Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:


Already have an account? Log in here.


Forgot Password


Are You For Real? Surprising SP Starts from Week 13

Welcome back to "Are You For Real?" Each week, we look at lower-owned starting pitchers who have performed unexpectedly well in their last outing(s).

This week we are looking at two right-handers in the eastern time zone. Joe Musgrove got off to a great start, then imploded, and now put up a dominant start against the Padres last week. The unheralded Austin Voth got some attention with a solid start against the hot-hitting Atlanta Braves on Sunday.

Ownership is based on Yahoo leagues and is accurate as of 06/24/2019. The goal of this article is to look at pitchers widely available that could be useful in fantasy, whether they have been recently added by a ton of teams or are still sitting on waivers.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off, with exclusive access to our season-long articles, 15 in-season lineup tools and over 200 days of expert DFS research/tools. Sign Up Now!


Austin Voth, Washington Nationals

0% Owned

2019 Stats (Triple-A): 61.1 IP, 4.40 ERA, 3.77 FIP, 19.8% K-BB%

06/23 vs. ATL: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 7 K

Voth was making a spot start for Washington, but with this performance he’s earned himself at least one more turn in the rotation for the Nationals. They demoted the underperforming Erick Fedde in favor of Voth, and Voth gave them good reason to with this outing. He was throwing fire in this game, averaging 94 MPH and touching 96 with his four-seam fastball. He mixed in a curveball as his primary breaking ball in this outing, with the occasional cutter and changeup.

Voth only threw 12 major league innings last season, but he only averaged 91.4 MPH with the pitch. That means his 94 MPH fastball was a huge jump, and Voth got the results to go along with his velocity boost. Voth racked up 12 swinging strikes with the pitch, which gives him a 18.3% SwStr rate, far above the league average on fastballs. He not only got a good amount of strikeouts, but when hitters did make contact they did it straight up. Batters had a 32-degree average launch angle against this pitch, and a 75% flyball rate. While increased flyballs get us all hot and bothered about hitters, a flyball pitcher will generally allow fewer hits than a groundball pitcher. Flyballs will always have a lower BABIP than groundballs by nature, because a flyball than doesn’t go over the fence or find a gap is usually caught. We don’t necessarily need to fear a flyball-heavy pitcher like Voth, because it could lead to fewer hits and baserunners.

The flyballs did hurt him in this start, as Voth gave up two home runs and a double. These extra-base hits were all by elite hitters, but Voth will be facing elite hitters with regularity while pitching in the NL East. Nationals Park is also an above average hitter’s park for home runs, with a 1.2 HR factor (per ESPN park factors). These factors should make owners hesitant to use him at home, in hitter-friendly ballparks, or against high-powered offenses. Luckily, Voth has mostly shown good control in the minors and shouldn’t allow too many hits, keeping the damage low on his home runs. A pitcher can get away with a high home run rate if he limits baserunners, which Voth should have the ability to do based on the profile. It’s a scary proposition for a pitcher with a bad or absent track record like Voth, and given that this was only one start, Voth is only a recommended add in deeper leagues. In standard mixed leagues he’s a pitcher to watch, but not a must-add and certainly not worth blowing any reasonable amount of FAAB on Voth.


Voth upped his fastball velocity significantly compared to last season, and it should correlate to increased strikeouts and fewer baserunners allowed. Beware of home runs and extra-base hits, as Voth was giving up a lot of flyballs in this start. Ultimately, one start is too small of a sample size to make definitive judgements. He is worth a speculative add in deeper leagues, and he’s a pitcher to keep an eye on in standard leagues.


Joe Musgrove, Pittsburgh Pirates

38% owned

2019 Stats (prior to this start): 4.87 ERA, 3.83 FIP, 11.8% K-BB%

06/21 vs. SD: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K

Musgrove was looking like a big-time breakout during the first month of the season, posting a 1.54 ERA with a 4.43 K/BB ratio in 35 innings. His breakout quickly turned into a breakdown, as Musgrove got hammered in May for an 8.10 ERA and was dropped in mass by fantasy owners. Even with the pitiful results, there is a lot to like about Musgrove’s profile. The 26-year-old righty has one of the deepest arsenals in the game. He boasts two fastballs, a four-seamer and a two-seamer, he has three breaking balls, and has a changeup he uses frequently. Does this make Musgrove a jack of all trades and master of none? Not exactly, as there is plenty of value in each of these pitches.

