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American League Waiver Wire - Deep Leagues

This is the third installment of my weekly deeper league waiver wire pickups and sleepers from the American League. To clarify, these players are not just AL-Only pickups, but they are more for the deep crowd: 14 teams and over, or the deep roster leagues. Sometimes there will be a player in here who can make in impact in your 12-team leagues as well, just read carefully and make decisions based on your team’s needs.


Vidal Nuno, SP - Yankees (LHP)

CBS 7% Yahoo 1%

Nuno has taken two turns in the rotation since Ivan Nova went down with Tommy John surgery, pitched well in the first start, and did not impress in the second one. His first start was 5 shutout innings against the Rays, while striking out 6. In the second start, he went 4.1 innings and gave up 3 runs, but had 4 punch outs. Nuno is not overpowering, but he hides the ball well, and throws all of his pitches effectively on both sides of the plate. He showed a lot of command in his breaking ball his last trip around the big league rotation in 2013 when he made 3 starts and posted a sub 2.5 ERA.

Nuno is a cheap source of wins, as well as whip, and if he can roll over his strikeout rate improvement thus far in 2014, Nuno could be a fine SP5/SP6 option, as it does not appear that the Yankees have any help coming for the rotation. Nuno is a pitcher Joe Girardi trusts a lot, so once he gets his pitch count up, he will get a fair crack at this 5th starter job in the Bronx.

Here is a clip of Nuno's start vs the Rays:

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Collin McHugh, SP - Astros

CBS 40% Yahoo 22%

The former sinker baller from the Mets farm system is thriving in Houston pitching in the top of the zone and working off his big breaking curveball as well as his cutter, and mixing in a straight change. McHugh has thrown 15.1 innings so far in 2014 and has racked up 17 strikeouts, against only 3 walks and 1 run.

He is riding his 4 seamer up and under the hands of hitters, forcing them to commit early, and then is putting them away with his breaking ball that comes out of the same slot as his 4 seamer, and has shown good enough command to repeatedly get it to the back foot of left handed hitters. When he falls behind, he goes to his cutter, which again comes out of the same plan as his fastball, so it really does not allow the hitter to feel like they have an advantage against him even though they are ahead in the count.

He also featured great command of a down and away fastball in his second start against Oakland. He showed great poise in mixing up his game plan from the start before, as he took advantage of Oakland looking to turn and burn, and got a lot of called strikes on the outer half. If McHugh can go into any given start with a unique gameplan, and can command all parts of the zone, he certainly has a good enough mix of pitches to have a successful major league season.

Command is going to be key with McHugh going forward, as he leaves himself little room for error. If he continues to put the ball where he wants, he will continue to eat up left handed hitters (12.1, 16K), and produce quality starts. Grab him before it's too late, and just monitor his walk totals. This is a guy you need to watch pitch if you plan on owning, as he could lose that command at any moment, and that would be the time to cut bait.

Take a peek at McHugh's last start:

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Roenis Elias, SP - Mariners (LHP)

By Sam Dykstra via MiLB.comElias is making his second appearance on this list, albeit after a mildly effective outing on paper in his last start, and a start to forget in the one previous to that. Elias is very green when it comes to knowing how to pitch, but has a very nice arsenal and a competitive spirit. He features a sweeping slider, a nice fading change, and a mix of fastballs between 87-94 mph.

In his last start, he was charged with 3 earned runs in 5.2 innings. but he came out with only 2 runs on the board, and bullpen gave up his third run. He continues to get a strikeout per inning over his last 3 starts, and I believe that the more experience he gains, the better pitcher he will become. Elias has at least 5 more turns around the rotation, and could turn into a 7-10 strikeouts per night type of pitcher if he continues to harness his stuff and get a better command of the strike zone.

His high pitch counts are the only thing holding him back at the present time. I still do not recommend Elias in 12 team standard formats, but he is worth stashing in deeper leagues, and streaming, against left handed dominant lineups. Take a look at his stuff in his last start versus Texas.

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