Drew Pomeranz - SP, SD
Owned in 19% of Yahoo leagues
A few years ago, Drew Pomeranz was widely viewed as one of the best pitching prospects in the game. A big 6'6" left-hander with velocity and quality secondaries, he offered upside that general managers drool over.
Since being selected by the Indians with the fifth overall pick in the 2010 draft, Pomeranz has already been traded three times -- first from Cleveland to Colorado in the Ubaldo Jimenez deal, then from Colorado to Oakland in the Brett Anderson deal, and most recently from Oakland to San Diego in December's Yonder Alonso deal.
Finally, he's found a spot where he truly has a chance to thrive.
At age 27, Pomeranz looks very much like a pitcher who hasn't yet touched his ceiling. As a minor-leaguer, he posted a 3.06 ERA while averaging 10.1 K/9 over five seasons. He started his big-league career in the toughest environment possible, playing home games at Coors Field, and during his three seasons with the Rockies he accumulated an ugly 5.20 ERA.
Going from Colorado to Oakland represented a massive improvement in that regard, and his numbers reflected it; during two seasons with the A's, the lefty put up a 3.08 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in 73 appearances (19 starts). His strikeouts went up, his control improved, and opponents batted just .216 against him.
His latest move to Petco Park places him in an even better pitching environment. Unlike the Athletics, who shifted Pomeranz back and forth between rotation and bullpen, the Padres appear committed to trying him as a starter. He was competing for a starting spot in spring training and won one despite a 6.50 ERA -- a hopeful indication that San Diego is ready to stick with him.
With a solidified starting role and a power-sapping home park, Pomeranz becomes a very enticing fantasy option. In his first turn of the season on Saturday, he held a red-hot Rockies lineup to two runs over six innings while striking out seven. The whiff factor is what makes him most appealing, but he has the makings of an all-around breakout candidate.
Jump on him before your league-mates get wise.
Kendall Graveman - SP, OAK
Owned in 3% of Yahoo leagues
Kendall Graveman enjoyed a solid rookie season last year in Oakland, posting a respectable 4.05 ERA. Granted, that number came attached to some rather unimpressive peripherals, but he was 24 and getting his first taste of the majors as a starter.
Now, he's looking to build on his positives from 2015 as a sophomore. Among those positives was a 50 percent grounder rate that allowed him to keep damage in check despite a mediocre 6.0 K/9 rate.
That was more or less his M.O. in the minors, where the right-hander registered a fantastic 2.26 ERA over three seasons despite averaging only six strikeouts per nine. His heavy sinking stuff enabled him to consistently keep the ball in the park, as he allowed only six total home runs in 231 innings.
In that sense, his increased susceptibility to the long ball with the A's last year (15 HR in 115 IP) feels like a bit of a fluke, especially in that park.
It's hard to project much upside in the K category, because although Graveman has plenty of movement on his pitches -- including a change with immense drop -- he's just never been able to induce a lot of swings and misses, at any level.
What his arsenal has done is induce a lot of weak contact and grounders, and if he can stay true to his roots in that regard he should be a fairly consistent performer and a valuable piece in deeper leagues.