Fantasy Baseball

The Best Pitchers on Your Waiver Wire

Michael Simione | June 10th, 2019

When one of our pitchers go down due to injury or one of our pitchers just aren’t working out we all have to work the waiver wire. Below are the best pitchers that are owned under 30% via Yahoo. I split them into categories as certain pitchers can help more than others based on what type of league you are in (ex. points, categories, and rotisserie). Please note all stats are as of June 7th.

High strikeout upside options

Freddy Peralta: Wow has Freddy has been up and down this year. At times he looks like the worst pitcher in the MLB and other times he looks like a top five pitcher. Freddy has some great swing and miss stuff, he has an above average SwStr%, above average O-Swing%, and a decent Whiff% on his fastball. He also posts a .336 wOBA with an xwOBA of .298. Here is where you have to be careful with numbers. His ERA is 5.11 with a 4.17 FIP, 4.12 xFIP, and 3.82 SIERA. This does look positive but he did pitch several games in relief. You also see an increase in velocity but when pitching in relief you can throw harder which is fudging his numbers. If Freddy stays in the rotation, for now, I would only add him if I need strikeout upside and can play matchups. How much upside? Well, he had a 9 strikeout game and an 11 strikeout game, while also having a  9.00, 13.50, and 8.10 K/9 in three relief appearances.

Trevor Richards: Richards 8.35 K/9 might seem low and some might be wondering why he is in this grouping. But Richards has six games with six or more strikeouts showing that he can make batters miss. His changeup has been lethal this year as it is posting the third highest changeup pVAL this season. It has over a 32 Whiff% and an xwOBA of .225 and the best part is he has increased his usage of it this season. Overall he is, unfortunately, showing FIP and xFIP regression while having a bit of luck based on his BABIP and LOB%. Still, he is definitely worth an add if you need strikeouts just like Freddy.

The innings eater

Jeff Samardzija: In points leagues, Jeff can be more valuable than most think. If one of your pitchers went down he could be a decent add because he is and always has been a workhorse. Last year was an outlier due to injury but before that, he went five straight seasons pitching more than 200 innings. Now that he is healthy he very well might eclipse that 200 innings mark this year. As for numbers, Jeff currently has a 3.72 ERA, 4.62 FIP, and 5.04 xFIP. I honestly expect him to be a 4.00-4.25 ERA pitcher this year as he has been most of his career. His problem this year is strikeout as his velocity is down and his SwStr% is below average. If he racks up innings with a decent ERA he can be valuable especially in points leagues.

The fake starter

Jalen Beeks: Beeks has been pretty impressive this year grabbing five wins with a 2.76 ERA and a 2.80 FIP to back it up. His five wins are tied with Bieber, Boyd, Corbin, and Cole. If you need cheap wins or in a league with limited starts, Beeks is extremely valuable. While his xFIP and SIERA do show regression I am not too worried for a few reasons. He has two solid pitches that are both posting a positive pVAL. He has an above average O-Swing% and SwStr% while having an elite hard contact percentage. This is what Beeks does, he creates a lot of weak contacts and has become very successful at doing so. His changeup is his best pitch sporting a 31.5 Whiff% and this year he has used it more than ever. His only downside is that he has only pitched five innings or more once this year. This will limit his strikeouts and innings pitched can hurt you in points leagues.

The good ratio/high floor options

Tanner Roark: Roark has been a very solid pitcher this year. While he does have a lot of numbers that point to regression (xBA, xwOBA, and Hard Hit% all below average) I do see some value here. I think we all know what kind of pitcher Roark is at this point, boring, but sometimes boring is good. He hasn’t let up more than four runs this season in a game and has only let up four runs three times. He is as high floor as you can get because he just does not get blown up. If you need someone who won’t hurt your team with slight strikeout upside he is the one to grab.

Felix Pena: Pena has a 4.53 ERA with a 4.17 FIP, 4.09 xFIP, and 3.79 SIERA. I do expect Pena’s numbers to get better based on his xFIP, SIERA, and his low LOB %. The only thing that worries me is his xwOBA shows regression and only his slider has a decent Whiff%. But just like Roark his has quite the high floor as he has only allowed more than three earned runs twice this entire year. His innings are more limited than Roark though which is why I prefer Tanner over him but Pena is another solid option if you need someone that won’t hurt your team.

Best overall

Tyler Mahle: I personally have never been a fan of Mahle because he basically only has one pitch (fastball) albeit it is a very good pitch. He supposedly developed a curve for this year but at times it has been below average. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can keep ignoring him anymore. He has a 4.21 ERA, and 4.19 FIP but his xFIP of 3.57and SIERA of 3.74 show improvement is coming. He has the highest K-BB% of the group and also the highest CSW. The guy knows how to make batters swing and miss, plain and simple. His control has been beyond impressive as he boasts a sub-two BB/9. His LOB% and BABIP are on par with career average while his xwOBA is showing improvement. Mahle should be solid going forward and I am pretty shocked he is still owned under 30% in leagues.

Pablo Lopez: Pablo Lopez has had an up and down season and I know he has been someone everyone is eyeing this year. He has a 4.52 ERA but it comes with a 3.83 FIP, 3.85 xFIP, and 3.93 SIERA. His K-BB%, LOB%, and BABIP all support better days ahead. I know most people are worried about his home/away splits but here is why you shouldn’t. Last year his ERA on the road was 4.84 with an xFIP of 3.95 and this year his xFIP on the road is 4.24. If you figure his current road ERA of 6.82 comes down into the four range, that puts his overall ERA into the sub-four category. This is why his splits don’t worry me too much because it should normalize for him and his ERA should come down. While Pablo is still a young raw pitcher if he clicks he could easily help you win your fantasy league and that kind of upside is a chance worth taking. If you have a spot open I would gladly pick him up and run with it for as long as I can.

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