Let’s start with Musgrove’s stable of breaking balls. The slider is his most used breaker at 23.1%, and there’s good reason for that. Musgrove has a 19.8% SwStr rate with his slider, and batters chase the pitch 41.7% of the time. Even when hitters make contact they struggle, as batters are hitting just .169 with a .174 xBA and .221 xwOBA. He ramped up his slider usage big time in this start at 37%, which is a great sign for Musgrove’s success. He was using the pitch over 30% of the time during his hot April, but lowered his usage in May and June, which saw him struggle. It would be an oversimplification to say that Musgrove will find success if he increases his slider usage, but it would be a step in the right direction. The slider is his best pitch, and Musgrove needs to incorporate it heavily into his pitch mix.

Along with the slider, Musgrove has gotten pretty good results with both his curveball and changeup. His changeup has an 18.8% SwStr against and a 49.4% chase rate, and his 16.7% SwStr and 41.1% chase rate. Batters have struggled against both pitches, with a BA and xBA below .250 and an xwOBA below .270. This gives him three good breaking balls, which is two more than pitcher needs to be successful in the majors. So, what’s the problem then? Why did Musgrove go through such a rough patch through May and into June? The answer seems to lie in increase cutter and sinker usage.

In May Musgrove began using his cutter and sinker more often, which looks to have been a bad move. His sinker has been destroyed by opponents for a .313 AVG and .396 SLG against, and the expected stats are even worse. Sure, the pitch has a 66% groundball rate, but Musgrove has been drowning in baserunners since so many of these groundballs were sneaking through. The Pirates infield defense has been below average thus far, with a negative DRS at every position besides second base. With few exceptions, the sinker is a dying pitch, and Musgrove isn’t good enough or in a position to be an exception. His cutter, on the other hand, just doesn’t stack up compared his other secondary pitch. It has a meager 6.2% SwStr rate and a 93.8% zone contact rate. This pitch is simply outclassed by his slider, changeup, and curveball, and there is no reason to use it other than as a show-me pitch.

With a restricted pitch mix Musgrove should be able to find a workable middle ground between his unsustainable 1.54 ERA April, and his catastrophic 8.10 ERA May. His biggest flaw outside of pitch mix is his weak four-seam fastball. Clocking in at a league average 92 MPH, batters have punished his four-seamer for a .293 AVG and .576 SLG. He also has a higher walk rate than strikeout rate with the pitch, which is especially disturbing for a supposed control artist like Musgrove. His poor fastball will limit his upside, but there is still a lot to like about Musgrove’s profile. The full breakout isn’t here yet, but he’s moving back towards usable territory. Owners should be hesitant to use him in tough matchups due to the blowup potential, but he’s worth watching and adding in deeper leagues.


The key to success for Musgrove will be utilizing his deep arsenal of breaking balls, and limiting fastball exposure when possible. Pitchers like this can be quite volatile, but can also pay off pretty well when things go right. Musgrove doesn’t deserve our unconditional trust by any means, but he definitely has an interesting profile with lots of upside. Use in softer matchups until he can string together a few good starts in a row to rebuild trust.

More 2019 Fantasy Baseball Advice

More Recent Articles


Week 14 Surprises? We Must Overreact Immediately!

In Week 14, the quarterback position was littered with surprises. Drew Brees dropped over 40 fantasy points on a 49ers Defense that's given up the second-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks on the season and Jameis Winston hung 456 yards and 5 touchdowns on a Colts Defense that's been solid against the pass all year. Mitch... Read More

The Cut List - Players on the Chopping Block (Week 15)

This is your weekly list of players to drop. I will do my best to limit this list to injured players and players you might consider holding. If you roster pure handcuffs or backups, obviously you can let them go at any time. The players on this list will, ideally, be guys that aren't clearly... Read More

