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Waiver Wire Week 5: 10 SP Targets

Each week I look at the collection of starting pitchers owned in under 20% of leagues (consensus Yahoo/ESPN ownership from Fantasy pros) with a few extra sub 10% discount options at the end, pointing out the options to consider if you need an extra arm or two at the end of your staff.

Note: This week and moving forward, I’m going to focus more on the sub 20% and sub 10% owned arms as I expect many of the sub 30% arms are snatched up in your leagues.

Let’s highlight my ten favorite starting pitcher options that may be available on your waiver wires, roughly ordered from top to bottom:

Under 20% Owned

Trevor Richards (Miami Marlins) – When digging at the bottom of the barrel, I love chasing individual pitches. Richards’ changeup is as elite as you’ll find, boasting a 24% swinging-strike rate, 52% O-Swing, and a paltry .151 BAA across the 174 he’s thrown in 2019. With the slow ball’s usage above the 35% mark, expect Richards’ strikeout rate to stay afloat well past 20%, while his ratios should help more often than not. His fastball is still questionable, but with his recent ability to elevate the pitch, Richards should be able to avoid the disasters and allow owners to frequently feast.

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Pitcher Spotlight: The Curious Case of Trevor Williams

It’s time we talked about the pitcher that just doesn’t make sense.

Trevor Williams is an anomaly. We like to focus on peripheral numbers to get a better sense of how a pitcher is performing and Williams’ under-the-hood numbers since July 2018 paint a mediocre arm:

Trevor Williams’ Last 17 Starts
SIERA Strikeout Rate BABIP LOB Rate HR/FB Rate
4.54 18.5% .259 89.0% 4.7%

Yet across seventeen starts since July 11th, Williams is flaunting two ridiculous numbers:

1.60 ERA & 1.08 WHIP

How.

Williams’ repertoire consists of a seemingly mediocre 91 mph fastball, a changeup that returns a 7% swinging-strike rate, and a slider with a career middling .260 BAA. These are pedestrian numbers for a three-pitch mix, yet 100+ frames have returned only 18 earned runs.

It doesn’t make a lick of sense and I love when something doesn’t make sense. It means there’s something interesting to talk about.

So let’s talk about it.

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Waiver Wire Week 4: 10 SP Targets

Each week I look at the collection of starting pitchers owned in under 30% of leagues (consensus Yahoo/ESPN ownership from Fantasy pros) with a few extra sub 10% discount options at the end, pointing out the options to consider if you need an extra arm or two at the end of your staff.

Note: This week, I’m going to focus more on the sub 20% and sub 10% owned arms as I expect many of the sub 30% arms are snatched up in your leagues, including Mike Minor, Michael Pineda, and Max Fried.

Let’s highlight my ten favorite starting pitcher options that may be available on your waiver wires, roughly ordered from top to bottom:

Under 20% Owned

Caleb Smith (Miami Marlins) – I refuse to believe in the current 10% ownership listed for Smith, but until he’s universally praised, I’ll be forced to mention him weekly. Smith’s taken a step forward with his heater, sitting just under a 10% swinging-strike rate with his four-seamer, while earning a 17%+ swinging-strike rate on both his slider and changeup. Those worried about his future schedule should look at the teams he’s faced thus far – Mets, Braves, Phillies – and note the 2.65 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, and 32% strikeout rate he produced regardless. There may be some issues on the road with his history of longballs, but his strikeout potential (14.3% overall swinging-strike rate!) paired with a 3.26 FIP should not be ignored.

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Waiver Wire Week 3: 10 SP Targets

Each week I look at the collection of starting pitchers owned in under 30% of leagues (consensus Yahoo/ESPN ownership from Fantasy pros) with a few extra sub 10% discount options at the end, pointing out the options to consider if you need an extra arm or two at the end of your staff.

Let’s highlight my ten favorite starting pitcher options that may be available on your waiver wires, roughly ordered from top to bottom:

Under 30% Owned

Trevor Richards (Miami Marlins) – You already know about Richards’ elite changeup, a pitch that held a 24% swinging-strike rate in 2018 and has picked up where it left off across 112 already thrown this season. You may not know that his four-seamer has shown signs of improvement thus far, returning a fantastic 11% swinging-strike rate in its small sample. It may be a flash in the pan for the 91 mph heater or it could be a tweak in approach to squeeze the most out of a weak offering. Richards is far from a lock for a breakout campaign with this questionable fastball and mediocre breaking balls, though now is the time to get in as Richards’ development continues.

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Waiver Wire Week 2: 10 SP Targets

Each week I look at the collection of starting pitchers owned in under 30% of leagues (consensus Yahoo/ESPN ownership from Fantasy pros) with a few extra sub 10% discount options at the end, pointing out the options to consider if you need an extra arm or two at the end of your staff.

Let’s highlight my ten favorite starting pitcher options that may be available on your waiver wires, roughly ordered from top to bottom:

Under 30% Owned

Corbin Burnes (Milwaukee Brewers) – It shouldn’t be much of a surprise to see Burnes back on this list – you’ll see a lot of repeats from last week – after he fanned twelve Cardinals in his season debut. His fastball features plenty of cut-action at 94 mph, with a deadly slider that missed bats near a 25% clip in 2018. There is some concern about his volume and weakness to the longball, though his upside is far too tantalizing to leave on the wire.

