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Pickups of the Day: Fletcher Takes Flight

Dominic Fletcher

Dominic Fletcher

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Rotoworld’s brand-new Pickups of the Day column is designed to help fantasy managers uncover a handful of widely-available targets over the course of the season. It could be a breakout candidate, a prospect stash, an injury replacement, a pitcher with a favorable matchup or week, a player who is due some better luck, or any other number of scenarios. If there’s value to be found on the waiver wire, we will find it and bring it your way. Today’s edition features an unheralded rookie tearing the cover off the ball in Arizona, the return of a veteran southpaw in Boston and emergence of another potential closing option for New York.

Dominic Fletcher, OF, Diamondbacks

Available in 84 percent of Yahoo leagues

Arguably the hottest hitter in baseball since being called up from Triple-A Reno back on April 30, Fletcher is slashing an astronomical .429/.455/.690 with two home runs and 13 RBI across 46 plate appearances in 14 games in the majors. The unheralded 25-year-old outfielder, who was a second-round pick out of Arkansas back in 2019, was batting .323 (30-for-93) with three homers in 22 games this season at the Triple-A level, so it’s not a total shock to see him experiencing immediate success at the highest level. He went 8-for-15 with two homers and nine RBI during Arizona’s most recent four-game series with the Giants and has shown zero signs of slowing down at the dish. Regression is ultimately the strongest force in fantasy baseball, which means Fletcher obviously won’t sustain his current level of stratospheric offensive production for much longer. However, fantasy managers should ride the wave until it reaches shore. Given Fletcher’s contact-oriented approach, he should remain a viable contributor for fantasy managers, especially in deeper mixed leagues, as a batting average stabilizer capable of chipping in the occasional homer or stolen base.

James Paxton, SP, Red Sox

Available in 83 percent of Yahoo leagues

The major question marks with Big Maple have always understandably centered around his long-term health and durability. After missing nearly three years due to injury, Paxton made his long-awaited Boston debut on Friday evening against the Cardinals at historic Fenway Park and authored an extremely impressive performance, piling up nine strikeouts over five innings of two-run ball. Perhaps the most impressive aspect to his debut was that his average four-seam fastball velocity clocked in at 96.3 mph, which is up significantly from the last time he pitched in the majors a few seasons ago. If he can sustain that level of fastball velocity, it enables the rest of his arsenal, most notably his curveball, to generate swinging strikes. The 34-year-old left-hander’s durability concerns aren’t going to vanish, but he’s healthy at the moment, and the Red Sox are going to keep him in the starting rotation until further notice. He’s lined up to face the Padres on Friday in a road matchup at Petco Park in San Diego and represents a viable streaming option for fantasy managers given his strikeout upside.

Wandy Peralta, RP, Yankees

Available in 91 percent of Yahoo leagues

Here are the conclusions we can definitively draw regarding New York’s closing situation through nearly two months. There isn’t a primary stopper at the moment with both Clay Holmes and Michael King functioning as high-leverage firemen, while Peralta has netted saves for the Yankees in two of their last three games. Yankees manager Aaron Boone hasn’t said anything definitive regarding his closing mix, but he’s summoned Peralta to slam the door a bunch recently as the 31-year-old southpaw has reeled off nine consecutive scoreless relief appearances since April 24. Given the uncertainty surrounding New York’s closing mix, it wouldn’t come as a shock if either King or Holmes recorded the next handful of save, but for the moment, it appears that Peralta has established himself as a viable closing option and is in the mix for saves moving forward. He should be rostered in deeper mixed leagues as a potential saves source.

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