You’re Gonna Be On Your Own From Now On
With the trading deadline in most leagues having come and gone many Fantasy Baseball Owners must now turn to their league’s waiver wire for help with their fantasy team’s roster. At a time of year when veteran pitchers are coming back from long term injuries and with MLB teams seemingly calling up talented young pitchers from the minors on a daily basis, if your fantasy team’s needs include starting pitching I can help nudge you weed through the waiver wire and nudge in the right direction. I've identified another four starting pitchers that are worthy of being added to your fantasy roster. I’ve also selected two starting pitchers that should be dropped from your fantasy roster if your team expects to compete for a fantasy baseball championship.
This will be the last in my series of Buy/Sell starting pitching articles. Looking back, writing this column has been a learning experience that I have thoroughly enjoyed and I hope that you have enjoyed it as well. I’ve given you some really good advice like when I told you to trade for Cole Hamels even though his ERA had ballooned to 7.02. ( his ERA is now 2.43 and he notches just under a strikeout per inning – thank you very much ). I also told you to get rid of Josh Beckett, and he is now likely done for the season. I also predicted Dan Haren’s second half nose dive and told you that Aaron Harang and Mark Buehrle would come crashing back down to earth.
On the other hand I was wrong sometimes as well, as we all are at times. All in all I was right more than I was wrong and if you were a regular reader of this column that means you love fantasy sports as much as I do. I hope I helped you and your team along the way. Now let’s make our way on to this week’s picks for starting pitchers to buy and starting pitchers to sell. Good luck and thanks for reading!!
Starting Pitchers To Buy
Elbow surgery sidelined Jeremy Hellickson for most of the season but with a 2.56 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 25:8 K:BB ratio in his six starts so far this season he has emerged as the type of pitcher who, among others on their staff, can help the Rays feel comfortable about having traded David Price away.
With a lifetime 3.66 ERA Hellickson is exactly the kind of pitcher who’s probably tucked away in the back of your league’s waiver wire that you should be looking to add to your fantasy team in order to bolster your pitching staff. His fastball still regularly hits the 90 MPH mark and he’s demonstrated excellent control while limiting opposing hitters to a lowly .238 batting average against. Hellickson and your fantasy team can benefit from Tampa Bay’s usual late season surge. If he is still available in your fantasy league’s waiver wire be sure to pick him up.
If a fantasy starting pitcher’s IQ directly influenced his productivity I would never suggest picking up Michael Pineda (remember that big patch of pine tar on the back of his neck in Fenway Park back in April).
The fact is that if your fantasy pitching staff needs a little boost you can’t pass up taking a chance on a strikeout pitcher like Pineda. While pitchers are breaking down all over the place Pineda has only made six starts and his arm is still fresh.
He gave up just one run in eight innings of rehab work and has struck out seven while giving up just three runs in eleven solid innings since his return to the majors on 8/13. I know we only have a very small sample by which to judge him by but if you have room on your roster and are desperate for pitching help you should take a chance and pick him up before one of your fellow Fantasy Baseball Owners beats you to it.
Brandon McCarthy, New York Yankees
Not every move that Yankee GM Brian Cashman has made has worked out in his favor but when he traded for Brandon McCarthy he really uncovered a gem. We fantasy baseball managers never like when an NL pitcher gets traded to the AL but McCarthy has thrived since his trade from the Dbacks. With a 3-10 record and 5.01 ERA I am sure Arizona would have moved McCarthy for a bag of balls (they got Vidal Nuno instead).
Since his trade to the Bronx Bombers McCarthy has compiled at 4-2 record with a 2.30 ERA. McCarthy’s improvement of his game is evident in every possible statistic. His K/9 rate is up, his BB/9 rate is down and he is giving up fewer home runs.
The move to the Bronx has revitalized his career and McCarthy is one of the primary reasons the Yanks are holding on to a chance at making the playoffs. Check out your league’s waiver wire, he may be just waiting for you to pick him up so that he can do the same for your team.
Chase Anderson, Arizona Diamondbacks
Chase Anderson has really come on as of late and is one of the few bright spots for the Diamondbacks this season. Anderson has given up more than three runs just twice in 16 starts this year.
His swinging strike rate of 9.9% is well above the 8.5% league average for starting pitchers and his 7-4 won loss record and 3.16 ERA are pretty good considering he pitches for one of the worst teams in baseball. His 1.30 WHIP is a bit higher than I’d like to see but if you are desperate for pitching like so many fantasy baseball owners are at this time of year you might want to take a flier on him.
Starting Pitchers To Sell
Coming out of spring training expectations for Drew Hutchison were pretty high. As a late round sleeper type pick, Hutchison was marginally successful and by July 1st he had a 6-6 record and a 3.81 ERA. Sadly, the bottom has really fallen out of his season and he currently has an 8-11 record, 4.81 ERA and 1.31 WHIP.
He has given up six and seven runs in his last two starts respectively. Prior to that he had a great start in which he gave up just one run in 8.2 innings. It’s just that kind of unpredictability that makes him unworthy of being trusted in fantasy circles. The only thing he can help your team with is strikeouts ( he has 127K’s in 144 innings ) but with all the excess baggage that comes along with this Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde type of pitcher it is best to drop him as soon as you can.
Wade Miley, Arizona Diamondbacks
Coming into the 2014 season Wade Miley had a 3.52 lifetime ERA and was one year removed from posting 16 wins. He was a middle to late round draft pick and you might have considered him the sixth to eight best pitcher on your fantasy roster. Unfortunately those expectations never materialized.
With eight starts in which he has given up four or more runs and the fact that he pitched for a bad team, he never seemed to get on track this season. His underlying stats are actually pretty good. He has a well above average 9.9 swinging strike rate that is two full points higher than last year’s rate, and he is still getting ahead of batters with his 64.4% first strike rate so what can explain why his 4.46 overall ERA this season is almost a full point higher than last season’s ERA?
Unfortunately for Miley, the guys that play behind him can’t field. The Diamondbacks are the second worst fielding team in baseball and Miley just seems to be pitching when their fielding is at its worst. In his last start on 8/16, the D’backs committed five errors ( Miley was charged with one of them ) and he was charged with a loss despite the fact that he gave up just one earned run. At this point of the season with so much on the line, you need to give up on Miley. You can’t afford to deal with this headache any longer. You have a playoff spot to try to clinch and this season Miley can’t help you.