he struck out seven Astros over six frames in an 8-3 win, issuing no walks and allowing six hits. Grimm didn't enter the year ranked among the Rangers' top-10 prospects according to most sources, but that's really a testament to the strength of this team's system (Jurickson Profar, Mike Olt, Leonys Martin, Martin Perez, et al). He'll take at least one turn for Texas this week, matching up with Rick Porcello on Monday, but then things get complicated. Derek Holland is due back from the DL fairly soon, perhaps this week.
Again, if you're playing in an 8 or 10-team mixed league, you don't need to scoop up these kids. I'm making no promises of dominance. But in deeper formats, they each deserve a look.
Here's the rest of the Week 13 two-start crew, ranked for your convenience...
No doubt. Must start. No need to ask
Stephen Strasburg — at COL (Francis), at ATL (Minor)
Clayton Kershaw — at SF (Vogelsong), NYM (Gee)
No doubt here, either, but it seemed like the two dudes above deserved a separate tier
Gio Gonzalez — at COL (Friedrich), at ATL (Hudson)
Johan Santana — at CHC (Wood), at LAD (Eovaldi)
James McDonald — at PHI (Worley), at STL (Westbrook)
Yovani Gallardo — at CIN (Latos), ARI (Hudson)
Wandy Rodriguez — SD (Volquez), at CHC (Maholm)
Ryan Vogelsong — LAD (Kershaw), CIN (Arroyo)
Some doubt exists here, but you're probably still doing it
Tim Hudson — ARI (Hudson), WAS (Gonzalez)
Nathan Eovaldi — at SF (Zito), NYM (Santana)
Jake Westbrook — at MIA (Nolasco), PIT (McDonald)
Daniel Hudson — at ATL (Hudson), at MIL (Gallardo)
Vance Worley — PIT (McDonald), at MIA (Nolasco)
Dillon Gee — at CHC (Wells), at LAD (Kershaw)
Joe Blanton — PIT (Bedard), at MIA (Buehrle)
Erik Bedard — at PHI (Blanton), at STL (Lynn)
Bronson Arroyo — MIL (Estrada), at SF (Vogelsong)
Mat Latos — MIL (Gallardo), at SF (Zito)
Really glad this guy isn't my problem this year (finally)
Ricky Nolasco — STL (Westbrook), PHI (Worley)
Same goes for this guy...
Edinson Volquez — at HOU (Rodriguez), at COL (Friedrich)
This tier is full of bad ideas
Jordan Lyles — SD (---), at CHC (Wood)
Barry Zito — LAD (Eovaldi), CIN (Latos)
Christian Friedrich — WAS (Gonzalez), SD (Volquez)
Jeff Francis — WAS (Strasburg), SD (Marquis)
Travis Wood — NYM (Santana), HOU (Lyles)
Josh Outman — WAS (Zimmermann), SD (---)
CJ Wilson — at BAL (Hunter), at TOR (Laffey)
Jake Peavy — at MIN (Liriano), at NYY (Kuroda)
Yu Darvish — DET (Smyly), OAK (Blackley)
Hiroki Kuroda — CLE (Tomlin), CWS (Peavy)
Matt Moore — at KC (Chen), at DET (Smyly)
Hmmm...sure, OK. Fine. Proceed
Justin Masterson — at NYY (Hughes), at BAL (Hunter)
Felix Doubront — TOR (Alvarez), at SEA (Ramirez)
I'd be willing to look the other way if you're determined to do this...
Chris Archer — at KC (Hochevar), DET (Porcello)
Justin Grimm — DET (Porcello), OAK (Milone)
Phil Hughes — CLE (Masterson), CWS (Floyd)
Jason Vargas — OAK (Blackley), BOS (Matsuzaka)
...but I cannot officially endorse these dudes...
Francisco Liriano — CWS (Peavy), KC (Hochevar)
Daisuke Matsuzaka — TOR (Laffey), at SEA (Vargas)
Luke Hochevar — TB (Archer), at MIN (Liriano)
Gavin Floyd — at MIN (Hendriks), at NYY (Hughes)
...and we've got some messy match-ups in this tier:
Drew Smyly — at TEX (Darvish), at TB (Moore)
Tommy Milone — at SEA (Ramirez), at TEX (Grimm)
Henderson Alvarez — at BOS (Doubront), LAA (Richards)
Travis Blackley — at SEA (Vargas), at TEX (Darvish)
Rick Porcello — at TEX (Grimm), at TB (Archer)
These should really not seem like reasonable options
Tommy Hunter — LAA (Wilson), CLE (Masterson)
Josh Tomlin — at NYY (Kuroda), at BAL (Arrieta)
Erasmo Ramirez — OAK (Milone), BOS (Doubront)
Aaron Laffey — at BOS (Matsuzaka), LAA (Wilson)