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Starting Pitcher Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 6

brady singer fantasy baseball rankings draft sleepers waiver wire pickups starting pitchers

We, as fantasy baseball players, seem to give much more weight to small samples of data when it's coming from an unknown commodity. Call it "shiny new toy" syndrome or whatever you'd like, it's undeniable. Many a fantasy manager has chased the prospect pedigree names like Tarik Skubal and Casey Mize only to get overall disappointing results.

This past week has been the week of "oh, that guy again?" A slew of veteran arms have really been resurgent this year and deserve our attention here. We will focus in on these names and talk about how they can really help your fantasy team despite being more on the boring side of the equation.

As we move forward, try your best to ignore the name value and just focus on the hard data. Here are some potential starting pitcher pick-ups for Week 6 (May 3 - May 9).

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association including Baseball Writer of the Year, Football Writers of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year and many more! Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!


Pickups for Shallow Leagues

Alex Wood, San Francisco Giants (46.5% Rostered)

Wood has three brilliant starts under his belt now since joining the Giants rotation a bit late. He's fired off 18 innings with 20 strikeouts while allowing just three runs on eight hits and three walks. His CSW% rate is elite at 34.5% and his swinging-strike rate matches at 14.5%. His slider has been ridiculously good with a 27% swinging-strike rate and a 72% ground-ball rate. These are tough numbers to post even in a short sample.

We have seen streaks of brilliance from Wood before, which have always been followed by pretty mediocre overall numbers. What is different this year is that slider. He introduced the pitch last year and threw it 29% of the time with mixed results. This year it's up to 39% and it's been one of the better pitches in the league. That is a huge green light for his future, and he should be universally rostered at this point.

Anthony DeSclafani, San Francisco Giants (56% Rostered)

The complete game shutout he threw last week is sure to raise this rostered percentage soon, but for now, he is still widely available. It is true that he took advantage of a really poor Rockies offense for that start, but for the year, DeSclafani has been more than good enough to consider even foregoing that start.

He has posted a 57% ground-ball rate overall, which plays very nicely in AT&T Ballpark. The strikeouts are not through the roof, but he doesn't hurt your team in that regard either, currently striking out exactly one batter per inning. He is a high-floor pitcher that you should feel pretty comfortable rolling out most days, and he should be picked up in most leagues.

Kyle Gibson, Texas Rangers (54.5% Rostered)

It has been five straight quality starts for Gibson since his disastrous Opening Day start, including six solid frames against the potent Red Sox offense on Thursday. That brought his ERA down to 2.16, and his WHIP down to 1.14. His 20%-8.1% K-BB% ratio leaves a lot to be desired, but this guy has a long history of showing the ability to limit damage with soft contact. His new cutter has improved his arsenal as he's posting a pretty strong 12.8% swinging-strike rate overall and a 14% rate with that pitch. He's done that while keeping his elite ground-ball rate at 53%.

Gibson will likely hurt your team's strikeout rate if you're in such a league, but it seems like everything else should be a net positive moving forward. He's a stable arm to add to the back end of your rotation.


Pickups for Deeper Leagues

Brady Singer, Kansas City Royals (35.3% Rostered)

Singer doesn't fit the "boring veteran" theme here, but we must bring him up! Since his first start of the year where he surrendered five earned runs over 3.1 innings, Singer has bounced back. He had three very successful outings totaling 18 innings, 20 strikeouts, three walks, and just two earned runs. His Friday start was cut short due to being struck by a come-backer, but the x-rays were negative so it doesn't seem like he should miss significant time.

He is mainly a sinker and slider pitcher, which does limit that strikeout upside, but he makes up for some of that with a huge ground-ball rate of 55% (68% on the sinker). He has avoided the barrel of the bat brilliantly so far this year (2.0% barrel rate) and looks like a guy that can deliver a bunch of quality starts with nice efficiency. The ceiling is not very high, and when he does not have his pinpoint command he can post some ugly starts. This would be the guy I am overall least interested in among the names we're talking about, but Singer is someone to pick up if available in deep leagues.

Jakob Junis, Kansas City Royals (11.8% Rostered)

Update: After this article was written it was announced that Junis would be moving out of the starting rotation and into the bullpen. Royals' top prospect Daniel Lynch, a 6'6'' lefty with a fastball and slider that both grade out very well will take his spot in the rotation, he is certainly worth a look in deep leagues.

Another new pitch guy, Junis has bolstered his fantasy stock with a new cutter that he's throwing 36% of the time. That pitch has an elite 25% swinging-strike rate and 37.5% CSW% so far. Those numbers are likely to drop (mainly just because they are so high, but also because of the available tape on the pitch now that opponents will get to see), but there is a lot of room for that given how awesome the pitch has been thus far.

The rest of his arsenal has been so-so thus far with just a 23% CSW% on his four-seamer, and limited usage of his other three offerings. The cutter is a really nice foundation to his arsenal though, and I imagine we will see some more changeups and sliders moving forward, which could bring his strikeout rate up a little bit more. There's a chance here that the league figures out the cutter and it derails his season, but for now, he's more than worth a speculative acquisition.

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