Each postseason, there is at least a player or two that makes a name for themselves with their play. With a 4-0 record and a 1.00 ERA so far in the playoffs, it is safe to say that Michael Wacha is becoming more and more well known around the league. This means quite a bit of hype heading into fantasy baseball 2014 and beyond.
At the beginning of the 2013 season, Wacha was mowing down hitters in Memphis. The Cardinals called him up from AAA on May 30th, and he finished the regular season with a 4-1 record and a 2.78 ERA. While those numbers were impressive, no one could have predicted that he would rival Adam Wainright as the ace of the staff.
So, what makes Wacha one of the hottest fantasy baseball prospects heading into next season? His size and dominant stuff is a great combination to start with. Baseball teams in general are looking for durable pitchers with a strong build so that they can rely on them for a heavy workload. Wacha’s live arm is also a huge plus, because it helps him strike out more than one batter an inning. Strikeout numbers are also golden in fantasy baseball, so it should shoot him up the ranks.
There is some debate as far as how early he goes in fantasy baseball drafts next season. Some are still a little skeptical, simply because he is still a new face in the National League. With just 64.2 regular season innings and 27 in the postseason, many hitters are still seeing him for the first or second time. The key to sustained success at the MLB level is to consistently make adjustments. It remains to be seen if Wacha will need to improve his secondary pitches the second time through, or if his stuff is already good enough when his location is on.
Right now, he is probably a borderline top 30 starting pitcher in fantasy baseball. With the lack of a solid track record, it is hard to go much higher. If the Cardinals win the World Series, expect him to go before that. Smart owners will not reach for him. More trusted talents such as Matt Cain, Johnny Cueto, Zack Greinke and others should be fine replacements who are available in that range as well.