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Starting Pitcher Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 20


Week...20?! That can't be right, but somehow it is.

With playoffs looming in head-to-head leagues, rotisserie formats barreling toward crunch time, and trade deadlines either near or already behind us, outmaneuvering your rivals on the waiver wire is of the utmost importance. Good thing you're reading this column.

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 20 of the 2019 fantasy baseball season.

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Pickups for Shallow Leagues

Ryan Yarbrough (SP, TB) — 49% Owned

Strip out a 4.1 IP, 4 ER outing against the Red Sox's juggernaut offense and you have to go back two months to find the last time Yarbrough allowed more than a single run in a game. The Rays typically use him as a follower, which means you have to make a bit more of an effort to know when he'll be pitching. That effort has paid dividends of late though, as the lefty is 5-0 with sparkling ratios (1.94 ERA, 0.82 WHIP) and a 20.3 K-BB% in his last nine appearances.

Dustin May (SP, LAD) — 45% Owned

The rookie they call "Gingergaard" has acquitted himself well in his first two MLB starts. Despite being just 21 years old and having only six starts above A-ball entering 2019, the lanky righthander has posted a 3.18 ERA and 19.1 K-BB% in his 11.1 innings of work. Unlike many pitchers of his considerable height (6'6"), May routinely displayed excellent control as a prospect and also did a great job of keeping the ball on the ground. With neither Rich Hill nor Ross Stripling close to a return (and the latter likely bullpen bound anyway), May could have staying power in the Dodgers rotation.

Brad Keller (SP, KC) — 39% Owned

Keller's last four starts have been the inverse of what we might expect: Dominant outings against the Twins and Braves mixed in with rough goes against the lowly Tigers and Blue Jays. Nevertheless, the Royals' de facto ace has been much closer to worthy of that designation since the break (3.05 ERA, 1.14 WHIP) than prior to it (4.47/1.45). The key to his success has been a drastically reduced walk rate. He ran an 11.3% mark in the first half, and has a 4.2% since.

 

Pickups for Deeper Leagues

Andrew Heaney (SP, LAA) — 29% Owned

Heaney's return from the injured list on Saturday went pretty well. Faced with the daunting task of facing Boston after a nearly month-long layoff, the 28-year-old allowed only an unearned run in 3.2 innings, striking out four and walking one. He now has 58 strikeouts in 49.2 innings, though vulnerability to the long ball has kept his ERA inflated. He's slated to take on the lesser Sox at home in his next outing.

Cal Quantrill (SP, SD) — 24% Owned

While Quantrill is beginning to attract attention in fantasy leagues, his ownership rate still feels a bit light. After shutting out the Rockies over seven innings on Friday, the 24-year-old has allowed just three earned runs in his last 26 innings of work. That stretch includes outings against the Dodgers, Braves, and Cubs. He hasn't translated his above-average 11.2% swinging strike rate into a ton of Ks, but Quantrill's tidy ratios (3.24 ERA, 1.14 WHIP) are enough to earn a place on many rosters.

Mitch Keller (SP, PIT) — 8% Owned

Keller's first three MLB starts have been ugly, but he's getting another shot on Monday against the Angels and at this point, there's no reason for Pittsburgh to send him back down to the minors. The 23-year-old has pitched well at Triple-A this season, and remains one of the game's best pitching prospects. Even though the results haven't been there for him at the big league level, he's still managed to whiff 15 batters in those 12 innings.

 

For Your Radar

Johnny Cueto (SP, SF) — 4% Owned

Cueto has looked great in his two rehab appearances thus far, firing four scoreless innings and striking out seven. The veteran is working his way back from Tommy John surgery around this time last year, and reportedly hit 92 on the gun in his last outing. If he continues to progress well in recovery, he could prove to be a difference maker for fantasy owners in September.

More Waiver Wire Pickups and Streamers


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