If you are a pitching streamer or just have a couple hundred pounds of dead weight at the end of your rotation, take a close look at these guys.
The key is to not get too involved with these guys. Some of them are just on hot streaks, so when they get cold let them go and try someone else. There’s always pitching out there.
These are the guys hanging out on the wire that I’m targeting right now. I tossed in a couple potential closers too.
(Percentage represents the percentage-owned in Yahoo Sports leagues)
Homer Bailey SP Cincinnati Reds (23%)
Bailey started the season on the DL. Then he finally appeared to be putting things together like the former No. 1 prospect was supposed to. After five quality starts, he got hurt again.
Well, now he is two rehab starts (cross your fingers for no setbacks) from being back on the mound. He definitely has talent, but I think people are tired of waiting for some consistency.
I’m taking advantage of that where I can. Bailey isn’t your typical waiver pick up, he has the potential to be a stud starter and change your rotation. Singles and doubles are nice, but home runs are better.
Jonathon Niese SP New York Mets (16%)
Over the last 30 days, he’s compiled a 3-1 record with a 2.52 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. He’s sent 28 batters back to the pine in 32 innings and just been a good pitcher.
It might not last all season, but in June and July last season he got hot and finished them with a combined 2.50 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. If he is just an average pitcher on a hot streak, ride it out and dump him. He’s shown he can put things together for long stretches though.
Rick Porcello SP Detroit Tigers (21%)
The soft-tossing, right-handed Porcello is an interesting case. He hardly strikes anybody out, just 12 total in his last five starts, but he wins and posts solid numbers otherwise.
He has won six of his last eight starts and has allowed two runs or less in eight of his last nine. In fact, if it wasn’t for opening the season with two bad starts, his still solid numbers 3.58 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, would be great.
How he is owned in just one out of five leagues is a mystery to me. Maybe people were so disappointed after his bad first half last season, coming off a good rookie season, that they don’t trust him. Don’t make that mistake.
Paul Maholm SP Pittsburgh Pirates (5%)
Maholm is quietly putting together a pretty fine season (3.39 ERA, 1.18 WHIP). His 54:30 strikeout to walk ratio is a little concerning, but what’s scaring people away is his 2-7 record.
It’s tough to really put that on Maholm. Wins and losses are the things starting pitchers have the least control over as the Pirates have scored two runs or less in eight of his 13 starts. Eleven of those 13 starts have been pretty solid.
Sometimes that bad luck lasts all season, but not always. In my book, he’s the Pirates starter to own over Charlie Morton (36 percent owned) and probably even eight-win Kevin Correja (46 percent owned).
Doug Fister SP Seattle Mariners (8%)
Fister has pitched at least seven innings in four of his last five starts and put together some pretty solid numbers (3.16 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 29 Ks).
He’s worked out of a little trouble in a couple of those starts, which is either good or bad depending on how you look at it, but the third-year starter has been better than you think.
In his first two years, he posted a 4.12 ERA and 1.28 WHIP. And he pitches in a pitchers’ division. He’s better than an eight percent kind of guy.
Tim Stauffer SP San Diego Padres (34%)
I doubt Stauffer is still available in many competitive leagues after his eight-inning, eight-strikeout gem of the Rockies earlier this week, but if he is grab him up.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I’m hesitant on this guy, but the numbers don’t lie and it’d be a disservice not to mention him. He’s a former first round pick that pitches in Petco Park and has seven quality starts in his last 10.
He also finished last season in the rotation allowing one run or less in five of his six starts. He might not be a great WHIP guy because he has some control issues, but maybe he is putting it all together.
Jason Vargas SP Seattle Mariners (10%)
I can’t believe there are two Seattle pitchers on this list, but Vargas (3.94, 1.25 WHIP) is another guy with a lot of potential. He’s a former second-round pick from powerhouse Long Beach State that is just 27 years old.
His numbers would look a lot better without two horrible games where he walked four each and just didn’t have any control. I’m going to let those slide because his three starts before and two after that were very good. Three of those were shutouts, two of them of the complete game variety. He was pretty good last year too (3.78 ERA, 1.25 WHIP).
Mike Adams RP San Diego Padres (29%)
It’s no secret that a dozen teams are interested in acquiring Padres’ closer Heath Bell. Sooner or later the Padres are going to have to pull the trigger and get something for him.
Adams is next line to get those saves and he’s actually a pretty good middle reliever to own anyway. He ranks 99th on Yahoo’s season ranks. He will be a top-notch closer when Bell goes, if you still can get him now.
Koji Uehara RP Baltimore Orioles (21%)
Raise your hand if you trust Kevin Gregg as a closer. Put your hand down if you are related to Gregg. The 12 people with their hands still up can ignore the rest of this, but everyone else should look at Uehara.
When Gregg and his 1.56 WHIP falter, Uehara will be the beneficiary and he will deliver. He’s also another guy that has value even without a closer job. He has 34 Ks in 26 innings and a great ERA 2.36 and WHIP 0.79.