4/21 – Week 5 Waiver Wire + Two-Start Pitchers

We’re taking a look today at all 30 teams from the perspective of a new waiver-wire option, a consideration for cutting from your roster, and the upcoming two-start pitchers in week five.

Here’s the same disclaimer we gave last week on identifying waiver options that fit for all readers: It is next to impossible to find ownership levels that are applicable to all formats, so we’re going to use the numbers provided by the National Fantasy Baseball Championship, since their leagues vary in size (mostly 12- and 15-team mixed) and involve money, so they tend to give a more accurate read of owners that are engaged on a weekly basis.

Unlike last week, where we gave low-owned, medium-owned, and high-owned options, we’re going to focus this week only on guys who are owned in 60% of leagues or less.

Arizona Diamondbacks

  • Waiver wire add: 2B/SS Ketel Marte (59% owned)
  • Cut consideration: SP Taijuan Walker – yes, this is cheating in a way, but if you didn’t know that Walker was declared out for the season with Tommy John surgery looming earlier this week, now you know.
  • Two-start pitcher(s): SP Robbie Ray draws road starts at Philadelphia and Washington with SP Vince Velasquez and Gio Gonzalez as his opponents. Ray is a must start in all formats, as his strikeout potential is too high to let his season-opening struggles with run prevention scare you from using him.

Atlanta Braves

  • Waiver wire add: SP Brandon McCarthy (44% owned)
  • Cut consideration: RP A.J. Minter (88% owned) – we’re not sure Minter is getting the closer role anytime soon, and he’s not striking out enough guys yet to be a starter in most mixed leagues.
  • Two-start pitcher(s): SP Brandon McCarthy and, as of right now, SP Matt Wisler will get starts on the road against Cincinnati and Philadelphia. McCarthy’s opponents are SP Sal Romano and SP Nick Pivetta, while Wisler will draw SP Tyler Mahle and SP Vince Velasquez. We would start McCarthy and Wisler in all 12-team mixed and deeper formats.

Baltimore Orioles

  • Waiver wire add: OF Craig Gentry (0% owned)
  • Cut consideration: RP Darren O’Day (2% owned)
  • Two-start pitcher(s): A seven-game week at home gives SP Kevin Gausman and SP Alex Cobb shots at a two-start week. Gausman goes Monday against Cleveland, drawing SP Carlos Carrasco, and Saturday against Detroit, drawing SP Francisco Liriano. Cobb’s first-ever start against his only other major league team, Tampa Bay, comes Tuesday against SP Jake Faria, and he returns Sunday against Tigers SP Matt Boyd. We like Gausman’s chances on Sunday, and with the Cleveland lineup not hitting on all cylinders yet, we think he’s a good risk in 12-team mixed leagues and anything deeper than that. Cobb is a bench in all formats except AL-only.

Boston Red Sox 

  • Waiver wire add: 1B Mitch Moreland (1% owned) – hitting well in relatively limited playing time, but only one injury away from everyday at bats
  • Cut consideration: OF Jackie Bradley (80% owned)
  • Two-start pitcher(s): SP Rick Porcello is dealing so far this season, and he’s a must start in all formats next week with a trip to Toronto on Tuesday against SP J.A. Happ and a follow-up Sunday at home against Tampa Bay and SP Jake Faria. 

Chicago Cubs

  • Waiver wire add: 2B/OF Ben Zobrist (29% owned)
  • Cut consideration: 2B/OF Ian Happ (99% owned) – depends entirely on league size, but he’s literally dragging down your team right now if you are playing him.
  • Two-start pitcher(s): SP Tyler Chatwood is set for a road start Tuesday against Cleveland (TBD) and a home start Sunday against Milwaukee (SP Zach Davies). Chatwood is too risky right now for 12-team mixed, so we’d only start him in 15-team mixed and NL-only formats.

Chicago White Sox

  • Waiver wire add: 2B/3B Yolmer Sanchez (21% owned)
  • Cut consideration: RP Joakim Soria (91% owned) – not getting save chances,
  • Two-start pitcher(s): Eight games in seven days gives SP Miguel Gonzalez and SP Carson Fulmer two starts each at home against Seattle and on the road against the Royals. If you’d normally start these guys in AL-only leagues, then go ahead and do it again because the matchups aren’t scary enough to warrant a benching. Otherwise, though, there’s no value.

