Surkamp and Stewart: Deep League Waiver Wire

This week’s hidden gems for you deep leaguers still in the hunt for the cash include a pair of young pitchers. Just what you want to hang your season on, huh?

Eric Surkamp, SP SF | 15% Owned

The 24-year old lefty Surkamp made his debut against the Astros at the end of August and was recalled again to make his second start last night versus the Padres (which is happening as I type). He was dominating Double-A upon his recall to the tune of a 28.9% K% and 7.7% BB% in 142.1 innings, but that’s also the rub. He is 24, yet has been brought along slowly and has not pitched an inning at Triple-A. He was also generally league average in inducing ground balls, which all else equal is less desirable. The real issue with Surkamp is his stuff, specifically his velocity. His fastball averaged just 87.5 miles per hour during his first start, which is why he threw his curve ball nearly 30% of the time. However, that kind of velocity may simply not be enough to prevent hitters from sitting on the curve, so he will have to mix in his cutter and change-up more than the combined 10% he threw it in that start. Nonetheless, given his home ball park and some excellent minor league numbers, he is worth taking a shot on.

Zach Stewart, SP CHW | 7% Owned

After taking a perfect game into the 8th inning during his last start, Stewart is now on many more fantasy radars than he was before the game. Of course, one good start doesn’t make a pitcher worth recommending. Stewart has actually posted some pretty solid skills during his rookie campaign. Though his K% is a bit below the league average, he makes up for it with sterling control and a fantastic ground ball rate near 54%. A .327 BABIP and 13.0% HR/FB have inflated his ERA, yet he boasts a 3.48 SIERA and 3.57 xFIP. His fastball velocity is below average for a righty and his new defensive support in the form of the White Sox squad won’t do him in favors as they sport a negative UZR/150. However, a strong ground ball profile and good control should keep him relevant with an opportunity to generate some value, especially if his luck improves.

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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