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 Aug. 20, 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. Tuesday
Michael Pineda: New York Yankees (49 percent)
It was a lengthy DL stint for this right-hander, but he’s managed to pick right back up where he left off in April. By holding a strong Baltimore Orioles offense to just one run on two hits over five innings of work in his last start, Pineda lowered his ERA to 1.82 on the season and has allowed one earned run or fewer in four of his five outings.
He won’t have to face such an intimidating offense on Wednesday, as the Yankees will host the Houston Astros. The Astros’ offense has actually been improved as of late, but the team still sports a terrible .232 average against right-handed pitching this season, ranking 28th in the league. Those fantasy owners who snatch up Pineda should also expect quite a few punch-outs, as the Astros’ 23.1 percent strikeout rate against right-handed pitching is the second highest mark in baseball.
James Paxton: Seattle Mariners (36 percent)
Paxton has returned to action with a fire in his belly since missing nearly three months due to a back injury. The southpaw has posted a dynamic 2.16 ERA in three August starts, and is now allowing opponents to bat a microscopic .204 on the season. All five of Paxton’s starts this year have actually come against top 10 offenses, but he should be in for an easier go of things on Wednesday.
The Mariners will pay a visit to the great state of Pennsylvania to take on the Philadelphia Phillies. The Philly offense has struggled throughout the 2014 season, and currently ranks just 23rd in the league in runs per contest. When you combine the Phillies’ terrible 27-36 home record with the fact that they sport a lowly .244 average against left-handed pitching, Paxton looks like a strong option indeed.
Roberto Hernandez: Los Angeles Dodgers (8.4 percent)
Even before being shipped to the Dodgers, this veteran had really been pitching with some moxie in recent weeks. Hernandez has allowed two earned runs of fewer in seven of his last nine outings, and that has resulted in a tasty 2.74 ERA over that stretch. He should continue to get plenty of opportunities for wins with an improved offense around him, but he may not need much help in his next outing.
The Dodgers will host the offensively challenged San Diego Padres on Wednesday evening. Though the Padres’ offense has been a bit improved lately, the club still ranks dead last in the league in runs per game by a wide margin. San Diego also ranks last in baseball with a .227 average against right-handed pitching, and are actually scoring fewer runs per game on the road (3.21) than at home (3.41).