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SP Waiver Wire Pickups for Deeper Leagues


It still doesn’t feel real, but starting on July 23rd the MLB will embark on a 60 -game sprint to the Playoffs. Then in the blink of an eye, October baseball will be here, culminating in one team lifting the most strangely won pennant in history.

With the baseball season taking shape in such an unprecedented and shortened way, fantasy leagues will have adjusted accordingly. Some leagues will have turned from head-to-head to a rotisserie format, while others may opt to stick with head-to-head but with no playoffs. Regardless, one thing will still remain essential for the eventual league champion; the waiver wire. Especially when it comes to arguably the most important position in fantasy baseball; starting pitcher.

Each week I’ll be here to advise you on some pickups that could be the difference between winning and losing a week, which given the shortened season could mean a quest for the title falling short at the first hurdle.

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Criteria

Before beginning, there are a few things to be considered when choosing who to put a bid or a claim for. The primary factor for many waiver wire adds is a pitcher’s immediate matchup. However, there are times where the matchup may not seem that favorable, in that case,  he may have a soft schedule moving forward, making it beneficial to pick him up before anyone else in your league has the foresight to do so. Especially when it comes to young prospects.

Secondly, don’t expect miracles from waiver wire adds. There are certain volatile pitchers with a good strike rate, who are capable of a good outing, but lack any semblance of pitch control and could easily sink a team’s week. Limit risk and air on the side of a high floor than a high ceiling. With the exception being if a team needs to hit on a high upside play because they’re down big entering the weekend of a head-to-head.

Finally, a pitcher who will start two games in one week has two chances to help a team, not just one. Therefore, they will be more likely to feature as a recommendation to be picked up off waivers. With that being said, obviously most two-game pitchers for this week are already rostered.

Even entering Week 1, the waiver wire shouldn’t be ignored. Especially for those who drafted months ago before the regularly scheduled opening day.

*Advice is based on a category scoring format, because in a points leagues, when it comes to whether to start a pitcher or not, the answer is basically always yes.

** Atlanta Braves GM Alex Anthopolous stated that the Braves will be limiting their starters to 2-to-4 innings their first couple times through the rotation, according to David O'Brien of The Athletic. No other GM has made such a broad statement but this diminishes the waiver wire appeal of a pitcher like Sean Newcomb. Trends set by teams in terms of how much of a leash they will give their starters to start the season will be taken into account as the season progresses.

 

Johnny Cueto, San Francisco Giants

25% owned

Yes, the San Francisco Giants are not going to be a good baseball team this season, and yes he’s only pitched 16 innings in two years, but don’t give up on Johnny Cueto. Two-time All-Stars with a career 3.35 ERA don’t grow on trees, and he’s only 34-years old. Throw away the 16 innings he pitched last season as he was coming back from Tommy John Surgery. In the 53 IP before he was sidelined in 2018 he owned a 3.23 ERA, and 6.1 BB%. Plus, Tommy John surgery isn’t the death sentence it used to be, just look at Stephen Strasburg, or more recently Nathan Eovaldi. They both made a lot of money post-surgery.

The 2015 World Series Champ is one of four pitchers starting opening day, he’ll be going toe-to-toe with Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. Clearly that’s not the most favorable matchup, although he does sport a 2.36 ERA in ten starts at Dodger Stadium. Then on July 28th Cueto will be facing the San Diego Padres at home in a game he could dominate.

The best play with Cueto in a daily lineup league is to sit him against the Dodgers and start him against the Padres. In a weekly lineup league, be gutsy give the old man a start and see if he can deliver in a two-start week. Due to his reputation, even if he only ends up having even one good start in week one, his ownership percentage will jump well above 50%. Get in early and see what he can do while he’s on your roster.

 

John Means, Baltimore Orioles

22% Owned

Now let’s move to another game one starter on our list, this one belongs to the equally downtrodden Baltimore Orioles. It definitely is a deserved nod for the 27-year-old. The fact that he was able to record more wins than losses (12-11,) in his rookie season, for a team that finished 54-108 is actually staggering. No wonder he finished second in the AL Rookie of the year voting. Granted, his 5.48 XFIP makes one question the legitimacy of his 3.60 ERA, but a 3.18 K/BB and 1.14 would get him a job on any team.

