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Starting Pitcher Waiver Wire Pickups for Fantasy Baseball Week 5

Josh Winder fantasy baseball rankings draft sleepers waiver wire pickups starting pitchers

We are in the second week of May, and things like injuries and prospect call-ups are becoming more and more common. While a lot of the early season starting pitcher breakouts have long been snatched up in most leagues, these new developments give us the chance to continue to mine the waiver wire for help at the starting pitcher position.

Today, we have several more names for you to consider. Young guys, older guys, lefties, righties, all kinds of stuff! We are looking at starting pitchers rostered in around or less than 50% of leagues.

Here are your starting pitcher fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups recommendations for week four of the fantasy season (May 2nd - May 8th). Let's get to it.

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Waiver Wire Pickups for Shallow Leagues

Cristian Javier, Houston Astros (58% Rostered)

This is kind of a bonus pick for you, because he's over our 50% threshold here. If Javier is available in your league, he should be added right away. It's also possible he will become available as his two starts so far haven't gone all that well (just a 20% K% and a 10% BB% in those outings with an ugly 17.5% CSW%). I fully expect Javier to be a very usable fantasy pitcher as long as he's in the rotation, and he's thrown 84 and 87 pitches since entering the rotation - so no workload concerns right now.

Alex Cobb, San Francisco Giants (45% Rostered)

It's criminal that Cobb has fallen below 50% rostered here. He came out of the gates with an elite start against the Padres, striking out 10 batters in five spectacular innings. After that, he had a start go south with a few very weak hits strung together, and then he had to leave early with a groin injury. He hit the IL but didn't stay there much past the minimum 10 days, and then he came out and had a bad start as his defense let him down and he had to be removed due to a high first-inning pitch count.

Smart managers held on after that start and were richly rewarded on Friday night when he came out looking dominant once again. He struck out eight more hitters over five innings against the tough Cardinals lineup, walking just one batter and allowing only three balls hit into the air (and one of them happened to go over a fence).

This is what he's done on the year:

Player IP CSW% SwStr% K% BB% HR GB%
Alex Cobb 15 32.7% 16.7% 31.9% 8.7% 1 70.7%

Those numbers are all spectacular, and his splitter and curveball look nearly unhittable. Stop reading this post right now and go add Cobb if he's available in your league.

Chris Paddack, Minnesota Twins (41% Rostered)

Sixteen strikeouts to just two walks this year for Paddack with his new team, and a new curveball look this season have me believing in Paddack's resurgence in 2022. The strikeout rate is low (17%), but coming with so few walks and a ground-ball rate of 48% make that a little bit easier to stomach.

I would imagine more strikeouts will be coming, as 17% is just a really low figure and he's consistently beaten that number in is career thus far. It's really encouraging to see him not being so reliant on the fastball and changeup, and it also helps that the fastball is working much, much better this year. He doesn't really compare to Javier and Cobb in terms of how much I think you should add him, but I would pick him up and start him for now to see how things shake out.

Tyler Anderson, Los Angeles Dodgers (28% Rostered)

The 21.4% K% is low, and he's really not someone that has shown much consistency in his career, but right now Anderson is in the Dodgers' rotation and putting up good numbers, so It think he should be started in most spots.

You will probably suffer a blowup start or two from him this year, but I think the numbers will be good when all is said and done. He has a knack for completely avoiding hard contact, and he's done that again this year with a tiny 4% barrel rate and just one homer allowed on his 263 pitches. The ground-ball rate has hovered around 50%, which is great to see - and he's stretched out for a starter's workload already. The wins will always be there for Dodgers pitchers, so I'd ride with Anderson as long as he's in the rotation and throwing enough strikes.

Drew Rasmussen (TB) and Josiah Gray (WAS) are also names we've previously discussed in this post series and are hovering right around the 50% threshold here. I'm not going to go into detail on them again, but they are guys to add in shallow leagues where they are available.

 

Waiver Wire Pickups for Deeper Leagues

Josh Winder, Minnesota Twins (21% Rostered)

Two starts down for the young guy after coming out of the bullpen, and they have been strong. He has thrown twelve scoreless innings against the Rays and Athletics (six innings in each) and has struck out an impressive 15 batters while walking just one and not allowing a homer.

His season 31.5% CSW% and 14.5% SwStr% are both impressive marks and the GB% is up there at 44% to pair well with the 25-5% K-BB% ratio. He was relatively unhyped this season and was only put in the rotation out of necessity, but he's given the Twins a serious reason to keep him there - and I think he's worth a speculative add if nothing else right now.

Yusei Kikuchi, Toronto Blue Jays (24% Rostered)

It was a disastrous first few outings for Kikuchi, as he gave up nine earned runs over four starts while walking 13 batters and getting out of the fourth inning only once. That was really discouraging after the solid steps forward he took in 2021.

The lefty bounced back a bit last week with six strong innings against the Yankees. He struck out seven hitters and walked just one in that start and notched the win.

His K% and GB% figures have been improving almost every single start this year.

I'm not sure if I would be adding Kikuchi until we see another start or two with him managing walks well, but if you're really in need - Kikuchi is a guy with enough talent to put up some strong numbers. The early-season schedule has been brutal for him as well, facing Houston twice (I thought he escaped that division!), the Yankees twice, and the Red Sox once. There are easier matchups in the future, so take a look to see if Kikuchi is a good fit for your fantasy squad.

 

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