Ottoneu Drip: Finding Under-rostered Pitchers: May 30, 2024

The search for competent pitching is never ending, especially in a year where injuries have taken their toll on so many of the top arms in the game. Here’s a handful of pitchers who are rostered in under 60% of all Ottoneu leagues who could be nice pickups if you’re looking for an option to fill in for an injured starter or looking for another bullpen piece.

Under-rostered Starting Pitchers, Last 14 Days
Player Team IP FIP K-BB% Stuff+ Pts/IP Roster%
Ryan Weathers MIA 13 2.98 22.0% 88 6.41 40.9%
Tylor Megill NYM 12 1.21 28.3% 115 7.80 40.0%
Matt Waldron SDP 17.2 1.15 29.2% 74 6.87 7.8%

Ryan Weathers earned a spot in the Marlins starting rotation with a fantastic spring training and has continued his success into the regular season. Over his last three starts, he’s allowed just two runs across 21 innings with an excellent 19:4 strikeout-to-walk ratio. In fact, he hasn’t allowed more than three runs in a single start except for a six run blowup against the Nationals on April 28. His fastball velocity has come down a bit from its peak in April, but it’s still higher than it was last year. The biggest difference maker for him has been his sweeper which is now running a whiff rate over 50%, more than double what it was last year. He’s a former first round draft pick and still only 24 years old so a post-hype breakout isn’t out of the question.

It certainly seemed like Tylor Megill was headed for a big breakout in 2022 but a shoulder injury cost him most of the season. He was inconsistent at best last year, though he did make 25 starts, second most on the Mets. In his final start of the season, he broke out a new splitter — he calls it a spork — and held the Phillies to just a single run in 7.1 innings while striking out seven. He honed that new pitch over the offseason and it’s now a major part of his pitch mix, running a whiff rate over 60%. He’s already been sidelined with a minor shoulder injury this year, but he’s been solid in his three starts, including holding the Dodgers scoreless over seven innings in his last outing.

Matt Waldron isn’t just throwing a knuckleball as a gimmick. He has a full five-pitch arsenal and uses the knuckler as a fully fledged secondary weapon to earn swings and misses. The rest of his pitches don’t really stand out all that much, but when a batter knows he’s going to see at least one or two knuckleballs in an at-bat, that uncertainty keeps them off balance just enough. Over his last three outings, he’s really had his floater working for him; he’s allowed just three runs across 17.2 innings while striking out 25. Because he relies so heavily on his knuckleball, and considering the fickle nature of the pitch, he’s bound to have hot and cold streaks based on how that pitch is performing.

Under-rostered Relief Pitchers, Last 14 Days
Player Team IP FIP K-BB% gmLI Stuff+ Pts/IP Roster%
Bryan Hudson MIL 6 1.46 29.2% 1.95 81 8.67 56.9%
Randy Rodríguez SFG 7.2 1.83 23.1% 1.01 119 8.98 7.5%
Porter Hodge CHC 2.1 -2.01 75.0% 0.15 102 11.88 4.7%
Tyson Miller CHC 4 1.38 31.3% 0.89 115 8.20 0.6%

With Devin Williams still sidelined, the Brewers have had some trouble finding reliable high-leverage options for their bullpen. Trevor Megill has settled in as their closer, but they’ve churned through a number of setup men, trying to find someone who can cover the seventh and eighth innings. Enter Bryan Hudson. He’s a lefty with a low-slot release point that gives batters fits. That’s how his fastball plays up despite pedestrian velocity and it gives his sweeper a ton of horizontal break — 17% more than the average for that pitch type. He’s struck out nearly a third of the batters he’s faced this year and is finally seeing regular high-leverage work.

Randy Rodríguez has the profile and pure stuff of a high-leverage reliever, but his lack of command has held him back from truly breaking out. His fastball grades out well thanks to above average velocity and plenty of carry at the top of the zone. He also has a two-plane slider that should be a good weapon for him if he can find a little more consistency with it. He made his major league debut early this month and had a stretch of five scoreless outings snapped yesterday when he allowed three runs to score in an inning of work. He’s more of a speculative add right now since he isn’t seeing much high-leverage work yet, but if he can harness his stuff, he’ll climb the bullpen ladder sooner or later.

The Cubs bullpen has had all sorts of trouble this year. Héctor Neris has seemingly locked down the ninth inning role but Chicago is still looking for high-leverage setup men. That’s how Tyson Miller earned a hold a few days ago a few weeks after being acquired from the Mariners. Miller has the flat fastball thrown from a low release point Seattle seems to love and a horizontal sweeper to go with it. He’s currently listed as the second setup man in the Cubs bullpen behind Neris and Mark Leiter Jr. Porter Hodge is another speculative add if Miller isn’t interesting enough for you. He’s only made three appearances in the majors so far, but he’s struck out 75% of the batters he’s faced. His fastball has good velocity and elite release extension helps it play up even more. He’s also added a splitter to his pitch mix this year and could quickly find himself pitching in high-leverage opportunities.

Jake Mailhot is a contributor to FanGraphs. A long-suffering Mariners fan, he also writes about them for Lookout Landing. Follow him on Twitter @jakemailhot.

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