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Starting Pitcher Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 16

With the news that Max Scherzer is heading to the injured list with back issues, many fantasy owners are left combing the waiver wire for a replacement. Obviously, nobody you can pick up for free is going to give you what Mad Max can, but there are plenty of respectable options out there, no matter your league depth.

Whether you're a Scherzer owner or just need to make a move to bolster your pitching staff, you've come to the right place.

A reminder before we begin: This column focuses on players who are below 50% owned in Yahoo leagues, and standard 5x5 scoring. Your mileage may vary, in terms of availability or league settings. Using that cutoff point for ownership rate, however, these are your starting pitcher waiver wire targets and adds for Week 15 of the 2019 fantasy baseball season.

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Pickups for Shallow Leagues

Michael Pineda (SP, MIN) — 37% Owned

Pineda is striking out hitters at a respectable rate, posting an exceptional walk rate, and giving up too many homers and hard-hit balls. In other words, it's a typical season for the 30-year-old. He has turned in quality starts in eight of his last 10 outings (and fell one out shy of notching a ninth), and encouragingly has allowed just two home runs in his last 46 innings of work.

Griffin Canning (SP, LAA) —36% Owned

Canning's last start prior to the break was a rough one - he gave up six runs and allowed half of the 20 batters he faced to reach base in a loss to the Rangers - but his talent still merits a higher rate of ownership than his current mark. The rookie misses bats at an impressive clip with a 14.5% swinging strike rate, and does a good job of limiting walks. If he can figure out how to cut down on the home runs, the 23-year-old will be poised for a breakout in the second half.

Dylan Cease (SP, CHW) — 30% Owned

I tend to regard pitching prospects who struggled to limit walks in the minors with a healthy skepticism, and Cease is no exception. But the talent is undeniable, with high-90s heat and two breaking pitches that frequently flash plus. The rookie has consistently been a ground ball pitcher, which will help him navigate his hitter-friendly home park. Command will make or break his rookie season, and growing pains are inevitable. Still, not many pitchers on the wire offer the kind of strikeout upside that Cease possesses.


Pickups for Deeper Leagues

Chris Bassitt (SP, OAK) — 25% Owned

Bassitt bounced back nicely from a poor showing to conclude his first half, firing six shutout innings in a win over the White Sox on Saturday. The 30-year-old is striking out batters at a career high clip and owns solid ratios (3.98 ERA, 1.22 WHIP) through 15 starts. You may want to skip his next outing, a date with the powerful Twins lineup, but he's a good back-end arm in deeper formats.

Alex Wood (SP, CIN) — 23% Owned

The oft-injured Wood has yet to throw a pitch in the majors this season, but he's nearing a return from the back issue that's kept him out of action, having made two starts thus far on his rehab assignment. The lefty owns a career 3.29 ERA and 1.21 WHIP, thanks to a respectable strikeout rate and the ability to limit walks and home runs. The latter may prove more challenging in his new home, of course, but with a ground ball rate near 50%, Wood should be able to keep that going. He's probably still a few weeks away, but plenty of owners have already stashed him.

Chase Anderson (SP, MIL) — 17% Owned

Aside from his career year in 2017, Anderson has always struggled to keep the ball in the yard. Even with that issue, though, he's managed to put up decent numbers this season. The 31-year-old owns a 4.27 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in 13 starts and five relief appearances, and is missing bats at a career-high rate. Though throwing him out there for his next start against Atlanta is not recommended, Anderson is a decent play in easier matchups.


For Your Radar

Daniel Ponce de Leon (SP, STL) — 9% Owned

Ponce de Leon was excellent in place of the injured Adam Wainwright on Friday, allowing just one run on three hits in 6.2 innings while striking out seven in a win over the Diamondbacks. He has now made 18 MLB appearances in the last two seasons (eight starts, 10 relief outings) and produced sparkling ratios (2.37 ERA, 0.97 WHIP) with 69 strikeouts in 65 innings. He's achieved those results at least in part due to batted ball luck, but a 18.1 K-BB% suggests there's real ability here.

More Waiver Wire Pickups and Streamers

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