Week 12 Waiver Wire - Starting Pitchers

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You know the deal by now: You need pitchers, I need to gab. It’s Week 12 and we’re roughly one week away from the season’s halfway point, which means all of us will blindly look at the numbers, double them and then go off about what everyone's pace is. It's fun to speak about first- and second-half splits, but for the most part, I don't buy into them as very predictive. For now, we're going to stick to our guns and just let loose with the usual nonsensical (but secretly brilliant) analyses here.

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 12.

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Starting Pitcher Waiver Wire Targets

Mike Fiers - (HOU, SP): 31% owned

While Houston’s injured starters (Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers Jr., Charlie Morton and Collin McHugh) are all working back at various speeds, Fiers should have a comfortable slot in this rotation for a while. Even if they did return, the 32-year-old might be difficult to oust given his stellar 2.25 ERA over his last six starts with just two homers allowed after yielding 16 round-trippers over his first seven starts. Mix that pitching in with Houston’s potent offense and we’ve got a strong mixed-league arm to throw out there.

Drew Smyly - (SEA, SP): 22% owned

Smyly threw a 40-pitch bullpen session on Friday and should be closing in on beginning a rehab assignment. The southpaw struggled with a 4.88 ERA and 7-12 record last season, but his career 3.74 ERA and 8.71 K/9 point to the upside present for the 28-year-old when healthy. Just a little note to make sure any parties who somehow have DL space to spare and need pitching are aware of this.

Seth Lugo - (NYM, SP): 22% owned

Lugo's "rust" has come in the form of two quality starts to open his 2017, as he even went toe-to-toe with a strong Nationals lineup to assuage any doubts that the first matchup against the Braves wasn't a fair indicator of talent. Some may look at his 4.52 FIP behind that 2.63 ERA and just walk away, which is totally fair, but also misses that he outpitched a 4.33 FIP to the tune of a 2.67 ERA last season -- basically the same gap. That is in no way saying that's exactly what's going on here, just that he has that capacity and it would be silly to ignore it.

Jason Hammel - (KC, SP): 14% owned

Hammel’s ERA by month:

April - 6.65 ERA, 13 BB’s, 19 K’s (21 2/3 innings)

May - 5.83 ERA, 10 BB’s, 21 K’s (29 1/3 innings)

June - 2.30 ERA, 1 BB, 19 K’s (27 1/3 innings)

Given that he’s posted ERAs in the mid-threes over his last three seasons and certainly has the potential to be a mixed-league fantasy arm, this surge should be taken seriously. Make the grab and ride the wave.

Jesse Hahn - (OAK, SP): 11% owned

Out of pitchers with at least 60 innings under their belt, Hahn’s 0.14 HR/9 reigns supreme and his 2.87 FIP is tied for third best in the Majors with Chris Archer, trailing only Chris Sale (1.77) and Alex Wood (2.14). So, one of the most impressive righties in the bigs is available in 89 percent of leagues. It’s understandable that many don’t trust this and his 7.4 K/9 and 3-4 record aren’t going to win any additional support, but that has to be worth more than 11 percent. Come on.

Brandon Finnegan - (CIN, SP): 7% owned

Finnegan’s first rehab start saw him twirl three shutout innings with Double-A Pensacola on Sunday. There’s no set plan right now as to how many rehab starts the southpaw will require before returning to the bigs, but he had posted a 2.70 ERA with 14 K’s through 10 innings before injuring his shoulder in mid-April. The 24-year-old has mixed-league relevance when healthy and needs to be monitored as he works back toward the Majors.

Jhoulys Chacin - (SD, SP/RP): 6% owned

Chacin entered Tuesday night having allowed just two runs across seven innings in each of his last two starts -- both victories. He’d go on to yield two runs yet again -- both on solo homers -- but this time his offense couldn’t get enough going to get him the win. This was still encouraging though, as it was a road start and Chacin has been a much different pitcher away from Petco Park. With dramatic home/road splits akin to a bizarro Tyler Chatwood, Chacin owns a 1.72 home ERA (47 innings) against a 9.08 road ERA (36 2/3 innings). Use this to your advantage when he takes on the Braves at home next on June 27.

Homer Bailey - (CIN, SP): 2% owned

Bailey is slated to make his first start of 2017 on June 25 against the Nationals in Washington after allowing two runs alongside six strikeouts across 5 2/3 innings for Triple-A Louisville on Monday. Those two ER are the only runs he’s surrendered in 16 2/3 rehab innings with 17 K to his name, so while there are still plenty of Major-League hurdles to clear, the Bailey of 2012-14 may just be back.

David Paulino - (HOU, SP): 2% owned

In his most recent start on June 17, Paulino shut down the Red Sox to the tune of one ER over six sparkling innings for his first career victory. The hope is that this signals a degree of comfort in the big leagues for the 23-year-old rookie, as he flashed his upside at times over his first three starts but looked a bit caught up in the moment as well. He’ll look to make it two wins in a row on June 22 against the A’s in Oakland next.

Hector Velazquez - (BOS, SP): 1% owned

Velazquez stepped into the injured Brian Johnson’s rotation spot after relieving him when the injury originally occurred on June 14 (with 3 1/3 scoreless innings) and delivered 5 1/3 innings of two-run ball with no walks and three strikeouts. He hadn’t done well in a spot start on May 18, but has turned in a beautiful 4-1 record with 35 strikeouts, a 1.29 ERA and a 0.82 WHIP through 49 Triple-A innings (nine starts). It likely won’t last longer than one more start, but with that being a home draw against the Angels, who have the second-worst wOBA (.307) over the last 14 days, you could do a lot worse.

Domingo German - (NYY, SP): 0% owned

For now, Luis Cessa is filling in for the injured CC Sabathia in the Yankees rotation, but Cessa hasn’t looked fantastic and German has. Despite holding a 1.50 WHIP through 6 2/3 innings, he has yet to allow an earned run and has fanned seven. The 24-year-old has a 3.34 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 65 strikeouts over 59 1/3 Minor League innings and has some intriguing potential with a strong Bronx lineup behind him.

 

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