Cincinnati Reds

  • Waiver wire add: SP Tyler Mahle (35% owned)
  • Cut consideration: 3B Nick Senzel (44% owned) – the longer Senzel goes without getting called up with 3B Eugenio Suarez recovers from his injury, the less value he has sitting on your bench.
  • Two-start pitcher(s): A four-game set at home against Atlanta and a three-game weekend set in Minnesota provides SP Sal Romano and SP Tyler Mahle two starts each. Romano’s low-strikeout totals limit his ceiling, but we’d be fine playing him in NL-only formats, while Mahle holds enough upside to warrant consideration in 12-team mixed leagues and being a recommended start in anything larger than that.

Cleveland Indians

  • Waiver wire add: No realistic options.
  • Cut consideration: SP Danny Salazar (83% owned) – we’re noting Salazar here because there hasn’t been a real update on his status in almost two weeks, and at this point, late May looks like a realistic first chance at major league innings.
  • Two-start pitcher(s): A seven-game week against three opponents sets up SP Carlos Carrasco, a must-start in all formats, for starts at Baltimore (SP Kevin Gausman) and home against Seattle (SP Mike Leake). Tuesday/Sunday games against the Cubs/Seattle at home are currently open, but it will likely be SP Josh Tomlin, strictly an AL-only play, against SP Tyler Chatwood and SP Marco Gonzales. 

Colorado Rockies 

  • Waiver wire add: RP Adam Ottavino (39% owned)
  • Cut consideration: OF David Dahl (81% owned) – same concept as Salazar…how long are you willing to wait?
  • Two-start pitcher(s): SP Chad Bettis is the Rox’ lone two-start guy this week, drawing a home start against San Diego and a road start at Miami. We’d add Bettis and start him in all formats.

Detroit Tigers

  • Waiver wire add: SP Matt Boyd (13% owned) – see below
  • Cut consideration: No realistic options.
  • Two-start pitcher(s): Six road games against Pittsburgh and Baltimore line up SP Matt Boyd as Detroit’s only one-start pitcher this week. Boyd has been in good form early, and these matchups aren’t that dangerous. If you are looking for a single two-start pitcher to add next week, Boyd is our top recommendation.

Houston Astros

  • Waiver wire add: C Max Stassi (3% owned)
  • Cut consideration: OF Derek Fisher (15% owned)
  • Two-start pitcher(s): SP Gerrit Cole starts twice at home against SP Tyler Skaggs and the Angels on Monday and SP Trevor Cahill and the A’s on Sunday. Cole starts everywhere.

Kansas City Royals

  • Waiver wire add: OF Jorge Soler (22% owned)
  • Cut consideration: No realistic options.
  • Two-start pitcher(s): Seven home games in six days with a Saturday doubleheader against the White Sox, but a spot starter will likely be needed for that, leaving SP Ian Kennedy as the lone two-start pitcher. Kennedy will face Milwaukee and SP Zach Davies on Tuesday, and the White Sox and SP Carson Fulmer on Sunday. Kennedy is a fringe waiver option in 10-team leagues, but he’s viable there this week, and he’s a starter in all 12-team mixed and larger formats.

Los Angeles Angels

  • Waiver wire add: SP Andrew Heaney (21% owned)
  • Cut consideration: RP Blake Parker (31% owned)
  • Two-start pitcher(s): No two-start pitchers scheduled in a six-game week.

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • Waiver wire add: RP Josh Fields (3% owned) or RP Pedro Baez (0% owned) – the backup options for RP Kenley Jansen, but both guys also have struck out well above a batter per inning and have ERAs of 1.00 and 1.04, respectively.
  • Cut consideration: C/2B Austin Barnes (85% owned) – this is only recommended in a one-catcher format. Barnes isn’t playing much and isn’t playing well when he does.
  • Two-start pitcher(s): Text

Miami Marlins

  • Waiver wire add: SP Jarlin Garcia (8% owned) – two good starts on the back of some solid relief work make him worth putting on your roster to see how the next 2-3 weeks go.
  • Cut consideration: RP Brad Ziegler (75% owned) – unless you need saves desperately in a roto league, Ziegler is giving up runs in the majority of his outings and will continue to hurt your ratios.
  • Two-start pitcher(s): Garcia is the only two start pitcher for Miami this week, drawing a TBD against the Dodgers on Monday and a home start against Colorado on Sunday. We’d start him in 12-team mixed and larger formats.

