Waiver Wire Week 17: 10 SP Targets

Each week I look at the collection of starting pitchers owned in under 30% of leagues (consensus Yahoo/ESPN ownership from Fantasy pros) 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

Derek Holland (San Francisco Giants) – With Johnny Cueto going down with TJS, Holland looks to have a firm grip on a rotation spot in San Fran and you should capitalize on it. He moved over from the third base side of the rubber to first base in the middle of the June and the results have followed. Across his last 47.2 IP and 9 starts, Holland has boasted a 2.83 ERA, 26% K rate, and digestible 8% walk rate, making him a prime discount option.

Trevor Cahill (Oakland Athletics) – Did you realize that Cahill has had at least an 11% whiff in each of his last five starts, holding a 13% mark for the entire 2018 season? His curveball and changeup will continue to miss bats, and as long as he continues to induce grounders at a remarkable 55.5% rate, he’ll be able to keep his sub 1.00 HR/9 rate. Jump on board while you still can.

Matt Harvey (Cincinnati Reds) – It’s no secret that Harvey has performed better since leaving New York City, sporting an uptick in velocity donning the Reds uniform. The biggest knock has been his low 18% strikeout rate, but with two games of 17%+ overall whiff rates in his last five starts, there’s hope he can put it together for a strong finish to 2018. Not to mention, there’s a good chance he’s dealt before the waiver-trade deadline on September 1st, increasing his odds of granting you cheap wins when you’ll need them.

Joe Musgrove (Pittsburgh Pirates) – Musgrove has been undulating through the year, with starts of 1 and 2 ER paired with clunkers of 5+ ER. Still, he’s most likely going to hover a 10% whiff rate with a near 3.70 ERA and there’s value to be had in that. His low walk rate will give him upside to beat a 1.30 WHIP with moments of 6+ strikeout games sprinkled in.

German Marquez (Colorado Rockies) – After a horrid stretch of 4+ ER in five straight games, Marquez has responded well, with four of his last five starts tallying 6 ER total, with each game returning double-digit whiff rates. There will be volatility down the stretch, but you may need to take a chance here.

Mike Fiers (Detroit Tigers) – While I don’t think Fiers will come close to replicating his sub 3.00 ERA down the stretch, it’s possible he can go sub 4.00 given the easy schedule ahead. Assuming he doesn’t get dealt, Fiers would face the Angels, ChiSox, Twins, ChiSox, Royals, ChiSox, Cards in his next seven starts. This is as good as it gets and you may want to take advantage.

Lance Lynn (New York Yankees) – In no way would I classify myself as a Lance Lynn fan, but when I see a pitcher on a strong offense get a two-start week of the ChiSox and Rangers ahead, I raise an eyebrow. Lynn hasn’t allowed more than 3 ER in each of his last five games and the new scenery maybe help him maintain a near 9.00 K/9. It’s a short-term move, which can sometimes have larger effects.

Under 10% Owned

Mike Minor (Texas Rangers) – 2018 hasn’t gone smoothly for Minor, sporting a 4.73 ERA through 20 starts. However, he showed plenty of promise last time out against the Astros, collecting eight strikeouts with a fastball averaging over 93mph for the four straight game – Minor was averaging sub 92mph constantly in the opening months. A greater emphasis on his changeup has returned a near 2.0 pVal over his last six starts despite a -4.0 value prior. It could mean a successful run is ahead, which is enough to consider a pickup in deep leagues.

Austin Gomber (St. Louis Cardinals) – With Carlos Martinez hitting the DL for the second time in three weeks, Gomber will have a decent grip on the fifth rotation spot for the Cardinals. His repertoire speaks to success, with good deception, a sharp breaking ball and a fastball that sets up the curveball well. Don’t expect a high ceiling, but Gomber could provide you innings when there’s nothing else to turn to.

Trevor Richards (Miami Marlins) – When dealing with poor options on the wire, I often gravitate to pitches over pitchers. A slinger that has a fantastic weapon in their repertoire that could carry them for a start. Richards has that pitch in his changeup, earning a 23% whiff rate and whopping 47% O-Swing. Batters are hitting just .162 off the slow ball, though it comes with a sub-par heater and atrocious curveball. It’s a risky play, but the upside is there if he can squeak by to set up the vicious changeup.

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.

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Hi Nick. I’m down a few SP in my 11-team AL-only league and unfortunately have to pick two between Zimmerman, E. Jackson, Tropeano and Faria. Who would you roll with? Thanks!


Wow, that’s not much of a choice. I’d probably roll with Zimmerman and Faria.