Additions throughout the week 22 (2021) pitcher waiver
Only a few more weeks, and maybe even less, before the start of your league’s playoffs!
Last week this post fell victim to the injury virus, as we saw two of our recommendations come out (probably for the year) before they left. I hope you have avoided these two landmines.
This week we have a pretty low roster to go through, but at this point in the season those players could make a big difference. We are at the point of the year where teams will start to withdraw from their young arms if they are not in contention. We have seen this happen in several situations. Some of those names might come back for a few more starts, but there’s a good chance you’ve got a hole or two in your fantastic spin. Here are some names to fill those holes.
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Pickups for Shallow Leagues
Triston McKenzie, Cleveland Indians (51% registered)
We have to be very careful looking at a small number of starts, but McKenzie put together a really impressive three-start streak. Here are his season totals against his last three:
You can see a serious improvement in walking totals, which is probably the most important category for him to have improved. Throwing more strikes turns out to be a bit more durable when you look at a small sample, so I’m willing to buy a bit on McKenzie here.
Over the course of his short career he has seen crazy fluctuations in his performance, but he received a fair amount of puffs pretty much all the time. There is certainly an advantage here with McKenzie – and any improved ordering is a welcome sign. The other bright spot is that the Indians have a fairly favorable schedule for the rest of the year, packed with games against the Royals, Twins, Rangers and Brewers.
Tarik Skubal, Detroit Tigers (37% registered)
Skubal has been in that position for a while this year, but his level of ownership then took him out of the race. However, he had a series of rough starts in July and many people quickly gave up on him. Check out its breakdown of stats by month here:
A clear improvement in August on three starts (against the Red Sox, Orioles and Angels). This July is certainly concerning and it’s tough to have a ton of self-confidence, but he’s going to end this year with a really good strike-to-strike ratio which is a pitcher’s foundation. to success. I’ll ride Skubal here.
Elieser Hernandez, Miami Marlins (30% registered)
Everyone knows about Hernandez’s alleged advantage. We haven’t seen a ton in the big leagues yet, and his pitching arsenal is pretty limited, being essentially a two-length (four seam and slider) pitcher. Despite this, he breathes a lot (13% SwStr%) and has walked almost no one this year (a walking rate of less than 5%).
I wasn’t really on Elieser at the start of the year, and those who were ultimately didn’t get much of him because of the injuries. However, it’s so late in the year and there are few pitchers available that can display those puff rates while not giving you a bunch of rides. Hernandez is worth a leaflet.
Josiah Gray Nationals of Washington (25% enrolled)
This guy has now posted a 17% hit rate over 26 innings. Few pitchers have this ability. He’s also handled the steps well since his first start, walking just five in his last 22 innings. Long ball was a problem, allowing eight homers in those five starts.
There is still work to be done for Gray to truly become a go-to fantasy starter, and his step count is still limited (up to 87 steps at most). That said, the advantage is undeniable and it should improve your team’s strikeout situation as soon as they arrive.
Tanner Houck, Boston Red Sox (17% registered)
As of July 1, only two pitchers have higher K% -BB% ratios than Houck. These names are Carlos Rodon and Gerrit Cole. Houck posted a K% of 34.7% and a BB% of 5.1%. These are elite numbers. He also allowed only one homerun in that period (21.1 innings).
The only problem we have here is the workload. He’s only played five innings twice this year and hasn’t gone over 89 shots. Maybe the Red Sox let him throw a few more throws at the end of the year (he hasn’t pitched a lot of innings this year, so there shouldn’t be any worries about that), and if that happens, Houck could be one of the best pitchers in the league all the way.
Pickups for Deeper Leagues
Zach Thompson, Miami Marlins (26% enrolled)
Thompson is another guy who won’t give you a lot of quality starts, but he pitched well on the hill. He has a pretty bad strikeout rate (22%), but a manageable walk rate (9%) and a high ground ball rate (45%). That, along with a few weak contacts, led him to a 54 PA / HR and a decent ERA (2.91 Friday). It’s not a priority weapon to add, but it’s fine if you’re in a really deep league where the other guys I’ve mentioned aren’t available.
The only thing to watch out for is his actual work. With Elieser back and Trevor Rogers and Pablo Lopez returning next week, I’m not sure if Thompson will have a spot in the rotation. This makes him even less of a priority for the rest of the season, but in the short term he may be able to help you.
Tylor Megill, New York Mets (22% enrolled)
Megill has so far made a living with gentle touch and keeping the ball in the court, but recently the kicking rates have increased. He posted an excellent 18% rate in an Aug. 18 start and has climbed above 11% in five straight starts. For the year, his score is 12%, which is the league average. However, we can take a league average puff rate when you don’t walk a lot of hitters and get a bunch of balls on the ground, which Megill did.
I generally don’t like investing in launchers where you have to depend on the soft touch to be there because it’s just not that easy to control. I much prefer pitchers with above average swinging hit rates, but Megill has recently shown the ability to do so, so we’ll see how it works the rest of the way. He should stay in this rotation as long as he’s healthy, so he can certainly help some fantastic teams in the deep leagues.
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