Scouring the waiver wire is always a fun task, but sometimes mixing in some trades is what a team needs to make a real jump. The key, of course, is to buy low, which is what I’m going to try and assist with today.
There are always a handful of guys who have great second halves to win their owners bragging rights (or money, if that was legal). Some of those guys are unknowns or call-ups, but often they are guys that were highly-regarded on draft day and for a variety of reasons struggled early.
Here are six guys who haven’t looked that sharp yet, but I want on my roster going forward. They probably won’t be on the waiver wire, so try to get creative.
(Percentage based on percentage owned in Yahoo Sports leagues)
Max Scherzer SP Detroit Tigers (93%)
I would have looked a lot smarter if I had written this last week, but I’m expecting another big second half from Scherzer (last year he went 2.47 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 96 Ks after the break). He recently hit a rough patch of three starts, two of which were against Boston and Texas, so his inconsistency might make him available. He’s bounced back from those with two solid outings and his career numbers (3.81 ERA, 1.31 WHIP) are much better than what he has now (4.39 ERA, 1.44 WHIP). Expect things to keep improving from here.
Chad Billingsley SP Los Angeles Dodgers (89%)
Billingsley is a classic buy-low candidate right now. He’s not quite an ace, but he can be a key part of a good staff and he’s been bad his last three starts (11.20 ERA, 2.78 WHIP, Wow!). Because of this slump his season numbers are ugly (4.65 ERA, 1.52 WHIP) and his owner is probably sick of him. He won’t be this bad all season. Look at his career numbers (3.66 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, about a K per inning) and how close he has been to them every year. A correction is due, get a piece of it if you can.
Carl Pavano SP Minnesota Twins (22%)
In all honestly, I’m not a huge Pavano fan, but he does have the stones to rock a solid mustache (have to respect that) and he can be a solid, albeit unspectacular, addition to a fantasy staff. After basically stealing $60 million from the Yankees a few years back, Pavano has quietly been pretty good for the Twins. He didn’t get enough credit for his 17 wins, 3.75 ERA and 1.19 WHIP last year, which is why he’s sitting on 78 percent of waiver wires right now. He shouldn’t be there after going 2-0 with a 1.44 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in three June starts.
Francisco Liriano SP Minnesota Twins (84%)
My only fear here is that I’m too late to re-open people’s eyes to Liriano. But if his owner doesn’t believe he’s back, take advantage immediately. Liriano has been all over the place this season. The big lefty started the year horribly, threw an ugly no-hitter and then went back on the disabled list. Well, he seems to have figured it out. In his last four starts, he’s thrown 22 innings with a 1.64 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 29 Ks.
Ted Lilly SP Los Angeles Dodgers (66%)
Lilly doesn’t quite fit the profile of a struggling pitcher, however, I think he’s someone that could be had. His ownership percentage doesn’t make any sense. The soft-tossing lefty has been shockingly good since coming to the National League in 2007 (3.71 ERA, 1.14 WHIP). Most fantasy owners are probably aware of him as a solid pitcher. He’s actually been better than that. His strikeouts are down a little this year, but he’s a guy to get for a low ERA and WHIP (0.99 last year) anyway.
Brandon Morrow SP Toronto Blue Jays (74%)
Count me among the millions of Morrow owners that wish he could find a time machine to the second half of 2010. The former No. 1 pick came into the season with a ton of hype after striking out 178 in just 146 innings, but has been epically disappointing. He started the year on the DL, came back strong and then turned terrible. I’m not giving up hope yet though, there’s just not that many guys who will strike out 11 guys per nine innings. He’s still getting those Ks and still a young developing pitcher that will figure it out soon.