Waiver Wire Guidelines: Tony Gonsolin vs. Bryse Wilson: Are Either Worth Adding?

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Young starting pitchers are always a risky proposition, especially those who are making their MLB debut. There’s inconsistency and a learning curve to factor in, and then trying to determine if they are worth the investment both for the short and long-term. With that in mind, let’s take a look at two recently recalled pitchers and try to determine if they are worth owning:

Tony Gonsolin – Los Angeles Dodgers
Prior to the season we ranked him as the Dodgers sixth best prospect, earning a “B” grade, and said the following:

A former reliever, Gonsolin appears to be taking to the move to the rotation with a 10.90 K/9 and 2.95 BB/9 between High-A and Double-A.  He clearly has swing and miss stuff, with a 15.4% SwStr%, though we’d like to see him generating a few more groundballs (36.7%).  That could lead to some home run problems, though if opposing hitters can’t make contact how much of a concern is that going to be?  He’s not a name that gets much recognition, but he’s clearly gaining steam and is going to be garnering more and more attention.

He’s spent the year at Triple-A, pitching to a 2.77 ERA and 1.27 WHIP over 26.0 IP.  While he’s continued to show strikeout stuff (31 K), both his control and groundballs have been sketchy against more advanced hitters with a 4.50 BB/9 and 34.3% groundball rate.  It is a limited sample size, but the groundballs are too similar to last year’s mark to overlook.  You also have the control, which has been trending in the wrong direction as he’s advanced (BB/9):

  • High-A (2018, 83.2 IP) – 2.80
  • Double-A (2018, 44.1 IP) – 3.25
  • Triple-A (2019, 26.0 IP) – 4.50

He has been better as of late, with 2 BB over his past 9.0 IP, and it could be that an early season oblique injury has helped factor into his struggles.  Still, even at a 3.50-ish BB/9 is it enough given the potential home run issues?

It would appear that this is more of a spot start regardless, and one that could see him get limited work (he hasn’t gone more than 5.0 IP in any start this season).  He’s a name to keep an eye on, in case he gets a longer look or returns to the Majors later in the season.  Right now he’s more of a pitcher to monitor, though the risk outweighs the reward in the short-term.

Fantasy Waiver Wire Guidelines:

  • 10 Team League – Not worth adding
  • 12 Team League – Not worth adding
  • 14+ Team League – Monitor closely
  • NL-Only League – Worth add just in case
  • Keeper/Dynasty – Must add

Bryse Wilson – Atlanta Braves
With Mike Foltynewicz sent to Triple-A Wilson will get another look in the Majors.  He’s been decent at Triple-A this season, with a 3.79 ERA and 1.24 WHIP over 78.1 IP, and he’s shown a little bit of all of the skills we look for:

  • Strikeouts – 9.08 K/9
  • Control – 1.84 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 42.0%

His control has generally been solid, though it may not be possible for him to maintain this type of rate.  Even so, if he can pitch into the 2.50-3.00 range there’s going to be appeal when coupled with an ability to miss bats (11.6% SwStr% at Triple-A this season).  The big question is going to be the risk of home runs, with a 42.0% groundball rate leading to a 1.15 HR/9 at Triple-A this season.

It will be interesting to see if his secondary pitches have improved, which is what will be necessary if he wants to excel in the Majors.  As noted by Baseball America prior to the season:

When he’s on, Wilson can dominate with just his fastball, and that’s often what he did in 2018. That may be to his minor detriment developmentally, because he’s yet to find a need to develop his less advanced secondary offerings. His slurvy curveball flashes plus when he tightens it, but some scouts believe his arm action will prevent the pitch from ever being consistent. His fringe-average changeup needs to improve. It has some fade, but he tips it at times. 

If he has improved it’s possible he has success and thrives this time around.  If not he’ll be battered around once again and get returned to Triple-A for further development.  For those looking for pitching he’s an intriguing upside grab because the potential is there to stick in the Majors for now.

Fantasy Waiver Wire Guidelines:

  • 10 Team League – Monitor, but not a must add
  • 12 Team League – Worth adding
  • 14+ Team League – Must add
  • NL-Only League – Must add
  • Keeper/Dynasty – Must add

Sources – MILB.com, Fangraphs, Baseball America

6 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Professor, in a 15-team dynasty league, would you prefer Bryse Wilson or Dylan Bundy? Thanks again for the guidance.

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