Rich Hill & Adam Conley: Deep League Wire

There’s no getting around it: it’s late September and fall is officially upon us, and as the seasons give way to one another, we mark the end of the waiver wire column for 2015. It’s been rad surveilling the deep fantasy seas with you, but we’re reminded of that line about all good things, so with an eye on closing the deal in the fantasy playoffs, here are two arms who could help the cause in deep leagues.

As usual, the players listed in this space are better suited for mono leagues, and the ownership percentages are by way of CBS.

Rich Hill / SP / Boston Red Sox / 6%

I had forgotten Hill was still alive, let alone still pitching professional baseball, but he’s back in the majors with a vengeance, having compiled back-to-back 10-strikeout performances for the Red Sox this month. On Sunday, he put up seven mostly strong innings against the mighty Blue Jays, allowing just three earned runs, and making scary hitters like Edwin Encarnacion look like this:


The career of the 35-year-old veteran has been derailed by arm troubles and control problems, and although he’s actually pitched in the majors each year since 2005, he hadn’t made any starts since 2009 and hasn’t topped 38.2 innings since he made 63 appearances out of Cleveland’s bullpen two years ago. When the Red Sox dug him up signed him in August, he was pitching for the Long Island Ducks.

Hill, as you might recall, has a strong curveball and mixes in a cutter and slider to go along with a four-seam fastball that tops out in the low-90s. In between his first start against the Rays and Sunday’s outing, he brought back his changeup to use against Toronto’s powerful right-handed bats. All told, he’s been able to maintain a career 8.7 K/9, although, of course, much of that has been skewed by the time he’s spent in the bullpen.

Entering a pretty full rotation as its sixth man, Hill isn’t likely to pick up more than two more starts going forward, but he should still get opportunity as the Red Sox ask him to soak up the workload of some of their young starters whose innings will be limited going forward. It’s only a matter of time until Hill’s results come back down to earth, and the AL East isn’t the most forgiving place to make mistakes, but Hill will likely start next week against the Orioles, whose offense over the last month has virtually disappeared and has struggled against lefties all season.

Adam Conley / SP / Miami Marlins / 6%

Conley has been quietly productive since breaking into the Marlins’ rotation last month, going 3-1 with a 9.6 K/9 and a 3.65 FIP over 35.2 innings. He’s also been the beneficiary of some plentiful run support as a starter, with Miami’s bats treating him to 7.8 runs a game, and the team in general has been playing solid ball this month, compiling an 11-7 record entering Monday night’s action.

Conley, 25, didn’t compile a particularly outstanding minor league track record but put up solid strikeout/walk numbers after being drafted in the second round out of Washington State four years ago. The rookie southpaw was a closer in college, and his fastball at one point in his career reached the mid-90s, but elbow tendinitis last year not only cost him the last six weeks of the season but a few miles off his fastball. Conley also offers an unremarkable slider and changeup, and we’ll see how the National League treats him in his second go-around the Senior Circuit.

But such pessimism will likely have to wait, as Conley is scheduled to take on the hapless Phillies at home on Wednesday. With the Marlins playing well, the Phillies not playing well, and Conley pitching well in the rotation, he’s worth at least a streaming play.

Karl, a journalist living in Washington, D.C., learned about life's disappointments by following the Mets beginning at a young age. His work has appeared in numerous publications, and he has contributed to the 2014 and 2015 editions of The Hardball Times Annual. Follow/harass him on Twitter @Karl_de_Vries.

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I took a chance on Conley too this week. Fantasy baseball finals, so hopefully taking the chance on the stream against the Phillies works out.