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:
Anthony DeSclafani (Cincinnati Reds) – Tony Disco threw his final rehab start today and he may be worth the add if you’re looking for some stability at the backend of your staff. His 2016 season returned a 3.28 ERA across 20 starts with a 1.22 WHIP that works incredibly well in the current SP landscape. It doesn’t come with the largest ceiling, but those in deep leagues should be all over Desclafani.
Zack Wheeler (New York Mets) – If you can look past the horrid 5.40 ERA and 1.48 WHIP, you’ll find a pitcher who has raised his whiff rate to a respectable 10% mark with a 23.6% K rate to boot. His 66.0% LOB rate should rise, speaking to a 4.02 FIP and 3.92 SIERA. He’s been a sink-or-swim arm with four starts totaling 5 ER and another four tallying 22 ER, but his last six outings have given owners 41 strikeouts, and that may be worth the warts.
Nathan Eovaldi (Tampa Bay Rays) – To our surprise, Eovaldi threw six no-hit frames last night in his first time on the bump since 2016. Considering that he was previously a possibly rosterable in 12-teamers back then, you have to consider that his excellent fastball velocity paired with a developing slider and splitter sticks in 2018. It could fizzle quickly – he has to give up a hit eventually, you know – but there may be enough in the tank to give you some solid innings.
Jalen Beeks (Boston Red Sox) – We’ve been waiting a bit for Beeks to get his chance, and with Drew Pomeranz in massive turmoil, Beeks may get his shot in the very near future. What he brings is a marvelous 36.5% K rate in nine Triple-A starts this season, with a solid 7.0% walk rate. That alone should raise an eyebrow and make him worth a stash, at least not to just “wait and see.”
Dennis Santana (Los Angeles Dodgers) – While he might not have the resume of Beeks, Santana has the benefit of actually getting the call, with a possible start slated for this weekend…in Coors. While I wouldn’t put faith in Santana for that outing, it’s possible that he can stick in the rotation and in the case that he performs well in his debut, Santana may not be around for you to snatch up. He’s boasting a fastball would great action and a solid changeup to boot with enough command to hold off high walk totals. This could turn into a solid #5/6 as the Dodgers are laboring with injuries.
Matt Harvey (Cincinnati Reds) – Since becoming a member of the Reds, Harvey has raised his fastball velocity from 93.2mph to 94.7mph. It might be nothing, it may be something you wanted to know before becoming a decent starter that can provide you a sub 4.00 ERA. It’s a bit of a longshot given his recent history of mediocrity, but there’s a chance this turns into something concrete.
Tyler Mahle (Cincinnati Reds) – After an excellent five-game run that returned a 2.86 ERA, 9.53 K/9, and a 3.81 BB/9, Mahle has labored in his last three starts, recording 4 ER in each of his last three starts. It’s far from exciting, but you may be able to find some value in buy low before he comes back on the upswing. He has a fastball that should raise his floor and make him a productive arm through the season, albeit with a capped ceiling given his questionable secondary offerings.
German Marquez (Colorado Rockies) – It’s difficult to invest longterm in Colorado pitchers, though Marquez has shown that he’s worth your time if you’re able to avoid tough opponents on the road or above average lineups at home. Five of his eleven starts have rendered 1 ER or fewer, with three disastrous starts tallying 18 ER inflate his 4.21 ERA. Those matchups? Braves, Cubs, Brewers, all inside Coors. Simply play this one right and you can score in on a 21% K rate with a possible sub 1.30 WHIP.
Jimmy Nelson (Milwaukee Brewers) – We’re yet another week closer to the return of Nelson and the game of chicken on waiver wires across the fantasy world is still being played. Maybe you can wait another week to stash and spin the lottery of Nelson’s fantastic upside as he’s owned in just about 10% of ESPN leagues, but if you have the spot, you may want to hold now and hope he can come close to his ace self.
Nick Tropeano (Los Angeles Angels) – Simply put, Tropeano has produced a 3.80 ERA and 1.24 WHIP with a 20%+ K rate in 45.0 innings across 2018. Yes, there are numbers indicating some luck – 43.3% hard contact and just 15% soft contact mean that his .269 BABIP is a bit wonky and an 83.0% LOB rate is sure to fall – but a 1.60 HR/9 seems a little high and if he settles in around a 4.00 ERA with a 1.30 WHIP, that can play in deeper leagues.