Week 15-16 Playoff Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

Still doing things a little differently this week--for those of you who are still alive. I want to take a look at the playoffs as a whole (and in this case we are considering Weeks 14-16) and determine which DSTs you can ride all the way through and which ones you should stream this week.... Read More

Week 15 Kicker Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

Week 15 is here and for those of you that won the first week of your fantasy playoffs, congratulations. If you had a bye week, good luck to you this week. Kicker lives still matter, and three different kickers had 15 or more points last week. Three different kickers outscored Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick... Read More

FAAB Bidding - Week 15 Waiver Wire Targets

Assisting our famous waiver wire pickups list, and our weekly waiver wire columns by position, this column focuses on suggested waiver wire bidding percentages for fantasy football owners in leagues using a Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB). As a caveat, these prices do not by any means indicate how much these free agent players will... Read More

Week 15 Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds

You have to love fantasy football. You have to, otherwise you would have given up by now. In a week that most likely represented the first matchup of the fantasy playoffs or a must-win in some form for the vast majority of players, we were treated to the following: Alvin Kamara netting three fantasy points,... Read More

Running Back Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 15

It is almost inconceivable that we are progressing into the second week of fantasy postseason matchups. Congratulations to those of you whose teams are still competing in the playoffs. Your meticulous planning during the draft process and the regular season has been rewarded with an opportunity to win your leagues' championships. This critical week provides the opportunity to... Read More

Wide Receiver Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 15

Week 15 is upon us, which means that even the holdovers who play in leagues with four team playoffs and no byes are now in fantasy playoff mode. This is it: the home stretch. Are there any wide receivers left on the waiver wire who can help you in the playoffs? Let's look at some... Read More

Week 15 Tight End Waiver Wire Picks and Streamers

If your fantasy football season is over, either because you did not make your league’s playoffs or because you have had enough of failing in DFS contests, then this column is not for you. Congratulations if you HAVE qualified for your fantasy league’s playoffs! To reach the postseason you must have received some decent play... Read More

Quarterback Waiver Wire Pickups and Streamers - Week 15

The first week of the fantasy playoffs in almost in the books, and if you're fortunate enough to have advanced then it's already time to start thinking about Week 15 lineups, especially for those who stream quarterbacks. Luckily, there are plenty of viable options available as eliminated owners have stopped making moves, and if you... Read More

Waiver Wire Express - Week 15 Lightning Round

An injury-laden Week 14 decided many matchups, with several big names going down in a Red Wedding-esque affair. Not only was Josh Jacobs was a late inactive, but Jared Cook, Devante Parker, Albert Wilson all left with concussions, Mike Evans pulled up with a hamstring injury, Calvin Ridley and Ryan Griffin hurt their ankles, Derrius... Read More

Fantasy Football News and Injuries - Running Updates

Below is a quick-hit list of running notes on relevant injuries and player news, including pre-game reports and live in-game updates. Stay tuned for updates all throughout the week and on Sunday morning game day:   Week 14 Josh Jacobs (shoulder) has officially been ruled out. Jared Cook has been ruled out of the game after... Read More

Monday Night Fantasy Football Starts/Sits - Week 14

Finally, we had a good fantasy matchup last week. And now, as punishment, we get this. The Eagles against the Giants is a good rivalry game. But for fantasy? Not so much. Even key players Saquon Barkley and Carson Wentz have been severely disappointing in 2019. The game is not going to be something to... Read More

Week 14 Chat - Live Fantasy Football Game Day Q&A

It's Sunday Morning Week 14... Do You Know Who to Start? Each Sunday morning of the NFL season, RotoBaller's experts will be moderating the industry's leading live chat room and answering a bunch of your fantasy football questions, from around 10:30 AM to 1:00 PM ET. Come join in on the fun, and get your... Read More

Updated Week 14 PPR Rankings (Top 300)

Welcome to Week 14 RotoBallers. Below are our updated consensus Week 14 PPR rankings for fantasy football, including some running notes on relevant injuries, player news and rankings updates: Josh Jacobs (shoulder) has officially been ruled out. Will Fuller (hamstring) is expected to miss Week 14. Adam Thielen (hamstring) has officially been ruled out. Le'Veon Bell... Read More