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Week 10 Waiver Wire - Starting Pitchers

It's that magical time of the season where I start to feel old because we've moved into the "double-digit weeks" when writing out the title. You should have a good idea about where your team stands against the competition, though an unheralded stat in roto leagues with maximums is how many innings you have left versus others. If you're +100 already then you should explore flipping an arm for a big bat, while those on the other side of the fence should consider opening up additional streaming slots.

If you want to chat more about additional arms/bats/whatever, you can find me on Twitter @NMariano53 and ask any follow-up questions.

We're using Yahoo ownership levels and cutting things off around 30% this week. Here are my starting pitcher waiver wire targets for Week 10.

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Starting Pitcher Waiver Wire Targets

Clay Buchholz (ARI - SP): 29% owned
I admit that Buchholz’s nine-strikeout game last Friday was impressive, but it did come against the Marlins and I’m very hesitant to buy into lots of strikeouts here. In a nutshell, it hurts my soul that Clay is the highest-owned name out of this crop and that .163 BABIP/97.8% strand rate is a ticking time bomb. I respect how he’s walked just two batters in 18 innings but his velocity hasn’t grown since his mediocre days and I haven’t seen any new pitches added into the fold. I get chasing a familiar name, but this is not for me.

Carlos Rodon (CWS - SP): 20% owned
While I strongly advise against starting Rodon in his first Major League start of the season, there’s nothing wrong with feeling a sense of bullishness on the southpaw after he mowed down 28 hitters over 17 ⅔ innings of rehab work (one Class-A start, three at Triple-A). The biggest hurdles that have stood between Rodon and success in the bigs has been durability and command. Hopefully, durability will be settled for now and all we’ll need to do is hope he can keep his walk rate below about 8% (as he did in 2016).

Mike Soroka (ATL - SP): 19% owned
Soroka toyed with 11 Class-A hitters in his first rehab start on June 1, retiring all of them over 3 ⅔ perfect frames as he works back toward the big leagues. His season-long MLB stat line is hamstrung by a 1.70 WHIP that is unfairly inflated by a .408 BABIP and rather low 63.6% strand rate in the small 14 ⅔ IP sample size. Consider how he still managed to keep his ERA at 3.68 with a 2.78 FIP/2.89 xFIP/3.61 SIERA alongside a 1.99 ERA/0.97 WHIP over four Triple-A starts prior to his late-April promotion. The Braves are red hot and there should be a rotation slot waiting for Soroka thanks to Luiz Gohara’s struggles and Anibal Sanchez’s not being very good.

Nick Kingham (PIT - SP): 17% owned
Kingham is set to face the Cubs on Saturday but his destiny with the big-league club beyond that isn’t set in stone. The rookie has impressed over his body of work in the MLB thanks to a 1.00 WHIP and 3.37 SIERA behind the 4.03 ERA, but a few awfully-timed homers by opponents have really hurt his surface stats. But let’s appreciate the incredible 21.2% K-BB% that ranks 23rd out of 165 starters with at least 20 innings of work under their belt and assume that the skills will cause a rise to the top.

Jhoulys Chacin (MIL - SP): 17% owned
Chacin hasn’t lost since April 4 and continues to benefit from a Milwaukee squad that’s firing on all cylinders. The offense is doing enough to support his 3.39 ERA and his Josh Hader-led bullpen is more than capable of taking over after Chacin faces a lineup twice. The clear idea is to avoid Orange Jhoulys and his 4.96 SIERA getting exposed during the third time through a lineup, as he’s held batters to a poor .215 batting average against through two times before yielding a .278 average in the third. You’re skating on some thin ice here, but he has a lot of external factors going for him and a team that is willing to accept who he is and deploy him appropriately.

Steven Wright (BOS - SP/RP): 16% owned
Everyone is (rightfully) freaking out about Jalen Beeks’ promotion, but Wright and his dancing knuckler are the most likely candidate for Drew Pomeranz’s rotation spot at this time, in my opinion. Pomeranz is on the 10-day DL with a biceps injury, but he’s also been terrible. Wright started on Tuesday night in Pom’s spot and twirled seven shutout innings to lower his ERA to 1.57 through 23 innings of work. The 20-to-13 strikeout-to-walk ratio is rough and his .185 BABIP paints a lucky picture (hence the 4.42 xFIP), but I’m willing to buy knuckleballers against their sabermetric profile moreso than others. Plus, being supported by Boston is a pretty sweet gig.

Jalen Beeks (BOS - SP): 6% owned
Beeks is set to make his MLB debut on Thursday against the Tigers at home in a spot start with Drew Pomeranz on the DL due to biceps tendinitis. The prospect has dominated with a 2.56 ERA and 80 strikeouts over 56 ⅔ innings for Triple-A Pawtucket, though it’s worth noting the Tigers’ .794 OPS against lefties is the third-best mark in the Majors. But I’m more than willing to side with the pitching talent on this one and I’ll take any opportunities I can get to grab a trade chip in this prospect-happy world. Perhaps some don’t realize Beeks is unlikely to stick beyond this spot start.

Clayton Richard (SD - SP): 13% owned
You might be surprised to learn that Richard actually has a 3.58 xFIP underneath the ugly 4.67 ERA. You might also be more surprised to see his 2.92 xFIP over the last month, over which he’s delivered five quality starts across six total outings with a 34-to-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio. And when he isn’t striking guys out, he’s probably inducing grounders. The 34-year-old righty’s 63.3% ground-ball rate over that span is incredible and no one can claim he’s tiptoed around an easy schedule -- his most recent win came against the Braves. He’s locked in right now and while he doesn’t possess the strikeout upside of a Trevor Cahill, he should be owned in more leagues than this.

Brad Keller (KC - SP/RP): 2% owned
Keller yielded just one run over 4 ⅓ innings against a stacked Angels lineup on Tuesday, but took the loss thanks to facing Andrew Heaney’s one-hit shutout. The Royals coming up short on run support isn’t surprising and you shouldn’t be worried about the short inning count since he’s being stretched out from the bullpen, but those shortcomings do illustrate how deep of an add this is. The 22-year-old Royal has a 2.12 ERA through 29 ⅔ innings and seems to have hit his stride in the bullpen and may have benefited from a change of scenery after moving from Arizona last year. You won’t get huge Ks here given his career 7.3 K/9 in the Minors, but his FIP/xFIP/SIERA profile has sat in the mid-threes dating back through 2017 which is more than enough for AL-only leaguers.

Josh Rogers (NYY - SP): N/A
With Jordan Montgomery done for the season thanks to requiring Tommy John surgery, the Yankees are likely to seek out alternatives to an inconsistent Domingo German moving forward. The most obvious avenue for this will be a trade, and others will likely flock to Chance Adams or Justus Sheffield. My deep-league advice is to look at Rogers, a 23-year-old southpaw who is currently 5-4 with a 3.29 ERA/1.25 WHIP (3.88 FIP/3.89 xFIP) and 56 strikeouts in 63 innings at Triple-A. It’s possible that the Yankees stretch out Adam Warren or just churn some others before making a deal at the Trade Deadline, but Rogers is the right balance of “good enough to be fantasy relevant” and “quiet enough to be available nearly everywhere and not currently on radars (or fantasy sites).”


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