Because of some of the incentives built into the new CBA -- ones that I outlinedof Waiver Wire -- it's better not to presume everyday duty for the big-name call-ups we're seeing this time of year.
But I've been pleasantly surprised by the playing time so far for one of the biggest, Gunnar Henderson, and there are indications that a couple of the more recent arrivals, Triston Casas and Spencer Steer, will play nearly every day as well.
They're among the eight players featured in today's Waiver Wire, but we'll begin with another exciting call-up -- from a couple months ago, anyway -- whose impending return from injury may be getting lost in the hubbub.
KC Kansas City • #9 • Age: 25
Pasquantino has begun a rehab assignment at Triple-A, putting him within a couple days of a return, most likely. You may remember he was finally coming into his own when he suffered a shoulder injury in late August, having hit .362 with five homers and a 1.088 OPS in his past 17 games. During that stretch, he struck out just five times while walking eight times, exhibiting the same exceptional plate discipline that defined his time in the minors. Of course, it's not like his strikeouts were out of control before then. Between the amount of contact and quality of contact (92.2 mph average exit velocity), he was bound to get hot, and he still has more ground to make up judging by his .280 xBA and .483 xSLG.
BAL Baltimore • #2 • Age: 21
While the Diamondbacks have already sat Corbin Carroll once, most likely as a way of managing his at-bats to preserve his rookie eligibility, the Orioles are 5 for 5 in starting Henderson so far, including twice at second base, twice at third base and once at shortstop. He even got the start against the left-handed JP Sears Friday. It wouldn't be so noteworthy if he was struggling, as rookies are wont to do, but the 21-year-old already has a home run and stolen base and has hardly looked overmatched, striking out just three times. If he's soon to be triple-eligible in addition to what he brings offensively, then you probably should have added Henderson yesterday. Fortunately, it's not too late in one-third of CBS Sports leagues.
Joc Pederson LF
SF San Francisco • #23 • Age: 30
Remember how Pederson began the year hitting .362 (17 for 47) with six home runs in his first 14 games? He looked like a godsend, particularly given the miserable state of offense around the league in that first month, but I warned at the time that streakiness was his M.O. and the production likely wouldn't last. It didn't, but it may be starting up again. He had back-to-back two-hit games over the weekend and is now batting .500 (13 for 26) with three homers over his past nine games. He doesn't often start against left-handers but is likely to come in as soon as the starter is taken out, as happened Sunday. If you're looking to make up ground in the power categories specifically, Pederson makes for a quality hot-hand play.
Nick Lodolo SP
CIN Cincinnati • #40 • Age: 24
Lodolo has had an up-and-down rookie season, but with his latest showing (and perhaps his best yet) Sunday against the Rockies, he's gotten his ERA below 4.00 for the first time all year. The ups have been more frequent than the downs lately, too, considering he now has a 2.89 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 10.2 K/9 in his past eight starts. His curveball has proven to be among the best of its kind, but it was the fastball racking up whiffs Sunday, as in nine of his 14 total. Now that we're into September, targeting a pitcher on the waiver wire is as much about his remaining matchups as anything, but Lodolo's are favorable, with two remaining starts against a Brewers lineup that struggles against left-handers and one each against the Pirates and Cubs.
BOS Boston • #36 • Age: 23
An ankle injury cost Casas a big chunk of the season, keeping him from putting up the kind of numbers we were hoping to see at Triple-A Worcester. But a late surge -- namely, a .352 (25 for 71) batting average, three home runs and as many walks as strikeouts (15) over his final 19 games -- preceded his promotion to the big leagues. He was in the lineup Sunday, going 1 for 4, and apparently, that's going to be the norm. "We're going to use him the right way," said manager Alex Cora. "He's going to play almost every day. He did an outstanding job the last few weeks." First base is a deep position, but Casas has been compared to everyone from Cody Bellinger to Freddie Freeman and could make an immediate impact.
NYY N.Y. Yankees • #91 • Age: 22
Yankees fans have been clamoring for Peraza for months now, and though manager Aaron Boone is still backing Isiah Kiner-Falefa as his starter at shortstop, he did give Peraza a start both there and at second base over the weekend. So far, the 22-year-old is 0 for 7 with three strikeouts, and with the Yankees fighting for playoff positioning, it stands to reason Peraza will have to hit to play. Still, it's never a bad idea to take a shot on upside, particularly in a 5x5 league where Peraza's power/speed profile would be of the most impact. The season-long numbers only tell part of the story. Over his final 54 games at Triple-A, he hit .316 (66 for 209) with 14 homers and 22 steals.
CIN Cincinnati • #7 • Age: 25
Among the recent prospect call-ups, none had a better debut than Steer. The versatile infielder, who was acquired from the Twins in the Tyler Mahle trade, worked a 10-pitch walk in his first major-league at-bat, then smashed a home run to center field in his second. He also hit a double and drew a second walk, finishing 2 for 2. With the Reds fielding a depleted infield and having nothing more to play for, Steer figures to play nearly every day down the stretch, starting once at third base and twice at first so far. Though he doesn't have a ton of raw power, which is why he wasn't the most highly-rated prospect, he learned to maximize his power output in the minors the past couple years and now has the benefit of playing in the majors' most homer-friendly park.
Jose Siri CF
TB Tampa Bay • #26 • Age: 27
Siri's move from the Astros to the Rays was part of the same three-team deal that sent Trey Mancini from the Orioles to the Astros. Mancini may have been the headliner, but Siri has been the biggest beneficiary in Fantasy, even if it's gone unnoticed to this point. The Rays have demonstrated unusual confidence in him, playing him in center field virtually every day, and it's beginning to bear fruit. Over his past nine games, he's batting .423 (11 for 26) with two homers and one steal. In all, he's batting .273 (24 for 88) since joining the Rays, homering twice and stealing five bases. Sure, the strikeout rate is concerning, but as scarce as stolen bases and quality outfielders are, Siri should be considered a Rotisserie asset at this point.