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Week 21 Waiver Wire - Starting Pitchers

I hope you're all ready to do whatever it takes in these last six weeks of the season to win. It might mean dropping a big name for a streamer or, if you still have trades, "losing the trade" to win the league. Don't be shy about your needs and don't be ignorant of how many innings you and your opponents have left in roto formats. Don't overlook how your H2H playoff opponent's rosters are constructed. This is crunch time.

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 21.

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Starting Pitcher Waiver Wire Targets

Joe Musgrove (PIT – SP/RP): 30% owned

Musgrove finally found some strikeouts alongside his low ratios, as he’s fanned 13 batters across 13 frames in his last two starts. Of course, he had struck out just two in each of his previous three outings, so please mind the reasonable range of outcomes. Luckily for us (and him), he owns a 2.12 ERA/0.88 WHIP over the last 30 days, which makes him 12-team viable no matter how you slice it.

Tyler Glasnow (TB – SP/RP): 26% owned

Glasnow squares off with the Red Sox and impressed more than the box score shows. Though he allowed five runs (four earned) over 6 ⅔ innings, he fought through poor control with three straight walks in the first inning. He didn’t walk another hitter across the next 5 ⅔ IP, which leaves me encouraged. The youngster showed poise and one bad inning against the Sox still leaves him with a 24-to-6 K-to-BB ratio over 18 ⅓ IP as a Ray. He gets to face the Royals for his 25th birthday on Aug. 23, so let’s hope he gives us all something to celebrate.

Anthony DeSclafani (CIN – SP): 26% owned

Hopefully, most of you sharps are part of the 20 percentage points of growth in DeSclafani’s ownership rate this past week. It turns out that yielding two earned over a span of three starts that last at least seven frames is a great thing. Who knew? He was owned in far more leagues two years ago before getting hurt and losing all of 2017, and now the rust may finally be off. He does have a tough assignment at Wrigley Field next, but his performance of late warrants a pickup even if you choose to bench him for that spot.

Matthew Boyd (DET – SP/RP): 23% owned

Boyd is another box-score victim, as he saw three earned runs tarnish his line in the seventh inning. I’m a little surprised he stayed in after giving up a string of hits to open the seventh, and then his bullpen allowed two inherited runners to score. Perhaps if Detroit had a more reliable ‘pen then Boyd would have yet another QS to his name and you’d all be clamoring for his service. As it stands, I get why a guy without a strong track record needs to overperform in order to convince you. But he is throwing his slider at triple the rate of 2017 as he attacks higher in the zone with his fastball. The wins may not come in the Motor City, but he’s worthy of ownership beyond 30%.

Derek Holland (SF - SP): 21% owned

It’s possible that some of you simply streamed Holland against the Mets because they’re the Mets. Although, they’ve actually been one of the best offenses this month...but that’s another story. So for those of you who don’t know what you’ve got on your hands, Holland has become a different pitcher since repositioning himself on the rubber. All of his fielding-independent metrics align with a ~3.00 ERA since then, but those in QS leagues should note he's only gone six full innings (or more) in five of his last 12 starts. But let's end on a high note -- his 27.5% strikeout rate over that span ranks 19th out of 113 starters with >50 IP. Heyo!

Alex Cobb (BAL – SP): 21% owned 

After a brief flash of hope, once he started throwing his splitter again, Cobb had once again faded from fantasy relevance. However, he’s definitely back in the conversation after tossing a complete game against the AL Central-leading Indians. Did you know that he had posted four straight QS against the Rays, Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays again before that? Yes, he’s actually been that good.

And yet, he also hasn’t. I know, what a cheap transition. The facts are that many of you still need wins, which Baltimore is not known for. Many of you also need strikeouts, which doesn’t jive with Cobb’s 5.44 K/9 in those last seven outings, but the 3.44 FIP and 4.06 xFIP make more sense. And while he's shown he can handle the AL's best, his having to face the Yankees again this week isn't what we want to target. I won't hate you for adding him, but I'd really look elsewhere first.

Austin Gomber (STL – SP/RP): 20% owned

Gomber hadn’t allowed an earned run in either of his last two starts and nearly pulled off his magic again on Monday. He’d fired off four scoreless frames against the Dodgers before they finally got him for two runs in the fifth. The Cardinals were up 3-2 at that point, but the bullpen couldn’t hold on for his third straight win. I'll be the first to admit that the southpaw's 36-to-23 K-to-BB ratio is terrifying, but he's gone about as far as a 7.1% K-BB% is going to take you. Tread carefully, I'd likely add his teammate further down the list first, but I also respect anyone chasing a hot hand.

Brett Anderson (OAK – SP): 16% owned

After twirling 7 ⅔ scoreless innings against the Mariners in his previous start, Anderson needed just 93 pitches to blank the Rangers over seven innings of work. He allowed just one hit and one walk, which brings his post-injury WHIP below 1.00 and his ERA down to 2.11. That said, the biggest surprise might be his six strikeouts, as he had punched out just 19 across 40 innings prior to Tuesday. No one will try to convince you that he’s an ace incapable of surrendering a run, but don’t underestimate the power of Oakland’s spacious park, their top-10 defense (per Fangraphs' DEF chart) and Anderson’s own abilities when healthy. He’s just never been healthy for very long, so enjoy it while it lasts!

Jordan Zimmermann (DET - SP): 12% owned

Zimmermann looked healthy in Tuesday’s start as he limited the Cubs to just one run, an Anthony Rizzo homer, over six innings of work. We’ve been fooled into thinking he’s healthy and “back” before in ‘18, only to see him crumble again. Whether it was just a loss of command or pain from his constant neck/shoulder injuries, I don’t know. What I do know is he looked strong here and gets to face the White Sox next, making him a decent streamer.

Touki Toussaint (ATL - SP): 11% owned

Toussaint will get another chance against the Marlins on Thursday, as the rookie swiftly sees another opportunity to start in the bigs. He cruised through six innings in his debut against the fish and shouldn’t be viewed any less favorably in this spot. My hope is to see more than six swinging strikes on 82 pitches and perhaps some clear pitch-mixing changes compared to his first outing. Though he could pitch the exact same sequence and I’d still want to stream him for this matchup.

Adam Plutko (CLE - SP): 8% owned

Months ago we had Plutko and Shane Bieber battling for one rotation spot, but Trevor Bauer’s injury combined with Cleveland’s cushy lead in the AL Central means both should finish out the regular season in the rotation. Plutko bought some leash by tossing seven innings of three-run ball against Baltimore in his first start back, though he had some misfortune there. He allowed only four baserunners that day, but three would score on one swing from Jonathan Villar in the third inning. The longball has been an issue for the 26-year-old righty, as he’s given up as many dingers (12) as walks issued across 48 ⅔ IP thus far. At least he has good control, right? He’ll need all of it at the ready against Boston on Thursday.

Daniel Poncedeleon (STL – RP): 5% owned

The Cardinals have sent Luke Weaver to the bullpen as their starting rotation makes the slow transition to elite (?) relief unit. This means there’s a vacant rotation slot that Poncedeleon has been awarded, which he turned into a solid outing on Tuesday night. After dazzling us with seven no-hit innings in his first MLB start, he struck out eight Dodgers while yielded one run over four innings. The K's are especially encouraging after he had rung up 10 batters in 17 ⅔ overall innings prior to Tuesday, but it makes sense given his wicked 26.3% strikeout rate over 92 Triple-A innings this year. I know four innings meant no win, but getting to 90 pitches in an effective manner is a win in its own right moving forward. I'd be fine penciling him in as my SP5/6 heading into September.


More Waiver Wire Pickups and Streamers