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Week 25 Waiver Wire - Starting Pitchers

At this point in the season this might as well be a streamers column, but we’ll do our best to target arms that are more sustainable than just the matchup that they’re drawing next. While it’d be nice to advise caution when it comes to late-season risks, most times the leap is borne out of necessity. It’s been one hell of a season, that’s for sure. Let’s go out with a bang.

Whether you need wins, ratios or strikeouts (ideally all three), we’ll try to help you out. Here are my starting pitcher waiver wire targets for Week 25.

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

Tyler Chatwood (COL - SP): 21% owned

This isn’t about Chatwood as a long-term investment, as we’re staring down his next start against the Giants in spacious San Francisco. Chatty is notorious for becoming a fringe ace on the road versus rivaling a dumpster fire at home (this is a bit hyperbolic) but has looked solid since rejoining the rotation with just one run surrendered in 13 2/3 innings. He’s notched victories in one easy matchup (Padres) and one tough one (Dodgers) and will hope to make it three in a row on Wednesday.

Tyler Anderson (COL - SP): 16% owned

After being affected by injury in one way or another for over half of the season, Anderson is finally back to form here. The southpaw has yielded just three hits and two walks over 10 shutout frames and could be tapping into his pre-injury form at just the right time. Much of the preseason hype was derailed by a terrible April, but then he rung up 32 batters over 24 2/3 innings with a 2.55 ERA, making him a nice buy for his Thursday start against the Padres away from Coors Field.

Robert Stephenson (CIN - SP/RP): 14% owned

Stephenson is pretty much Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde out there, with very little room in between. Luckily for anyone who streamed his most recent start, you got the SP3 upside across six scoreless frames with eight strikeouts while only four Pirates reached base. That magnificent showing came at home, where his 3.61 ERA paints him as a very serviceable arm, compared to a 6.89 ERA away from Great American Ballpark. He was pitching in St. Louis when he got flamed by the Cardinals on Sept. 12. He’ll toe his home rubber next on Sept. 23 against the Red Sox, so I’m okay with rolling those dice.

Ben Lively (PHI - SP): 11% owned

Lively allowed two baserunners (both of would score) in a rain-shortened start his last time out. Despite the rude weather, he was putting up a valiant fight against the A’s and had the potential to post his fifth quality start in his last six tries. I realize Philadelphia isn’t a boat many people want to board, but the 25-year-old has taken care of San Francisco, Miami, the Mets, Washington and to a degree, Oakland, over the last month, so we’re taking him seriously. Luckily, he’ll skip over the Dodgers series and gets to face the Braves next on the road on Friday.

Carson Fulmer (CWS - SP/RP): 7% owned

After getting hit hard by the Twins in his debut, Fulmer has buckled down to give up three runs over 16 2/3 innings while fanning 17 batters. The .175 BABIP and 98.5 percent strand rate won’t be able to hold up, but his track record indicates that the whiffs should hold up even as his ERA regresses back toward the mid-to-high threes. Of course, with so little time left in the season he could just run out the clock with a horseshoe in his back pocket. Don’t count on it, but a total collapse isn’t imminent or anything. He’ll face a Houston team that has been much scarier in name than in results lately.

Daniel Mengden (OAK - SP): 8% owned

Mengden’s most recently allowed only two hits over a complete-game shutout against the Phillies. Yeah, I know, the Phillies, but still. He’ll face a middle-of-the-road Tigers team next on Wednesday before hosting the Mariners after that. I’m not expecting much from a guy who owns a 5.42 FIP in the Majors with a 4.89 Triple-A FIP through 41 innings there, but when an offense is clicking like this then sometimes you simply need to buy the cheapest ticket to the show.

Chris Stratton (SF - SP/RP): 7% owned

It’s a crummy spot to lean on Stratton with the Dodgers due up as his next start (and not even at home) on Sept. 24, but he did just shut down the D-backs in his last outing for the win and he’s widely available so we’ve got to speak on him. Not only has he pitched well lately, but we’ve seen him touch double-digit strikeouts multiple times in a very small window of time, making his relative ceiling worth the gamble for some despite the terrible matchup.

Steven Brault (PIT - SP/RP): 4% owned

While Tyler Glasnow’s juicy potential shone brightly, it was fellow rookie Brault who actually delivered for the big-league club in just his second start. He had done okay out of the bullpen, but was phenomenal against the Brewers on Sept. 11 with six innings of shutout ball. He struck out six and allowed just one hit and a walk, though the 23.9 percent groundball rate on the day isn’t ideal. Still, the poor contact induced makes for some promise in a rematch against the Brew Crew at home on Wednesday. If he does well again then he should draw at least one more start before the end of the season. This is a guy who logged a 1.94 ERA/1.07 WHIP with 109 K’s across 120 1/3 Triple-A innings, so he’s no slouch.

Matthew Boyd (DET - SP): 4% owned

Boyd toyed with the White Sox at home throughout a complete-game shutout on Sept. 17, falling one out shy of a no-hitter thanks to a Tim Anderson double with two outs in the ninth. While it was his first win since July 29, that was his third start out of his last four outings in which he’s allowed one run or fewer. Two of those three came against the Indians during their ridiculous winning streak, which is saying something. He’ll take on the Twins at home next on Saturday, making him a viable, albeit uninspiring, streamer.


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