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Starting Pitcher Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 4

Time flies when you're having fun, but it's important to remember that we're still in the first month of a six-month odyssey. Difficult as it may be to watch your team struggle out of the gate, you might just be making matters worse by doing something drastic to your roster.

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.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off. Exclusive access to our Draft Kit, premium rankings, projections, player outlooks, top prospects, dynasty rankings, 15 in-season lineup tools, and over 200 days of expert DFS research. Sign Up Now!


Pickups for Shallow Leagues

Caleb Smith (SP, MIA) — 42% Owned

It's time to take Smith seriously. The Marlins' lefty has run through the entire NL East gauntlet in his first four starts and emerged with a 2-0 record, sparkling ratios (2.35 ERA, 0.97 WHIP), and 29 strikeouts in 23 innings. Perhaps most crucially, the 27-year-old has issued just six walks and allowed only two home runs. Both were issues for him at times in his rookie season, and if he's gotten those issues under control, there's legitimate ace potential here.

Jordan Lyles (SP, PIT) — 30% Owned

Prior to last season, Lyles appeared to be your typical Quad-A pitcher, as he had struggled even when bumped down to primarily a relief role. Changes to his pitch mixes resulted in a reinvention for the the 28-year-old, and he flashed occasional brilliance in a swingman role in 2018. Thus far this year, he's a member of the Pirates' rotation and has allowed just one run in 17 innings, winning two of his three starts and posting an 18:5 strikeout to walk ratio.

Luke Weaver (SP, ARI) — 26% Owned

Weaver was a big disappointment for fantasy owners in 2018, and found himself traded from St. Louis to Arizona over the winter. His 2019 debut threatened more of the same mediocrity, but the 25-year-old has bounced back nicely from that thrashing at the hands of the Dodgers. Weaver's struck out 17 batters in just 11.1 innings over his last two starts, and walked only one. He's also doing a nice job of keeping the ball on the ground, which has helped him allow only two homers in his four appearances.


Pickups for Deeper Leagues

Derek Holland (SP, SF) — 22% Owned

After posting a 6.20 ERA and 1.71 WHIP with the White Sox back in 2017, it was fair to wonder how much Holland had left in the tank. The veteran resurrected his career in the friendly confines of Oracle Park last year, though, posting playable ratios (3.57 ERA, 1.29 WHIP) along with the best strikeout rate of his career. He's picked up right where left off in the early portion of the current season, with another big uptick in whiffs, though he's also been wilder than usual.

Vince Velasquez (SP, PHI) — 15% Owned

Velasquez is without a win through four appearances (three starts) this year, but it's not because he's pitched poorly. Just the opposite, in fact. The gifted but inconsistent right-hander has a 2.55 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, and 16 strikeouts in 17.2 innings. Most recently, he allowed just two runs at Coors Field. If he can continue to avoid issuing free passes, the 26-year-old might finally tap into the potential he's flashed over the last few seasons.

Jeff Samardzija (SP, SF) — 14% Owned

Samardzija continues to languish on the waiver wire in an overwhelming majority of leagues. The memory of his awful 2018 is evidently still fresh in the minds of many fantasy owners, but they should note that he's been healthy and effective through four starts in 2019. Shark has solid ratios (2.91 ERA, 1.15 WHIP) and 20 strikeouts in 21.2 innings. The veteran averaged 211 innings and 190 strikeouts from 2013-17.


For Your Radar

Mike Soroka (SP, ATL) — 21% Owned

Soroka was expected to open the season in the Braves' rotation, but shoulder troubles cropped up late in spring training and forced him out of action. He made his 2019 MLB debut on Thursday, however, and pitched well in a hard-luck loss to the Diamondbacks. The 21-year-old tossed five innings of one-run ball, striking out six. With Mike Foltynewicz set to return soon, Soroka may be headed back to Triple-A, but he should find himself back in the bigs soon enough.

Trent Thornton (SP, TOR) — 8% Owned

The Blue Jays' rookie right-hander is 0-2 with ugly ratios (5.40 ERA, 1.42 WHIP) through his first four starts. However, he also has 21 strikeouts in 18 innings. He'll have to do a better job of limiting the long ball moving forward, but he's got a pretty low-impact draw with the Giants next time out.

Spencer Turnbull (SP, DET) — 4% Owned

Speaking of older rookies (Thornton is 25, Turnbull 26), the Tigers might have something in this guy. Turnbull's stil searching for his first win, but he's been solid in his four starts to this point with a 3.43 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, and 24 strikeouts in 21 innings. He'll have to contend with the Red Sox in Fenway in his next game on Tuesday.

More Waiver Wire Pickups and Streamers

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