This article has gotten hard to write. The baseball and/or the league’s hitters have adjusted back from what we were seeing early on, and now the league’s offensive numbers are more or less what we expected at the beginning of the year. This has made it tough to capitalize on cheap pitchers.
The other thing that happens as we get deep into the season is that the population figures out who is good and who is not. The roster-worthy pitchers are mostly on rosters, and the guys on waivers are there for a reason.
There are, of course, exceptions to every rule – and we’ll do our best to find them here. Let’s get to it – here are your starting pitcher fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups recommendations for Week 11 of the fantasy season (June 20-June 26). Let’s get to it.
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Check Your Waiver Wire!
Pitchers are already above our 50% threshold, but names I feel like they should be nearly 100% rostered and are worth checking your waiver wire for.
Taijuan Walker, New York Mets (63% Rostered)
This is a high ownership mark here, but I have a feeling he’s still floating out there in lots of casual leagues. Walker has stayed healthy this year and has managed a nice 3.03 ERA through his dozen starts. That comes with a worse 1.21 WHIP and a low 18.4% K%, but if we look at his last seven starts, the K% is above 22% and the walks have been really strong at 6.5%.
He’s probably not available in your league, but it’s worth a check if you’re in need of another solid SP.
George Kirby, Seattle Mariners (51% Rostered)
He threw six scoreless against the Athletics in his most recent start, his third scoreless outing of the year. He struck out six batters and walked just one. The rookie has yet to walk multiple batters in a start and his 3.0% BB% is the second-best mark in the league for starters (Jameson Taillon). He is a must-roster pitcher, so check your waiver wire now!
Waiver Wire Pickups for Shallow Leagues
Pitcher pickup recommendations for leagues of any size
Hunter Greene, Cincinnati Reds (54% Rostered)
Given his recent two bad starts, this ownership level is probably dropping in a hurry. He’s given up 10 earned runs and five homers in his last two starts to the Brewers and Dodgers. He only managed nine strikeouts in those 10 innings while walking four, which also steps backward for him.
The reason that I keep recommending him here is that those two teams are offenses that we can forgive bad starts against. Those lineups are loaded with home run hitters who do really well against the heat. I have said all season long that you are going to have to absorb some of these bad starts from Greene, but there will be gems in between them as well.
His 29% K% and respectable 9.8% BB% have me still believing. I’d pick up Greene in leagues where you can afford to bench your SPs when they come across a bad matchup.
Jon Gray, Texas Rangers (45% Rostered)
He now has a 2.64 ERA, a 1.01 WHIP, a 29.3% K%, and an 8.1% BB% in June. That’s checking all of the boxes, and he’s now had good starts against good offenses and bad (he pitched just fine against the Phillies last week with a very nice 14.7% SwStr% and a low 4.3% BB% there). His four-seamer has a great 31.7% CSW% and the slider has been strong with an 18% SwStr%. He’s doing the things you want a solid pitcher to do, so I think Gray should be a stalwart of fantasy rotations for the rest of the season.
Alex Cobb, San Francisco Giants (40% Rostered)
This number is probably about to fall into the twenties after he had a bad start against the Reds on Friday night. But I’ve been beating this drum all season, and I won’t stop now! His strikeout rate of 26.5%, his walk rate of 7.0%, and his ground-ball rate of 63% are just too good of a trio for me to believe this guy won’t be a great pitcher moving forward. That Reds start certainly did n’t help with his BABIP from him, which is now up to .378. We’ve been saying this all year now, so you’re probably starting to not believe me – but better times are ahead for Alex Cobb.
Waiver Wire Pickups for Deeper Leagues
Aaron Civale, Cleveland Guardians
I’ve been a life-long believer in Civale, although I probably should stop that. I just love how deep his arsenal is and the command ability he’s shown in the past.
Things have gone terribly for him in 2022, as he sports a 7.25 ERA with a 1.47 WHIP right now after making eight starts. So why even talk about him? Well, in his most recent start from him, after an IL stint, he came out and struck out seven Twins over five innings, putting up an insane 38.8% CSW%. He mostly threw cutters, sinkers, and curveballs in that start – limiting the arsenal to bit. The curve was spectacular (as it has been in the past) with a 30% SwStr%. If he can tunnel the cutter and sinker to set up that curveball, I think he’s going to have a lot more success.
It’s easy to say that a guy with an ERA above seven will improve, but I think Civale could be a pretty reliable source of wins and quality starts while not killing your WHIP given the low walk rate. It’s not a great bet, but it’s possible – and you should keep an eye on Civale.
Graham Ashcraft, Cincinnati Reds
We have talked about Ashcraft a ton this year, and recently I’ve become much less interested. He just was not getting any strikeouts (he had 19 over his first six starts), which kept him off my radar. I can potentially deal with a 19-22% K% if a guy isn’t walking people and getting ground-balls, but Ashcraft’s strikeout rate has been like 15% – just too low to sustain fantasy success with.
