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Starting Pitcher Waiver Wire Pickups for Fantasy Baseball Week 10

brady singer fantasy baseball rankings draft sleepers waiver wire pickups starting pitchers

Hello and welcome to Week 10! Big shout out to Thunder Dan for picking up this article for me last week!

This week, we have a bunch of rookies to talk about. We have seen some electric outings from young arms lately and that has resulted in some chances for us to capitalize before the rest of the fantasy baseball universe catches on. We also have a veteran or two to go over as a few names have impressed this year after going under-drafted or not drafted at all.

Let's get to it - here are your starting pitcher fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups recommendations for Week 10 of the fantasy season (June 13-June 19). Let's get to it.

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Waiver Wire Pickups for Shallow Leagues

George Kirby, Seattle Mariners (51% Rostered)

I think this will be the last time Kirby qualifies for this post, as we are typically looking for pitchers rostered in around or less than 50% of leagues. He has been great lately, so I imagine a lot of people will be adding him ahead of his next start.

For the year, his 23.7%-2.3% K-BB% is great. Any time the gap between your K% and BB% is more than 20 points, you're in good territory. There were serious issues with the slider early on, as he put up just a 4.8% SwStr% on the pitch in his first two outings. Since that second start, the mark on that pitch is up to 8.5% and over his last three starts it's up to 12.9%. If that continues, it's still just a league-average slider in terms of whiffs, but it goes well with the rest of his stuff.

The biggest reason to add Kirby is the command. He has always been elite at preventing walks, and that has translated beautifully to the majors. For pitchers with at least five starts this year, only Chris Paddack bests Kirby's 2.3% walk rate. Giving so few free passes is by itself enough to have some success in the Majors, but adding on to that the decent strikeout rate - you're really cooking with gas. I like Kirby a ton for the rest of the year and he should be pretty much universally rostered.

Hunter Greene, Cincinnati Reds (46% Rostered)

The rookie put up the best start of his career last week, striking out eight Diamondbacks while giving up just one hit over seven innings. That was his second consecutive start with eight strikeouts, and his 29.9% K% is seventh-best in the whole league for pitchers with at least 10 starts.

Strikeouts certainly aren't an issue for Greene, who has posted a 13% SwStr% with the four-seamer and a 19.1% mark with the slider. The trouble with him has been command (a 10% BB%) and predictability (those two pitches we just mentioned are 94.4% of his total pitches thrown). What he does done to counteract that is thrown more sliders. In April, he was 61% four-seamer, in May and June so far, that number has come down to 49%.

It's still tough for a guy to get by in the Majors with just two pitches, but it's not unheard of either if both pitches are very good (Tyler Glasnow comes to mind).

I think a lot of people are going to be very bullish on Greene right now, and that's probably not the right way to go either. He is likely going to have some really bad starts on days where he doesn't locate the four-seamer well. You just can't get many fastballs past Major League hitters when they know it's coming and it's not located perfectly. That said, Greene is perfectly capable of having these sparkling outings, and at the very least the strikeouts will continue to pile up.

Graham Ashcraft, Cincinnati Reds (33% Rostered)

Another Cincinnati rookie making waves in the Majors this season is Ashcraft, who we have seen make four starts since his May call-up. The numbers have been great with a 1.14 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP, but the strike rate has been egregiously low at 14%. It's hard to have success in the Majors getting so few strikeouts, but there is much reason for optimism in that regard.

Here's how his pitch arsenal has looked so far this year:

Pitch % Velo CSW% SwStr% GB% Brl%
Cutter 44% 97.8 29.7% 8.1% 59% 5.1%
Slider 30% 85.7 27..7% 12.9% 44% 0%
Sinker 24% 97.4 17.1% 3.7% 82% 0%
Changeup 1% 90.4 40% 20% -- --

I love to see the cutter/sinker combination there. If you can tunnel those pitches it makes it very tough on hitters, and that's a good formula for being a guy that can get deep into games and limit hard contact. The key for Ashcraft, I think, is the slider. In his first two starts, Ashcraft threw 22 and 23 sliders and got just one total whiff on those pitches. Something has changed in the last two starts, however, as he's racked up a dozen whiffs on his 56 sliders for a swinging-strike rate above 20%.

Given how much contact he gives up on the sinker and cutter, he absolutely needs a high SwStr% on the slider to get any decent amount of strikeouts, so this is something to keep a very close eye on. At any rate, his ground-ball rate should sustain (he has a high ground-ball rate all through the minors), and that helps him quite a bit. I like him as a decent floor play with some upside if the slider keeps humming along, he can be added in most leagues if you need a decent starter.

Spencer Strider, Atlanta Braves (38% Rostered)

Strider has been hit or miss with a strikeout rate well above 30%, but a walk rate north of 12%. He has spent most of the year in a relief role, but for right now, he's in the rotation and has really ramped up the pitch count lately. His profile does seem to be more conducive to the relief role, as he is really reliant on the four-seamer (65%+ usage), and he's mainly a two-pitch guy (adding a nice slider to the mix). The command is clearly an issue, and if he can't get the walk rate down to single-digits, I don't think he'll have a ton of success no matter how many strikeouts he piles up.

All that said, for now Strider can be started in good matchups where your team can use some extra strikeouts and win possibilities. I don't imagine he sticks in the rotation for long, so don't be spending many FAAB dollars on the guy - but give him a look here.


