Week 10 Waiver Wire: Pitchers

The pitching week 10 waiver wire is headlined by a number of young stud pitchers who have made an immediate splash in the majors. Naturally these young guys come with massive regression risk but they can also benefit from being fresh and having different stuff making them well worth a gamble in fantasy.

Starting Pitchers

Eduardo Rodriguez, BOS, 80% owned: Rodriguez has been stunning since coming up to the majors in the last week of May. He has given up just one earned run across 20.2 innings pitched whilst averaging a strikeout per innings. He has walked just seven batters and allowed just eight hits in those three starts giving him a WHIP of 0.73 to go with an ERA of 0.44. Obviously he is just a rookie so there is likely to be some regression but the fact he has pitched in the hitter friendly parks of Baltimore and Texas without giving up a run shows that he is a really talented and should be owned in all leagues.

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Lance McCullers, HOU, 60% owned: Right now the league is flooded with pitching prospects that are coming up to the majors and making a splash and McCullers is another of those. After going less than five innings in two of his first three starts, McCullers has since gone nine and seven innings respectively in each of his two starts since then. In all of his starts the strikeouts have been there and he has struck out 36 batters across 31 innings but in the last two he has reduced his walked with no batters walked in either start. He has given up an earned run in every start so far but he hasn’t been taken for any more than three putting his season ERA 2.32. As with Rodriguez I expect some regression given that he is a rookie but the strikeout rate makes him a must own pitcher.

Hector Santiago, LAA, 50% owned: Santiago has been fantastic so far in 2015 with a 2.55 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP. He has been rocked a couple of times but generally he has been giving up one run or less in the majority of his starts. Santiago has given up just 20 hits and 27 walks in 70 innings compared to 63 strikeouts and it is due to the poor offence the Angels are putting out that his record is just 4-3 so far this year. Santiago is only 27 so this could just be him improving over time but his previous seasons suggest his current ERA is a run below what you would expect and it is 1.5 runs lower than his FIP. That would suggest there is some regression coming but then he is also currently on pace for his lowest walk and hit rate of his career as a starter so if he can keep his pitches under control then he can still be an improvement on previous years.

Mike Bolsinger, LAD, 60% owned: Bolsinger started his major league career giving up just two runs in 25.1 innings but since then he has given up eight in 18 innings. However, he pitched one of those three games in Colorado (four runs given up) and another against the best team in baseball (St. Louis, two runs) so it is no surprise he struggled in those starts. In his last start against Arizona he gave up another two runs but he also struck out eight in just seven innings after struggling a little in the previous two starts. Bolsinger is well worth a pick up because his stuff is good and he has a decent team behind him to provide offence.

Chris Heston, SF, 35% owned: Coming off the back of his no-hitter it feels like a lot of people are trying to warn people away from Heston. Now while we shouldn’t get carried away because of one no-hitter it isn’t like Heston has been terrible this year.  He has given up more than four earned runs in five games this year but two of them have come in Colorado and another in Cincinnati which are both places hitters get a boost. His current ERA sits at 3.77 with his WHIP 1.19 and he has a strikeout rate of 8 K/9. Heston’s issues have been lefties so owning him requires you to be on top of who he is facing in order to pick the games to play him in but I think he should be owned in more leagues because shows a lot of promise playing for a good team.

Vincent Velasquez, HOU, 25% owned: The years of picking high in the draft are finally starting to show for the Astros as Velasquez becomes the third prospect this season to come and potentially be fantasy relevant early on. So far he only has one start and he only went five innings but he did strike out five batters without giving up a run. As with McCullers the key to more innings for Vasquez lies in his control as he has four walks in his first start compared to three hits so hopefully he can reduce them so you can reap the benefits of his strikeouts.

Charlie Morton, PIT, 25% owned: Morton started the season on the DL but since returning he has been superb in his four starts posting a 4-0 record. His ERA sits at 2.05 with a 1.06 WHIP and in his last outing he gave up no runs in 7.1 innings. His lack of strikeouts in the first three games is worrying and he has walked three batters in each of the last two games. Both of these things could come back to bite him but in deeper leagues he is worth a speculative look because if he can get the control back then he could be a great addition at the back end of your rotation.

Bonus Stash: Kevin Gausman, BAL, 9%: Each week I will try to pick a guy on the DL who I think is worth adding if you have a DL spot to spare and this week it is Gausman. There was a lot of hype surrounding the young Orioles pitcher in spring training but he missed out on the rotation and ended up in the bullpen to start the year. However, there is some talk that when he returns he will go straight into the rotation and given that his rehab start could be 65 pitches this week that may be the case. Gausman could easily be yet another young pitcher who becomes a mid-level fantasy starter but with his role unknown it is hard to recommend him as a must pick up like McCullers and Rodriguez.

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Relief Pitchers

Shawn Tolleson, TEX, 60% owned: Tolleson is now 8-8 on save opportunities and even though he may not be an elite strikeout reliever he has the job locked down for the long term. With Texas improving as the year goes along he is getting plenty of save opportunities and should be owned in all leagues.

John Axford, COL, 60% owned: Axford has been immense this year with 11 saves and one win. He isn’t a massive strikeout pitcher but he is a groundball pitcher which is one of the keys to success when playing half your games in Colorado. Axford has a history of being a great closer and he is definitely someone that should be owned all around.

AJ Ramos, MIA, 55% owned: Ramos blew his first save in the closer role this week but in his defence it was against the hard hitting Blue Jays in Toronto so he can be given a slight pass on this one. Ramos is an elite strikeout option as a reliever but playing for Miami he doesn’t look likely to get a ton of chances.

Carson Smith, SEA, 25% owned: Smith has finally been given the closers role but the length of time he will have the role is a concern to me. So far he is 2-2 on save opportunities but he did give up a run in one of those opportunities. A low end option right now until more is known about his role.


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