As we peruse the waiver wires again this weekend, it’s hard not to feel like you are sucked right into watching Russell Crowe duke it out in an arena, fighting to the death and hacking off limbs, when you examine the available pitchers. Everyone’s fantasy pitching staff has been ravaged by injuries thus far, leaving slim pickings rotting on the wire.

One of my current leagues has absurdly deep pitching as it is a head-to-head with an IP category. The team is being held together by Patrick Corbin. I roster Steven Matz, summoning every deity I know, praying for a turnaround. If you play in deep leagues, I’m sure you can empathize with my pain as you flop around like an out-of-water-fish between Oakland two-start pitchers, gasping for life.

Pitching has turned from a marathon (roto of the early 00’s – solid and juiced) to a decathlon (remember when we juggled pitching injuries, COVID restrictions, and the mental toll on players of making a living from a game during a hellish dystopia?) to 4 X 400 m relay. You are going to have to ride hot hands while available because, honestly, who knows what this landscape looks like in two weeks? Who will even have an attached, healthy-ish arm?

This gladiator gorefest of pitching has gone from beginning of story, standard R-rated-violence-Jin Sakai to full-on Ghost Mode.

The stats and ownership percentages below are updated as of noon central time on 5/19.

As always, if you want advice on specific roster decisions you might have, feel free to leave a comment. You can also find me on twitter (@mcouill7).


10/12 Team Adds

Christian Bethancourt (TBR, 24% CBS Ownership) – Surprisingly, the catcher position has held steady this past week with no significant injuries. Bethancourt has been a bit cold (hitting .188 with no homers in the past week), but his batted ball data continues to look solid and is pacing him to mid-20’s homers. He remains my favorite widely available catcher if you need help. (1-3% FAAB)

QUICK HITS: Gabriel Moreno (ARI, 47% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Shea Langeliers (OAK, 43% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Keibert Ruiz (WSN, 41% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Danny Jansen (TOR, 30% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Yan Gomes (CHC, 24% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB)

15 Team Adds

Matt Thaiss (LAA, 4% CBS Ownership) – Thaiss has been picking up more and more at-bats for the Angels this week and even has even received a start at first base while typically hitting in the middle of the order (fourth or fifth). His 119 wRC+ is currently buoyed by a .404 BABIP; however, he’s shown real pop with 10.4% barrel and 45.8% hard hit rates in his 78 PAs so far. Power was always Thaiss’ calling card throughout the minors, so it’s possible you could see a .240 average with 10 homers the rest of the way here. Given the seriousness of Logan O’Hoppe’s shoulder injury, you might be able to ride Matty Thaiss deep into the summer. (3-5% FAAB)

QUICK HITS: Joey Bart (SFG, 18% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Eric Haase (DET, 18% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Blake Sabol (C/OF, SFG, 13% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Bo Naylor (CLE, 12% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Connor Wong (BOS, 10% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Gary Sanchez (NYM, 3% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB)


10/12 Team Adds

J.D. Davis (3B, SFG, 50% CBS Ownership) – The J.D. Davis rebirth continues rolling along, and he’s still holding up a 132 wRC+ to date. The Giants have done a better glow up here than the serum that turned Urkel into Urquelle. Davis’ Statcast page shows that he is continuing doing his main thang – hitting the snot out of the ball. But now the one thing that has always held him back, his defense, has taken an unreal leap forward, making him playable every day at third. Sure, he’s rocking a .356 BABIP this year, but he has a career .345 BABIP because no one wants to stand in front of the piss missiles coming off his bat. Nothing shows he can’t keep his current pace trending towards a mid-20s homer season with a .275 average. (3-5% FAAB)

Ezequiel Tovar (SS, COL, 42% CBS Ownership) – Amazingly, Tovar continues to play pretty much every day even with a 51 wRC+ (oddly, his wRC+ for 2023, 2022, and his career). He has looked terrible at the plate but continues to just play and hack away with his Swiss cheese noodle bat. Take advantage of the pure volume as the Rockies have seven games in Denver, where the forecast looks to be warm and windy all week. (3% FAAB)

