Waiver Wire Week 13: 10 SP Targets

We’re changing it up a little this week, formerly looking at the collection of starting pitchers owned in under 15% of leagues (consensus Yahoo/ESPN ownership from Fantasy pros) and moving toward a 30% threshold, with a few extra sub 10% discount options at the end, pointing out the options to consider if you need an extra arm or two at the end of your staff.

Let’s highlight my ten favorite starting pitcher options that may be available on your waiver wires, roughly ordered from top to bottom:

Under 30% Owned

Nick Kingham (Pittsburgh Pirates) – With Chad Kuhl leaving Tuesday’s game with forearm discomfort, it’s possible Kuhl heads to the DL for a significant amount of time, with Kingham taking his place as soon as this weekend. Kingham’s skill set speaks to a Top 60 starter if not higher with excellent fastball command and a swing-and-miss heavy slider. It’s a 1-2 punch that makes him 12-team relevant regardless of the rest of his arsenal and with a secure role in the rotation, Kingham could be in for a fantastic second half.

Vince Velasquez (Philadelphia Phillies) – It’s hard to put plenty of faith in a pitcher who holds a 9% walk rate, 5.4 IPS, and has recently allowed a 10 ER clunker. It’s understandable. However, Velasquez has still allowed 2 ER or fewer in seven of his last ten starts, while holding onto a 30% strikeout rate in that time. His upside and strikeout production alone will make the good outweigh the bad, making it a good bet despite the risks to carry him through the weeks.

Joey Lucchesi (San Diego Padres) – It was a poor return from injury last week, but that is typical (I have a term, DLH – Disabled List Hangover – detailing how starters are worth a bench in their first game back from an extended DL trip). After showcasing solid stuff against the Rangers on Monday, Lucchesi gets the Pirates ahead and he should find himself back in the same groove before. He should be owned in all 12-teamers and if you wait until after his next start, you won’t get your chance.

Carlos Rodon (Chicago White Sox) – I wouldn’t classify myself as a massive Rodon fan, though I’m surprised to see him available in 75% of leagues. His small four-game sample isn’t the best source to pull from as he should turn into a ~3.80 ERA arm that hints around 23% strikeouts, though we should give him some credit for surviving as he’s faced the Indians and Red Sox for three of his four starts. His wipeout slider will keep the strikeouts flowing and with the Cardinals and Rangers ahead in two of his next three starts, I’d be adding him where available.

Joe Musgrove (Pittsburgh Pirates) – It’s been a tough two starts for Musgrove, struggling mightily against the Reds and laboring through a start against the Diamondbacks, leading to plenty looking elsewhere at the end of the staffs. However, It’s too soon for me to give up on Musgrove, who profiles to be more of a 5-6 inning starter with low walks and about a strikeout per inning. That plays in 12-teamers – not against the toughest of teams – and with a schedule of LAD, WSH, MIL ahead, I think I’d be letting him loose save for situations I can afford to be conservative.

Seth Lugo (New York Mets) – Lugo, the starter, has been a bit mediocre. However, he’s had tough lineups to deal with, including the Cubs, Yankees, Chase Field and Coors, while surrendering just 1 ER against the Pirates Monday evening. There’s upside in the arm, led by a huge curveball and good velocity, on top of a promising slider that could take a step forward with more time in the rotation. Go with the above options in 12-teamers, but when other options aren’t there, Lugo is the right flier to take.

Jimmy Nelson (Milwaukee Brewers) – We’re still waiting for Nelson to return from the DL and we’re another week closer to his return, which I’d estimate will come by the end of July. It may be a large investment to wait another month, though those in H2H leagues know what kind of impact a possible ace can make in a short time. While his ceiling will most likely not be reached, Nelson brings fantasy relevancy when healthy and should be stashed wherever possible.

Deep Adds Under 10% Owned

Derek Holland (San Francisco Giants) – It’s pretty easy to ignore Holland, though he has shown some life recently, featuring a 2.70 ERA over his last five starts and at least 7 strikeouts in each of his last three outings. There may be some traction to this as the southpaw has suddenly upped his slider usage to 21.7% in these five starts, including two starts above 30%. His whiff rate has climbed as well – 13.1%! – encouraging the 28.2% strikeout rate. Keep in mind, Holland held a sub 20% strikeout rate with 11% sliders prior to this run. This could stick, making for a decent flier at his low ownage rate.

Nathan Eovaldi (Tampa Bay Rays) – We’ve been waiting for Eovaldi to get a decent matchup and last night’s dance with the struggling Nationals allowed him to flex his muscles, returning six shutout frames and nine strikeouts to boot. The value is here for Eovaldi to provide steady ratios and a decent amount of strikeouts as long as he avoids elite offenses. Take advantage of it.

Mike Minor (Texas Rangers) – Minor is pitching in just a few hours and I expect it to work out well for the southpaw in Texas. Across his last two starts, Minors has showcased a bump in velocity from 92mph to 93mph, even hinting at 94mph, allowing 3 ER in 13 ER. It’s a small change in a smaller sample, but at his price of free, I wonder if this is something that can gain momentum and affect a large set of games.

Nick Pollack is the founder of PitcherList.com and has written for Washington Post, Fantasy Pros, and CBS Sports. He can be found making an excessive amount of GIFs on twitter at @PitcherList.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
4 years ago

Always like these lists, Nick! Minor edit though: Musgrove is a Pirate.