Earlier this week, we looked at some lightly owned hitters in ESPN leagues who could be potential difference makers in fantasy baseball over the second half of the season. Today, it’s time to focus on some pitchers who can give your fake teams a boost down the stretch. Even if your team’s ratios look more unsightly than a Meg Ryan facelift, there’s still plenty of time remaining to fix those issues. So put down those Francisco Liriano and James Shields voodoo dolls people, and let’s go to work.

Here are some widely available pitchers who have the potential to be fantasy assets during the second half of the season (including current ESPN ownership percentage):

The Must Adds: Junior Guerra (65.2%), Anthony DeSclafani (48.5%), and Brandon McCarthy (41.0%)

I’ve written about all of these guys over the past few weeks, but their ownership numbers suggest that there might still be time to jump on their respective bandwagons. In Guerra’s case, that time might already be past, but that’s certainly understandable considering his impressive results over his last 11 starts (70.1 IP, 63/23 K/BB, 2.56 ERA, 1.05 WHIP). DeSclafani missed quite a bit of time at the beginning of the season due to an oblique injury, but has looked dominant over his last four starts (27.2 IP, 25/3 K/BB, 2.28 ERA, 0.98 WHIP). I wrote about McCarthy here during the 2015 offseason, and since returning from Tommy John surgery a couple of weeks ago, he looks like the same pitcher that he was pre-surgery.

The Homeschoolers: Ian Kennedy (47.0%), Matt Shoemaker (37.7%), and Jerad Eickhoff (37.2%)

This past offseason, I touched on Kennedy’s tendency to allow home runs and how Kansas City’s pitcher friendly Kauffman Stadium would benefit him in that regard, but I didn’t anticipate just how extreme his splits would be this season. He’s allowed an unsightly 17 homers in 61.1 innings (2.49 HR/9) on the road this season compared to just 4 homers in 38.1 innings (0.94 HR/9) at home, which is reflected in his ratios (2.11 ERA and 1.04 WHIP at home; 5.14/1.29 on the road). It’s a similar story for Shoemaker, who has allowed just 3 homers in 46.2 home innings as opposed to 10 homers in 50.1 innings when on the road. Eickhoff hasn’t had the same split issues as far as homers are concerned, but his home ratios (2.40/1.05) are far superior to the ones that he’s produced on the road (5.51/1.51).

The Streamers: Adam Conley (31.7%) and Hector Santiago (17.2%)

Due to their control issues (3.62 BB/9 for Conley and 4.03 BB/9 for Santiago), these guys have proven to be a bit too inconsistent to be relied upon as every week starters. Santiago, in particular, had an extremely rough nine start stretch from April 29th through June 10th in which he produced just one quality start and posted some horrific ratios (7.59 ERA and a 1.71 WHIP). However, in their last five respective starts, Conley (8.19 K/9, 2.43 ERA, 0.98 WHIP) and Santiago (8.04 K/9, 2.30 ERA, 1.12 WHIP) have performed quite well. If you avoid the difficult matchups, these pitchers should be quite useful down the stretch.

The Rookies: Lucas Giolito (34.4%), Tyler Glasnow (30.7%), Jameson Taillon (27.0%), and Alex Reyes (4.9%)

Ah, rookie nookie. Quite the double edged sword. Look at Taillon, for instance. He pitched eight brilliant shutout innings (which could’ve easily been a complete game) in Citi Field against the Mets on June 14th then couldn’t make it past the 4th inning in each of his next two starts (8 IP, 8 ER).  Giolito had control issues in Double A ball this year (4.31 BB/9) which carried over into his first two big league starts (6 walks in 7.2 innings). Glasnow looked pretty good in his MLB debut even though his numbers don’t necessarily reflect it. Reyes is still just 21 years old and is very raw. His stuff is absolutely electric though, and he could be an impact player down the stretch if the Cardinals stay in playoff contention. Nothing is guaranteed from any of these youngsters, but there’s huge upside here.