QUICK HITS: Matt McLain (SS, CIN, 49% CBS Ownership, 7% FAAB), LaMonte Wade (1B/OF, SFG, 46% CBS Ownership, 3-5% FAAB), Josh Rojas (2B/3B, ARI, 46% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Orlando Arcia (2B/SS, ATL, 45% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Ji-Hwan Bae (2B/OF, PIT, 44% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Spencer Torkelson (1B, DET, 43% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), CJ Abrams (SS, WSN, 42% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Nick Senzel (2B/3B/OF, CIN, 41% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Spencer Steer (1B/3B, CIN, 36% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Jon Berti (2B/3B/SS, MIA, 31% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Mark Vientos (3B, NYM, 31% CBS Ownership, 3-5% FAAB), Zach Neto (SS, LAA, 29% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Royce Lewis (SS, MIN, 29% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Jake Burger (3B, CHW, 28% CBS Ownership, 3-5% FAAB), Gio Urshela (1B/3B/SS, LAA, 26% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB)

15 Team Adds

Paul DeJong (SS, STL, 10% CBS Ownership) – In one of the better comebacks so far this season, DeJong has roughly returned his batted ball profile to his pre-2021 self when he put up a 100 wRC+ with a .238 batting average and paced for 24 homers per 150 games from 2018 – 2020. That power will be very usable at SS or MI while he has secured a full-time role and pushed Tommy Edman and Brendan Donovan into a semi-platoon. DeJong is a guess hitter with constant holes in his swing, but it’s all clicking right now, and he needs to be picked up. (3-5% FAAB)

Jordan Diaz (2B, OAK, 7% CBS Ownership) – Diaz’s batting line is a bit skewed after three of his four homers came in a blowout loss against the Yankees in New York on May 9th, but that shouldn’t deter you from him. Diaz hits the ball hard and came up through the minors with a great hit tool and lack of clear position due to his glove made of stone. Now that he’s up, Diaz should play every day for the Athletics and could put that great hit tool to use with a steady .260 bat and a handful of homers and runs/RBI.  (1-3% FAAB)

QUICK HITS: Brice Turang (2B, MIL, 22% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Luis Garcia (2B/SS, WSN, 22% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Wilmer Flores (1B/2B/3B, SFG, 16% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Rodolfo Castro (2B/3B/SS, PIT, 14% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Luke Raley (1B/OF, TBR, 15% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Kyle Farmer (2B/3B/SS, MIN, 11% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Brandon Belt (1B, TOR, 9% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Ryan Noda (1B, OAK, 6% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Edmundo Sosa (3B/SS, PHI, 6% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Dominic Smith (1B, WSN, 6% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Jace Peterson (2B/3B, OAK, 5% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Zach McKinstry (2B/3B/OF, DET, 5% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB)

Only Team Adds

Darin Ruf (1B, MIL, 0% CBS Ownership) – Thanks to a Luke Voit strained neck, Ruf now occupies the right-handed platoon 1B/DH seat in the constant game of musical chairs the Brewers front office plays with the backend of its roster. With the Brew Crew having seven straight home games next week, you know Ruf will be aiming to donk at least one homer off Bernie’s slide in deep LF. (1-3% FAAB)

Colt Keith (3B, DET, 1% CBS Ownership) – After impressing in last year’s AZ Fall League, Keith has continued smashing the ball with a 142 wRC+ at AA Erie this year while keeping his K% to a manageable 25.5%. He was a big sleeper or pick to click across numerous prospect platforms and is showing why. It’s not hard to envision a late-season call-up to show the Tigers faithful (if they exist?) what the future holds. (1-3% FAAB)


10/12 Team Adds

Jake Fraley (CIN, 50% CBS Ownership) – This past week, Fraley moved up in the lineup due to TJ Friedl’s injury, crushed some Rockies pitching at Coors, and looks ready to settle right back into his expected fantasy breakout. He’s on pace for 18 homers, 18 steals, and 110 RBI and can probably keep his average between .260 to .270. He shouldn’t be on any waiver wires right now as the Reds have a meaty seven game schedule at home against the Cardinals and at the Cubs next week. (5-7% FAAB)

Nick Pratto (1B/OF, KCR, 37% CBS Ownership) – In the heat of the 2022 summer, Pratto and Vinnie Pasquantino were neck-and-neck to get future 1B at-bats in Kansas City. People picked their favorite, with some even preferring Pratto because he offered a handful of steals. Well, Pratto floundered with an 82 wRC+ while Vinnie popped a 137, and then the former was forever thrown back into the pile of forgotten fantasy toys. Pratto is back-o, and the 24-year-old has taken claim to the Royals 1B job. There’s a lot of prospect pedigree in this bat (14th overall pick in 2017) that is getting time to shine. It’s not hard to take his rest-of-season ZiPS line of 13 homers, 46 runs, and 48 RBI, fudge the batting average to .250 and still see upside. (3-5% FAAB)

