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Starting Pitcher Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 2

Being only a week and a half into the season, drastic measures are to be avoided. None of us are happy with Yu Darvish right now, for example, but kicking him to the curb after two starts amounts to fantasy malpractice in most situations.

That doesn't mean you can't tinker on the edges, which is precisely what this column is designed to help you do. Whether you're looking for injury reinforcements in a shallow league or on the hunt for a diamond in the rough in a deeper format, every week in this space we'll discuss some of the best arms on the waiver wire.

As a reminder, 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 2 of the 2019 fantasy baseball season.

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Pickups for Shallow Leagues

Matt Shoemaker (SP, TOR) — 47% Owned

While the Tigers and Orioles aren't exactly the '27 Yankees, a pitcher can only contend with the hitters placed in front of him. Shoemaker won his first two starts of the season decisively, pitching seven innings each time and striking out 15 batters while allowing just seven baserunners (none of whom scored). Next up is a road date with the Red Sox that might be best avoided, but the Cobbler has provided mixed league value in the past when healthy.

Tyler Skaggs (SP, LAA) — 47% Owned

Skaggs bounced back nicely from a middling debut with a gem against the Rangers on Saturday. He twirled 6 1/3 frames of one-run ball, scattering five hits and a walk while striking out five. The 27-year-old looked to be breaking out last season before a late-season elbow issue torpedoed his overall numbers. His next assignment is the Cubs at Wrigley Field. That's a tough opposing lineup, but with Chicago's pitching staff getting gashed in the early going, Skaggs should still have a pretty solid shot at a win.

Steven Matz (SP, NYM) — 44% Owned

Though Matz has yet to get through the sixth inning in a 2019 start, it's not because he isn't pitching well. The southpaw has allowed just one run in his 10 1/3 innings of work. Mickey Callaway had a quick hook in Matz's debut as he was pulled after only 74 pitches. Saturday's start against the Nationals was more to do with inefficiency, as Matz needed 103 pitches to record just 16 outs. Wins and quality starts may prove difficult to come by if that continues, but the Mets' lefty is worthy of mixed-league consideration anyway.

Zach Eflin (SP, PHI) — 41% Owned

Eflin only went five innings in his debut, and he was opposed by Max Scherzer. He still notched a win though, allowing just four batters to reach base (none scored) and recording nine strikeouts. Unless your league allows same-day transactions, it's too late to grab him in time for his start against the Twins today, but he deserves to be more widely owned.


Pickups for Deeper Leagues

Aaron Sanchez (SP, TOR) — 22% Owned

Things haven't gone great for Sanchez since leading the American League in ERA back in 2016. Injuries and ineffectiveness made him an afterthought in fantasy drafts this spring, but the 26-year-old has looked good out of the gate, allowing just two runs and striking out 11 hitters across 11 innings in his first two starts. As with his teammate Shoemaker, however, you may not want to roll the dice at Fenway for his next outing.

Michael Pineda (SP, MIN) — 21% Owned

The Twins are being cautious with Pineda because he's barely pitched since July of 2017, which is why he's only logged nine innings in his first two starts of the year. They've been good ones, though, as he's racked up 10 strikeouts against just two walks and allowed only two runs to score. The second start was particularly impressive, coming as it did against the Phillies' newly stacked lineup at Citizens Bank Park. His fastball velocity and the movement on his slider both look like they haven't suffered at all for the lengthy absence.

Yonny Chirinos (SP/RP, TB) — 19 % Owned

Typically used as a "follower" last year, Chirinos got the nod to start against a dangerous Astros squad last weekend and was dominant. He allowed just one run on two hits across seven innings, striking out six without issuing a walk. Chirinos posted a 3.51 ERA across 90 innings last season and could earn his way into regular starts if he can build on that performance against Houston. His next appearance, whether it's a start or a follow, will likely come against the White Sox.

Caleb Smith (SP, MIA) — 10% Owned

Smith's 2019 debut wasn't enough to earn a victory for either himself or his team, but he did pitch well in his first game since last June. The lefty allowed two runs in five innings of work and struck out eight. Perhaps most importantly, he walked just one batter and did not allow a home run. Walks and homers were both occasional issues for Smith last season, and he'll need to address those outcomes in order to take the next step. He'll take on the Braves today.


For Your Radar

Trevor Cahill (SP, LAA) — 6% Owned

Skip his next start against the Brewers, but Cahill has looked solid thus far in 2019. As long as he's healthy, he's a worthwhile streaming option in most mixers.

Anthony DeSclafani (SP, CIN) — 5% Owned

Tony Disco impressed in his first start of the year, striking out eight and allowing just one run on three hits (all singles) and three walks against the red-hot Brewers. The key to that success was a heavy dose of curveballs, in addition to his quality slider.

Drew Pomeranz (SP/RP, SF) — 3% Owned

Pomeranz began the process of putting an awful 2018 season behind him with a solid showing against the Dodgers last week. He struck out six in his five innings of work, and cruised through the first four innings before allowing a pair of solo shots in the fifth. But considering how many homers Los Angeles has been hitting, he's hardly alone in that regard.

More Waiver Wire Pickups and Streamers

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