Milwaukee Brewers

  • Waiver wire add: 1B Jesus Aguilar (1% owned)
  • Cut consideration: SP Jhoulys Chacin (12% owned)
  • Two-start pitcher(s): SP Zach Davies gets two road starts at Kansas City against SP Ian Kennedy and at the Cubs against SP Tyler Chatwood. There’s a high probability he wins at least one of those, making him a recommended start in all 12-team mixed and larger formats.

Minnesota Twins

  • Waiver wire add: 3B/SS Eduardo Escobar (48% owned)
  • Cut consideration: 1B Logan Morrison (66% owned)
  • Two-start pitcher(s): SP Jose Berrios is a must-start in all formats with a road start against SP CC Sabathia and the Yankees on Tuesday, and a home start against SP Tyler Mahle on the Reds on Sunday. SP Jake Odorizzi draws those same teams on Monday and Saturday, with SP Masahiro Tanaka and SP Sal Romano opposing him. We’d consider him in 10-team leagues and confidently start him in all larger formats.

New York Mets

  • Waiver wire add: SP Jason Vargas (5% owned)
  • Cut consideration: SP Matt Harvey (82% owned)
  • Two-start pitcher(s): Despite two good-to-great matchups at St. Louis (SP Adam Wainwright) and at San Diego (SP Bryan Mitchell), SP Steven Matz has given up five home runs in three starts and isn’t exactly a sure thing for innings, since he’s only gone more than five innings once, and even that was one out beyond five innings. Matz is a likely start in 12-team mixed and a definite start in anything larger than that.

New York Yankees

  • Waiver wire add: 1B Tyler Austin (8% owned)
  • Cut consideration: 3B Miguel Andujar (40% owned) – we don’t dislike Andujar, but we’d take Austin over him right now.
  • Two-start pitcher(s): SP Masahiro Tanaka is still a must-start everywhere despite his recent form. He hosts SP Jake Odorizzi and the Twins on Monday and travels to Los Angeles for SP Garrett Richards and the Angels on Saturday. SP CC Sabathia gets the Twins and Angels on Tuesday and Sunday, and we’d start him in all 12-team mixed and larger formats, and would consider adding him in 10-team leagues for this week. He faces off with SP Jose Berrios and SP Jaime Barria.

Oakland A’s

  • Waiver wire add: SP Trevor Cahill (0% owned)
  • Cut consideration: SP Daniel Mengden (11% owned)
  • Two-start pitcher(s): We’ve praised Cahill this week a few times, and with a two-start week coming up on the road against Texas (SP Matt Moore) and Houston (SP Gerrit Cole), we’ll go all the way and recommend starting him in all 12-team mixed and larger formats. We like Cahill as long as he’s healthy.

Philadelphia Phillies

  • Waiver wire add: 3B/SS J.P. Crawford (6% owned)
  • Cut consideration: OF Aaron Altherr (74% owned)
  • Two-start pitcher(s): SP Vince Velasquez gets two home starts against Arizona (SP Robbie Ray) and Atlanta (likely SP Matt Wisler). If you own Velasquez, you should start him, but we wouldn’t go out of our way to add him if you need a two-start pitcher. Cahill and McCarthy are both better options that are just as likely to be available on waivers.

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • Waiver wire add: 2B/OF Adam Frazier (8% owned)
  • Cut consideration: SP Trevor Williams (49% owned)
  • Two-start pitcher(s): SP Chad Kuhl is a dice roll this week with two home starts against Detroit on Tuesday (SP Matt Boyd) and St. Louis on Sunday (SP Adam Wainwright). There is rain in the weather all week starting Wednesday, so this could change, but having to make a call right now, we could only confidently start Kuhl in 15-team mixed and NL-only leagues.

San Diego Padres

  • Waiver wire add: SP Tyson Ross (44% owned)
  • Cut consideration: OF Hunter Renfroe (39% owned)
  • Two-start pitcher(s): SP Bryan Mitchell should be benched everywhere with a start at Colorado on Monday and a home start against the Mets on Sunday.

