Mike Fiers - SP, MIL
Now that Matt Garza's injury has opened a spot in the Milwaukee rotation, Fiers is back in the big leagues. Fantasy owners need to take immediate notice because the right-hander is a strikeout machine and has been obliterating the competition in Triple-A this season.
Fiers showed considerable promise as a rookie for the Brewers in 2012, when he posted a 3.74 ERA with an outstanding 135-to-36 K/BB ratio in 127 innings. His 2013 season was ruined by injuries and setbacks, but he's been back on track this year with Class-AAA Nashville, where he had gone 8-5 with a 2.55 ERA and a spectacular 129-to-17 (!) K/BB ratio in 102 innings.
Fiers led the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League in strikeout rate (31.5 percent) and had the third-lowest walk rate (4.2 percent). He was also allowing homers at a lower clip than all but three qualified pitchers in the league.
As such, the 29-year-old was a natural and obvious choice to replace Garza, who will likely be out until September. Fiers fared extremely well in his first start with the Brewers on Saturday, holding a potent Dodgers lineup to one run over eight innings with five strikeouts and only one walk.
Based on what he's done in Triple-A this year, and what he proved capable of in the majors during that impressive rookie campaign in 2012, we're expecting plenty more of the same from Fiers, who is currently owned in less than 5 percent of Yahoo! and ESPN leagues. He is a highly recommended pickup with the potential for big fantasy output across multiple categories.
Trevor May - SP, MIN
Like Fiers, May has been dominating in Triple-A this year and was called up to make his first big-league start of the season on Saturday, in what was also his MLB debut. Things didn't go nearly as well for May, who struggled mightily with his control in an outing that lasted just two innings, but he's given us plenty of reason to believe that he can put up some nice numbers here in the final months of the season.
Acquired from the Phillies as part of the Ben Revere trade back in December of 2012, May has long been viewed as an arm with big potential and bat-missing ability. Command has been a problem for him in the past, but one that has evidently been getting better and better over time. His K/9 rate in the minors has dropped from 4.7 in 2012 to 4.0 last year to 3.5 this year. Meanwhile, May has always been among the strikeout leaders at each level he's been at.
He's been enjoying the best season of his career in the Class-AAA International League, where he ranked fourth in ERA (2.93) and third in K-rate (24 percent).
Unfortunately, everything was a complete mess in his first start for Minnesota on Saturday, where May coughed up four runs in two innings while walking seven and striking out none. In fairness, he was facing the league's best offense (Oakland) on the road, and he was clearly battling jitters.
May will face much more favorable circumstances in his next start, which comes at home against the Royals. We should gain a better idea of what he's capable of in that start.