The New Closers (aka SAGNOF!): Koji Uehara (29.8%), Tyler Clippard (20.6%), Kelvin Herrera (26.9%), Carlos Estevez (15.2%), and Brandon Maurer (12.1%)

Uehara and Herrera are merely keeping the 9th inning seats warm for their teams’ respective stoppers Craig Kimbrel and Wade Davis. They are must adds for the time being though, especially in the RCL format. Clippard looks like the new closer in Arizona since Brad Ziegler was shipped off to Boston. Estevez and Maurer are the current 9th inning guys for the struggling Rockies and Padres respectively. If you need saves, you know what to do.

The Closers-in-Waiting: Nate Jones (11.5%), Edwin Diaz (7.9%), Will Smith (5.5%), Cam Bedrosian (1.8%), and Adam Ottavino (1.2%)

Chasing saves can be a tricky (and extremely frustrating) game to play, but when speculating, I’ve always believed that it’s better to prioritize skills over roles. That’s especially true in the RCL format, where high-end middle relievers hold value even when not getting save opportunities. These players all have swing and miss stuff and could see some save chances moving forward. If not, the strikeouts and ratio help should prove to be valuable to your fake team regardless.

 
  1. Mike Honcho says:
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    No mention of Dull out of OAK??

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Mike Honcho: Good call. He was on my CIW list but I skipped over him. Definitely belongs in that group.

  2. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    Nice work,thanks

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @AL KOHOLIC: No problem, Al

  3. JimmyJackJames says:
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    Thanks Magoo, great write-up.

    I’d love to get your thoughts on a keeper league deal I have on the table (15 team roto):

    I give Castellanos (22nd round) and Berrios (16th round) – both can be kept for up to 5 years

    for

    Donaldson (1st round) and Ian Kennedy

    I’d obviously be going for it this year – thoughts?

    Thanks!

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @JimmyJackJames: Thanks, JimmyJack! If you think that this deal would put you over the top, then go for it. If you’re not sure, then hold. I know that’s vague, but I don’t have enough info and those are good prices on Castellanos and Berrios. I’m assuming that neither Donaldson or Kennedy would be keeper eligible for you either.

      • JimmyJackJames says:
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        @Big Magoo: Thanks Magoo!

        Donaldson would be a 1st round reference for me but I’d have his rights for 4 years after this one. Kennedy would be keeper eligible (13th round ref) but very unlikely I’d choose to sign him.

        Does that sway you one way or the other?

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          @JimmyJackJames: If Donaldson is keeper eligible for you and you’re in contention this year (which it sounds like you are), then I’d pull the trigger.

          • JimmyJackJames says:
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            @Big Magoo: Thank you sir – keep up the good work!

            • Big Magoo

              Big Magoo says:
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              @JimmyJackJames: No problem. And thanks!

  4. phil says:
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    would you trade Story and Eickhoff for Cole Hamels and Cozart ?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @phil: Depends on needs. Story side for power, Hamels side for pitching. It’s fair.

  5. Joe Shmoe says:
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    Hi Mr. B Magoo,
    Any thoughts on Tyler Anderson?
    Thanks

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Joe Shmoe: Hey Joe! I think he’s pitched a bit over his head. His plus control and groundball tendencies are taylor made for Coors, but it’s still Coors. I expect his K-rate to come down some as well.

  6. attgig says:
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    Smith closes ahead of Thornburg?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @attgig: Not really sure. Thornburg has pitched well this season, but I think that a healthy Smith is the better pitcher. You could say the same for Diaz/Benoit, Bedrosian/Smith, and Ottavino/McGee too. Who closes if/when Jeffress is moved is up in the air, but I’ll take the skills and let the roles sort themselves out.

    • knucks says:
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      @attgig: Knebel just got recalled as well, I’d keep an eye on him in the deepest of leagues.

  7. hondo says:
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    Thoughts on Eickhoff’s innings limit?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @hondo: He’s 26 years old and threw over 180 combined innings last season, so I don’t think that’s an issue. If anything, the Phillies might just shut him down a week early if he reaches 200 innings.

