Up until last night, Tom Wilhelmsen was my highest scorer in ottoneu, a league in which I own Ryan Braun, Troy Tulowitzki, Robinson Cano, and Dan Haren, to name a few. Mike Minor‘s great outing launched him past the Mariner set-up man, but Wilhelmsen’s value through the first two weeks of the season should be noted.
In any holds league, Wilhelmsen is looking like a quality add, if he is even still available. In ottoneu he is especially valuable due to his SP/RP eligibility — he started 12 games in triple-A last year. Since moving to a relief role last year, Wilhelmsen is an entirely different pitcher than he was as a stater. His strikeout rate in the majors of 24% easily trumps that of his triple-A mark last year of 14.7%. This is relatively common with relievers, and it is one reason why you often see set-up men like Wilhelmsen come out of nowhere to become extremely reliable.
Wilhelmsen packs a 95mph four-seam fastball which sets the tone for his curveball, which has been rather effective so far this year. His two-pitch repertoire, along with the occasional change up, fits well in a back end role.
ZiPS does not like Wilhelmsen for the rest of the season, giving him a 1.34 K/BB for the remainder of the year. I don’t think this does him justice, as his sample size as a reliever is too small to judge him accurately in a projection system — ZiPS also has him starting nine games which will not happen.
With three holds already, he looks like he is entrenched in the set-up role and could be next in line for saves if something happened to Brandon League. As mentioned, the sample size for Wilhelmsen is rather small, so picking him up will require at least a bit of speculation that his performance to date is not luck filled. From my vantage point, it looks reliable, and in acquiring him in the FanGraphs ottoneu league I am showing my faith in him. I picked him up for just $1, and he should be owned in all ottoneu leagues. In other holds leagues, he is one of the top guys that should be targeted on the waiver wire, and he could provide value in his rate stats for deeper leagues or in AL-only formats.