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Starting Pitcher Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 21

Time marches on, and with it the 2019 fantasy baseball season.

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, eh?

A reminder before we begin: Our focus is 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 21 of the 2019 fantasy baseball season.

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Pickups for Shallow Leagues

Cal Quantrill (SP, SD) — 44% Owned

The good times keep on rolling for Quantrill, who has allowed just five runs over his seven appearances since the All-Star break. While he doesn't pile up strikeouts, the former first-round pick has earned a victory in four of his last five outings and sports helpful ratios (3.23 ERA, 1.12 WHIP). Quantrill doesn't have an innings limit hanging over him like some rookies, so he can be counted on to help head-to-head owners in their playoff runs.

Steven Matz (SP, NYM) — 40% Owned

Matz found himself demoted to the bullpen at the close of the season's first half, but was re-inserted into the rotation coming out of the break and has been rock solid. The lefty has allowed two or fewer runs in five of his last six starts, which included a complete-game shutout of the Pirates and six innings of one-run ball against the Braves in his most recent outing. He's seen a velocity bump in that span, so these results could be indicative of his path moving forward. The overall numbers don't look great, but strip out his disastrous early-season start in Philadelphia (6 ER, no outs recorded) and Matz's 4.35 ERA drops to a more palatable 3.87.

Michael Pineda (SP, MIN) — 34% Owned

Though he missed a couple of weeks this month with a triceps strain, Pineda has been excellent over the last months, posting a 2.79 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in his 10 starts during that time. Key to his performance has been the reduction of home runs allowed; the veteran gave up 14 bombs in his first 12 starts of the year, but has permitted only five in his last 10 outings.


Pickups for Deeper Leagues

Griffin Canning (SP, LAA) — 22% Owned

Like Pineda, Canning recently missed time due to injury and has been vulnerable to the long ball. The good news is the rookie has allowed just one homer in his last five appearances; the bad news is that those appearances only totaled 18 innings and a spike in walk rate during that span pretty much negated the benefits of keeping the ball in the yard. Still, Canning has been a regular presence on this list due to his ability to miss bats, and that hasn't changed. Plus half of those walks came in one lousy outing against the Astros, who are kinda good at this baseball thing.

Vince Velasquez (SP/RP, PHI) — 18% Owned

Velasquez's strikeout ability and obvious athleticism have made him a frustrating tease for many fantasy owners over the years. At 27 years old, this is probably just how it's always going to be, but there will be stretches where the hard-throwing righty is an asset to your squad. We appear to be in the midst of one now, as Velasquez has produced solid ratios (4.02 ERA, 1.13 WHIP) and a strikeout per inning over his last nine starts. He rarely goes deep into games and has been more homer-prone than ever this year, but his next two starts will come against the hapless Marlins and Pirates, which means there's a good chance he can maintain his recent success in the short term.

Mike Montgomery (SP, KC) — 13% Owned

Montgomery has been excellent in his last three starts, allowing just two earned runs and striking out 22 batters in 18 innings. While he's unlikely to have become an ace at age 30, there's sneaky short-term value potential here with three of his next four outings coming against the Orioles and Marlins.


For Your Radar

Adrian Houser (SP/RP, MIL) — 12% Owned

Houser has worked predominantly out of the bullpen this season, and his first handful of starts didn't exactly go well. Since rejoining the Milwaukee rotation last month, however, the 26-year-old has allowed just one run in three of his four outings, racking up 25 strikeouts to go with excellent ratios (2.35 ERA, 0.96 WHIP).

More Waiver Wire Pickups and Streamers

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