Brett Anderson, SP - LAD
Seven percent. That's the portion of Yahoo! leagues in which Anderson is currently owned. In ESPN leagues, his ownership rate is below 2 percent. This fascinates me, considering that the lefty has loads of talent, appears to finally be healthy, and has found himself in a nice situation starting for one of the best teams in the National League.
Previously viewed as one of the game's better young starting pitchers, Anderson has been besieged with injuries over the past five years. The Rockies traded for him last year and he was effective when able to pitch, putting up a 2.91 ERA, but he was limited to eight starts due to multiple injuries -- the most significant being a herniated disc in his back that required surgery.
The Dodgers felt confident enough in Anderson's recovery from that ailment that they signed him for $10 million during the offseason, and their gamble is paying dividends early. He has been very solid in his first two starts, posting a 3.27 ERA with a 7/2 K/BB ratio over 11 innings.
There are two important things to keep in mind with regards to Anderson. Firstly, although he's dealt with numerous injuries in recent years, none have been major issues related to the elbow or shoulder in his throwing arm. That lessens concern that he'll face any lingering effects on the mound. Secondly, Anderson is still only 27 years old. That might seem hard to believe, considering how long he's been around, but he was only 21 when he broke into the majors back in 2009.
He's still very much in his physical prime, and the silver lining of all the setbacks that have kept him sidelined over the past half-decade is that he has limited the wear on his arm. Anderson is still pretty fresh and his early performances have suggested that he hasn't forgotten how to pitch. He'll never be a guy that racks up tons of strikeouts, but when healthy the southpaw throws in the zone and racks up quality starts.
I think it's crazy that so few fantasy owners have taken him on, even in deep leagues. Grab him before your opponents wise up.
Carlos Rodon, SP/RP - CWS
That didn't take too long. Many felt that Rodon was the best player available in the 2014 MLB draft, and nearly everyone believed he was the most polished pitcher. Now, he'll get a chance to show his stuff in the majors after making just 11 total appearances in the minor leagues. On Monday, the White Sox promoted their top prospect.
Initially, Rodon will pitch out of the bullpen, and since he won't be closing his value in that role will be limited. However, Chicago clearly views Rodon as a starter so it shouldn't be long before he finds his way into the rotation. All he needs to wait for is an injury or perhaps a few more bad outings from Hector Noesi, who looked terrible in his first start against Minnesota.
Once he finds his way into the rotation, Rodon will offer massive fantasy upside. He touches the mid-90s from the left side and mixes in an absolutely devastating slider, helping him blow away hitters at every level. In 34 innings during his rapid ascent through the minors, he struck out 51, including 13 over two starts at Triple-A this season.
Rodon essentially looked ready in spring training, where he put up a 3.65 ERA while fanning 19 in 11 1/3 innings, but the Sox gained extra team control by giving him a couple tuneup starts in the minors. Expect his stay in the bullpen to be relatively brief, and expect his entrance to the rotation to be something special. This kid can throw.