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Starting Pitcher Waiver Wire Pickups for Fantasy Baseball - Week 8

Eury Perez - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Draft Sleepers, MLB Injury News

The majority of the rookie SPs have scuffled in recent outings, and we're left with an overhaul pretty bleak picture of what life has been like on the SP waiver wire. We have located some gems early on, but there have been plenty of blanks fired as well.

This remains a good time of the season to fill out your fantasy rotation as these rookies are being called up and MLB teams are trying different things. There are a couple of new exciting names on the list this week, and while the going has been tough ‚Äď it's not too late to really upgrade our rotations on the waiver wire.

Let's get to it ‚Äď here are your starting pitcher fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups recommendations for Week 8 of the fantasy baseball season (May 15 - May 21).

Be sure to check all of our fantasy baseball lineup tools and weekly lineup resources:


Waiver Wire Pickups for Shallow Leagues

Pitcher pickup recommendations for leagues of any size

Eury Perez, Miami Marlins (60% Rostered)

Just a quick disclaimer here since Perez is already above the 50% threshold we use for this piece. Despite the lackluster box score result, Perez looked awesome Friday night with an 18% SwStr% and just electrifying stuff.

A really great four-seamer plus an awesome slider and curveball, this kid is going to be something. As with all rookies, we should have some hesitation on being overly confident that he'll succeed against the world's best hitters right away, but he certainly has the talent and the pitch mix to do it. He should be universally rostered right now.

Louie Varland, Minnesota Twins (16% Rostered)

Varland is the priority pick-up under 50% owned this week. What he's done in his three starts has been really impressive. Here's the whole list of pitchers this year with 3+ GS, a K% above 27%, a BB% below 9%, and a SwStr% above 15%:

Pitcher GS K% BB% SwStr%
Pablo Lopez 8 31% 7% 16.3%
Luis Castillo 8 28% 5% 16.3%
Cristian Javier 8 29% 5% 15.7%
Clayton Kershaw 8 29% 5% 16.2%
Kevin Gausman 7 34% 4% 15.6%
Joe Ryan 7 27% 4% 15.2%
Hunter Greene 7 29% 9% 16.4%
Freddy Peralta 7 27% 8% 15.5%
Louie Varland 3 28% 7% 15.5%

It's a smaller sample size for Varland, but for what it's worth ‚Äď he was absolutely dominant in the minor leagues (40% K%, 6.5% BB%).

To say more, Varland has above-average SwStr% on three different pitches, his four-seamer (12.4%), his cutter (15.9%), and his changeup (22.7%). To that he adds a decent slider, so he has a lot of different ways to go. We learned this week that Tyler Mahle is done for the year needing Tommy John surgery, so there is a  long-term spot in the rotational available now and I think Varland is going to take it and keep it.

Domingo German, New York Yankees (45% Rostered)

I believe he has been in this piece weekly so far, and we're closing in on him graduating above 50%.

German had another solid start this week, and this time it was in the toughest matchup the league can give you. He took the hill against the Rays and threw 5.2 innings while giving up just one earned run. The strikeouts weren't there (three) and his walks were bad (three), but the Rays will do that to you ‚Äď and it was good to see him battle through that.

For the year now, German sits with a 26.3% K%, an 8.4% BB%, and a 15.9% SwStr%. He has the ability to have big strikeout games, and he continues to put up good outings ‚Äď he should be added in more leagues.

Jameson Taillon, Chicago Cubs (46% Rostered)

It's a very small sample size on Taillon this year, and the results haven't been great, but he does have a really strong 28% K% and a 6.7% BB% right now. He has had one of the lowest walk rates in the league over the last few seasons, so any strikeout rate this year above 25% is going to be pretty exciting.

He's dealt with an injury already so he's probably still getting rounded into shape. Taillon is not a sexy pick-up by any means, but he's better than we give him credit for and I believe he'll have a pretty solid season when all is said and done here.


Waiver Wire Pickups for Deeper Leagues

Pitcher pickup recommendations for deeper leagues

J.P. France, Houston Astros (35% Rostered)

He's made two starts in the Majors now and that has turned into 11.2 innings of one-run ball with just six hits allowed on an 8:2 K:BB ratio. The strikeout rate is below 20% and the SwStr% is just a little bit above average at 12.4%, so we're not looking at a rookie banging the door down.

However, it's hard to argue with results even in a small sample when we're searching this deep for SP help. For the entire season, including his minor league starts, he has a 28% K% and a 10% BB% ‚Äď so that's a little bit encouraging that maybe he can get more strikeouts moving forward.

Take a look at his pitch mix:

You can see there that he distributes his pitches pretty evenly with four different offerings above 15%. The swinging-strike rates aren't great on any pitch, but they aren't bad on any of them either. It's good to see a young pitcher with this many arrows in his quiver, and I think that will help France as we move forward. You can give him a look in deeper formats.

Logan Allen, Cleveland Guardians (43% Rostered)

He seems to have stepped above Bibee for fantasy purposes. His K% is good but not great at 25.3%, and the walk rate is managed well at 7.4%. The good news in the profile is the 13.2% SwStr% and the deep pitch mix.

As a lefty, he's a little bit more deceptive and that can give hitters some extra trouble. I'm not over the top excited about any of these rookies in the deep league section, but Allen should have some good outings moving forward and you can certainly do a lot worse.

Tanner Bibee, Cleveland Guardians (41% Rostered)

I prefer Allen, as I said above, but Bibee is another talented rookie in a rotation right now. His K% is down below 24% and the SwStr% just isn't there at 10.8%. That said, he isn't walking hitters (6.3%) and he's done a great job limiting the homer (63 PA/HR, although that's not backed up by a good GB% way down at 26%).

I think Bibee will have some tough outings, but he's skilled and we can never discount the fact that these guys can improve as they go. We're talking about a guy who has only thrown 14 innings in the Majors ‚Äď so some patience is needed.

Clarke Schmidt, New York Yankees (13% Rostered)

He put a pretty good start in the books early this week against the Athletics, and overall he has some encouraging underlying numbers. His xFIP of 3.77 dwarfs his actual ERA of 5.35, and he maintains a K-BB% right below 20%. Those are very good signs for the future, and he's getting a lot of whiffs this year as well.

He's not an overly exciting pickup, but he's much better than he's shown and can definitely help out some fantasy teams right now in deep leagues.

James Paxton, Boston Red Sox

I can't guarantee that Paxton will even stay healthy between now and the time you finish reading this sentence, but while he's healthy he's at least a little bit interesting. In his first start in a Major League uniform this year, he struck out nine Cardinals in five innings. That's an encouraging sign.

There is very little chance that Paxton turns out to be a great fantasy option, but it seems like he could be a guy that can still rack up some strikeouts while he's healthy and on the mound.


Other Waiver Wire Options


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