As the dog days of August wind down we’re all going to notice some new names being added to MLB rosters. Hopefully, you were quick enough and were able to add young pitchers like Luis Severino and Raisel Iglesias, but if you didn’t, don’t worry; young guns like the Twins’ Jose Berrios and the Tigers’ Michael Fulmer might soon be pitching in a stadium near you. Remember, in most season-long leagues, the only way to improve your team is by making wise and timely waiver wire moves. At this time of year, when so many starting pitchers are nursing nagging injuries and skipping starts, some of you may need to find a pitcher that is still available on your league’s waiver wire, who can provide you with a quality start. I’ve got you covered and I’ve identified another seven starters that are owned in 44 percent or less of Yahoo! Sports Fantasy leagues, who have favorable matchups between August 26 and September 1. As usual I warn you, some of these selections may not be suitable for the faint of heart…
All quoted stats are accurate as of the morning of August 25
Chris Bassitt (R), A’s, 35 percent owned, vs. Mariners
Venue: Safeco Field, Seattle, WA
Chris Bassitt still hasn’t given up more than three runs in any of his nine starts so far this season. He has relied on a hard sinker, a sweeping curve, and a four-seam fastball with downward action to keep hitters at bay with a .211 batting average against him. The Mariners have a particularly hard time against righty pitchers. They are last in the league, with a .237 batting average when they face a right-handed pitching. Look for Bassitt to further benefit from the fact that Safeco Field is a pitcher-friendly venue. Safeco Field has seen the seventh fewest runs scored of any ballpark in the major leagues so far this season. Although Bassitt has pitched well, he does own a 1-5 won/loss record, and with the A’s facing the formidable “King Felix”, he may struggle in order to get a win. However, this should be a low scoring affair. If you need a starting pitcher who is still on the waiver wire and can give you innings without sacrificing your Fantasy team’s ERA, you could do a lot worse than Bassitt.
Jon Niese, (L), Mets, 24 percent owned, vs. Phillies
Venue: Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA
Jon Niese takes on the Phillies, a team that he has been very successful against across his career, in his next matchup. In 21 starts against the Phils, Niese has 10 wins, a 2.77 ERA and 1.20 WHIP, which are both significantly better than his career numbers. Niese will try to take advantage of the Mets’ recent power surge as he squares off against struggling Phillies pitcher Aaron Harang, whose overall 4.67 ERA has more than doubled since May 30. Look for Niese to bounce back from his last embarrassing start, in which he gave up seven runs on the road against the Rockies, and perform more along the lines of the pitcher who worked seven shutout innings in his last start at Citizens Bank Park on May 9.
Joe Ross, (R), Nationals, 28 percent owned, vs. Marlins
Venue: Nationals Park, Washington, DC
The Nationals have been struggling as of late, and although they have a modest 62-61 overall won/loss record, when they play at home they are nine games over .500. Joe Ross will try to take advantage of the Nationals’ success at home when he takes on the light- hitting Marlins, who have scored the third fewest runs in baseball. The fact that the Marlins are 20 games under .500 when they take their act on the road should also work in Ross’ favor. Ross’ repertoire includes his fastball, a changeup and a slider, which often fools opposing batters and is largely responsible for his above-average 12.8 percent swinging strike rate. He does a good job of getting ahead of hitters and has good command of his pitches, as reflected in his 1.34 BB/9 rate. Ross has managed to limit the number of line drives that are being hit against him. His 15.4 percent LD rate is well below the league average and has contributed to Ross’ low .234 BAA. Ross only has a few more starts before he reaches his 160 inning pitch limit and is shut down for the season; so, you know the old saying, “get ‘em while he’s hot!”
Kris Medlen, (R), Royals 22 percent owned vs. Rays
Venue: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, FL
Kris Medlen, who has suffered through two Tommy John surgeries, will try his best to show the Royals that he should be a part of their playoff starting rotation when he takes on the Rays on Saturday night. With a 3.10 ERA and 0.98 WHIP, Medlen has been effective in his comeback so far. Opposing hitters are batting just .211 against him, and he has 20 strikeouts in 20.1 innings. He is still working on fully regaining his arm strength, but his fastball has been regularly clocked as high as 92 MPH, and his velocity is actually higher than it was before he had his surgeries. He has the advantage of pitching for one of the best teams in baseball, against a Rays’ team that is tied for last in overall runs scored, and Medlen will be motivated. Look for him to provide your Fantasy team with a quality start on Saturday.
Nathan Eovaldi, (R) Yankees, 44 percent owned, vs. Braves
Venue: Turner Field, Atlanta, GA
I’m thinking that this may be one of the last weeks that I’ll be able to recommend Nathan Eovaldi as a streaming option. Sooner or later, Fantasy owners are going to notice that this is not the same pitcher who got off to a rocky start earlier in the season. Back in late June, Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild had Eovaldi narrow the grip on his splitter and he is now throwing it harder and with a higher spin rate. The effectiveness of that pitch has given opposing hitters something to think about other than just waiting on his fastball. Speaking of that fastball and increased velocity, Eovaldi was clocked at 100 mph in the eighth inning of his last start. Although many of his 13 wins are the result of some pretty hefty run support, Eovaldi has definitely become a better pitcher over the course of the season. Since the Marlins blew him out of the water with eight runs in just two thirds of an inning on June 16, Eovaldi has compiled a 2.49 ERA and won eight games. His next opponent, the Braves, are tied with the Rays for the least number of runs scored this season. Look for Eovaldi to continue to roll.
Colby Lewis, (R), Rangers, 38 percent owned vs. Padres
Venue: Petco Park, San Diego, CA
Colby Lewis and the hot Texas Rangers, who have won nine of their last eleven games, will look to continue their winning ways when they face a weak-hitting Padres team on the road. With a won/loss record that is seven games over .500, the Rangers actually have a better record when they play on the road, compared to their 28-30 won/loss record at home this season. Lewis’ overall 4.29 ERA isn’t awe inspiring, but the Rangers have scored an average of 6.96 runs per game when he pitches, and that has helped him to tie for the league lead with 14 wins. He has had some major hiccups, like when he was roughed up for 10 runs against the Angels, but beginning in June he has given up three or less runs in 13 of his last 15 starts. Look for that trend to carry over to this start.
Tommy Milone, (L), Twins, 5 percent owned vs. White Sox
Venue: Target Field, Minneapolis, MN
The Chicago White Sox’ slash line against left handed pitching is .234/.287/.339, giving Twins starter Tommy Milone a distinct advantage in his matchup against the team from the North side of Chicago. Milone has already enjoyed some success against the White Sox. Current White Sox hitters are batting just .224 against him for their career. This will be Milone’s third start against them in 2015. He has two wins, a 1.32 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP in 13.2 innings pitched against them so far this season. With an ownership rate in the single digits Milone should be waiting for you on your league’s waiver wire, and with his domination over White Sox hitters, he might even be a good and cheap option in DFS action.