QUICK HITS: Joey Meneses (1B/OF, WSN, 57% CBS Ownership, 3-5% FAAB), Mike Yastrzemski (SFG, 56% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Alex Kirilloff (1B/OF, MIN, 53% CBS Ownership, 3-5% FAAB), Brian Anderson (3B/OF, MIL, 50% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Joey Gallo (MIN, 47% CBS Ownership, 3-5% FAAB), Jack Suwinski (PIT, 44% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Ramon Laureano (OAK, 39% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Lane Thomas (WSN, 34% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Eddie Rosario (ATL, 30% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Jurickson Profar (COL, 27% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Myles Straw (CLE, 26% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB)

15 Team Adds

Dominic Fletcher (ARI, 32% CBS Ownership) – There’s nothing that tickles my fancy more than a unique baseball player. Shohei Ohtani intrigued me when coming stateside for the whole Babe Ruth thing. Willians Astudillo? Love him. Pat Venditte makes my heart race. Fletcher is now joining the cadre of these players that belong in a Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum with his limited stature packed with muscles. Supposedly 5’6” (I am a height truther here – no way Dom is topping 5’4”) but yoked to the nines, Fletcher is like a perfectly evil twin brother to his real brother, David. He’s got unruly, shaggy hair, a goatee, and is left-handed all while looking like he visited the same experimental labs as Bane. Despite all of these qualities I’ve rattled of not proving Fletcher is a quality baseball player, his Baseball Savant page isn’t special, but projections have him slated for roughly a .250 – .260 average with what would prorate to low teens power and five steals over a full season. He has also shoved Alek Thomas out of his former starting role as the Diamondbacks seem determined to use every resource available to make the playoffs. (3-5% FAAB)

Xavier Edwards (MIA, 3% CBS Ownership) – Mr. Slapdick is back again as a rash of injuries has torn through the Marlins’ outfield over the past week with Jesus Sanchez (sore hammy) and Jazz Chisholm (turf toe) joining Avisail Garcia on the IL. Chisholm’s injury is especially concerning as turf toe injuries are notoriously fickle, which doesn’t mix well with his new centerfield role. Edwards should get some run in CF, hitting .250 at the bottom of the order and swiping a handful of stolen bases. View him as a poor man’s Esteury Ruiz and enjoy the playing time run while Jazz heals for the next month plus. (3-5% FAAB)

QUICK HITS: Oswaldo Cabrera (NYY, 25% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Bryan De La Cruz (MIA, 23% CBS Ownership, 3-5% FAAB), Chas McCormick (HOU, 22% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Seth Brown (OAK, 22% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Randal Grichuk (COL, 20% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), JJ Bleday (OAK, 19% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Brenton Doyle (COL, 15% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Leody Taveras (TEX, 13% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Jose Siri (TBR, 13% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Mickey Moniak (LAA, 12% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Robbie Grossman (TEX, 9% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Gavin Sheets (1B/OF, CHW, 8% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Nelson Cruz (SDP, 7% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Corey Julks (HOU, 4% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Tyrone Taylor (MIL, 2% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB)

Only Team Adds

Oscar Mercado (STL, 1% CBS Ownership) – After the Cardinals shipped Mercado off to the Guardians at the 2018 deadline, he returned this past offseason on a minor league deal. While Mercado has only been hitting to the tune of a 100 wRC+ in Memphis so far, he has swiped 15 bags. With Dylan Carlson hitting the IL this week, Mercado will get some run in CF the next few weeks, mostly for his defense, but he could run wild when he reaches base to prove he can stick on the roster as a fourth outfielder/pinch runner. (1-3% FAAB)

Parker Meadows (DET, 3% CBS Ownership) – The hulking 6’5” Meadows has monster power and good speed, built in the mold of a left-handed Joey Wiemer. With Akil Baddoo floundering to the tune of an 81 wRC+ so far this season, the Tigers have Meadows on the 40-man and waiting at AAA to see what they have. This Tigers team needs to be throwing everything against the wall to see which corner bats will ultimately stick around as the new front office sinks its teeth in further. (1-3% FAAB)


