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Week 17 Waiver Wire - Starting Pitchers


Those of you with trade deadlines that mirror the MLB's better strap up and prepare to hit the phones over the next week, because while eventually we'll get some exciting September call-ups and I do really like some of these names, I know that some need a bigger jump than these guys can give. Except for a healthy Trevor Cahill, who is obviously a god. Let's get right to it and just be sure to monitor any fallout of trades that occur for rotation openings.

If you want to chat more about additional arms/bats/whatever, you can find me on Twitter @NMariano53 and ask any follow-up questions.

We're using Yahoo ownership levels and cutting things off around 30% this week. Here are my starting pitcher waiver wire targets for Week 17.

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Starting Pitcher Waiver Wire Targets

Zack Wheeler (NYM - SP): 30% owned

Wheeler threw 65-of-99 pitches for strikes against the Padres, yielding two runs on just four hits and a walk over seven frames. Perhaps Wheeler won’t end up getting dealt at the Trade Deadline, but the “worst-case scenario” of him staying on the Mets means he stays in the Marlins’ division. Even without the run support of a real team (sorry, Mets fans), Wheeler’s rocking a 3.50 ERA over his last 10 outings and his 24.8% soft-contact rate (entering the 7/24 start) was the third-best mark for a qualified SP. This is a difference-maker when healthy.

Dereck Rodriguez (SF - SP): 28% owned

Rodriguez jumpstarted his second half by holding the A’s to one run over 6 1/3 innings in Oakland, yielding three hits and walking none with five strikeouts. His peripherals don’t support this level of success, but clearly, neither do you guys because his ownership level reflects a 4.00 ERAs arm. I don’t care if Pudge’s kid is outperforming his profile because he has the skillset to ride AT&T Park to success, he’s limited opponents to an ice-cold .206/.270/.353 line at home.

Ervin Santana (MIN - SP): 25% owned

Santana will begin his 2018 MLB season on Wednesday against the Blue Jays. He’s yet to show his usual ~93 mph fastball, instead he's working around 90 mph, but still posted a 22-to-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio across 29 rehab innings (seven appearances). I’m fine with stashing now and seeing how his stuff plays against big-league hitters, but I worry that the plus control/command that afforded him a 22.4% soft-contact rate last season may require those extra ticks on the radar gun.

Joey Lucchesi (SD - SP): 23% owned

Lucchesi is just on the outside of the top-100 overall leaderboard per Yahoo’s 5x5 scoring format over the last 30 days thanks to his 2.28 ERA/1.06 WHIP with 24 punchouts in 23 ⅔ IP. I understand the dismay over his short starts, but being held back from facing a lineup for the third time has led to strong ratios. He carries a 2.23 ERA the first time through, 3.45 ERA to the second and a 7.00 ERA when hitters get a third look. With a 2.14 FIP in July (3.68 ERA), look for Lucchesi to continue rocking out in concentrated bursts down the stretch.

Nick Kingham (PIT - SP): 19% owned

Kingham heads into his next start against the Mets having won each of his last three starts (all quality starts too). Hopefully, the power-strapped Mets can help Kingham conquer the recent longball problem, as he’s yielded 11 homers in just 57 total innings -- seven of which have come in his last four trips to the hill. But he has the strong control (just 14 walks overall) to seemingly avoid major damage there, and at the very least should be a good add for his next start. If you’re skeptical then perhaps his recent hot stretch will allow you to flip him at your own trade deadline.

Trevor Cahill (OAK - SP/RP): 19% owned

Cahill’s been a Mariano-favorite all year despite the profit window being rather small (damn you, injuries!) and his latest effort against the Giants gives me hope for August and September. He held San Fran to one run on two hits and three walks over 5 ⅔ innings to lower his ERA to 2.95 on the season. Not only that but if we remove the starts right before he hit the DL and his first start back in action then his ERA falls to a beautiful 2.17! He doesn’t need those starts omitted to look great, but that does kick the love up a notch.

Drew Pomeranz (BOS - SP): 26% owned

Pomeranz had been on the DL with biceps tendinitis for nearly two months before returning on Tuesday night against the Orioles. While Pom’s early struggles paint the 4 ⅔ IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 2 HR, 2 BB, 4 K outing with serious pessimism moving forward, we have to remember the rust rule. Let’s hope he does better than six swings-and-misses on 89 pitches his next time against the Twins (I would not start him until he shows positive signs). The only reason he’s included here is that anyone with a slot in the Astros, Red Sox or Yankees rotations has great odds at winning games (Luis Cessa notwithstanding, moreso because I can't see NYY not trading for someone else shortly). If we’d all moved along to quality starts then this wouldn’t be happening. Be the change you want to see in the game!

Dan Straily (MIA - SP): 5% owned

On the one hand, Straily has tossed four quality starts in his last five outings and is two years removed from a solid 3.76 ERA/1.19 WHIP campaign. On the other hand, he’s struck out only 24 hitters those 32 ⅓ IP against 12 walks with a 4.70 xFIP and pitching for the Marlins isn’t great for wins. While I think any Marlin showing life should be speculated on in deep leagues because they could get moved to a friendlier fantasy environment at the Trade Deadline. Just don’t simply get pulled in by the familiar name and the recent surface results, I’d say he’ll need a change of scene to have a chance at fantasy viability.

Wade Miley (MIL - SP): 4% owned

Somehow, Miley has worked around a poor 11-to-11 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 17 ⅓ IP this season (4/4 pre-injury, 7/7 post-injury) to post a 1.76 ERA so far. The 3.96 FIP is fine, but the 5.00 xFIP and 5.54 SIERA (in very small samples, of course) are screaming, “Remember who you’re dealing with!” But that’s okay. The southpaw just held down the Dodgers to one unearned run (passed ball) on four hits and two walks with two strikeouts. Brent Suter requiring season-ending elbow injury has given Miley enhanced job security in the rotation. I’d be much more excited to talk about Corbin Burnes, he'll remain in the ‘pen this year according to manager Craig Counsell.

Yonny Chirinos (TB - SP/RP): 1% owned

Chirinos was recalled from Triple-A Durham on Tuesday to toe the rubber against the Yankees in his first MLB appearance since April 28. You’ll recall Chirinos kicked off his major-league career with three scoreless appearances. He had allowed two runs on four hits and no walks with five strikeouts over six innings against the strong Bronx lineup, but then got tagged for another run in the seventh before exiting. His 6 ⅔ IP were easily the most he’s logged in 2018 -- he didn’t even top five frames in the minors over the last two months. I wouldn’t expect him to work that deep into games going forward, but he should get his cracks at starting even once Jake Faria returns.

 

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