San Francisco Giants

  • Waiver wire add: OF Mac Williamson (0% owned)
  • Cut consideration: OF Hunter Pence (3% owned)
  • Two-start pitcher(s): The Giants get seven home games next week thanks to a doubleheader with the Dodgers on Saturday. Since they have an off day Thursday, they don’t need a spot starter to make the week work, so SP Ty Blach and SP Chris Stratton get two starts each. Blach is an NL-only option, not only due to his own low-strikeout potential but matchups against Washington and SP Tanner Roark on Tuesday and the Dodgers and SP Hyun-Jin Ryu on Sunday. Stratton is worth starting in all formats, though we would recommend a discerning eye in 10-team leagues, as he does draw tough matchups against SP Gio Gonzalez on Monday and, most likely, a returning SP Rich Hill on Saturday.

Seattle Mariners

  • Waiver wire add: No realistic options.
  • Cut consideration: SP Mike Leake (43% owned)
  • Two-start pitcher(s): Seven games on the road at the White Sox and Cleveland this week. SP Marco Gonzales, going on Tuesday/Sunday, actually has decent win upside because of his opponents – SP Carson Fulmer and SP Josh Tomlin – but you’d have to be desperate to start him in anything beyond AL-only leagues. SP Mike Leake goes Monday/Saturday against SP Miguel Gonzalez and SP Carlos Carrasco. Leake has had two mediocre starts in a row, and we only recommend him in 15-team and NL-only leagues

St. Louis Cardinals

  • Waiver wire add: 3B Jedd Gyorko (10% owned)
  • Cut consideration: RP Alex Reyes (42% owned)
  • Two-start pitcher(s): SP Adam Wainwright draws a home start against SP Steven Matz and the Mets on Tuesday and a road start Sunday against SP Chad Kuhl and the Pirates. Wainwright is a desperation play in 12-team leagues,toss-up in 15-team leagues, and worth starting in NL-only leagues.

Tampa Bay Rays

  • Waiver wire add: OF Denard Span (1% owned)
  • Cut consideration: OF Kevin Kiermaier (91% owned) – even when Kiermaier gets back, it’ll likely be a few weeks before he’s at his normal form. By then, the season has eight weeks left. He’s not worth a roster spot in any mixed format.
  • Two-start pitcher(s): SP Jake Faria will go Tuesday at Baltimore and Sunday at Boston, with matchups against SP Alex Cobb and SP Rick Porcello. Faria has more upside than most pitchers with these types of risky road matchups, and with the Orioles scuffling offensively, we’d recommend starting Faria in 12-team mixed and larger formats. For 10-team leagues, there’s too much danger in that Boston start to recommend him there if you have strong one-start alternatives.

Texas Rangers

  • Waiver wire add: OF/SS Jurickson Profar (35% owned)
  • Cut consideration: No realistic options.
  • Two-start pitcher(s): The Rangers open at home against Oakland and move on to Toronto, with SP Matt Moore getting two starts against SP Trevor Cahill and SP J.A. Happ. Moore has the potential to give you two duds, and there are enough alternatives that we’d only recommend Moore in AL-only formats.

Toronto Blue Jays

  • Waiver wire add: OF Steve Pearce (3% owned) or OF Curtis Granderson (12% owned)
  • Cut consideration: C Russell Martin (91% owned) – only in one-catcher leagues
  • Two-start pitcher(s): After an off day on Monday, the Jays get six at home next week against Boston and Texas, with SP J.A. Happ getting starts on Tuesday and Sunday against SP Rick Porcello and SP Matt Moore, respectively. The danger of the Boston start is balanced by the upside of the Texas start, and we’d go with Happ in all formats, with would balance that decision in 10-team leagues if you have strong alternatives.

Washington Nationals

  • Waiver wire add: SP Jeremy Hellickson (0% owned) – could be a surprising wins source in deep leagues
  • Cut consideration: OF Victor Robles (51% owned)
  • Two-start pitcher(s): The Nats have six games against NL West teams, opening at San Francisco and returning home for a weekend set with Arizona. SP Gio Gonzalez draws SP Chris Stratton on Monday and SP Robbie Ray on Sunday – consider Gio a must-start in all formats.

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