Ottoneu Drip: Finding Under-rostered Pitchers: April 23, 2024

The number of pitching injuries haven’t let up yet and it feels like everyone is looking for starting pitching to help out their rosters. Here’s a trio of pitchers who are rostered in under 10% of all Ottoneu leagues who could be useful pickups if you’re looking for an option to fill in for an injured starter or two.

Under-rostered Starters
Player Team IP FIP K-BB% Stuff+ Pts/IP Roster%
Paul Blackburn OAK 25 2.73 10.3% 94 6.41 6.3%
Mitchell Parker WSN 12 1.21 27.9% 90 7.88 3.4%
Albert Suárez 수아레즈 BAL 11.1 2.41 16.3% 94 6.59 1.6%

Because he’s spent his career pitching in Oakland, Paul Blackburn’s success has gone quietly unnoticed. He’s also dealt with a myriad of injuries and has surpassed 20 starts in a season just twice in his eight-year career. Still, over the past three seasons, he’s compiled a 3.95 FIP with a decent strikeout-to-walk ratio and some excellent contact management. This year, it took him four starts to finally allow his first run of the season. He’s dramatically reduced the usage of his sinker and is now throwing all six of the pitches in his repertoire between 20% and 10% of the time. His cutter is now technically his primary pitch and the effectiveness of that pitch has increased this year thanks to slightly higher velocity and horizontal movement.

In Mitchell Parker’s debut, he held the Dodgers to just two runs in five innings. In his second start in the big leagues, he held the Astros scoreless over seven innings. Those are two of the best lineups in baseball and Parker carved through them. He only throws his fastball in the low-90s, but his over-the-top delivery creates natural carry with the pitch. And when he pairs it with his 12-to-6 curveball, it becomes a deadly pitch pair. He’s also added a splitter to his repertoire recently and his scouting report says he also throws a slider. He’s survived his first two starts with some pretty good batted ball luck and his profile that of an up-and-down back-end starter. With the new splitter and improved command, it’s possible he’s raised his ceiling a bit, but I’d be wary of paying too much to roster him at this point.

Albert Suárez’s story is a fun one. He pitched for the Giants in limited action way back in 2016 and 2017, bounced around in Japan and Korea for five years and finally signed a minor league contract with the Orioles this offseason. He had a great spring training and finally got the call up to make a spot start last Wednesday. He held the Twins scoreless over 5.2 innings in his first big league action in seven years and then held the Angels scoreless over another 5.2 innings in his second start yesterday. His calling card is a mid-90s fastball with plenty of carry that he can command at the top of the zone. Batters have swung and missed on nearly 20% of the heater’s he’s thrown in his two starts so far. That’s a ridiculous whiff rate, especially for a fastball. His repertoire is rounded out with a changeup and cutter, both of which are returning decent results so far. With the Orioles dealing with plenty of injuries in their starting rotation, it’s likely that Suárez will get a long run of starts to prove he can stick in the majors for good.





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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