Means has two starts in week one. The first against the Red Sox in Fenway, then he’ll take the mound at Camden Yards against the Miami Marlins. Don’t run and hide from that first matchup, this isn’t the Red Sox team of the past decade. It’s still a strong unit, but there is no more Mookie, no more Alex Cora in the dugout, and their rotation is a shell of its former self.

Feel free to play cautiously and sit Means against the Red Sox but in a daily lineup league. However, I think he’s definitely earned the start in a weekly lineup league especially with the Marlins matchup to round out the week.

Means was scratched from an exhibition game Sunday the 18th of July with a “Dead Arm” status is now uncertain for opening day.

 

Nathan Eovaldi, Boston Red Sox

35% owned

Another season, another chance to stream any pitcher who faces the Baltimore Orioles. They have finished last in the AL East for three seasons in a row, amassing 101 total wins in the last two seasons combined. The tragic news of Trey Mancini’s season-ending cancer diagnosis and treatment has taken their best bat out of the lineup. Now it’s up to Austin Hays to hit cleanup, after only playing in 21 Major League games. Chris Davis is projected to hit sixth this season, there isn’t much else that can be said to illustrate the ineptitude of the Orioles offense.

Most big-league pitchers will have success against the Orioles this season but Nathan Eovaldi is no slouch, starting for the Red Sox opening day with Eduardo Rodriguez sidelined with a positive COVID-19 test. The flame-throwing righty finally broke out in 2018, culminating in heroic relief performances in the World Series. He couldn’t follow up his success, he had a poor albeit injury-plagued 2019. He had a career-high 9.31 K/9, but lost all control, posting a 4.66 BB/9.

His second matchup is scheduled for July 29th against the Mets at Citi Field. Apart from Pete Alonso, the players in their lineup have a wide variance of outcomes, it’s hard to say how good they will be until we see them play.  Is Cespedes going to be the Cespedes of old? Robinson Cano is another year older etc.

Entering the 2020 season healthy Eovaldi needs to prove to new manager Ron Roenicke he’s a starter they can rely on. He’s been sharp by all accounts in Red Sox intrasquad games to prepare for the season. He’ll hope to take that form into the regular season, and here is no better way to start the season on a positive note than beating up on the punching bag Orioles.

 

Martin Perez, Boston Red Sox

1% owned

This is a perfect example of how poor a pitcher can be, and still be recommended to start in a fantasy lineup when facing the Orioles.

Perez will be going up against Alex Cobb, so he has the potential to record a win. The 29-year old set a career-high 7.35 K/9 last season so perhaps he can build on that. Ultimately, he’s not a good pitcher. The best of his eight seasons came all the way back in 2013 when he posted a 10-6 record in 20 games, with a 4.23 FIP, 1.34 WHIP, and 4.17 SIERA.

It’s the lefty’s first season in Boston so maybe he can use that new team luck to get him going this season. In 2019 He had a 3.97 ERA in April and 3.15 ERA in May so if he can make a similar start in 2020 he could help a fantasy team during week one.

In daily leagues don’t start the lefty against the Mets, no matter how well he does against the Orioles. But in weekly lineup leagues, the start against the Orioles is too good to bypass

 

Danny Duffy, Kansas City Royals

3% Owned

Nine-year veteran Danny Duffy will get the start when Kansas City opens up their season in Cleveland against the Indians on July 24th. He’ll then take the mount on July 29th at Comerica Park when the Royals face the Tigers in a much tastier matchup.

The 2015 World Series champion is the so-called ace of a ragtag rotation that had the fourth-worst ERA last season (5.20.) Then again, Duffy has been nothing if not reliable for the Royals, pitching between 130.2 and 179.2 IP in the last six seasons. Last season specifically he posted a 4.34 ERA with a 7.92 K/9 and 1.31 WHIP. The key to success for Duffy this year will be to bring down his 1.45 HR/9.

