Week 21 Waiver Wire - Starting Pitchers

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Are you feeling it now, Mr. Krabs? The end of the fantasy baseball season is near, with many folks starting to shift their attention to football and allowing some sneaky names to slip through the waiver wire’s cracks. August has but one week left and crunch time is now.

Perhaps your league doesn’t have trade deadlines and you can still make moves that way, but the waiver wire is now the only source of assistance for many fantasy owners. Here are my starting pitcher waiver wire targets for Week 21.

For our purposes, we’re going to use Yahoo ownership levels and try to cut things off around 30%.

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Starting Pitcher Waiver Wire Targets

Luke Weaver - (STL, SP): 23% owned

While Weaver was originally called up to take the injured Trevor Rosenthal’s spot in the bullpen, it didn’t take long for a vacancy to appear in the starting rotation. Adam Wainwright is out for the foreseeable future and that leaves St. Louis’ prized young arm for a useful stretch run. With most of August in the books, difference-makers are unlikely to fall out of trees moving forward. You will make the add, and even if he somehow falters against the Padres on Wednesday, you will stick it out.

Lucas Giolito - (CWS, SP): 22% owned

While I remain as lukewarm as a glass of water that’s been left out to sit all day on Giolito, there’s no questioning his top-prospect status and the fact that he now has the opportunity to make something of himself in the Majors. While the AL Central is not the NL East -- where he floundered last season -- he showed something in not issuing a single walk over six innings in his 2017 big-league debut. Of course, the trio of homers he allowed say that maybe he should’ve lived outside of the zone more, but it’s still improvement in a troubled area for him. He’ll look to strike a better balance in his next start on Aug. 27 at home against the Tigers.

Blake Snell - (TB, SP): 22% owned

Snell has looked much improved of late thanks to a rejuvenated curveball that he feels comfortable throwing enough to trust it early in counts. While his overall command is still shaky, the southpaw has put together enough at the moment to be a viable mixed-league asset -- illustrated by his 3.53 ERA/1.15 WHIP and 29 K’s in the last 30 days (35 2/3 innings). He squares off against the Cardinals on Aug. 26 in St. Louis next, where he’ll look to make it three wins in a row.

Tyler Glasnow - (PIT, SP): 19% owned

Glasnow isn’t going to be called up this week it seems due to his accruing service time in the beginning of the season, but has posted a silly 1.79 ERA and 113-to-27 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 75 1/3 innings since being demoted to Triple-A in June. As a result, fantasy owners who simply aren’t thrilled with the current landscape of Major League arms should speculate on his being called up in the near future for a September run. With Brent Honeywell unlikely to make an impact in ’17, this is the move.

Edwin Jackson - (WAS, SP/RP): 18% owned

The day of reckoning is here for Mr. Jackson, who will go up against the Astros in Houston on Wednesday after enjoying several softer matchups that myself and those of you that followed me into the breach have benefited from. The 33-year-old has posted a 2.92 ERA across six starts since Washington promoted him, but his .245 BABIP is a likely regression candidate and he does have a 4.67 FIP/4.60 xFIP over that same span. I want to believe, but I’m also a numbers guy. I like E-Jax as a matchups play down the road with the Nationals’ lineup behind him, but he’s certainly no must-start.

Adam Conley - (MIA, SP): 13% owned

Conley has posted a useful 3.25 ERA with four wins over his seven starts since being recalled on July 18, with his most recent venture to the bump yielding a stellar 11-strikeout gem against the Mets. While it would be unwise to chase that high and one needs to note that he’s leaning on an 81.8 percent strand rate, he’s also induced pop-ups at a greater rate (20.4 percent) than line drives (17.4 percent). He isn’t suddenly a reborn stud, but he should be able to take advantage of a home matchup against the Padres on Aug. 25 in his next outing.

Chad Bettis - (COL, SP): 13% owned

Despite tossing seven strong frames in each of his first two starts since returning from conquering cancer, Bettis has yet to notch a victory. He blanked the Braves on Aug. 14 and then allowed three runs to the Brewers on Aug. 19 for a 1.93 ERA/1.07 WHIP across 14 frames thus far, but three combined runs of support will hamstring any efforts at winning ballgames. He should fare better in a rematch with the Bravos on Aug. 25 in Atlanta.

Chad Kuhl - (PIT, SP): 9% owned

Just when you thought Edwin Jackson was being tested in a matchup against Houston, we now move along to Kuhl Whip. While his overall 4.52 ERA isn’t going to cause any of you to jump out of your seats, he does have a 3.83 FIP behind that mark and has posted a 3.21 ERA alongside a 4-2 record and useful 7.88 K/9 in his last 10 outings (since July 1). He’s kept the ball low, with only two homers allowed in those 56 innings, and will need every bit of that brilliance in his next scheduled start on Thursday against the red-hot Dodgers. If he can settle them down, then the sky’s the limit for his September.

Miguel Gonzalez - (CWS, SP): 9% owned

Even when you account for his seven-run shellacking at the hands of the Red Sox on Aug. 3, Gonzalez has posted a 3.07 ERA over his seven starts since coming off of the disabled list after the All-Star break. There are still plenty of fleas, but while he’s issued three-plus walks in five of those starts, he’s also allowed one or zero runs in five of them. The 26-to-19 strikeout-to-walk ratio stinks, but he’s also doing a good job at limiting big contact and allowing line drives at a poor 15.4 percent clip. He takes on the Tigers at home next on Aug. 25.

Robert Gsellman - (NYM, SP): 5% owned

While Gsellman has had a tumultuous 2017, he was able to throw 5 1/3 innings of two-run ball against the Yankees in his first start back on Aug. 16 before most recently holding the D-backs to one run over 6 1/3 frames. Both of those were home starts, as he’ll now be faced with a tough draw on the road against the Nationals on Aug. 26. That’s not exactly a recommended play, but he has the potential for several helpful starts in those playoff weeks.

 

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