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.
Nathan Eovaldi struggled in his last minor league rehab start at Triple-A Durham, yielding eight earned runs on 10 hits over just four innings, but you wouldn’t know it as he graced the mound Wednesday for his first major league appearance since August 2016. The 28-year-old right-hander worked six hitless innings against the A’s, striking out four batters and issuing just one walk in an eventual 6-0 victory for Tampa Bay. He probably could have gone deeper in the game -- Rays manager Kevin Cash lifted him at just 70 pitches -- but you can understand the early hook given that Eovaldi has undergone two elbow procedures in the last 16 months. His velocity was up to his pre-operation(s) levels and he’s suddenly looking like a fantasy-relevant starter again. Up next is a road matchup against the Nationals and Max Scherzer. That’ll be a test.