Even the best fantasy teams deal with injuries at some point during the season. Identifying solid second half contributors can help smart owners whether the storm as fatigue takes its toll on key contributors. Alex Wood has seen his stock soar after a strong season in the minors, and has impressed in limited major-league action. Wily Peralta broke in with a solid rookie performance, but it’s taken some time for him to adjust during his sophomore season. Both could provide value over the second half.
SP Alex Wood 23% owned in CBSSports.com leagues
Wood has been a solid contributor to the Atlanta Braves’ bullpen, but will get a chance to prove himself in the team’s rotation Thursday. With Tim Hudson now out with a fractured ankle, there’s a chance Wood can parlay a strong start into consistent playing time. Wood entered the year as the club’s seventh rated prospect, according to Marc Hulet, but a tremendous run at Double-A led to aggressive promotions. Wood has shown above-average strikeout rates during his short professional career, so there’s reason to think he’ll still remain strong after moving to the rotation. He’s also done a good job producing ground balls. He showed the same skills in the minors.
There are two reasons for concern. One is his lack of experience. Wood made his professional debut in 2012, and has only pitched 114.2 innings in the minors. Some pitchers are able to make the transition to the majors without issue, while it takes others a while to adjust. There’s really no telling if Wood will let his inexperience or nerves get to him during his first few starts. The other issue is his walk rate. While it’s been a solid 9.2% in the majors, that’s an increase over what he’s done in the minors. Wood’s great strikeout rate will help him mask any control issues, but it’s something worth watching, even if it hasn’t been a huge concern thus far. He has the potential to earn a larger role based on his performance. He’s a high-strikeout, ground ball pitcher. That seems promising.
SP Wily Peralta 40% owned in CBSSports.com leagues
It’s taken a few months, but Peralta is starting to show some signs of life in July. Peralta has seen his strikeout rate jump during the month. After hovering around 12% during the first three months of the year, Peralta has seen his strikeout rate jump to 24.5% in July. While that’s a small sample there’s at least some reason to buy his gains. As the season has progressed, Peralta has been able to add velocity. In April, he averaged 94.48 mph with his fastball. That’s jumped to 95.79 in July.
The pitch that has seen the biggest jump in effectiveness has been Peralta’s slider. Peralta has been able to increase his whiff rate with the pitch in each month, getting it all the way up to 23.42% during July. It’s been Peralta’s primary pitch with two strikes all year. Peralta has allowed just one earned run in his last four starts, so he’s started to gain some attention in fantasy leagues. If he’s still available, it’s worth seeing if he can continue his performance going forward.