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Starting Pitcher Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 15

shane mcclanahan fantasy baseball rankings draft sleepers MLB injury news starting pitchers

Happy Independence Day, everybody! We are coming up on the All-Star break, but that doesn't mean it's a time to take a break from the waiver wire! There are still a ton of capable starting pitchers out for the taking, and you can never have too much good pitching.

Lots of top prospects are being called up right now, and those names are naturally going to be the most interesting of the bunch because of the perceived upside. You will see a few of those types of names here, but we aren't restricting ourselves to them. In fact, the better bet is probably going to be some of the older pitchers that are being overlooked because of "shiny new toy syndrome", as they call it.

Here are several names to consider adding to your pitching staff for the week ahead of July 5th!

Be sure to check all of our fantasy baseball lineup tools and weekly lineup resources:


Pickups for Shallow Leagues

Tarik Skubal, Detroit Tigers (38% Rostered)

If you read this piece every week, you're sick of me putting Skubal here. But he has to stay here until he's at least 50% rostered. The guy recently ripped off seven innings of one-run ball against the Astros. That gives him a 12.3 K/9 and a 3.23 ERA since the calendar turned to May.

There's not much else to say, he's just a really good pitcher and he's being treated like a bad one. Pick this guy up already!

Eduardo Rodriguez, Boston Red Sox (57% Rostered)

It was somewhat easy to see some good results coming from E-Rod as he had recently got his pitch count the full way up and had been posting really impressive K:BB ratios throughout the year. He has now delivered back-to-back quality starts against the Rays and Yankees, striking out 15 batters in 12 innings while walking just one.

It is really tough to not have success when you are striking out five batters for every batter you walk (which Rodriguez is doing this year with a 93:19 ratio). Rodriguez has never been an elite command guy, and he doesn't appear to be so this year either, giving up a lot of hits and a fair amount of homers, but the stuff looks good this year and it appears the rust has been shaken off after him missing the full 2020 season. He's a great guy to add if you're in need of some strikeouts, and wins should be coming his way soon as well with that elite Red Sox offense behind him (he's won only one of his last nine starts).

Tony Gonsolin, Los Angeles Dodgers (41% Rostered)

It seemed like the Dodgers righty had a traditional spot in the rotation locked down, however, he mysteriously appeared in a "long relief" role in his last outing, throwing four scoreless innings to earn the win after following an opener. If this trend continues, the calculation changes. If that was just a one time thing, which I sort of suspect it to be, Gonsolin is a guy that should be rostered. His pitch count has been as high as 81 this year, and he's posting some out of sorts swinging-strike numbers compared to his career averages. He has a 12.7% SwStr% this year, and he's gone above 15% in two different starts this year.

His latest outing was his best effort, throwing striking out seven Cubs in those four innings of work. He's looking very good here, and that pitch count should continue to build up so he can qualify for the many wins the Dodgers will supply him as their offense gets fully healthy. Keep an eye on how the Dodgers use him next, and make your decisions accordingly.

Shane McClanahan, Tampa Bay Rays (27% Rostered)

We talked about the Rays' lefty in this piece last weekend, and I'm going to keep talking about him until that percentage comes way up. McClanahan has now thrown more than 85 pitches in three straight outings, and is looking very, very good. He has struck out 19 batters in his last 17 innings while limiting the damage and looking very dominant at times against some strong offenses (his last two matchups were against the Angels and Blue Jays). McClanahan's stuff is unquestionable, the only concerns are the workload questions. He will get one more start before the all-star break, which will be against the Blue Jays again, but I would be starting him with confidence as long as he's on the mound.


Pickups for Deeper Leagues

Patrick Sandoval, Los Angeles Angels (22% Rostered)

Few pitchers have flashed swinging-strike rates as high as Sandoval has. He's gone above 15% on five different occasions this year, including a league-high 30% on June 6. He has struggled the third time through the lineup, which has caused some damage to his box score lines, but man - the stuff is really great.

His changeup is one of the game's best pitches with a 32% swinging-strike rate, and his slider is ridiculous as well with a mark of 24.5%. That makes him an incredibly tough customer when he gets ahead in the count. There will be tons of strikeouts ahead of him, but we can't feel as confident about the ratios and quality starts coming our way - which is why I'm leaving this for deeper leagues for right now.

Kyle Muller, Atlanta Braves (8% Rostered)

Muller certainly passes the eye test. A tall lefty with a high-90's fastball and great secondary options. He had little trouble racking up the strikeouts in the minor leagues, and so far in the Majors that success has translated just fine. The walk rate is the real hang-up, as he had a double-digit walk rate in the minor leagues and we've already seen him dip his toes into those dangerous waters in the bigs. Four walks in Saturday's start were really costly, but he still had the swing-and-miss stuff going.

We don't have much data to view for Muller on the year, so it's tough to say too much else. I would encourage you to read this piece written by Eric Samulski, it goes in-depth into Muller's profile and tells us why he's buying in hard. He says it better than I can, so I'll leave you there!


Other Names to Look For

Alek Manoah, Toronto Blue Jays (41%) - I assume he's rostered in your league so I'm leaving him here. He's a must-start pitcher right now.

Logan Gilbert, Seattle Mariners (30%) - Nice upside, but a lower floor as we've already seen him struggle with command.

Zach Thompson, Miami Marlins (26%) - His start today (Sunday 7/4) is one to watch, we've seen some great signs from Thompson but the jury is still out. Keep an eye on him today.

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