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Starting Pitcher Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 17

We're almost in August, which means that some owners will inevitably abandon their teams as they turn their attention to football season. This is, on balance, an unfortunate development - nobody should be that guy - but one benefit to those of us who follow through on our season-long commitment is that competition for waiver adds will be less fierce.

We're not there yet, so the pickings remain slim. You can still find help, though - and as luck would have it, this column is designed to assist you in doing just that.

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 17 of the 2019 fantasy baseball season.

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Pickups for Shallow Leagues

Alex Young (SP, ARI) — 45% Owned

Young's major league career couldn't be off to much better of a start, as he's put up an 0.96 ERA and 0.48 WHIP in his first four appearances (three starts). Both of the runs he's allowed thus far were on solo shots, and he's allowed only four other hits in his 19 innings of work. As you might imagine, there's been some batted ball fortune involved here. But the 25-year-old has also shown an ability to miss bats (14.4% swinging strike rate) and only issued three walks. His next start is a stiff test against the Brewers, so you can bet that if that game goes well, he'll shoot past the 50% owned threshold.

Daniel Ponce de Leon (SP, STL) — 34% Owned

Ponce de Leon had a rough night against the Pirates in his last start, but with the news that Michael Wacha has been shifted to the bullpen, it appears he'll be in rotation going forward. The 27-year-old has a small sample to judge, but he's succeeded so far at the MLB level with a 2.77 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in 68 innings, including last season. This year he's increased both strikeouts and ground balls, so there may be some growth happening here.

Merrill Kelly (SP, ARI) — 31% Owned

In his most recent outing, Kelly limited the Brewers to a single run in seven innings of work. It was the fourth time in his last nine starts that Kelly has pitched seven or more innings and allowed one run or fewer. During that span, he's sporting a 2.67 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 17.4 K-BB%. An inconsistent start to the year masks the recent improvement, which partly explains the somewhat low ownership rate. True, the veteran won't pile up Ks, but he can still help the squad.


Pickups for Deeper Leagues

Ryan Yarbrough (SP, TB) — 20% Owned

A rotten strand rate tanked Yarbrough's ERA in the early part of the year, but after six shutout innings on Saturday against the White Sox, he's now got a 3.93 ERA to go with his 0.93 WHIP. As a bulk reliever/follower, he requires a bit more maintenance as a fantasy asset, but consider this: Only nine pitchers in baseball have more victories than Yarbrough's 24 since the start of last season (and he didn't even get a W on Saturday). That's what we call sneaky value, folks.

Gio Gonzalez (SP, MIL) — 16% Owned

Gonzalez's return from the injured list on Saturday could have gone better - 4 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K - but prior to his absence, he appeared to still have something in the tank. In six starts, he posted a 3.19 ERA and 1.19 WHIP with 26 strikeouts in 31 innings. Generally a reliable core performer for the last decade, the veteran lefty could provide a boost at the back of fantasy rotations down the stretch.

Pablo Lopez (SP, MIA) — 15% Owned

Lopez is working his way back from a shoulder strain, and thus far his progress has been encouraging. If all continues to go well, he should be back before the middle of August. Before his injury, the rookie had reeled off four straight quality starts, allowing only five runs in those 25 innings, striking out 23 batters while walking just four. That stretch helped undo most of the damage his ratios had sustained during a disastrous 10 ER, 3 IP outing against the Mets on May 10.


For Your Radar

Tyler Beede (SP, SF) — 6% Owned

After a loss to the Diamondbacks on June 22, Beede had horrendous ratios (6.96 ERA, 1.95 WHIP). While he had struck out 36 batters in those 32 innings, he'd also walked 25(!) and given up six homers. In the four starts since, he's looked like a completely different pitcher - one more befitting his first-round pedigree. The 26-year-old has sacrificed some whiffs in favor of better command, and it seems to be working as he's allowed just six runs in 27 innings, walking only four hitters. Most recently, he shut out the Mets for eight innings on the heels of quality starts against the Brewers and Padres.

More Waiver Wire Pickups and Streamers

Check out RotoBaller's entire fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups and sleepers list, updated daily!