Each week through the season, I’ll be looking at the collection of starting pitchers owned in under 15% of leagues (consensus Yahoo/ESPN ownership from Fantasy pros) and pointing out the options to consider if you need an extra arm or two at the end of your staff.
It’s been another week of Fantasy Baseball, and the waiver wire has shifted. Let’s highlight my ten favorites, roughly ordered from top to bottom:
Daniel Mengden (Oakland Athletics) – It’s far from the big upside plays that are already above 15% owned, but if you’re looking for some stability, maybe consider the pitcher who just cruised through a pair of starts against the Astros and Red Sox. He’s throwing his curveball for strikes while getting outs with his heater and those in need of preserving ratios should consider Mengden as he gets a comfortable schedule of Jays, Diamondbacks, Rays, Rangers, and Royals next.
Luiz Gohara (Atlanta Braves) – Michael Soroka hit the DL with a shoulder strain earlier today, opening the door for Gohara to snag a rotation spot in the near future. Max Fried was called up to start today, though it’s well within possibility Gohara takes the job and runs with it next time through the order. The talent is there for Gohara to be a Top 50 SP play, boasting a mid 90s fastball, deadly slider, and a developing changeup. Now is the time to stash if he’s out there on your wire.
Nick Tropeano (Los Angeles Angels) – Trop’s 3.64 ERA comes with a pair of poor outings against the Astros and Red Sox, opening the door for owners able to start him outside of top tier opponents. Add in the quality of the Angels lineup to boost his Win total, and you have an arm that can give you 5+ strikeouts without killing your ratios through the year.
Marco Gonzales (Seattle Mariners) – It’s hard for me to endorse a pitcher that just allowed back-to-back 4 ER outings, but his current 5.31 ERA should come down plenty given his atrocious .405 BABIP and sub 70% LOB rate, while his 18.8 K-BB% is plenty exciting.
Andrew Triggs (Oakland Athletics) – Mengden’s teammate has certainly had his troubles this season – evidenced by his 5.31 ERA and 40% allowed hard contact – though he may have a higher ceiling. His 25% strikeout rate and sub 4.00 SIERA are a product of a sinker that can dive off the plate in hurry and a pair of breaking balls that can pile up whiffs on a given night. There’s clear risk involved, but Triggs may be the desperate play you need.
Jimmy Nelson (Milwaukee Brewers) – Another week, another spot for Nelson as owners are allowing you to maintain a solid DL stash if you want it. There is a question of Nelson’s production when he returns to the bigs given the nature of a torn labrum, though the sheer chance that he can perform close to his ace numbers in the final four months of 2018 is enough to warrant a spot on this weekly list.
Sandy Alcantara (Miami Marlins) – Sometimes you want to fill a roster spot with a lottery ticket and despite his 30/45 grade command, you may want to consider Alcantara. He comes with an overpowering mid-to-upper 90s fastball, a return to his curveball, and decent changeup and that may spell some blissful evenings in Miami…if he gets the call. His service time date passed on Tuesday, awarding the Marlins an extra year of team control if they elect to call him up for the rotation. With Elieser Hernández starting last night, it’s possible Alcantara takes his spot in the near future, giving us a chance to spin the wheel.
German Marquez (Colorado Rockies) – You won’t find consistent success rostering Marquez given his home field, but if you’re able to be conserative with your starts, Marquez is a solid play on the road. He’s and allowed just seven runs in his five road starts, collecting at least six Ks in 60% of them, with his ghastly 5.15 ERA a product of three horrid starts tallying 18 ER – all inside of Coors. Play your cards right and you can squeeze out some value here.
Dan Straily (Miami Marlins) – If you’re looking for a sexy play, try someone else as Straily’s best days are behind him. Still, in early 2017 he did a great job of inducing weak contact and its possible his 22.1% strikeout returns. He’s just one season removed from a 3.76 ERA and 1.19 WHIP and now with three starts under his belt, we could be seeing some of that Straily magic return in Miami.
Joe Musgrove (Pittsburgh Pirates) – He’s far from my favorite stash, but let’s be honest, this week contains the largest dearth of quality arms of the season. There’s confusion what the Pirates rotation will look like, and Musgrove could get his opportunity as soon as next week and never look back. His repertoire could speak well to the Pirates approach of ending at-bats early, with a one-seam fastball that can get through frames quickly and solid breaking stuff to float for strikes. Musgrove’s ceiling isn’t more than a backend starter in a 12-teamer, but that might be worth chasing in deeper leagues.