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With nearly two weeks of the 2018 baseball season in the books, it’s clearly getting toward that existential crisis time where you start to get itchy over those slow starts and brazen over the hot ones.

I know you want results, but it’s not even halfway through April! You’ve got this. With that being said, there are still plenty of diamonds in the waiver-wire rough that are starting to show, and we’re here to pluck ‘em.

For our purposes, we’re going to use Yahoo ownership levels and try to cut things off around 30%. With that said, here are my starting pitcher waiver wire targets for Week 2.

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Starting Pitcher Waiver Wire Targets

Sean Newcomb (ATL - SP): 22% owned

Newcomb’s first two starts of 2018 encapsulate the southpaw so well. He struggled through his first outing, a six-run clunker against Washington, only to hold Colorado scoreless over six clean frames at Coors Field after that. What did remain consistent was the strikeouts, as he’s fanned 15 in just 10 ⅓ innings of work thus far. While his upside on a blossoming Atlanta team is clear, his next matchup is no softy as he faces the Cubbies at Wrigley on April 14.

Jack Flaherty (STL - SP): 22% owned

Simply put, I don’t believe in Adam Wainwright. I know you don’t either, but Mike Matheny’s a different story. He might ride Waino until the wheels completely come off, but it already appears that he has nothing left in the tank and no amount of mental gymnastics can justify throwing a guy who can’t complete five (or even four) innings. Flaherty answered questions about how he took his demotion by fanning 11 in his first Triple-A outing and will be a mixed-league SP4 when called up again. Stash away!

Nick Pivetta (PHI – SP): 15% owned

Pivetta was the beneficiary of facing the Marlins recently, which he turned into nine strikeouts, zero walks and the win over 5 ⅔ shutout frames. This came after the 25-year-old was besieged by the Braves, which really illustrates the spectrum available to NL East pitchers. Pivetta himself is Sean Newcomb-esque in his having little in-between when it comes to his form, so picking spots is valid and those with shallow benches probably won’t want to roster Nicky P. It’s very easy and statistically likely to say his true form lies somewhere in between his MIA and ATL starts, but I think he’s closer to the MIA one with an improved defense behind him and his leaning more on his breaking stuff early compared to last year.

Zack Wheeler (NYM - SP): 13% owned

Wheeler’s career has not gone the way anyone would’ve hoped, but health is currently in his sails and he’s headed straight for a dream date with the Marlins on Wednesday. The 28-year-old already made a start in the Minors, where he allowed a lone run over five innings with six whiffs. There’s no reason to turn your nose up at this, especially with the Mets producing the way they have been. Miami entered Tuesday with the third-worst team wOBA mark (.274) in the Majors, in case you needed a quantifiable reason to target them.

Hyun-Jin Ryu (LAD - SP): 13% owned

Ryu reminded everyone that he can bring it by carrying a no-hitter into the fifth inning against Oakland en route to a lovely victory and the quality start, with eight K's against just one walk and one hit. It was a true 180 from his first start when he gave up five hits and walked five in just 3 ⅔ innings, making this an encouraging look as he barrels toward a road date with the Padres next. I'm not going to bank on him going six innings often, but the Dodgers should be good for plenty of wins throughout the year as their bats stir and Ryu could unlock some more consistent whiffs if he dials in his cutter and changeup as he did on Tuesday.

Joey Lucchesi (SD - SP): 11% owned

Lucchesi won’t always play the Rockies, but the rookie might wish he could after dismantling them a second time on Tuesday night. After allowing just one hit with three walks while fanning seven Rox over five innings in his first look at them, the Lucchador collected eight K’s thanks to 15 swinging strikes out of just 82 pitches. His fastball topped out around 93 MPH as his over-the-top delivery made the Rockies hitters look like helpless castle walls against a trebuchet. An unorthodox, herky-jerky trebuchet. Make the add and see if he can keep the momentum rolling.

Andrew Triggs (OAK - SP): 11% owned

We covered Triggs last week, but he clearly requires more attention. He’s looked good against both the Rangers and Angels early: 1-0, 2.53 ERA, 2.93 FIP, 2.92 xFIP with 13 K’s in 10 ⅔ IP. As long as health stays on his side, I’m ready to embrace his unorthodox delivery all the way to mixed-league Valhalla. He’ll continue his AL West tour with a trip to Seattle on April 14 (I won’t begrudge anyone for playing it safe and benching him) as he looks to stay hot in 2018. Once again, before injuries sabotaged his hip last year this guy had a 2.64 ERA through 10 starts. He’s actually good.

Vince Velasquez (PHI - SP): 11% owned

I realize this is a “waiver wire” article and not a streamers piece, but once I saw that VV was slated to face the Rays in the friendly confines of Tampa, I simply had to include him here. Velasquez is coming off of a solid rebound effort against the equally-intimidating Marlins, as he allowed one run on four hits over six innings while fanning six fishies. He didn’t need 20 runs of support, but Philly gave it to him anyway. He hasn’t earned enough confidence for above-average opponents, but the Rays? Sure.

Luiz Gohara (ATL - SP): 9% owned

I’ll probably have a weekly reminder here just in case y’all are letting Gohara sit idly by on the wire, thinking you can get him once he’s actually ready to hit the Majors. Atlanta isn’t going to rush him, but he’s set for a three-inning start at extended spring training on Thursday and a return by May 1 is not out of the question.

Andrew Heaney (LAA - SP): 3% owned

Once again, the Angels rotation is getting decimated by injuries. While they’ve kept their premier arms in Shohei Ohtani and Garrett Richards on the mound, we’ve seen Matt Shoemaker and JC Ramirez go down alongside the already-hurt Heaney. However, Heaney just spun 6 ⅓ innings of one-run ball for High-A Inland Empire and should be activated within the week (pending his bullpen session). Keep an eye out for reports on that ‘pen work, as Heaney can bring a strikeout per inning with low walks and a strong offense supporting him.

Yonny Chirinos (TB - SP): 3% owned

Chirinos is once again going to be the “beginner” for Tampa Bay on Wednesday, opening their game against the White Sox and looking to replicate his efforts against Boston. The rookie’s first two appearances in the bigs (both against the BoSox) have seen him allow just four hits and one walk over nine scoreless frames, with seven strikeouts and several broken bats to his name. I don’t know what it’ll take for the Rays to simply make Chirinos a starter instead of treating him with kid gloves here, but there’s little reason for him not to be the “beginner” often enough to vie for a handful of wins here. If he posts an ERA around the mid-threes with healthy K’s and a WHIP around 1.25 then you’ve got your profit.





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