Waiver Wire Week 8: 10 Widely Available SPs

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:

Zack Wheeler (New York Mets) – I know, I know, Wheeler is holding a 5.32 ERA with a 1.50 WHIP and it’s terrifying to consider him. But he also has a 66.6% LOB rate, 23.1% soft contact, and a 23.6% K rate that hint at better days. He’s fanned at least seven in four of his last five games and maybe, just maybe, this turns into something a bit more stable.

Anthony DeSclafani (Cincinnati Reds) – We’re only one or two more rehab starts away from Tony Disco getting his first shot at a successful 2018 campaign and you should take note. He sported an impressive 3.28 ERA in 20 starts in 2016 with a sub 6.0% BB rate and 1.22 WHIP and after a missing a full year, it’s possible he can hint at that success once again. Even if he doesn’t come with the strikeout ceiling that we often crave, those numbers are good enough for me to chase in deeper leagues.

Marco Gonzales (Seattle Mariners) – I’m not buying that his 16.8% K-BB% is as good as it sounds, or that his true talent level is his current 3.22 FIP, but I’m willing to wager that a 3.80 ERA is possible the rest of the way with enough strikeouts that it makes a decent impact on your week. Just play your matchups wisely and this could turn out well.

Mike Minor (Texas Rangers) – I had called May 15th the Judgement Day for Minor, where we would want to own him moving forward that point as he’d have enough time in the starting role to get comfortable. His first “reborn” start returned nine strikeouts with zero walks over five frames against the White Sox and that has to pique your interest, even if it did come with a questionable 3 ER mark. It could be nothing, but it could be something and there’s little reason to turn away this flier when scouring for SP talent.

German Marquez (Colorado Rockies) – The members of the Colorado staff live a tough life pitching their home games in Coors, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t value to be had. If you start Marquez against weak teams at home and average opponents on the road, you would have scored games like his eight-strikeout effort against the Mets, 1 ER and 5 Ks in seven frames against the Dodgers last Sunday, and six strikeouts with two earned runs in Pittsburgh. He’s now hosting the Reds and Dodgers at home, and it could work in your favor.

Joe Musgrove (Pittsburgh Pirates) – Musgrove is slated for his first start of 2018 after recovering from a strained right shoulder all spring. He’s holding a 17/2 K per BB through his 17.2 rehab innings and his lively heater mixed with a deadly slider could work perfectly in the Pittsburgh’s aggressive low-walk setting. It may be wise to grab him now and see how he performs before giving your leaguemates the opportunity.

Jimmy Nelson (Milwaukee Brewers) – Another week, another reminder that Jimmy Nelson exists. We’re just weeks away now from his long-awaited return and the chance he performs anywhere close to his 2017 season makes him as good of a stash as any.

Sandy Alcantara (Miami Marlins) – Speaking of stashes, you may want to consider Alcantara, who could be one or two starts away from getting his chance at joining the Miami rotation permanently. The major piece in the Marcell Ozuna deal sits mid-to-upper 90s (he averaged over 98mph as a reliever for the Cardinals in 2018) and a decent changeup, with renewed interest in his curveball has been turning heads. With most of these, this gamble may fall flat, or he could quickly become one of the most added arms around.

Tyler Mahle (Cincinnati Reds) – His numbers aren’t pretty to look at, but there may be something here with Mahle. He’s a turbulent pitcher, with four starts of 4 ER or more and three of 1 ER or fewer, while also flexing his strikeout upside via an eleven strikeout performance against the Braves in April. His fastball command is well above average and there’s room to grow with his developing secondary stuff. If the price is free, you might make a decent penny in the longhaul.

Dan Straily (Miami Marlins) – Alcantara’s future teammate Straily has returned from the DL and strung along a series of impressive starts, allowing just 3 ER in his last three starts across 18 frames, including two games against the mighty Atlanta offense. Remember, Straily posted a 3.76 ERA with a 1.19 WHIP as recently as 2016 and you might be finding a hidden gem here if you’re desperate enough to give him a chance.

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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Mike D
Mike D

DeSclafani’s starts were two years ago, not last year