We’re a bit deeper into the season now and it becomes harder to find good batters on the waiver wire but more pitchers are popping up due to the closer carousel and some starters proving their worth. Out of all of the new hitters that are hot pickups, I only see one that is advisable to pick up (Ryan Roberts) and the others seem to be ones you can pass on. The rest of the waiver wire is filled with some decent pitching arms that are worth a look. Ryan Madson is an elite closing option for the time being and there a couple of decent starters who might end up sticking around on your roster as well.
Ryan Madson (RP, PHI) – First off, he’s a closer so it goes without saying that he’s worth picking up. But, Madson is actually be an elite closer based off his strikeouts, ERA and WHIP numbers. Don’t let the rumors fool you that he doesn’t have a “closer’s mentality” and just enjoy his time in the closer’s role while it lasts.
Ryan Roberts (OF, ARI) – Will Roberts continue to have a .600 slugging percentage? Nah. Will he still be a valuable cog in your fantasy team machine? Actually, yes. He should produce at least 10 HR and 10 SB on the year and end up being fairly close to a fantasy average player. Off the waiver wire, to get someone close to league average is pretty nice. The main concern for him is that his batting average won’t be too great but he’s a good producer in all other categories.
Bartolo Colon (SP, NYY) – It’s only 26 innings so it’s hard to make an incredibly strong endorsement for Colon. But, the fact of the matter is that he’s pitched well and hasn’t been aided by luck factors in the process. I’d add him to your roster and see how this plays out. As this Fangraphs article points out, he seems to have rediscovered his fastball and is throwing his pitches at rates closer to his Cy Young days. So, yeah, why not roll the dice?
Sergio Santos (RP, CHW) – Those crazy White Sox keep us guessing on who will be closing games this year. On a personal note, I think Matt Thornton got a raw deal here as he proved his dominance for three years then had literally five bad innings (aided by really bad luck if you look at his BABIP and HR/FB rate). Meanwhile, the bad defense that plagued Thornton suddenly turned into super lucky defense with Santos in the role. Aside from that rant, Santos will get some opportunities so is worth an add. He’s a good strikeout pitcher and could definitely be serviceable in the closer’s role.
Mike Leake (SP, CIN) – Last season, in his rookie year, Leake had a decent ERA with a horrible WHIP and poor strikeout rate. Thus far, he seems to have the same decent ERA but has a decent WHIP and strikeout rate to go with it. Is it a blip on the radar? Hard to tell as he doesn’t have a long track record. He’s changed his pitching philosophy and is throwing less fastballs, curveballs and sliders and more cutters and changeups. As of right now, it’s working and he’s a young arm that’s a post-hype sleeper so he’s worth a prospective add to your team.
Others I’ve Written About Recently – Mitchell Boggs, Sam Fuld, Jeff Francouer
Could Be Good Pickups
Brandon McCarthy (SP, OAK) – It seems like McCarthy is a seasoned veteran since he’s been around for so many years but he’s still only pitched about 400 MLB innings since his first appearance in 2005. He’s a pitcher that can net you a decent ERA and WHIP with fairly low strikeout numbers. ZiPS has him producing a 3.80 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and about 6 K/9. For an AL pitcher, that’s pretty nice. He’s worth having on your team as a spot starter based on his matchups each week.
Randy Wolf (SP, MIL) – Although his ERA has told different stories across his career, his xFIP has been relatively consistent every year at around 4.25 or so. So, that leads me to believe that he is simply a 4.25 ERA pitcher who may get spikes in luck here and there. He should have a decent strikeout rate with a fairly poor WHIP but he’s a nice pitcher to have on your bench to sub in during certain weeks as well.
Others I’ve Written About Recently – Alex Avila, Josh Tomlin
Let Someone Else Pick Them Up
Darwin Barney (2B, CHI) – If his minor league numbers are any indication, you have nothing to be excited about from young Barney. He might get you 10 SB’s if he’s lucky and that’s his only redeeming quality as he has no power nor an ability to hit for great average. He’s only a pickup in the deepest of leagues.
Brett Wallace (1B, HOU) – Bargain-bin first basemen are good if you have an injury to your starter but 1B is too deep of a position to add them for any other reason. Wallace is a promising young player but his ceiling for this year is likely 20 HR’s with a decent batting average and not much else. A more realistic expectation may only be a 15 HR season. Either way, he’s only worth an add in the deepest of leagues who might use him as a Corner Infielder as opposed to their starting 1B.
Others I’ve Written About Recently – Kyle Lohse, Daisuke Matsuzaka