Welcome to Pickup of the Day, where every weekday we'll pick an under-the-radar player whose immediate value is on the rise. The idea here is to identify a starter who can give you some solid innings off the scrap heap, a talented backup who's been given a chance because of a starter's injury, an unheralded regular with a favorable matchup, or a potential breakout player who's starting to put it together. Unlike regular waiver-wire advice, Pickup of the Day is geared more towards interim success, but hopefully we'll have the intuition to help you snag a waiver-wire gem a few times this season.
Jharel Cotton was terrific in his MLB debut Wednesday afternoon against the Angels, yielding just one run on two hits over 6 1/3 innings as the Athletics grabbed a 4-1 victory at Oakland Coliseum. Acquired from the Dodgers last month in the Rich Hill and Josh Reddick trade, Cotton nearly threw a perfect game in his second start with Triple-A Nashville and is now carving his way through lineups with ease in MLB. Granted, that Angels lineup did not include Mike Trout or Albert Pujols. Cotton had a 2.82 ERA in 38 1/3 total innings with Nashville at the time of his promotion and he boasts 499 strikeouts in 447 career minor league innings. There's a lot to like here, with a decent matchup coming next week on the road versus Kansas City.