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Waiver Wire Week 1: 10 SP Targets

Opening Day is around the corner and it’s time to bring back last year’s weekly column as we work to hone our pitching staffs.

Each week I look at the collection of starting pitchers owned in under 30% of leagues (consensus Yahoo/ESPN ownership from Fantasy pros) with a few extra sub 10% discount options at the end, pointing out the options to consider if you need an extra arm or two at the end of your staff.

Note: This week alone I will be using Yahoo’s Owned % as Fantasy Pros has yet to update their consolidated ownership rates for 2019.

Let’s highlight my ten favorite starting pitcher options that may be available on your waiver wires, roughly ordered from top to bottom:

Under 30% Owned

Corbin Burnes (Milwaukee Brewers) – This pick, and many others here, are geared more for 12-teamers where it’s in your best interest to chase pitchers that could break the wall of mediocrity and return high replacement value through the season. Burnes is my favorite of the list as he features the best pitch of the bunch – a slider that returned a 47% O-Swing, 47% zone rate, and near 25% swinging-strike last season out of the pen. He brings an above-average heater as well and there’s room for development as his curveball or changeup shift into a serviceable third option. It may take a little longer than others to return six innings of production consistently, though he shouldn’t do serious harm in the meantime.  Read the rest of this entry »


Three Starters I’m Targeting Everywhere

We all have our guys. Those players where you circle a round in your notes and make sure you’re adding them to your squad. You chuckle, smile, and type your love for them into the league chat.

Today, I’m going to highlight three pitchers that I’ve found myself owning in the heavy majority of my leagues.

Zack Wheeler (New York Mets, FP ADP #94)

I’ve written a fair amount about my love of Wheeler and I’m going to add on a bit here. Wheeler sports a hard fastball that he favors not only on both sides of the plate within the same at-bat, but also elevated for strikeouts often. It’s an elite pitch, returning a 20+ pVal last season, including a rugged opening 14 starts to the year.

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10 Starters To Consider Past Pick #400

I’m going to say something that hasn’t been said enough this off-season.

There is a lot of starting pitcher depth this year.

That may be a bit of a surprise given the constant emphasis on getting aces early or leaving the first seven or eight rounds with three starters, but with every mock and real draft I’ve done, I’ve found myself with quality arms left on my queue in the final rounds.

You’re targeting most of these names already, maybe even all of them. At the very least, these ten arms should serve as a reminder that you do not need to chase elite arms early as there are plenty fewer impact bats left in the late rounds than quality arms.

I’ll be using Fantasy Pros’ aggregate ADP to gather the names past pick #400 and despite their price of “free” in standard leagues, these pitchers deserve heavy consideration in the final rounds.

Merrill Kelly (Arizona Diamondbacks, ADP #409) – This cheap price for Kelly is expecting his floor, while not embracing the possibility of his ceiling – a sub 3.70 ERA with a decent WHIP and a 20%+ strikeout rate. The Diamondbacks are going to let Kelly fly for as many innings as they can, especially when he has a lock on a rotation spot. It’s hard to find an arm with strikeout upside and a strong volume of frames without toxic ratios and I wouldn’t be surprised if the first person who owns Kelly retains him through the full year.

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5 Middle Round Starting Pitchers To Consider

After the first twenty-five starters are off the board, it gets a bit dicey. As we’re seeing in the PL Experts Mock, starters went quickly in the first six rounds (23 gone in the first 72 picks!), but just twelve were plucked in the following five rounds. The cliff hits suddenly and owners are taking their time to pick up their fourth and fifth starters.

But when the time comes, who should they target? Here are five names to consider during the middle rounds of your drafts.

J.A. Happ (Free Agent) – At 35-years-old, Happ continued to produce, registering his fourth straight season under a 3.70 ERA while boasting career bests in WHIP (1.13), strikeout rate (26.3%), and over swinging-strike rate (10.4%). His new affinity for the K began when he elevated four-seamers consistently and even a transition to the Yankee squad didn’t hold back the punchouts. The major pushback from owners is his elevated Hr/9, which rose to a 1.37 mark along with his career-high 13.4% HR/FB rate.

There’s a case to be made that all but the worst landing spots will help keep the longballs down while I expect his strikeouts to stay elevated near the 23-25% mark given his strong high heat approach. Mix in his ability to produce solid H/9 and walk rates and Happ transforms into a prime option for owners to pad their rotation.

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Waiver Wire SP Options: 6 Weekend Starters To Win Your League

It’s been a fun season covering discount starting pitcher options here at Rotographs, and in the final week I’ll be talking exclusively about streams through the rest of the week to consider to stream to pull ahead through the weekend, beginning with Friday, September 27th.

I’ll be keeping them under 30% owned per usual, with all numbers pulled from Fantasy Pros’ consolidated ownage metrics.

Jose Urena vs. New York Mets (Friday) – Urena’s ownership rates have climbed steadily over the past few weeks, and justifiably so as he’s allowed 1 ER or fewer in five of his last six starts, with the sole exception coming against the elite Red Sox lineup. He gets quite the opposite against the Mets this weekend and Urena can take advantage. His two-seamer that consistently bores inside to right-handers means plenty of weak contact, though those looking for strikeouts should look elsewhere – these six starts have tallied just 24 punchouts.

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