The waiver wire can be a goldmine for fantasy baseball players who are looking to boost their pitching stats. On most days, there is sure to be a starter (or three) just waiting to be scooped up who can help lead a fantasy team to glory. In today’s slice of fantasy advice, let’s take a look at some hurlers who should be in for a strong day on the hill on July 31 and are quite possibly available on a waiver wire near you.
(Ownership percentages based off ESPN standard leagues)
*All stats current through 7:00 p.m. Wednesday
Yordano Ventura: Kansas City Royals (56.2 percent)
Despite a couple of rough outings of late, this rookie still owns a very respectable 3.63 ERA on the season. He’s actually allowed three earned runs or fewer in eight of his last 10 starts, so don’t let a couple of hiccups scare you off. Ventura has a pretty favorable matchup on Thursday, so the opportunity will be there to help fantasy teams out.
The Minnesota Twins will be his next opponent, and they will bring a struggling offense with them to the ballpark. In 11 games since the All-Star break, the Twinkies have managed to put up just 2.55 runs per contest and have posted a lousy 4-7 record over that span. The Royals should be able to give Ventura plenty of run support in this one, so a victory is likely in the cards as well.
Odrisamer Despaigne: San Diego Padres (23.1 percent)
This rookie is coming off his worst start of the season, but he has still posted a dazzling 1.66 ERA in his six starts to this point. Despaigne has yet to allow more than two earned runs in a game and has held opponents to a microscopic .203 batting average over 38 innings of work. He gets to pitch at the friendly confines of Petco Park in his next start, and the matchup is a delectable one as well.
Despaigne and the Padres will host the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday. The Cardinals’ offense continues to sputter this season, as the club ranks 29th in the league in runs per game. The red birds have especially struggled over their past 10 games, as they’ve scored a lowly 2.80 runs per contest and have won just four times over that span.
Tom Koehler: Miami Marlins 5.5 percent)
This hurler has had some ups and downs this season, but the one constant has been his dominance at Marlins Park. Contrary to his ugly 4.96 ERA on the road, Koehler sports a terrific 2.75 ERA at home and has held opponents to a meager .199 average. Not only will he get to pitch at home in his next outing, but he’ll face one of baseball’s most struggling clubs.
The Marlins will host the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday evening. Life after the All-Star break has been especially unkind to the Reds, as they’ve posted a dreadful 2-10 record and have managed to score an embarrassingly low 2.18 runs per contest over that span. The Reds have shown nothing to suggest a breakout is imminent, so Koehler makes for an intriguing option indeed.