Week 6 Waiver Wire - Starting Pitchers

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May hasn’t offered much more in the way of sanity than April did, meaning that staying abreast of the waiver wire remains critically important as arms fall left and right among weird performances from names we’re used to ignoring. What’s to make of it all?

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

Let's get to it.

Editor's Note: Our friends at Fantrax have even more fantasy baseball advice columns and videos to help improve your teams. Be sure to also check them out!

 

Starting Pitcher Waiver Wire Targets

Patrick Corbin - (ARI, SP/RP): 32% owned

Look, I’ll keep it short because presumably Corbin is owned in most “competitive” leagues, but maybe you’re in the 10 percent of leagues that saw him get dropped after his clunker at Coors Field. Congratulations, it’s Coors Field. Don’t judge too harshly. He still has a career-best 11.5 percent swinging-strike rate and a healthy 6.9 percent walk rate on the season and should keep seeing that WHIP whittle down. He faces Pittsburgh at home next on May 12, which is certainly good enough for me.

Tyson Ross - (TEX, SP): 30% owned

In case you missed it, Ross just threw a 30-pitch simulated game on May 8 and is nearing a rehab assignment. He could be back inside of a three-week time window if his rehab starts go without a hitch -- not a given -- as it’s been floated that he could be activated after hitting just 60 pitches in an outing. I know stash space is limited, but this is a premier K-heavy arm when on.

JC Ramirez - (LAA, SP): 22% owned

Ramirez only struck out two Astros in a tight-rope one-run outing on May 6 in which he skirted around a 1.67 WHIP to post his second quality start of the season. He’s allowed three runs or fewer in four of his five starts without issuing more than two walks in any one of his appearances thus far. The 28-year-old and his solid 3.73 SIERA (3.28 FIP!) need to be owned in more leagues despite having the Angels’ offense supporting him.

Jesse Hahn (OAK, SP): 20% owned

Unfortunately, Hahn misses the aforementioned Angels offense, instead lining up to face the Rangers in Texas next, but he is another name that appears to have dropped quite a bit after his first poor outing of 2017. Seriously, he had opened 2017 with five quality starts (though just one win) prior to the 3 2/3-inning mess against the Tigers on May 6 and really should’ve earned more leash than that. Perhaps the fluctuation is simply due to streamers, but Hahn and his ridiculous 2.87 FIP should be getting more love.

Kyle Freeland - (COL, SP): 18% owned

Freeland’s box score from May 9 isn’t going to do him justice, as he did tremendously against the Cubs despite having to labor through a five-run second inning that was drawn out by two fielding errors by his middle infielders. The rookie southpaw buckled down after that to post his fourth consecutive quality start and keep his ERA under 3.00 on the season (2.93). He’ll face the Twins in Minnesota next time out.

Tyler Anderson - (COL, SP): 16% owned

This writer has been waiting for Anderson to look like his 2016 self throughout all of April, but unfortunately, it took until May for that to come out. Better late than never? His 10-strikeout gem against a potent D-backs lineup at Coors Field came after he surrendered six runs to them in Arizona in his previous start, but the biggest difference was inducing grounders at a 75 percent clip (21.1 percent in the first meeting). That -- and his solid control -- is how Anderson succeeded as a rookie and given that he’s walked just one in four of his last five starts, I feel good about the control being there. Now that his command is poking through alongside an improved 12 percent swinging-strike rate (10.7 percent in ’16) then I’m buying back in anywhere I can for his home start against the Dodgers on May 11.

Ariel Miranda - (SEA, SP): 14% owned

Miranda’s ownership is understandably plummeting again after he was taken to the shed by the Phillies (eight earned over 3 1/3 innings) on May 9. This just provides most of you with an opportunity to scoop him up before facing an anemic Toronto team at the Rogers Centre on May 14. Miranda is just in his second MLB season and hasn’t even accrued 100 innings on the mound yet so growing pains shouldn’t be too surprising. It’ll be risky if his 1.98 HR/9 comes into play, but the Blue Jays are still just 25th in wOBA (.298) over the last 14 days so don’t think the ugly season-long stats are hiding a recent surge.

Hyun-Jin Ryu - (LAD, SP): 13% owned

Ryu is slated to return from the disabled list on May 11 against the Rockies at Coors Field -- not a recommended start, for the record -- and has notably struck out 29 in 26 2/3 innings thus far. The lefty’s hip contusion really isn’t a scary injury, even given his lengthy injury history, so one shouldn’t worry about his long-term prospects due to this. He’s rocking a 3.38 SIERA and should see his current 28.6 percent HR/FB rate regress toward his nine percent career mark, and when that occurs then you’ve got a mixed-league viable arm yet again.

