No one feels bad for the Milwaukee Brewers these days. Sure, pitching injuries hurt. You miss a Freddy Peralta, you miss a Brandon Woodruff.
But the Brewers have an embarrassment of riches at the position. Corbin Burnes was outstanding over the weekend, and Monday at Chicago, Aaron Ashby stepped into the fray.
Ashby, a second-year left-hander, had his way at Wrigley Field. He held the Cubs to one run over six innings, walking two, striking out 12. It was a strong response to Ashby’s last turn (5.2 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 5 K) and ensures that he won’t be leaving the rotation anytime soon.
The key for Ashby’s long-term fantasy value is control. He’s walked 22 batters over 40 innings, which is too many. But he’s mitigated that with a bunch of strikeouts — 51 after Monday’s start — and by keeping the ball in the park (just three homers allowed). His ERA is down to 2.70, and the Statcast data validates that (2.87 expected ERA).
The wonky 1.33 WHIP? That’s the walks talking. Still, when someone posts a 12-strikeout game, you generally add the pitcher and ask questions later.
Ashby mixes in four pitches, including a 95.9 mph fastball. His heater, curve and change all grade as plus pitches. He also comes from good stock; his uncle, Andy Ashby, had a 14-year career as a pitcher, made a couple of All-Star teams in the late 1990s.
Uncle Andy was primarily a member of the Padres, the team Aaron faces next. It’s last call for the Milwaukee lefty. Ashby is just under 50 percent rostered in Yahoo as we go to press.
Christopher Morel marking his territory
We’re getting close to last call on Christopher Morel, the new Cubs leadoff man. For the fourth straight day Monday, he stole a base. He also slotted leadoff for both games of the doubleheader; he’s been there six straight times now. Morel, who we talked about last week, is slashing .286/.386/.469, with two homers and five steals over two weeks of play.
Morel’s lovely versatility makes him an easy kick-the-tires pickup. He’s currently eligible at second base, third base and the outfield for Yahoo gamers. He might pick up shortstop eligibility later this year.
Morel’s plate discipline has earned raves from the Cubs and could keep him parked in the leadoff spot for a while. His current roster tag is 29 percent, but that could be doubled by the end of the week.
J.P. Feyereisen's bagel parade
Morel was one of my most aggressive FAAB targets last weekend, adding him where I could. I also threw some offers at Tampa Bay reliever J.P. Feyereisen. His stat page, well, it’s too good to be true. Check what he’s done over 23 innings: 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 25 K. That's an ERA of zero, a WHIP of 0.39.
We know that type of batted-ball luck is unsustainable, but we also know to trust the K/BB ratio. And the Rays like to use Feyereisen in high-leverage situations. It’s led to four tidy wins for the righty, and he recorded his first save over the weekend.
I’d prefer Feyereisen move his way into the closing mix, but I’m not against some relief wins. And even with his outlier results to this point, they’re not that far from his career norms — 2.34 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, .150 batting average allowed. And we know how valuable relievers on winning teams can be for fantasy purposes. You can still add Feyereisen in 60 percent of Yahoo leagues.