Welcome to Pickup of the Day, where every weekday we'll pick an under-the-radar player whose immediate value is on the rise. The idea here is to identify a starter who can give you some solid innings off the scrap heap, a talented backup who's been given a chance because of a starter's injury, an unheralded regular with a favorable matchup, or a potential breakout player who's starting to put it together. Unlike regular waiver-wire advice, Pickup of the Day is geared more towards interim success, but hopefully we'll have the intuition to help you snag a waiver-wire gem a few times this season.
The Reds placed Johnny Cueto on the disabled list Monday with a strained right lat muscle and are expected to call on prospect left-hander Tony Cingrani to take his place in the rotation. Cingrani owns a dominant 1.62 ERA in 42 appearances (41 starts) in the minors, including 14 1/3-inning scoreless streak over his first three starts with Triple-A Louisville this season. Relying on a deceptive delivery, the 23-year-old southpaw has averaged 11.8 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in the minors. In his first taste of the big leagues last year, he allowed one run in five innings while striking out nine and walking two. There are still questions about Cingrani's arsenal, which is why he is often discussed as a late-inning reliever, but he's well worth snagging in NL-only and deeper mixed leagues. He's slated to make his first major league start Thursday against the Marlins, so matchup plays don't get much better than that.