However, he came out and struck out eight Giants on Friday night, and now here we are. He threw a bunch of cutters in that start and put up a season-best 18% whiff rate with the pitch. Maybe it was just a fluke, but maybe it was the result of a modified grip or some other tangible change?
It’s tough to guess at stuff like that, but these things are always more possible with rookies who are trying to break into the league – and the upside is always more enticing with someone who throws as hard as Ashcraft does (the cutter averages more than 97 mph). I’m continuing to monitor Ashcraft, but if he has another big cutter day next time things are going to get very interesting. He should probably be rostered/stashed in dynasty leagues if nothing else.
Brady Singer, Kansas City Royals
There are only a dozen pitchers in the league with walk rates below 6%, ground-ball rates above 45%, and strike rates above the league average (23%). Singer is one of them, although his K% of him is barely qualifying (23.3%). He did not put up the results I was expecting in his recent start against the Athletics, but I continue to be interested. His K% of him is on the way down (20% in June), so if that trend continues and he pitches to that kind of K%, I’ll be back out-but you really can deal with a lower strikeout rate if you’re walking so few hitters and getting ground-balls. The Royals’ offense has also bulked up recently with the returns of Salvador Perez and Edward Olivares, and the emergence of Bobby Witt Jr.
David Peterson, New York Mets
The lefty has a strong 26% K% in June and that’s helped him to a 3.18 ERA. He continues to have a big-time walk problem (12.3% in June, 11.3% for the year), which will keep him out of the shallow league conversation – but Peterson is a talented dude.
His slider is sick with a 25.9% SwStr%, and he has a deep mix of pitches (five pitches with significant usage – although he does mainly stick to the four-seamer and slider). He has also been great at getting ground-balls (56%), so he seems to just be one step away from potential greatness. If he can trim the walk rate under 10% (I’m skeptical he can), we could really have something here. With Max Scherzer on the way back, Peterson’s job security has been downgraded – however, he will remain in the rotation for now with Tylor Megill back on the IL and Jacob deGrom’s return not in site.
Mitch White, Los Angeles Dodgers
Walker Buehler remains on the shelf, and now the Andrew Heaney return is not happening – leaving the Dodgers with an open spot in the rotation that will (at least temporarily) be mapped by White. The Dodgers have recently started using him more like a traditional starter rather than an opener, which is a sign that maybe they realize they need him in that role with the injuries they’ve sustained.
For his career, he has a 3.58 ERA with a 1.12 WHIP, a 24.9% K%, and an 8.3% BB%. So many of his innings of him being in relief may be helping with those numbers, but I think it’s in the realm of possibility that he could put up numbers like that even in the long role.
Dodgers pitchers are always a bit more interesting given the run support, so take a look at White if you’re in need.
Rony Garcia, Detroit Tigers
I would call these next two “very deep league” recommendations. Rony has a bad 4.57 ERA on the season, but that WHIP though (1.04)!! I have flashed some strikeout upside early in the year with a K% above 28% for a minute there. That mark has come down to 25.7% now, and it’s probably still on the downward trend – but hey if it can stay above 23%, that is interesting enough for fantasy.
The reason the WHIP is so good is two-fold: a low walk rate (6%) and some good BABIP luck (.243). He is not a ground-baller (30.4%), and he’s been crushed by hard contact (barrel rate of 17.4%). Those are bad signs.
So we have a mixed bag of indicators here. I would say that they are mostly bad, meaning I’m not confident in his success in the future – HOWEVER, I will say that I won’t be totally shocked if he pitches well for the rest of the year given his ability to limit walks and the fact that he’s flashed some strikeout upside at times (although I really don’t think he’s a good strikeout pitcher given that none of his pitches have SwStr% marks above 11%). Don’t hold me accountable on this, but hey – you can do worse than Rony in insanely deep leagues where you’re hurting badly for a pitcher.
Ryan Feltner, Colorado Rockies
There have been like two Rockies pitchers in the last decade that have sustained fantasy success, and I doubt Feltner is going to be the third. But look, this guy is nearly qualifying in my “magic formula,” as I call it.
He has a decent 24.2% K%, a really strong 5.5% BB%, and a 46% GB%. That’s good stuff. Of course, even those marks don’t play well in Coors Field (he has a 6.30 ERA in two home starts this year), and he hasn’t gotten good results on the road either (a 5.46 ERA overall), but I think there is at least a very, very small shimmer of possibility here since he has that K-BB% flirting with 20%.
Alrighty, I hope you enjoyed the piece and I hope some of these starting pitcher picks change your life forever and ever, for the better. So long!
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