Matt Boyd - SP, DET
Owned in 7% of Yahoo leagues
While coming up through the minors, Boyd was a force to be reckoned with. A lefty capable of reaching the mid-90s, he averaged nearly a strikeout per inning while ascending Toronto's system. His reputation was strong enough that Boyd was a central piece in the 2015 midseason blockbuster trade that sent David Price to Toronto.
Unfortunately, Boyd has thus far been unable to translate his minor-league dominance to the bigs. His MLB debut in 2015 -- 13 appearances (12 starts) split between the Blue Jays and Tigers -- was brutal, resulting in a 1-6 record and 7.53 ERA. Last year the southpaw showed improvement over 20 appearances (18 starts) with the Tigers, but still battled inconsistency.
The up-and-down pattern was perfectly encapsulated by Boyd's final month. His September looked like this:
9/6: 7 IP, 2 ER
9/13: 3.2 IP, 7 ER
9/20: 8 IP, 1 ER
9/25: 0 IP, 4 ER
Yeah, you read that last one correctly. In the last start of his sophomore season, Boyd coughed up four runs on five hits and left before recording a single out. It was an inauspicious finish that gave way to an inauspicious start here in 2017.
Boyd won a rotation spot with an exceptional spring highlighted by a 23-to-1 K/BB ratio over 25 innings, but his momentum was derailed in a season-opening loss to the White Sox in which he surrendered five runs in 3 2/3 frames. However, he bounced back with 12 innings of two-run ball and two victories in his next couple of turns. He was ejected from his most recent outing in the fifth inning after throwing at Minnesota's Miguel Sano.
His early work this year could certainly be viewed as a continuation of the inconsistency that plagued him in 2016, but Boyd has looked pretty good in both March and April with the exception of that clunker in Chicago. His slider velocity is up a tad and he's effectively mixing in the changeup more often. With a true four-pitch mix, Boyd has the tools to sustain as a quality mid-rotation starter. Plus, he's got that powerful Tigers offense backing him up.
Ty Blach - SP, SF
Owned in 2% of Yahoo leagues
Madison Bumgarner's dirt bike incident, which occurred last week and will sideline him for six to eight weeks, is a disastrous development for the Giants, already off to a rough start in the NL West. But it presents a big opportunity for Blach, the left-hander who had been working out of the San Francisco bullpen over the first couple of weeks.
The 26-year-old former fifth-round draft pick worked his way quickly through the minors and debuted briefly for the Giants last September, posting a 1.06 ERA in four appearances. He impressed the club enough to win a spot on the Opening Day roster and has followed up with clean outings in six of his first seven trips to the mound here in 2017. Now, he's first to get a shot as Bumgarner's replacement in the rotation.
Blach lacks dominating stuff, but he has excellent control and works low in the zone, inducing tons of grounders. His efficiency should enable him to work through quick innings and last deep into games as long as he can avoid loud contact. That's something Blach mostly managed to do throughout the minors, as well as his early big-league career.
It's entirely possible that if he shows enough during the next two months, the rookie qualifier could stick around in the Giants rotation. He was almost exclusively a starter in the San Fran system, where he proved exceedingly durable by piling up 600 innings over four seasons.
Don't expect him to miss many bats, but if he can keep throwing strikes and hold his GB rate above 50 percent, Blach should be a steady and reliable asset. The Giants' tough loss could be a key gain for deep-league fantasy owners needing a decent arm.