10 Deep Pitchers to Pick Up (Fantasy Baseball)
Nick Pollack from Pitcher List here for a weekly segment at FantasyPros where I’ll be looking at the deeper options available in your leagues, highlighting my 10 favorite pitchers each week that could quickly return value despite hanging out on your waiver wire. We’ve set the threshold to under 15% owned according to ESPN, leaving a vast majority of leagues to take advantage of these arms that will cost you nothing and possibly return plenty.
Graduated from last week: Luis Castillo.
10. Parker Bridwell (LAA) : 4.5% owned
Bridwell’s sixth career start surprised many, fanning eight batters after punching out just 11 in his previous three starts combined. It wasn’t a total fluke, as Bridwell features a Slider and Changeup that can miss bats and a Fastball that is effective when he’s able to command it. The biggest question is his Cutter that simply doesn’t get the job done despite its 20%+ usage rate. Were he to experiment with his repertoire in more experience on the hill, Bridwell can be a surprisingly sturdy option in a desecrated pitching staff.
9. Brent Honeywell (TBR) 2.4% owned
Following his appearance in the Future-Stars game, Honeywell has been getting plenty more attention and deservedly so. An 11.23 K/9 with just a 2.50 BB/9 and impressive 2.86 FIP across 15 Triple-A starts can do that. The question is when Honeywell will get the call (the Rays have a full rotation at the moment) and if he will be able to tally the innings you need in September as he threw only 115.1 frames in 2016. There could be value to be had here, but it may be short-lived.
8. Luis Perdomo (SDP): 4.9% owned
Another week, another list including Perdomo, who’s low ceiling but the decently high floor will most likely keep him here the whole year. Don’t let his recent outing scare you off – Coors is never a fun place to pitch – as he was holding a 3.76 xFIP with a 67.1% groundball rate and 7.45 K/9 prior. Those aren’t exciting but they should allow Perdomo to be a decent addition for a hurting staff.
7. Tyson Ross (TEX) : 10.6% owned
It’s getting harder and harder to endorse Ross each week, but this list is all about finding potential help on your squad in a dire pool of players. It’s believable that Ross simply needs more time on the hill to get back into his groove of previous seasons, years where he’s had a near 3.00 ERA with a 9.00 K/9 and elite groundball rates. He hasn’t shown the same faith in his Slider or Two-Seamers thus far, but given more time in the rotation, we could be seeing those elements return.
6. Jerad Eickhoff (PHI): 11.0% owned
After a disappointing first half for Eickhoff, the Phillies’ “veteran” pitcher has fanned eight batters in his last two starts, displaying a good feel for both his Slider and Curveball. Sure, he was lucky to face the Padres and then get beat around a bit by the Marlins, but Eickhoff had fanned eight batters just once in his prior 14 games of 2017 and this could be a step to returning to his 2016 form.
5. Nick Pivetta (PHI): 4.5% owned
After looking questionable during his first six starts, Pivetta has turned on the engines for his next five outings, sporting a massive 10.62 K/9 and 3.94 ERA in 29.2 innings. There is some clear risk here as he has days with great control and others without (4,36 BB/9 overall) and he’s coming off a nightmarish 9 ER outing against the Brewers. He’s obviously better than his most recent performance and he could be a solid strikeout earner down the stretch.
4. Sal Romano (CIN): 0.7% owned
Romano got his third start of his MLB career Tuesday night and it might not be long before owners start taking note. His Fastball has clocked in an a startling 95.7mph with a Slider that has held an impressive 18.4% whiff rate thus far. He looks more prime to be a reliever than a starter as he lacks a strong third option, but that shouldn’t stop Romano from sneaking in some high strikeout outings in his short time in the rotation. Why not chase the high upside when scraping the bottom of the barrel?
3. Tyler Skaggs (LAA) : 12.8% owned
Here’s a name you may have forgotten but should be on your radar. Skaggs has missed a hefty amount of the season with an oblique injury but is set to start throwing rehab games this week. Through his short 5 game stint thus far, Skaggs sported some solid peripherals – 8.90 K/9, 2.76 BB/9, and a 3.51 FIP. Those numbers could come to fruition in the second half, making Skaggs an intriguing play in your search for fantasy impact.
2. Vince Velasquez (PHI) : 11.9% owned
We’ve been waiting for Velasquez to take another crack at his potential Top 50 fantasy upside and he gets that opportunity Tuesday night the Marlins. While we shouldn’t be expecting him to excel in his first start back from an extended DL stint – few do – Velasquez is one of the best upside options out there. Remember, he holds a career 26.3% strikeout rate, and those walks from earlier this season could have been a product of injury.
1. Dinelson Lamet (SDP): 10.6% owned
Lamet isn’t the same appetizing young arm like Luis Castillo or Jacob Faria, but he does come with the same strikeout ability, holding a 12.07 K/9 across his first eight starts. His ghastly ERA has kept him on the wire – 6.40 in 45 innings – but his 4.00 xFIP and incredibly low 56.4% LOB rate suggest better times ahead. This isn’t a sure bet – his command needs plenty of polish – but that Slider will keep him in the talks of productivity in deep leagues.