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Week 14 Waiver Wire - Starting Pitchers


We’re now less than a week away from a little Midseason siesta -- also known as the All-Star break -- when everyone will be given a few days without any changes to their lot as they assess their standing and can likely be pressed into some worthwhile deals. If you just celebrated July 4th, I’m sorry to say that no matter how awesome your party was, it didn’t address your pitching needs. Let’s see how we can remedy that.

For our purposes, we’re going to use Yahoo ownership levels and try to cut things off around 35%.

Here are my starting pitcher waiver wire targets for Week 14.

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Starting Pitcher Waiver Wire Targets

Mike Clevinger - (CLE, SP/RP): 30% owned

Did you know that Clevinger’s 13.7 percent swinging-strike rate ranks inside the top-10 out of Major League arms with at least 50 innings to their name, making that sweet 10.33 K/9 of his a valid and bankable stat to lean on. While he’s walked 12 batters in his last 21 innings, he’s also allowed just 12 hits over the same span and allowed two or fewer runs in each of those outings. The 26-year-old has to face a potent Tigers offense on July 8 next, but it’s worth noting that they were his most recent victims in a July 2 victory.

Jose Urena - (MIA, SP/RP): 28% owned

Urena continues to outpitch his peripherals like it’s his job, as he now has a 3.43 ERA/1.22 WHIP in spite of a 4.80 FIP, 5.41 xFIP and 5.09 SIERA behind it. He’s giving up soft contact a little less, as the only noticeable change in his batted-ball profile is that he’s raised his fly-ball rate by over 10 percent compared to last season while actually lowering his HR/9 by a hair. The resulting 50-point drop in his BABIP with fewer grounders has fueled this charge, which he’ll take into a promising outing against the Giants in spacious AT&T Park on July 9 in his final start of the first half.

Charlie Morton - (HOU, SP): 22% owned

Last call, as Morton is slated to return to the Astros rotation on Friday against Toronto. His strong strikeout totals are backed by this offensive juggernaut and stout bullpen, meaning you need to break you off a piece of that Astro Bar.

Trevor Cahill - (SD, SP/RP): 20% owned

Cahill just came off of the disabled list on Tuesday to toss 4 1/3 scoreless innings with four strikeouts against Cleveland, which gives me everything I need to feel that the growth shown before he got hurt has not been lost. He now has 55 K’s and a 2.96 ERA/1.23 WHIP in just 45 2/3 IP, with a stout 2.98 FIP, 3.25 xFIP and 3.51 SIERA backing him. He’s somehow matched up his 62.3 percent groundball rate with a career-best 13.2 percent swinging-strike rate to give him a Zach Britton-esque profile alongside a 26.1 percent soft-contact rate that ranks third in the Majors out of those with >40 IP. This is all good. Very good. And he gets to face the Phillies next, so there’s that. I realize San Diego doesn't provide many wins and there's a reason three of their arms populate this article despite being quite good recently, but still.

Dinelson Lamet - (SD, SP): 17% owned

Lamet’s 6.34 ERA over the last 30 days -- 5.35 overall -- has scared off far too many fantasy owners here. His 12.16 K/9 is no fluke, as he had an 11.54 mark at Triple-A prior to the callup, and is identical to the rate that Max Scherzer has posted thus far. Now, we’re not saying that Lamet is Scherzer. If anything, he’s probably closer to Danny Salazar as he tries to refine his other offerings and limit the long ball (1.95 HR/9), but the difference is that this is a rookie who is making adjustments and Salazar had already broken out before this recent breakdown. Lamet’s 2.68 BB/9 is also much more manageable (Salazar had a 2.58 BB/9 in his breakout 2015 campaign). With a date against the Indians due up on Thursday, look for him to end his first half with a bang.

Andrew Moore - (SEA, SP): 13% owned

Moore has allowed 11 hits and zero walks over his first 15 big-league frames here, but has also allowed three homers and struck out just eight. What one has to ask is whether his ability to repress homers in spite of his fly-ball tendencies from the Minors (usually in the 44-49 percent range, with a HR/9 between 0.75-1) is going to play up in the Majors. His strong control clearly has (1.36 BB/9 before the promotion) and his swinging-strike rate above 10 percent should too (currently seven percent), making the rookie a worthy add with a date against Oakland -- a team hitting an AL-worst .219 over the last two weeks -- on tap for July 8 next.

Jhoulys Chacin - (SD, SP/RP): 12% owned

Chacin’s numbers across six starts since June began are: 3-3 record, 2.61 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, .219 batting average against, 50.5 percent groundball rate and 33 K’s in 38 IP. He’s posted quality starts against teams like the Rockies (before they turned into Little Leaguers at the dish), the Cubs and most recently turned in five scoreless innings against the Dodgers, as well as shutting down teams like the Braves, Reds and Royals. He’ll get to take on the Phillies next in a favorable spot to wrap up a resurgent first half to the 2017 season.

Luis Castillo - (CIN, SP/RP): 7% owned

Castillo has shown some upside here with 22 K’s in just 16 1/3 IP thus far, as well as trimming his walks down with each successive start. The bad is that he’s given up five homers and a .378 BABIP early on, and only a 95.2 percent strand rate has kept things from turning extremely ugly. One could (and should) argue that his penchant for strikeouts has helped him strand base runners more effectively by keeping the ball out of play -- his 3.81 SIERA certainly likes that -- but no matter what he’s going to need to stop serving up batting practice out there on one out of every four pitches to make it. His Minor League profile with HR/FB rates around just six percent (38.5 percent currently) say he can do it, so I’m buying in for the second half.

Luke Weaver - (STL, SP): 5% owned

After logging a pristine 1.93 ERA with 60 strikeouts against just 13 walks across 56 Triple-A innings this year, Weaver was summoned to the Majors to pitch out of the ‘pen. While this doesn’t excite anyone yet, it means a major hurdle has been cleared toward his eventually rejoining the starting rotation. 2017 is a trying time for pitching, and with 10-day DL stints just a stone’s throw away, it’s good to have some strong upside waiting in the wings.

Nick Pivetta - (PHI, SP): 4% owned

How did his ownership go down from last week?! Pivetta went right back to being dominant against the Mets in a solid July 2 start that saw him surrender just one run over seven innings. Outside of that scary start in Arizona -- an outing that no one would have recommended him for -- he’s struck out 23 in 20 innings with just four earned runs to his name. And guess what? He gets to face the Padres at home next on July 7. They’re certainly no D-backs.

Francis Martes - (HOU, SP/RP): 4% owned

Martes has walked 12 in 21 1/3 IP and made life difficult on himself, but he also owns a 9.7 K/9 with a 12.2 percent swinging-strike rate, has Houston at his back and gets to take on a Blue Jays team that isn’t showing much in terms of vitality next. One might not feel comfortable about Martes having a 5.06 ERA thus far, but consider how he’s still 2-0 over his five starts and you’ll see how this is a worthy dice roll for the win.

Anibal Sanchez - (DET, SP/RP): 3% owned

There’s no skirting that the Giants are improving, but they’re still a bottom-half offense and Sanchez is coming in to face them on Thursday with some serious momentum. The 33-year-old has yielded a mere 0.87 WHIP with a lovely 3.12 ERA and 14 K’s in 17 1/3 IP, though Detroit has been unable to secure a victory for him. He’s looked sharp in matchups he should’ve (against San Diego) and ones that were tougher (Seattle, Cleveland). His .208 BABIP won’t hold, but his 3.33 FIP over this little three-start stint does breathe life into his stock here.

 

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