Waiver Wire Pickups for Deeper Leagues

Brady Singer, Kansas City Royals (24% Rostered)

Over the last three weeks, Brady Singer has made four starts and walked just three batters. That's a 3.2% BB%, which goes really well with the nice 50% GB% he's posted over that same time. The downside for Singer is that he has never shown a ton of strikeout ability, but he has improved a bit in that regard this season with a 24% K% - two points above the league average.

I am being pretty nitpicky with my criteria here, but only three pitchers this season have done this:

  • 5+ GS
  • K% above 22%
  • BB% below 5%
  • GB% above 50%

Those three names:

Pitcher GS K% BB% GB%
Max Fried 12 23.2% 3.4% 52.5%
Brady Singer 5 24.1% 2.8% 53.3%
Clayton Kershaw 5 29.4% 2.8% 50.7%

Some very nice company for Singer there, although the fact that it's only five starts gives us some pause. We'll see what Singer has for us moving forward, but anybody getting this many ground balls and allowing so few walks always needs looked into, and the fact that he's gotten the strikeout rate above league average has me very interested.

Roansy Contreras, Pittsburgh Pirates (40% Rostered)

The young Bucco keeps putting up strong numbers as he's solidifying his spot in the Pirates rotation possibly for years to come. His 27% strikeout rate is very solid, and he has brought the walk rate down to league average level after he had started poorly in that regard.

His arsenal is limited, with a decent fastball (96.5 mph, 9% SwStr%, 29% CSW%) and a great slider (22% SwStr%). He needs to continue the trend of bringing and keeping the walk rate down to really have continued success, but his stuff is more than good enough to play in the Majors, and there is real ceiling here.

I imagine it doesn't come to full fruition in 2022, especially given all the trouble Pittsburgh has had developing talented pitching prospects, but he's worth the add right now to see what happens.

Michael Lorenzen, Los Angeles Angels (45% Rostered)

It's been a wild year for Lorenzen. While this isn't a DFS post, the DraftKings game logs on Lorenzen give us a pretty good picture of how it's gone.

The strikeouts haven't been great for Lorenzen with a K% of 19%, and he adds to that a mediocre walk rate of 9%. Despite that, he's had a reasonable amount of success with a 3.69 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. His six quality starts are tied for 17th-most in the league, a testament to how deep he's able to get into games. He has also recently shown some extra strikeout stuff, racking up 15 whiffs and nine strikeouts in a start against the Phillies a week ago, putting up most of that good production after a disastrous first inning where he gave up five earned runs right away.

The downside probably outweighs the upside for Lorenzen, but he's given us enough reason to start him in good matchups in deep leagues.

Konnor Pilkington, Cleveland Guardians (17% Rostered)

The 24-year-old has now made four starts with Cleveland after beginning the year in a bullpen role. Here is what he has done in those four outings.

Pitcher IP K% BB% CSW% SwStr% GB% Brl%
Konnor Pilkington 17.1 23.5% 15.3% 28.3% 14.5% 37.3% 11.8%

The only number that is really good here is the 14.5% SwStr% - that's an elite number for a starting pitcher. The bad news is much louder than the good, with those really scary marks in BB% and Brl%. I think the barrel rate will come down, that's just the nature of barrel rate typically, but he's really going to need to get the walks under control to have any success at all.

The reason we are talking about him here is the strikeout upside. He went for a 31% K% in the minors last year, and has a good amount of strikeouts in the Majors as well with a mark of 24% overall this year. He struck out eight Royals on June 1st before falling flat against the Athletics on Thursday. This is, indeed, a deep league recommendation given that it's seemingly more likely that he will struggle for a bit longer while he works out these walks issues, but his ability to get whiffs at the rate he does is keeping him on my radar.

JT Brubaker, Pittsburgh Pirates (6% Rostered)

Brubaker's presence here at the end of the post is indicative of my feelings about him. He's basically a throw-in piece to this here just in case you're in a very deep league where all of the other guys here are not available. For the year, Brubaker's 4.60 ERA and 1.41 WHIP are both quite bad. He has also not won a single decision (he's 0-6) and has just one quality start in 12 goes at it. That is all very ugly and it keeps him well out of the fantasy discussion in most contexts.

However, Brubaker has flashed some upside in his young career, especially so lately. Over his last five starts, he has a strong 13% SwStr%. Some bad luck and lack of execution have that translating into a strikeout rate of 21% - below the league average. In that time, however, he has brought the walk rate down to around league average as well (7.8% BB%).

His slider is legit. The 21.8% SwStr% on the pitch is fourth-best in the league for sliders amongst pitchers that have thrown at least 300 sliders this season. The only starting pitchers above him are Robbie Ray and Josiah Gray - some nice company there. The problem is that he doesn't have a good enough fastball to set that pitch up, with a bad 26.6% CSW% on his sinker and a mark of 19% on the four-seamer. I don't think he's going to be able to make enough improvements to have him being a guy you really want on your fantasy team, but he is capable of putting up some strikeouts and some really good starts when he's going right - and that's worth something in very deep leagues.

Alrighty, hope you enjoyed the piece and I hope some of these starting pitcher picks change your life forever and ever, for the better. So long!

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