Josh Tomlin - (CLE, SP): 10% owned

Tomlin isn’t the most traditional recommendation, but I felt compelled to do so after seeing that he’s dealing with an unruly .362 BABIP and 51.5 percent strand rate thus far. Those rates were .276 and 70.8 percent last season, for comparison’s sake. His 7.12 ERA shrouds fielding-independent metrics that are under half of it -- 3.37 FIP, 3.52 xFIP and 3.79 SIERA -- as the control artist (2.3 percent walk rate) and his 50.5 percent ground-ball rate should continue to rebound after his pristine one-run show against the Royals. He gets the Twins at home next on May 12. You’re never buying him for Ks, but chasing solid ratios and the win isn’t a bad look at 10 percent.

Nate Karns - (KC, SP/RP): 10% owned

Look past Karns’ 4.58 ERA and realize that he’s got a 1.22 WHIP with over a strikeout per inning (36 in 35 1/3 IP, including 17 in his last 12 1/3 IP) and gets a rather K-happy team in the Orioles (21.8 percent as a team) next. Karns and his 3.56 SIERA is worth some attention, but just be sure he’s maintaining his solid control. Also, keep an eye on his ground-ball rate (up 16 percent) and soft-contact rate (up seven percent) as the year progresses, but for now he’s showing many positive signs worth taking seriously.

Mike Clevinger - (CLE, SP/RP) - 8% owned

Many spot-starters enjoyed Clevinger’s 5 2/3 scoreless innings of one-hit ball against the hapless Royals on Sunday, and it sounds like Corey Kluber may be a bit longer to come back now so Clev should get another turn. Unfortunately, it looks like Trevor Bauer is going to stay in the rotation no matter how blah he does, so this is Clevinger’s only avenue to the rotation at the moment. He went 11-1 at Triple-A last season and opened 2017 by going 3-1 with 32 Ks and a 1.50 ERA/1.10 WHIP in 30 innings (six starts) before getting called up. So, yeah he’s feeling pretty good right now heading into a May 13 date with the Twins at home.

Jose Berrios - (MIN, SP): 8% owned

Once again, Berrios is my pick for the next big, young arm to get the call. Beat writers like LaVelle Neal III are speculating that we see him get called up for a start on Saturday, but he should be owned in more leagues even if we don’t get gratification that swiftly. I know the 8.02 ERA/1.87 WHIP from last season’s failed rookie campaign still burns, but he’s doing even better at Triple-A this season (1.13 ERA, 0.81 WHIP) than he did last season. Just don’t view him as damaged goods or anything -- the top prospect is still just 22 and has plenty of potential to grow into.

Matt Garza - (MIL, SP): 5% owned

Garza has swiftly gone from deep-league streamer to viable pickup, as his last two starts have seen him allow just four runs over 13 2/3 innings while tallying 11 strikeouts against zero walks. He’s done well to post a healthy 47.2 percent ground-ball rate thus far and has a 3.60 SIERA thus far. His current nine percent swinging-strike rate marks the first time he’s posted a rate like that since 2014, when he rode a decent 6.94 K/9 to a 3.64 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in his first full season with Milwaukee. Just sayin’, don’t turn your nose up at him because of his last two seasons being mediocre. He’s only 33 and we’ve seen renaissance seasons out of much older folks.

Chad Kuhl - (PIT, SP): 4% owned

Kuhl’s ownership may have spiked if rain didn’t spoil his shutout bid on May 5. Okay, that’s aggressive to say considering he just lasted three innings, but still. His numbers have been pretty intriguing in 2017, as his 3.51 FIP loves him though his 4.86 SIERA is skeptical -- likely due to the low 14.3 soft-contact rate. Still, Kuhl has a 2.59 ERA on the season if you remove that nine-run aberration against the Cubs -- a start that not many would plug him in for anyway -- so don’t let the short-season overall numbers overshadow his good work on the whole. He faces the Dodgers today (May 10) in LA, which should be a good test for him before a May 16 home date against the Nationals.

Jesse Chavez - (LAA, SP/RP): 3% owned

Chavez gets to face the A’s (aka the Alonso’s) on May 10 before heading into a home series against the White Sox on May 15 and the Mets on May 21. That’s not a bad string of starts to line up for oneself in deeper formats considering Chavez’s 3.82 ERA and .244 batting average allowed marks as a starter this season. Yes, his last two starts haven’t been astounding, but the teams he’s about to face aren’t Texas or Houston.

Luis Perdomo - (SD, SP/RP): 3% owned

Perdomo is all set to ride his solid momentum into battle with the Rangers in Arlington on May 10. The 24-year-old celebrated his birthday the day before, so you know he made a wish to throw a perfecto here. In all seriousness, he’s posted a 3.06 FIP, 3.29 xFIP and 3.11 SIERA through his first four starts of 2017 thanks to allowing hard contact at a paltry 20.6 percent clip. It’s doubtful he can suppress that so deeply all season long, but he’s clearly feeling good right now and should be noticed in deep formats.

 

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