Duffy faced the Indians and Tigers twice last season, all at home. The lefty had one quality start, and one win and one loss against each. The Tigers should be treated like the Orioles this season, practically any pitcher will have a high chance of success against their shoddy lineup. On top of that, the likelihood of securing a point in the win column is almost as high is it comes. The Tigers had a 5.26 team ERA (third-worst) and haven’t made any real changes to their rotation.

Sit Duffy against the Indians in a daily league, and start him against the Tigers. In a weekly league take the chance against the Indians and be rewarded with a matchup against the rudderless Tigers.

 

Matt Shoemaker, Toronto Blue Jays

11% Owned

Now that the MLB schedule has been condensed to 60 games, there may be a chance Matt Shoemaker may actually make it injury-free from beginning to end. His last three seasons have all been derailed by injury but there is no question that when he’s on, he can be a serious fantasy asset. He has a career 8.06 K/9, 3.81 ERA, AND 3.85 SIERA with no signs of diminishing ability.

Depending on the source he is currently the 2,3 or 4th pitcher in the Jays rotation, even though he definitely has more upside than Tanner Roark or Chase Anderson. Either way, due to Anderson’s oblique injury he’s guaranteed to face the Rays on July 26th. After that impressive outing, it may be tempting to start him against the Phillies on August 1st. Most h2h leagues will go until August 2nd during this first week, so start him if necessary but it’s certainly not an ideal matchup.

This waiver wire pickup is more of a future play. He’s a good pitcher in his own right, with a chance of being an automatic start, not the matchup dependent streamer he currently is. The Jays don’t have a brutal schedule by any means. As long as Tampa doesn’t turn into an offensive juggernaut they have a pretty easy ride. Sure, Boston will be tough but they don’t face the Yankees until September. Oh, and how about the fact that they play the Baltimore Orioles ten times.

A nice added bonus for the Jays rotation is that they won’t be playing at the Rodgers Centre this season. On average 1.317 balls left the yard per game last season, by far the most in the Majors.

 

Jordan Lyles, Texas Rangers

3% Owned

Of all the starters on this list, Jordan Lyles arguably outperformed all of them last season. Between the Pirates and the Brewers last season the 6’5” righty put together a 12-8 campaign, backed up with a 9.32 K/9 and 4.15 ERA. He started off with a 2.42 ERA in his first 26 IP, holding his opponents to a .228 avg. In fact, for the whole season, right-handed hitters only hit .220 off the former 38th overall pick back in 2008.  Now he’s back as a full-time starter and will look to validate his new two-year $16 million contract.

He takes the mound against the D-backs on July 28th in a game that could go either way, but if it goes well he’ll certainly be snatched up. Then it’s unclear whether he will be a two-start pitcher in week one, or week two. Either way, his next two matchups are the Athletics in Oakland and then likely Seattle at home. Both very pitcher-friendly ballparks.

On July 12th, it was reported by mlb.com that Lyles could have his first turn in the rotation skipped. However, as of now, CBS has him listed as the starter for the 28th. Either way, it’s a decent play to grab Lyles. The Rangers have a really soft schedule to start the season. Worst comes to worst just drop him, but if he starts this season anywhere close to as hot as last, he can be ridden for all he’s worth or they may even be a sell-high opportunity.



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Whether due to their own play, the play of others, or injuries, players' stock increases and decreases on a weekly basis. Perhaps more than any other, the NFL is a league that experiences ups and downs at a rapid pace. With only 16 games, there’s little room for error and seemingly endless opportunities for improvement.... Read More


Coaching Matters: Offenses That Will Improve From Week 6

This series continues into its sixth week of where I dive into offensive areas that will improve or decline based on coaching in order to glean insight as to fantasy football value. In Week 6, we saw performances such as Ryan Tannehill throwing for 364 passing yards, the Houston Texans running backs combining for 66 rushing yards, and the New... Read More


Tape Tells All: D'Andre Swift's Week 6 Performance

Welcome to another edition of Tape Tells All. I've been thinking of rebranding as just TAPE. All-Caps like that. Probably wouldn't be a good idea for SEO purposes, right? Anyways, this week we'll be discussing Detroit Lions rookie running back D'Andre Swift. Swift set a lot of career highs this week, with bests in carries... Read More


Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds

Week 6 was like the 2020 of fantasy football weeks. All those great matchups meant nothing, those studs let you down, and your bench likely went crazy. The good news is that we didn't have any season-ending injuries to running backs or games canceled due to COVID, so in retrospect maybe we shouldn't complain. The... Read More


FAB Bidding - Week 7 Waiver Wire Targets

Whether it's injuries, bye-week blues, or simply poor performance, we've got the waiver-wire cure...but it just might cost you! Alongside our famous waiver wire pickups list and our weekly waiver wire columns by position, this column focuses on suggested waiver wire bidding percentages for fantasy football owners in leagues using a Free Agent Budget (FAB). In... Read More


Waiver Wire Express - Week 7 Lightning Round

Week 6 was relatively healthy and had no coronavirus delays, so let's just take a moment to bask in that. That said, we still saw Miles Sanders (knee) and Zach Ertz (ankle) go down, while Mark Ingram (ankle) has a bye to get healthy. Week 7 byes are Baltimore, Indianapolis, Miami, and Minnesota. Let's get... Read More


Running Back Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 7

Fantasy GMs are to be commended for rising to the unique challenges that have unfolded during this regular season. Injuries to critical players is an unwelcome reality that occurs every year. This is also the case for backs that were expected to operate as RB1s, but have been relegated to committees. However, this season has... Read More


Wide Receiver Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 7

Six weeks of NFL football are behind us, aside from a pair of Monday games, including a late afternoon game between the Bills and the Chiefs. In terms of wide receiver production this week, we didn't have the huge breakouts like we had in Week 5. Chase Claypool didn't score four touchdowns. In fact, only... Read More


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Dissecting Contact Quality In Search Of Fantasy Bargains

Of the 1,015 hitters sampled(1) between 2015 and 2019, there were only 14 instances of hitters making more productive contact against pitches outside of the strike zone than against pitches inside of the strike zone based on xwOBAcon. Based on the same sample, the average hitter was a whopping .116 points better against pitches inside... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 23rd, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 23rd, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Lineup Order Risers and Fallers: AL West 2020 Review

It’s the offseason and there are about to be a bunch of moving parts. This allows for speculation in terms of players gaining or losing playing time, moving up or down a batting order and much more. The idea here is to highlight some lineup situations for each team and some potential winners or losers... Read More


2021 1st & 2nd Year Players with James Anderson - Benched with Bubba (Episode 317)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by James Anderson (@RealJRAnderson) on episode 317. The guys will go over 30+ first and second-year players. They will discuss their current ADP's in the 2 Early Mocks, what to expect of the players in 2021, and much more. They also go over some listener questions, compare Juan Soto to Mike... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 21st, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 21st, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 20th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 20th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 54: 2 Early Mocks APD Player Debates - Benched with Bubba (Episode 316)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They go over some of the positions and look at players with similar ADPs and debate. Going around the diamond discussing some players people are high on and some they are down on with a... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 18th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 18th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 17th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 17th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


2021 Early Mock ADP Values & Reaches: WPC+ Videocast

Pierre Camus and Nicklaus Gaut prepare for the 2021 fantasy baseball season with a look at early mock draft results from the RotoBaller Expert mock. Like and subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us on iTunes and BlogTalkRadio as well! Be sure to also tune into RotoBaller... Read More


Statcast Season Review: 2020 Barrel Leaders (Hitters)

The 2020 MLB season will always be one for the record books, even if everything that took place will have multiple asterisks attached to it. Evaluating Statcast numbers is a nice way to find hot and cold hitters, as well as underachievers and overachievers. Now that the regular season is over, let's reflect on the... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 16th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 16th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 15th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 15th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 14th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 14th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 53: 2 Early Mocks APD Trends & More - Benched with Bubba (Episode 315)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They dig into trends, some interesting risers/fallers, and much more. They also go over some listener questions at the end to keep the Fantasy Baseball information coming even in the offseason. Be sure to subscribe... Read More