Five Arms of Interest

Scouring the depths of the waiver wire to find some useful arms:

Ervin Santana, Twins, 24% roster rate | Has not pitched in the majors this year

This will be the most “known” arm on this list, but the veteran righty is widely available as he’s yet to appear in the majors this year. He had surgery on his right middle finger all the way back in February, but he’s finally slated to return. Santana has been a remarkably steady arm throughout his career, including a 3.32 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 392.7 IP over the last two seasons. He doesn’t miss a lot of bats with a 19% strikeout rate, but he regularly goes deep into games so his strikeout volume is still solid. He’ll make his season debut tomorrow against Toronto and a good outing would no doubt push the price, so I’d get the jump in daily moves leagues and take a shot on Santana.

Nick Kingham, Pirates, 18%| 23% K, 6% BB, 11% SwStr, 4.11 ERA, 1.11 WHIP  in 57 IP

If you’ve listened to the Fireside Chats with Nick Pollack, you’ve undoubtedly heard us gush over Kingham. The 26-year old has a deep arsenal and given his age, he reaches the majors as more of a complete product than most pitching prospects. His biggest issue so far has been the home run ball with a 1.7 HR/9. Even if you take out the disaster outing at the Dodgers when he allowed three homers in three innings (8 H, 5 ER), he still has a 1.4 mark. Home run suppression was actually one of his traits in the minors (0.6 in 753 IP), so hopefully we see that start to improve as he finds his footing in the majors. He has the right home park for it, too.

Felix Pena, Angels, 5% | 28% K, 8% BB, 14% SwStr, 3.42 ERA, 1.33 WHIP in 26.3 IP

Pena spent 2016-17 as a full time reliever, but shifted back to starting this year and has now found himself in the Angels rotation thanks to a seemingly unending rash of injuries to their starting pitchers. This is truly a deep league only play, though, as there are limitations. Chief among them is the fact that he’s being given about 75-80 pitches per start, so it’s mostly 4-5 inning outing, but in his five starts he does have a 2.66 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and 30 strikeouts in 23.7 IP. Perhaps he’ll be stretched a bit more, but this isn’t the spot to chase wins.

Ryan Borucki, Blue Jays, 4% | 20% K, 10% BB, 8% SwStr, 3.52 ERA, 1.61 WHIP in 23 IP

Borucki returns to the majors tonight after being sent down over the break and hopes to get back on track after a rough go at Boston his last time out on July 13th. Borucki had 13 starts of a 3.27 ERA and 1.17 WHIP at Triple-A before his call up and could find himself in the Jays rotation the rest of the way, especially if they move arms are the deadline, namely J.A. Happ, who has been heavily rumored. Borucki doesn’t overpower, but he’s got a solid three-pitch mix and his tradeoff for a modest strikeout rate is going deeper into games. Prior to the Boston start, he went 6, 7, and 7 at Houston, and home vs. Detroit and the Yankees.

Yefry Ramirez, Orioles, 1% | 25% K, 9% BB, 14% SwStr, 3.09 ERA, 1.20 WHIP in 23.3 IP

OK, if you need wins then stop right here. Ramirez is not your guy at all. He’s on the worst team and they have a comically bad 28-72 record, but he could give you some strikeouts and solid innings down the stretch. I happened to catch the 24-year old’s outing against Texas (5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 7 K) just before the break and came away impressed, especially with his changeup, which netted three of the strikeouts.

I’m always intrigued by a young arm with a solid changeup so I was pleased when I looked him up and saw that this wasn’t the first good outing for the pitch. Among the 117 starters to throw at least 100 changeups, Ramirez’s 26% SwStr rate is 5th. I’m admittedly always skeptical with Baltimore pitchers just because of their recent history with development, but Ramirez has my attention and could be a strikeout asset to help you close a gap in the category.





Paul is the Editor of Rotographs and contributes to ESPN's Daily Notes. Follow Paul on Twitter @sporer and on Twitch at sporer.

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mrmariner1
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mrmariner1

Owned all of them except Pena, but then I dropped Yefry to pick up Poncedeleon.