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Starting Pitcher Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 19

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!

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Pickups for Shallow Leagues

Patrick Sandoval, Los Angeles Angels (44% Rostered)

The Angels haven't had much going well for them on the pitching side of the ball, but Sandoval is trying to change that all by himself. He has looked absolutely dominant on the hill since settling in. Since June 1st, he has been a top-ten pitcher in strikeout rate (33%) and a top-five pitcher in swinging-strike rate (17.2%). He has posted these numbers while simultaneously being one of the best ground-ball pitchers in the league with a 53% ground-ball rate.

He also has a long leash on the hill, throwing 100+ pitches regularly this year. His rostered percentage has remained low, probably because of the lack of name value. He isn't new to the big leagues and really hadn't shown us too much to get excited about prior to the last few months of play. However, at age 24 and with the stuff he has, I really do believe this guy has staying power. I think he will be a must-start pitching moving forward, so get in now.

Domingo German, New York Yankees (37% Rostered)

There was reason to be excited about German heading into the 2021 season for fantasy purposes, but early on he really disappointed. Then from May to early June he looked really good before having a stretch of very poor starts. He seems to be on the up-and-up once again here since the All Star Break, and he had one of the best starts of his career recently. On July 25th, he struck out 10 Red Sox over seven innings, giving up just one run on one hit and one walk. Not many pitchers have been able to muster anything close to that against the Sox this year, so it was a very encouraging start.

The fact that he's been so up-and-down this year gives us some pause about his future, but for now this seems like a guy that should be rostered for the upside.

Shane McClanahan, Tampa Bay Rays (31% Rostered)

The number you see above is the Yahoo rostered percentage, and I doubt that number is similar on other sites. However, if this guy is available you should be picking him up.

The lefty debuted with the Rays in late April and gave up tons of hard contact early on. That didn't seem like it would continue to the base given the number of whiffs and ground-balls he was earning, and in fact, it did turn around quite quickly. From June 26th to July 27, he gave up just two homers in six starts. McClanahan checks all three of my boxes with a 28% strikeout rate, an 8% walk rate, and a 51% GB%. It's very hard to not have success when you're doing those three things.

He does have a little bit of a short leash, maxing out at 93 pitches this year - and that's unlikely to grow as the year goes on. However, he's turned that somewhat limited pitch count into three quality starts in his seven outings, which is a respectable rate. The Rays have a strong offense behind him, and a great bullpen to protect the lead - McClanahan should be rostered and started.

 

Pickups for Deeper Leagues

Tylor Megill, New York Mets (37% Rostered)

The young Met has given up just three earned runs over his last five starts, while facing some tough offenses in the Braves and Blue Jays over that span. His 2.04 ERA and 1.10 WHIP have been mighty useful for fantasy purposes. The reason for skepticism on Megill is the lack of swing-and-miss stuff. His 11% SwStr% leaves something to be desired. However, he has used great control and deception (and probably some good luck), to rack up 39 strikeouts over his 35.1 innings. That's a strikeout rate of 27%, a couple of points above the league average.

His main calling card has been weak contact with his 3.2% Brl% against and 45% GB%. I'm always a little bit hesitant to buy in on low barrel rates, because those can change in a hurry - but Megill is doing enough to warrant a roster spot on leagues of depth.

Joe Ross, Washington Nationals (30% Rostered)

With Max Scherzer departing and Stephen Strasburg done for the year, Joe Ross's spot in the Nationals' rotation is fully solidified. He's taken the opportunity this year and ran with it to the tune of a 3.80 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. Those numbers are in spite of the fact that he gave up 18 earned runs in just two of his starts. Since May 15th, he's compiled a 2.54 ERA and a strong 3.69 xFIP.

The strikeouts aren't what you dream of, but his 25% strikeout rate is solid, especially when you pair it with a low 6.7% walk rate. He's done a really nice job this year. There is a good bit of risk here, since we've seen this guy have hot stretches in the past only to fall back into mediocrity - but at the age of 28 it's not beyond imagining that he could've really turned a corner this year.

Kyle Muller, Atlanta Braves (15% Rostered)

Muller has made just six starts this year, so we don't have a very big sample to look at. However, in those starts he's been very strong. He's given up more than one earned run just once (three earned runs against the Marlins), and he's recently thrown five scoreless innings against both the Mets and the Reds. His 26% K% and 13.9% SwStr% are very, very competitive numbers that suggest good things for the future.

The fair knock on Muller is the lack of length. He did throw 102 pitches in his start on July 3rd, but he's been pulled before reaching 90 pitches in four of his six starts, including being yanked after just 75 in that outing when he was pitching very well against the Mets. If you're looking for quality starts, Muller may not be the guy for you, but he appears to have the skills to post some solid ratios and maybe even win a handful of games down the stretch.



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