The All Waiver Wire Pitching Staff

So your league drafted a month ago and you wound up with Kris Medlen, Brandon Beachy, Jarrod Parker, and Patrick Corbin. You’re all set!

Dr. James Andrews has been busy this Spring, and the starting pitching corps have been noticeably thinned as we stagger towards opening day. Not only has there been a rash of ligaments exploding, we’re also hearing about a bad back from Clayton Kershaw, a stiff neck from Yu Darvish, balky groins for Francisco Liriano and Homer Bailey, a bum toe from Hyun-Jin Ryu, and a bad everything for Mat Latos . Zack Greinke‘s calf hurts. Matt Moore got hit in the face. Doug Fister strained his latissimus dorsi. Cole Hamels is thrilled to even be able to throw a baseball right now. And then there’s whatever is going on with Mike Minor.

I’ve been playing fantasy baseball since Bush Sr. was wagging his finger and babbling about a thousand points of light and honestly, I don’t think I’ve seen carnage like this before the regular season begins ever before. But maybe that’s just age affecting my noodle. Regardless, there’s a point to all this.

As you might guess, I have a few fantasy baseball teams. Not as many as Eno Sarris, but I also can’t talk as fast either. One league in particular is the Joe-average standard 12-team 5×5 rotisserie style situation. After the draft, I was perusing the waiver wire for any lovelies that somehow got ignored and I was taken by the quality of pitching untapped. Now, it’s not that I’d like to run a starting rotation from the waiver wire — but chances are you’ve got one or more of the rubber arms listed above and you could use some help out of the gate. Well, in my league, these guys are all owned below 40%, and they just might be able to stop the bleeding.

Ricky Nolasco.

Nolasco barely makes the cut at 39%, but if you got the 2013 version of Nolasco, you would be wise to pick him up. Between the Fish and the Dodgers, Nolasco managed 13 wins, a 3.70 ERA (3.34 FIP) and a darn near 20% strikeout rate. The move to the American League could potentially hurt his strikeouts without passing through a pitcher once every few innings, but Nolasco is a guy who has built his foundation on throwing strikes, being pretty stingy on the long ball, all the while giving the finger to FIP, which seems to think he’s a perennial All-Star. The AL Central isn’t a cake walk anymore, but you could certainly use him in spot start situations when facing the White Sox (that was for you Cwik). Steamer isn’t particularly thrilled about his prospects in 2014, but the other projection systems think he’ll be some respectable version of his old self — and that’s a pretty useful starter who occasionally has stretches of being really great.

Phil Hughes

Okay, let’s just get the Twins hating out of the way. Nolasco teammate Hughes is owned in just 7% of Yahoo! leagues apparently. No doubt Hughes was all sorts of awful last season, but don’t discount his move from one of the happiest places on earth to hit home runs to one of the stingiest parks out there. For an extreme flyball pitcher with a career 10.2% HR/FB rate, that should pay immediate dividends. Whether he gets his ERA down into a respectable arena remains to be seen, but count me among the many that think this change of scenery is going to do him some good in the counting stats. Put him down for a 4-ish ERA, 1.30-ish WHIP, and maybe a 19-20% strikeout rate and Hughes could be an interesting contributor.

Bronson Arroyo

Owned in 20% of leagues is Arroyo who has been good to great in eight of his 10 major league seasons. He’s moving from a homer-friendly park to a homer-friendly park, so who cares. He’s been able to Frisbee-sling his crap up there to miss enough bats and issue so few free passes as to be relevant in almost any fantasy format and there’s not a lot to point to suggesting he can’t keep doing the same thing in Arizona. He’s won double digit games eight times, and most of the projection systems think he’ll do it again, all while pitching to about a 4.00 ERA and 1.25-ish WHIP with few strikeouts — which by the way would be his worst season in three years. There’s no reason to trot Arroyo out there every week, but he’s a lot more usable than most people recognize.

Jose Quintana

Owned in just 28% of leagues, Quintana pitched to a 3.51 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and a 20% strikeout rate over 200 innings in 2013. Raise your hand if your squad could use that. World beater, probably not, but even if Quintana regresses a little bit as many of the predictors foresee, he’s a lot like Nolasco and Hughes with a goodly dose of more upside.

A.J. Griffin

Over 200 innings in 2013, Griffin managed a 3.83 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and nearly a 21% strikeout rate. FIP wasn’t particularly thrilled, suggesting his performance was closer to 4.55 than 3.83, but that’s wrapped up in his home run rate, which could conceivably come down to earth in 2014. Of the group, the projection systems like Griffin the most, and he’s owned in the same percentage of leagues as Nolasco at 39%. The worst projection for Griffin is ZiPS which says he’ll pitch to a 3.97 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, while striking out 157 over 183 innings pitched. In a 12 team league, that belongs on a roster. Note: Whoops on Griffin also griping about his elbow. Shut down for April at the least. I respectfully invoke takesy backsies.

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Michael was born in Massachusetts and grew up in the Seattle area but had nothing to do with the Heathcliff Slocumb trade although Boston fans are welcome to thank him. You can find him on twitter at @michaelcbarr.

37 Responses to “The All Waiver Wire Pitching Staff”

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  1. drewcorb says:

    Isn’t Griffin starting the season on the DL?

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  2. rsavits says:

    This article is a bummer for NL-only players.

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    • Brad Johnson says:

      Taylor Jordan AND Tanner Roark now that Fister is probably missing time.

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      • centerfield ballhawk says:

        Preference of the two? Could Taylor Jordan be a poor man’s Justin Masterson?