10/12 Team Adds

James Paxton (BOS, 54% CBS Ownership) – While I typed out J-a-m-e-s P-a-x-t-o-n, my brain had a split moment to question whether a Last of Us-like fungus was starting to take control. Totally left for dead, Big Maple has risen and epitomizes the Gladiator wasteland I introed with. Paxton looked fantastic in his season debut against the Cardinals with 2 ERs and 1 HR allowed with a 9:1 K:BB ratio in 5 IP. He was electric and flashed back to his Cy Young form with the Mariners. Paxton will break, so this is temporary, but take advantage of some great rates while you can. (5-7% FAAB)

Michael Lorenzen (DET, 33% CBS Ownership) – A few weeks ago, Lorenzen was covered in the 15 Team section for his two-start week and all he’s done since is continue to be solid. The strikeouts have evaporated from his repertoire right now (only a 6.9 K/9), but his 3.44 ERA is supported by a 3.80 FIP. If he can keep up the great ERA work, which should be doable pitching in the AL Central and in Detroit, he’s going to be an asset in that category as the league average ERA is up to 4.31. (3% FAAB)

QUICK HITS: Dane Dunning (TEX, 59% CBS Ownership, 3-5% FAAB), Louie Varland (MIN, 51% CBS Ownership, 5% FAAB), Matthew Liberatore (STL, 47% CBS Ownership, 5-7% FAAB), Mike Clevinger (CHW, 46% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Roansy Contreras (PIT, 45% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Ranger Suarez (PHI, 45% CBS Ownership, 3-5% FAAB), J.P. France (HOU, 45% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Dean Kremer (BAL, 41% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Johan Oviedo (PIT, 37% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Gavin Stone (LAD, 35% CBS Ownership, 5% FAAB), Brayan Bello (BOS, 35% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Alex Wood (SFG, 35% Ownership, 3% FAAB), Kyle Bradish (BAL, 31% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Marco Gonzales (SEA, 30% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Clarke Schmidt (NYY, 26% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB)

15 Team Adds

Patrick Corbin (WSN, 14% CBS Ownership) – I’m writing this all before Corbin’s second start of the week against the Tigers at home Saturday afternoon, but he kept on chugging along with six solid innings in a win against the Mets on Monday. Owning Corbin is a high-wire act that will crash to earth eventually, but he has a 3.56 ERA in 30.1 IP over the past month and needs to be owned given the nuclear wasteland starting pitching presents right now in deeper leagues. He will get a start against either the Padres or Royals next week, both are not hot offenses, so this gamble should work for at least one more week. (3% FAAB)

Ben Brown (CHC, 11% CBS Ownership) – With Hayden Wesenski’s recent demotion, the Cubs have been using a four-man rotation in preparation for Kyle Hendricks’ return, but I think this also cracks open a window for Brown. Javier Assad and Caleb Kilian, the other Cubs starters on the 40-man in AAA, are just flat out not good and Hendricks, Jameson Taillon, and Drew Smyly are not exactly pillars of health. If the Cubs are serious about a quick re-tool of the roster, they need to see what Brown and his giant 6’6” frame and 12.7 K/P between 34.2 IP over AA and AAA in 2023 can offer in the bigs. (3% FAAB)

QUICK HITS: Braxton Garrett (MIA, 17% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Rich Hill (PIT, 15% CBS Ownership, 3-5% FAAB), JP Sears (OAK, 11% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Luis Ortiz (PIT, 11% CBS Ownership, 3-5% FAAB), Griffin Canning (LAA, 11% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Brandon Bielak (HOU, 7% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Brandon Williamson (CIN, 6% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Ryan Weathers (SDP, 6% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Luis Medina (OAK, 4% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB)

Only Team Adds

A.J. Smith-Shawver (ATL, 6% CBS Ownership) – Smith-Shawver is rocketing through the Braves system right now, and much to the liking of a team decimated by pitching injuries, he looks to be a dependable starting pitcher. Word of Smith-Shawver’s meteoric rise is starting to spread like wildfire, and Fangraphs’ Eric Longenhagen just upgraded him to a 50 future value prospect after a promotion to AAA. Smith-Shawver is going to be in the Atlanta rotation in the near future, and now is the time to add and stash him. (5% FAAB)

