|Name||Position||Team||ESPN Own %|
|Logan Gilbert||SP||Seattle Mariners||28.6|
|Adbert Alzolay||SP||Chicago Cubs||15.7|
|Yusei Kikuchi||SP||Seattle Mariners||29.8|
|Casey Mize||SP||Detroit Tigers||16.5|
|Jordan Romano||RP||Toronto Blue Jays||32.2|
1. Logan Gilbert | SP | Seattle Mariners
Buried in the Jarred Kelenic news was the promotion of another top prospect in Seattle, Logan Gilbert. While Kelenic might be Seattle’s number-one overall prospect, Gilbert is not far behind at number four. The 6’6″, 24-year-old former first-round pick has only gotten better since being drafted out of Stetson University in 2018. He features a mid-90s four-seamer that can hit 97, a hard slider, a curveball, and an above average changeup. He quickly rose through the ranks and dominated in Double-A before impressing at the alternate training site last season, enough so to leave him as one of the Mariners most highly-regarded prospects. As I type this, he is scheduled to make his major league debut tonight against the Indians alongside Jarred Kelenic. Very little short of an injury in his first start will change my mind, as he’s worth an add regardless of how his debut goes. Two of his next three starts could come at home against the Tigers and the Rangers.
2. Adbert Alzolay | SP | Chicago Cubs
The 26-year-old righty in Chicago has shown flashes in 2021 of the promise that made him such a well-regarded prospect with the Cubs. The consistency isn’t quite there, however, as he currently sits with a 1-3 record, a 4.50 ERA, and an Average Exit Velocity in the 29th-percentile. While admittedly his strikeout percentage, walk percentage, and chase rate are impressive, he’s getting hit too hard when batters are making contact. You aren’t likely to see too many dominate outings with contact that hard. However, his ability to strike batters out, mixed with his stinginess on walks, should give him a solid baseline. Particularly in points leagues, consider adding Alzolay for this week, as he’s lined up for two starts. As it stands, he should pitch at home against Washington and on the road against St. Louis.
3. Yusei Kikuchi | SP | Seattle Mariners
Since joining the big leagues from Japan, Kikuchi sports a 5.20 ERA across three seasons and 252.2 innings pitched with a 7.4 strikeouts-per-nine rate and 2.51 strikeout-to-walk ratio. While admittedly these are not great numbers, Kikuchi seems to have taken a step forward in 2021. Through 44 innings, Kikuchi has a 4.30 ERA, his strikeouts-per-nine rate is up to 9.2, and his strikeout-to-walk ratio is up to 3.46. More specifically, over his last three outings, Kikuchi has a 2.66 ERA, 25 strikeouts, 4 walks, and a .169 opponent batting average across 20.1 innings. While he’s likely not going to be winning any League-Winner Awards, he’s worth an add to see if he can keep up the impressive outings.
4. Casey Mize | SP | Detroit Tigers
Another two-start option for the week is Casey Mize. He hasn’t looked great thus far in the early goings of his MLB career. Keep in mind, however, he’s still a 24-year-old rookie, has a good mix of pitches, and was one of the game’s most prized prospects when he debuted in 2020. Things have yet to click for him though, as he has a career 5.37 ERA in 67 innings pitched across 2020 and 2021. This year, Mize is 2-3 with a 4.19 ERA, 27 strikeouts, and 16 walks across 38.2 innings. This isn’t going to get the job done in the slightest, particularly in fantasy. He is walking way too many batters and not generating enough swings and misses. Some of his peripherals indicate we shouldn’t expect a positive regression, either. That being said, it hasn’t all been bad. On April 12th, Mize pitched seven scoreless innings against Houston. In both of his last two starts, Mize has completed six innings while giving up two earned runs or less. Mize should see two starts this week against Seattle and Kansas City. If you’re looking for a two start pitcher, particularly in points leagues, Mize has a couple of decent matchups and is worth a look.
5. Jordan Romano | RP | Toronto Blue Jays
I’ve got another reliever for you. Jordan Romano, seemingly the last man standing in Toronto right now, has lucked himself into closing duties for the time being. While his season numbers have been solid, he sports a 2.79 ERA across 9.1 innings, it took a few injuries for him to earn the save opportunities. The hard-throwing righty has solid peripherals though, as his expected wOBA and expected ERA are both in the 90th percentile or higher, and opponents are posting an expected slugging percentage of just .271. In other words, he’s generating enough swings and misses and not giving up very much hard contact. You can pick up Romano and rack up a few saves for the time being while Rafael Dolis remains out and Romano’s role remains clear. Who knows, if he keeps pitching well, he might get to keep the closer job.