Johan Santana & Jerry Sands: Deep League Waiver Wire

Today’s edition features another injury beneficiary and a man we had all but forgotten about attempting to make a comeback.

Johan Santana | SP BAL | CBS 7% Owned

Yes, I’m serious. And apparently 7% of CBS owners are as well. Santana hasn’t pitched since 2012 after his 4.85 ERA suggested that he was done as an effective pitcher. But his peripherals remained respectable and his SIERA actually sat below 4.00. Even with a fastball that dipped below the 90 mph barrier, his slider and change were good enough to suggest that maybe he still had something in him with some better luck. But last year, he suffered another shoulder injury that required surgery and he hasn’t pitched since. Shoulder injuries are notoriously difficult to return from, which makes it easy to write him off at this point.

But the Orioles added the southpaw to their 40-man roster on Monday and word is that they will consider moving him into their rotation later in the month. Though pitchers often return from shoulder surgery with diminished velocity, something that seemed like a sure thing to happen to the 35-year-old, Santana has reportedly been hitting the high 80s with his fastball. That’s a good sign that he’s already there as you would figure he still has the chance to build up more arm strength and increase his velocity further. Picking him up now is a preemptive move, while everyone else is likely taking a wait and see approach. Bid your FAAB’s minimum now and pick him up for peanuts rather than waiting a couple of weeks and competing with your league mates all hoping to catch lightning in a bottle.

Jerry Sands | OF TB| 1% Owned

Another day, another major injury. This time, Wil Myers is the victim after fracturing his wrist, which will sideline him for at least two months. Jerry Sands was recalled to take Myers’ roster spot and was immediately slotted into the cleanup spot and filling the DH role. Sands is no longer a real prospect, as the 26-year-old joins his third organization in three years. But, he’s typically shown above average power in the minors and has displayed good plate patience. He does strike out though, but the Rays are smart enough to live with the strike outs if they come with walks and power.

But he has to start showing that power at the Major League level, because he hasn’t so far in 256 career plate appearances. His ISO sits at just .128, which just doesn’t cut it when you’re striking out a quarter of your plate appearances. Sands should be given an extended opportunity as the Rays need offense — they were tied for 23rd in runs scored heading into yesterday’s games and were second to last in the American League. Unfortunately, filling the DH slot gives him less job security as the Rays love to rotate their players. But if he hits, which is the hope when you pick him up, then he should be fine.

Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

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Just a little context: Santana’s ERA was so high in 2012 because his last few (presumably injured) starts were terrible, pretty much everything after the no-hitter. The game log from July 6 on is a disaster. He was good before that, though outpitching peripherals, and of course, those bad starts count. But he was a good pitcher in 2012 through June 30.