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Starting Pitcher Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 3

As tempting as it may be if your squad is off to a slow start, resist the urge to make an overabundance of drastic roster decisions. Remember - the fantasy baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint.

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

Domingo German (SP, NYY) — 48% Owned

Don't worry too much about German's most recent turn in the rotation being skipped - his job remains secure. The workload management may give you pause, and that's fair, but you drafted him (or more likely, added him in-season) knowing what the score was on that front. German has won both of his starts while allowing just two earned runs, and on Saturday gave owners who were aware enough to leave him active two scoreless innings, four strikeouts, and a third victory. Even if German loses his rotation spot eventually - no sure thing given the age and health risks of the Yankees' SP crop - he could flourish in a Josh Hader-type role.

Merrill Kelly (SP, ARI) — 32% Owned

The Red Sox may not be firing on all cylinders, but eight innings of one-run ball with nine strikeouts and just four baserunners is still impressive against that collection of talent. Though his turn against the Padres on Saturday was much less so, Kelly still has solid ratios (3.79 ERA, 1.05 WHIP)  and a 17:3 K/BB over 19 innings.

Brandon Woodruff (SP, MIL) — 30% Owned

The ratios (6.00 ERA, 1.33 WHIP) admittedly aren't great, but Woodruff has 20 punchouts over 15 innings in his first three starts of the season. He's also allowed just four walks and one home run. Really we're just waiting for the .385 BABIP and 58.3 LOB% to normalize a bit, as they ought to soon enough.


Pickups for Deeper Leagues

Frankie Montas (SP, OAK) — 22% Owned

If and when you add Montas, you have to do so with the understanding that volatility is the price of admission. Montas isn't getting the increase in whiffs one might have hoped to see with his new splitter - in fact, his inflated home run rate so far suggests it's very much a work in progress - but with a high-90s sinker, he just needs to throw enough good splits to keep the ball in the yard. That'll make him a decent back-end fantasy starter with potential for more.

Nick Margevicius (SP, SD) — 21% Owned

Margevicius is probably not a season-long asset, as his sparkling ratios are mostly a function of excessive fortune in a tiny sample. He doesn't throw hard or miss many bats, and he's making the jump from A-ball to the majors. That said, the reeling Rockies in Petco as his next start? You could opt for much worse options when streaming.

Trevor Cahill (SP, LAA) — 15% Owned

The Cubs are off to a rough start, but it's because of horrendous pitching - their lineup has been piling up runs. So a date with them today at Wrigley sounds like a matchup to avoid. But then, you could have said the same thing (and I did, last week) about his tilt with the Brewers on Monday, and Cahill threw six innings of one-run ball with eight strikeouts. He's also one of the few pitchers who have performed well against the surprising Mariners in the early going.

Caleb Smith (SP, MIA) — 15% Owned

Smith earned his first win of the year against the Phillies on Saturday, and is now 1-0 with a 2.65 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, and a 21:6 K/BB in 17 innings. He's faced the Mets and Braves as well, so none of these matchups were cakewalks. His next one isn't either, as Smith will finish his tour of the East with a game against the Nationals next weekend.


For Your Radar

Vince Velasquez (SP, PHI) — 14% Owned

The major stumbling blocks for the talented but frustrating Velasquez, to this point, have been bouts of wildness and a vulnerability to the long ball. Well, last season he produced his first sub-1.00 HR/9 ever, and this season he's yet to walk a batter in two appearances (one start). He'll turn 27 in June, so he may be "young" anymore, but we've seen lesser-skilled arms take longer to put it together.

Jeff Samardzija (SP, SF) — 5% Owned

Shark was ignored in fantasy drafts this spring, which yours truly previously suggested might represent some profit potential. The veteran has allowed just three runs in his first three starts, all to the red-hot Rays. You'd like to see better strikeout and walk numbers (13 K, 6 BB in 16.2 innings) but the fact that he has yet to surrender a home run is encouraging.

Jordan Lyles (SP, PIT) — 4% Owned

As mentioned above, the Cubs' lousy record can't be laid of the feet of their batters. That makes Lyles' 10-strikeout performance against them at Wrigley on Wednesday all the more impressive. The veteran flashed some sneaky upside for the first time ever last season, and Pittsburgh is a friendly place for pitchers.

More Waiver Wire Pickups and Streamers

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