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Fantasy baseball waiver wire: Grab Guardians SP Tanner Bibee before it’s too late

The Guardians prospect — one of the best arms in the Minors — was scratched from his Triple-A start and could be headed to Cleveland for his MLB debut on Wednesday.

It’s not even May yet, and already the 2023 MLB season has given us a slew of debuts from some of the game’s top pitching prospects — from Grayson Rodriguez to Mason Miller to Logan Allen. If you happened to miss out on grabbing any of those potential game-changers off the waiver wire in your fantasy baseball league, don’t worry. We’re here to tell you all about the next one: Cleveland Guardians righty Tanner Bibee.

Cleveland media was abuzz on Tuesday afternoon after noticing that Bibee, who was scheduled to start for Triple-A Columbus tonight, was no longer listed on the team’s website. Of course, it’s possible that Bibee sustained an injury, or that Cleveland just wanted to give him an extra day of rest. Given the state of the Guardians’ injury-ravaged rotation, though — and how well Bibee’s been pitching so far this season — it seems much more likely that MLB Pipeline’s No. 59 overall prospect will be making his MLB debut in Cleveland’s game against the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday afternoon.

So just who is Bibee, and why should baseball fans and fantasy managers care whether he gets the call?

Tanner Bibee fantasy impact

Bibee was a command and control guy with pretty pedestrian stuff when the Guardians drafted him in the fifth round of the 2021 MLB Draft out of Cal State Fullerton. But this is Cleveland we’re talking about, an organization that has built a contender out of finding unheralded right-handed pitching prospects and turning them into world-beaters. Sure enough, once he started pro ball, Bibee’s stuff started to jump — and now his fastball looks like this.

Bibee’s slider is no slouch either, with great, tight shape and excellent whiff rates at just about every level of the Minors. He also features a slower, more traditional 12-to-6 curve and a changeup that has flashed real potential. Combine the preexisting command with the newly electric stuff, and you get some eye-popping results: Bibee posted a 2.17 ERA with 167 strikeouts in 132.2 innings across two levels of the Minors last year, and has followed that up with a microscopic 1.76 ERA in three Triple-A starts in 2023.

Double-digit K/9 rates and no walks on a team with a track record of developing elite home-grown pitchers — there’s not much to dislike in Bibee’s profile, and while he may not stay with the big club for good this time as Aaron Civale and Triston McKenzie work their way back from injury, he’s more than talented enough to steal a spot from Zach Plesac or Cal Quantrill and should be snatched up in just about every fantasy league. The potential is there for him to become a top-30 starting pitcher in time.