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Starting Pitcher Waiver Wire Pickups for Fantasy Baseball Week 9

Roansy Contreras fantasy baseball rankings MLB prospects draft sleepers waiver wire pickups

Welcome to Week Nine! As always, it seems like the need for some solid starting pitching is paramount in fantasy baseball. If your team is suffering a few injuries or just looking to add some depth, I have some prime candidates for waiver additions for you!

We had a few cases of breakout pitchers that we quickly identified early in the year, and those names continue to put up great fantasy numbers here as we enter June. We're talking about guys like Eric Lauer and Kyle Wright. Those kinds of breakouts are tougher to find at this point in the season, but there are still plenty of serviceable and interesting starting pitchers available in tons of leagues.

Here are your starting pitcher fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups recommendations for Week Nine of the fantasy season (June 6th to June 12th). Let's get to it already!

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received five total writing awards and 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, tops in the industry! Congrats to all the award winners and nominees including Best MLB Series, NFL Series, NBA Writer, PGA Writer and Player Notes writer of the year. Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!


Waiver Wire Pickups for Shallow Leagues

Edward Cabrera, Miami Marlins (33% Rostered)

It goes without saying that this guy should be on rosters, yet he's still only on 33% of Yahoo teams right now despite throwing six innings of one-hit baseball with nine strikeouts in his 2022 debut against the Rockies - in Coors! His next start should come at home this week against the Nationals, and depending on what Miami does with their rotation, he could end up with a second start next Sunday (although in a tough match-up with Houston). But adding Cabrera is not something you are doing for the short term, anyway, he's a legit prospect with major upside and a great home park factor. I'd move on him soon if he's available in your league, another dominant start from him and he's going to end up 60-70% rostered in a hurry.

Roansy Contreras, Pittsburgh Pirates (38% Rostered)

Contreras was featured in Jon's piece here last week, but I couldn't take him out as he's still only 38% rostered in Yahoo leagues. He's coming off his best outing as a starter since being called back up as he blanked the D-backs over 5.2 innings and piled up eight strikeouts in the process.

It was good to see the strikeouts finally and that he made it into the sixth inning, which he hadn't done yet as a starter in the majors. The Statcast sliders are pretty much what you would expect from a really hard-throwing young pitcher (he's sitting 96-98 on his fastball), great results in terms of strikeouts but some really hard-hit batted balls, too. The spin rates on the curve and fastball are excellent, however, as is the chase rate - which is likely a product of his nasty slider that is carrying a massive 48% whiff rate. The Pirates would be foolish to do anything other than hand their best pitching prospect the ball every five days, and Roansy has the kind of talent that could make him a league-winner down the stretch - it's an absolute crime that he's not 80% owned (or more) in leagues!

Jon Gray, Texas Rangers (24% Rostered)

I am a little surprised that Jon Gray continues to be so lightly rostered, especially after his breakout 12-strikeout game in his last start against Tampa this week. He's lined up for two starts this week, Monday against the Guardians and then Sunday against a struggling White Sox team. Neither of those teams are great match-ups for strikeouts, but also not teams that scare us much in terms of their offensive prowess.

I am still somewhat bullish on Gray this year in Texas and that we really can't judge what kind of pitcher he might be outside of Coors until we get a larger sample size. Texas has done some really good work in fixing Martin Perez and Dane Dunning, and Gray has the type of stuff to dominate with a 95 MPH fastball and a really good slider. He's certainly worth a speculative add for the next handful of starts, and if he stays healthy and continues to pitch well you may have landed yourself a solid piece for your rotation for the rest of the season.

Jakob Junis, San Francisco Giants (26% Rostered)

Junis is enjoying a renaissance of sorts in San Francisco after being given up on by the Royals. He's been a solid addition to the rotation as their fifth starter and with the exception of his last start in Philadelphia, has given owners at least five innings of solid run prevention thus far. The strikeouts have dipped quite a bit and we shouldn't expect many from him considering he's mainly a sinker-slider guy now who is pitching to contact more than before in his career. I am not sure he can get away with throwing 54% sliders for too long, but the Giants are basically letting him throw his best pitch as often as possible, which has allowed him to move away from his sinker and totally ditch his four-seamer. We've seen some slider guys do really well this year by leading with their best pitch (Chad Kuhl is one that comes to mind) and all the Giants want is five innings of decent run prevention from him. He pitches today against Miami, so he's only going to get one start next week, but he's still a decent long-term option for as long as he can last in the rotation.


Waiver Wire Pickups for Deeper Leagues

Caleb Kilian, Chicago Cubs (17% Rostered)

I know a lot of Cubs fans who are hoping that Kilian stays in the rotation for the rest of the season, but that remains to be seen and likely will depend on how well he pitches in his opportunities. His debut was pretty solid as he struck out six Cardinals over five frames, allowing three runs on only three hits. He allowed all three runs in one inning and worked four very clean frames otherwise. He was throwing a 93-94 MPH sinker as his primary pitch which isn't likely a pitch that will miss many bats in the big leagues, but he did have a 43% whiff rate on his hard 88-89 MPH slider (Statcast identified it as a "cutter"). He's going to have to mix in his curveball (77-78 MPH) more often to show hitters a few different speeds, but his AAA numbers were fantastic and he seems ready for the challenge of being up the majors. He's a guy to stash in deeper leagues, even if he does get sent down in the short term.

Graham Ashcraft, Cincinnati Reds (9% Rostered)

This recommendation comes with a lot of trepidation and I am not entirely sold that Ashcraft is actually a good (or even decent) MLB pitcher. My friend Mike Kurland shares the same skepticism.

Ashcraft is a hard thrower with his primary pitches being a sinker and cutter that both average nearly 97 MPH. He's also throwing an 85 MPH slider as his offspeed pitch, but none of these pitches are missing many bats right now. He has, however, limited the amount of hard contact as Mike points out in his tweet is getting a bunch of ground balls.

But if you're looking for a two-start pitcher, Ashcraft deserves some consideration since one of those starts will come against Arizona (the other one being a much tougher match-up with St. Louis). Just keep expectations tempered, he's not likely going to get you many strikeouts but could still be useful if he can keep up the run prevention.

Ryan Feltner, Colorado Rockies (6% Rostered)

It's only been three starts so far, but how can you not be impressed with what Feltner has done since being called up? He's sporting a 28% K rate with only a 7% BB rate and a really solid 52% GB rate to go with it. I dug pretty deep into this one and there are no major red flags that we usually see with small sample sizes that would tell us regression is coming. His ERA indicators (xERA, FIP, xFIP, SIERA) are all in line with his ERA and nothing stands out about his BABIP (.276) or strand rate (75,6%) either. Now, as I am writing this he's preparing to make his fourth start against a good Atlanta team at home, and it's certainly possible that he gets hit hard today. But it's equally possible that he pitches really well and becomes one of the hottest pickups this week. Stash him, now, he looks every bit the part of a promising young pitcher.


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