Ty Madden (DET, 4% CBS Ownership) – For as much notice the Braves’ starting pitching injuries have received, things might be worse in Detroit. The Tigers currently have their own full rotation shelved on the IL between Beau Brieske, Matt Manning, Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal, and Spencer Turnbull. The 2021 1st round pick Madden has been spectacularly solid in AA with a 2.67 ERA, 3.34 FIP, and 11.3 K/9 in 27 IP at Erie. He should get a chance at a late season debut and pitch in a division that will feature the normal AL Central scrubs but with an added bonus of a soon-to-be-gutted White Sox roster. (1% FAAB)


10/12 Team Adds

Dylan Floro (MIA, 37% CBS Ownership) – With A.J. Puk’s recent injury, Floro is a full lion’s share closer right now, and it’s really as simple as that. (5-7% FAAB)

Wandy Peralta (NYY, 21% CBS Ownership) The Yankees are in a full-on closer committee right now as Clay Holmes has fallen out of favor and Michael King looks electric but doesn’t pitch in back-to-back games. Peralta is the thread that binds it all together from the left side plus has been an Aaron Boone favorite over his managerial tenure. He has 3 saves in the last week, and it’s not hard to squint and see him picking up 10-15 more. (5-7% FAAB)

QUICK HITS: Bryan Abreu (HOU, 34% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Brusdar Graterol (LAD, 30% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Adam Ottavino (NYM, 31% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Giovanny Gallegos (STL, 32% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Jorge Lopez (MIN, 31% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Matt Strahm (PHI, 30% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Nick Martinez (SDP, 29% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB)

15 Team Adds

Richard Lovelady (OAK, 0% CBS Ownership) – With Zach Jackson hitting the IL…who knows what’s happening in the OAK bullpen. You may as well take a shot on Lovelady and his lovely ratios. (1-2% FAAB)

Nick Anderson (ATL, 8% CBS Ownership) – Raisel Iglesias has not been pitching like a man with a healthy throwing shoulder in rough outings against Boston and Toronto this past week. Anderson has been rejuvenated and taken over the setup role now. Even if he’s just subbing occasionally for Iglesias, that could amount to 5-10 saves rest of season with great Ks and ratios. (3% FAAB)

Tanner Scott (MIA, 3% CBS Ownership) – Scott is the high-leverage lefty in the Marlins bullpen now with A.J. Puk out and serves as the closer if Floro has gone back-to-back games. He owns a nasty career 12.1 K/9 rate, but his corresponding 5.7 BB/9 rate is what creates in his 1.53 career WHIP. He’s not a great choice if you are trying to strictly maintain ratios to pick up a save or two from him. (1-3% FAAB)

QUICK HITS: Gregory Soto (PHI, 14% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB, Matt Moore (LAA, 12% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB), Hunter Harvey (WSN, 9% CBS Ownership, 3% FAAB), Miguel Castro (ARI, 8% CBS Ownership, 3-5% FAAB), Trevor Stephan (CLE, 7% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Peter Strzelecki (MIL, 7% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Justin Topa (SEA, 4% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Jason Foley (DET, 3% CBS Ownership, 1% FAAB), Jeremiah Estrada (CHC, 2% CBS Ownership, 1-3% FAAB)

Only Team Adds

Dereck Rodriguez (ATL, 0% CBS Ownership) – The Braves now have a full rotation’s worth of pitching on the IL with Max Fried, Kyle Wright, Kolby Allard, Huascar Ynoa, and Ian Anderson shelved for long periods of time. I’m cheating a bit here with the reliever designation, as it’s more likely Rodriguez breaks onto the Braves roster as a starter, but he has relieved enough over the years that he should have RP designation if that matters to you. It’s fun looking back on Rodriguez’s 2018 with the Giants in which he had a 2.81 ERA and 1.9 fWAR in 111.1 IP. That glorious run produced by Giants even year magic is out of reach now, but his league average-ish projections backed by a great offense and bullpen can produce a handful of wins. (1% FAAB)

Jimmy Cordero (NYY, 0% CBS Ownership) – On Monday, Cordero was featured as the opener before Jhony Brito and threw two scoreless innings. Jimmy has always featured a dirty, upper-90’s sinker that will help keep the ball on the ground in Yankee Stadium. He can easily work in the Ryne Stanek mold a la the Rays’ opener days in which you can count on some decent volume and good ratios with a possible win during non-opener appearances. (1-3% FAAB)