Scott Diamond & Alexi Ogando: Waiver Wire

Going with two starting pitchers to kick off the week in waiver wire, one from the AL Central and one from the AL West…

Scott Diamond | SP | Twins | Owned: 41% Yahoo! and 34.8% ESPN

I’m going to resist the easy “diamond in the rough” crack here, but the Twins do have something in the former Rule 5 Draft pick. Minnesota plucked the 26-year-old left-hander from the Braves during the 2010-2011 offseason then swung a trade to retain his rights. Diamond made seven generally unimpressive starts a year ago (5.08 ERA and 4.36 FIP), but he’s run off 15 strong starts this summer (2.88 ERA and 3.69 FIP).

A classic Twins pitcher in the sense that he doesn’t walk anyone (1.35 BB/9 and 3.7 BB%), doesn’t allow the ball to be hit in the air (57.1% grounder), and doesn’t strike anyone out (5.04 K/9 and 13.7 K%), Diamond has a sizable reverse-split (.279 wOBA for RHB, .359 for LHB) thanks mostly to sample size funny business. He’s only faced 107 lefties this season and four of them have hit the ball out of the park — threw were named Joey Votto, Jim Thome, and Josh Reddick — plus he has a .359 BABIP. That should even out in time, and his low-80s changeup does the job against righties.

Pitchers like Diamond don’t have a ton of value beyond dragging down your team ERA and WHIP, especially since the rest of the team won’t let him rack up some wins (though he does have nine). He’s averaged 100 points for every 24.0 IP in ottoneu, identical to Yovani Gallardo and Jonathon Niese and a touch better than Anibal Sanchez and Matt Harrison. Diamond’s next three starts line up against the White Sox, Indians, and Rays, and there is definite value to be extracted here as the last starter on your staff.

Alexi Ogando | SP, RP | Rangers | Owned: 31% Yahoo! and 4.7% ESPN

The Rangers had interest in Cole Hamels and tried to land Zack Greinke, and unless they suddenly decide to pony up Mike Olt for Josh Johnson, their rotation solution will have to come from within. Ogando worked an extended outing on Friday by design, throwing 2.2 innings and 44 pitches after throwing no more than one inning and 23 pitches in any outing since coming off the DL a few weeks ago. It’s unclear when he’ll pitch again, but he seems like a decent bet to follow Roy Oswalt tonight as the veteran comes off his back injury.

Ogando, 28, started one game earlier this year and has pitched to a 3.05 ERA (3.33 FIP) overall. The strikeout rate is way up (8.71 K/9 and 24.7 K%) from last season, which you’d expect from the shift to relief. He posted a 6.68 K/9 (18.1 K%) last season as a starter, which is what I’d expect going forward given his clear lack of a third pitch. Ogando gets by with the mid-90s heat and his slider, limiting walks and getting easy to catch fly balls. Unless the Rangers swung a trade for another starter, Ogando should replace Scott Feldman within two or three weeks and provide solid value at the back of a fantasy rotation.

We hoped you liked reading Scott Diamond & Alexi Ogando: Waiver Wire by Mike Axisa!

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Mike writes about the Yankees at River Ave. Blues and baseball in general at CBS Sports.

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I’ve had Ogando all season hoping for the switch to a starting pitcher. He helped in the ratios and was SP eligible so he didn’t take up a spot from my closers. But he will be much more valuable as a starter. He was an all-star pitcher last year until he fatigued down the stretch. I thought Texas should have left him in the rotation and suspected they might move him to the rotation for the home stretch, ensuring he has the endurance to finish the season strong.

MLB Rainmaker
MLB Rainmaker

I’m on board on Ogando as well, and have been since his 2010 season.

Even as a starter he led all qualified pitchers in average FB velocity in 2011 and matched that heat with an elite slider. Given that velocity was a big part of his game, his decline was surely related to a workload far above anything he’d done previously. I get the two pitch argument, but I still like him to hold that K-rate for at least the first 3-4 starts if he moves to the rotation.

While I love his fantasy value down the stretch, I think the guy should clearly be a closer long term.