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      • Brad Johnson says:

        Jordan is the preference.

        Could? Sure why not. Jordan has upside for the reasons stated yesterday on this very blog. I don’t think he’s likely to outperform Masterson, but I guess he could come close, esp. if Masterson’s K rate regresses.

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    • Cuck City says:

      Tyson Rosssssssss

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    • Ryan says:

      there was an article yesterday on fangraphs that was a bummer for AL only players, hahah, so now we are even! :) It was the “Five Potential Breakouts” article lol

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    • bobby says:

      Arroyo is in the NL. This article was free to me, did it cost you anything?

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    • Cheesewhiz says:

      Travis Wood? Dillon Gee? Not great, but for NL waiver wire…

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  3. Belle of the League says:

    It’s been a really bad spring for injuries.
    Our league scarfed your list in the Sunday night FA auction…and grabbed Tyson Ross, too.
    It’s a keeper league, so the promising rookies were already gone.
    I got lucky (if you can call it that) and was able to trade an extra 2Bman for Estrada, but everyone in my league will be scraping the bottom of the barrel if anybody else needs TJ surgery before some of the mediocre undrafted SP’s return from the DL.

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  4. Todd says:

    So the fact that Griffin is shut down for the at least a few more weeks (and possibly longer) due to elbow tendinitis isn’t even mentioning? I hope readers of this article click his News and Notes before dropping someone important for him. Shoddy knowledge on the author’s part.

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  5. Cheesewhiz says:

    I’d add Travis Wood, Drew Smyly, Dan Straily.

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  6. Bravos4evr says:

    Hey folks, lost Josh Johnson for god knows how long and am torn between these 6 to replace him: Arroyo,Martin Perez,Hector Santiago, one of the Roark/Jordan combo and Wily Peralta. any help would be appreciated.

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  7. redcyc says:

    Corey Kluber is apparently only owned in 10% of ESPN leagues. I grabbed him in my 10-teamer

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  8. meatgoggles says:

    Unfortunately, my H2H categories league on ESPN is one of the 10% that Kluber is currently owned in, and Latos looks like he will be on the DL for at least two weeks :-\

    Which of the following guys would you consider picking up, and who would you avoid like the plague? Odorizzi, Nolasco, Ian Kennedy, Miguel Gonzalez, Travis Wood, and Wandy. The categories are W, QS, K, ERA, and WHIP.

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    • GoodasGoldy says:

      T.Wood looks like the best for the categories you posted. I’d run far away from any iffy types in the AL East (Odorizzi, M.Gonzalez. The stacked lineups in Boston, Toronto, Baltimore, and NY will lead to some very tragic outings.

      After Wood I’d put Nolasco by a hair over Kennedy and Wandy.

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    • Ruki Motomiya says:

      I like Nolasco. Kennedy is a higher upside, lower floor guy. I’d stay away from Miguel Gonzalez.

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  9. Shield Wall says:

    All of these players are rostered in my league. I even have one of them (Nolasco).

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  10. napster says:


    Of that list, I’d take Wandy. Odorizzi and Travis Wood, in that order. Wandy more than likely will have the most Quality starts, assuming he resumes to form.

    I wouldn’t touch the other 3 pichers on that list.

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  11. Sgt. Hulka says:

    Trying to rank Taylor Jordan, Tyler Skaggs, Joe Kelly, Erik Johnson, Felipe Paulino, and Jennry Mejia. I’m worried about playing time for some and skills for most.

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  12. SeattleSlew says:

    I need some pitching help. Still some interesting names available but how would you rank them? Kazmir, Buehrle, Hudson, Taylor Jordan, Phil Hughes, Erasmo Ramirez
    H2H 6×6 QS, W, ERA, WHIP, K

    Thank you

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  13. meatgoggles says:

    Kazmir, Ramirez, Hudson, Jordan, Buehrle, Hughes. I would have placed Jordan ahead of Hudson if there was some certainty as to who gets the short end of the stick between Roark and him when Fister returns just because of his potential upside.

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    • Sgt. Hulka says:

      I agree with this. Where would you rank Erik Johnson, Joe Kelly, Tyler Skaggs in relation to Taylor Jordan?

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  14. dirck says:

    I have been playing in 16 team dynasty leagues for many years and have always been able to find good pitching on the waiver wire . Typically I build up my pitching staff during the season and then trade off the excess to strengthen areas of need during the off-season . In the last 2 years I have been able to get Cashner,Morton,McAllister,Corbin,Griffin,Kelly,Miley,Straily,Gray,Pineda,Buchholz,Liriano,and Skaggs from the waiver wire .I cycle quite a few through my team and discard the ones that don’t work out .Closers don’t have very much value in our leagues and all of my closers come off the waiver wire . Owning teams in 3 leagues with this format ,I have 9 wins ,total, in the last 10 years .

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    • dirck says:

      Oh , I also got Medlen ,forgot about him .

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      • SeattleSlew says:

        I would say winning 9 in 10 yrs is pretty good rate even if you play 3 leagues. Do you play with friends? Does everyone keep up with their teams? What is the pot?

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  15. pobothecat says:

    EEE. Eovaldi, Erasmo, Erlin.

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  16. DETJohnny says:

    How would y’all rank the following, I’ve been debating for a couple days and I’m still torn who to pick up:
    Tanner Scheppers
    Erasmo Ramirez
    Drew Hutchison
    Jorge De La Rosa
    Taylor Jordan

    10 team H2H points dynasty league

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    • Jay says:

      Hutchison, Jordan, than everyone else. De la Rosa if you need an Opening Day pitcher though since he’ll be in Miami.

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