      • hondo says:
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        @Big Magoo: Thanks,I screwed up on the IP somehow,thought he had much less and was capped.

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          @hondo: No problem

  8. Mike says:
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    I’m trying to tweak my team for a run. I’ve got solarte at 1B, but was recently offered Hosmer for deGrom. Should I pull the trigger? After thinking about it, I’m thinking I should, considering deGrom himself said “I’m beat.” I could be wrong, but I could sees him having problems down the stretch.

    I think I can afford giving deGrom up. I’ve got Cole Hamels, Darvish, Steven wright, Fulmer, giolito, Velasquez, DeSclafani, rich hill, Betances, Casilla and sam dyson. Any thoughts, my dear Mr. Magoo?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Mike: It’s a fair deal, but I think I’d rather have deGrom in your position. Fulmer and Velasquez are on innings limits, Hill has had trouble making it through a full season since 2007, and Darvish hasn’t yet proven that he can resume a full workload post surgery. Dealing deGrom could leave you thin on the pitching side.

      • Mike Schenk says:
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        @Big Magoo: thanks! I appreciate the input!

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          @Mike Schenk: No problem. Good luck!

  9. Scott says:
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    If you’re looking at FRod in Miami or Phelps, you’d take Phelps right?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Scott: I prefer Phelps skills-wise, but I think that Rodney would get the first crack at the closing gig if Ramos went down.

  10. Scott says:
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    Do you consider James Paxton a must add, or close to it?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Scott: He’d be straddling the homeschooler/streamer categories. Definitely useful in the right matchups, but he can never seem to stay healthy.

  11. Mel

    Littlecf24 says:
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    I need 3b and 2b help right now I have rendon and reyes.

    Would you trade Britton for Sano and Dee Gordon?

    I have colome, maurer, vizcaino, dull and will have my eye on the guys you listed above.

    Thanks

    • AL KOHOLIC says:
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      @Littlecf24: i would

      • Mel

        Littlecf24 says:
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        @AL KOHOLIC:

        I find it hard to pull the trigger because Britton is so steady, but I’m getting 2 valuable everyday players, right?

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          @Littlecf24: I agree with Al. I love Britton, but you’d be addressing two needs simultaneously in that deal.

  12. Dude of Life says:
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    What do you think about McCullers for Miguel Sano?

    What do you think about McCullers in general ROS?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Dude of Life: I like McCullers. Almost included him in the must add section, but I generally don’t write about players over the 50% owned threshold (made an exception for Guerra since I’ve been beating the drum for him for a few weeks now). He’s 56.2% owned in ESPN leagues as of this moment. Can get whippy at times due to some control issues, but he misses a lot of bats, induces ground balls at a high rate, and keeps the ball in the park. His .395 BABIP should correct itself in the coming weeks too. I’d take McCullers there if you need pitching , but hold Sano if you need power.

  13. WM says:
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    Tyson Ross worth a DL spot ?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @WM: Sure, if you have a spare slot to fill. I wouldn’t expect too much from him this season though.

  14. Slimbo says:
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    Would you drop Pineda for Desclafani or Brandon mccarthy? K9 era whip

    Thanks!

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Slimbo: Pineda is likely to have the best K-rate out of that group moving forward, and his whip has been reasonable since his poor start to the season, so I’d probably hold on to him.

  15. JimmyJackJames says:
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    Who do you like more ROS for 2B – Neil Walker, Josh Harrison or Devon Travis – 15 team roto league.

    I have Walker/Harrison but debating on dropping one for Travis – keep reading they want him to bat leadoff in that filthy lineup.

    Thanks!

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @JimmyJackJames: I’d prefer Walker and Harrison there, but it’s pretty close. If you’re looking for upside, Travis is a decent option too.

  16. Just Busted says:
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    Great article! Nola or McCarthy ROS?
    Yahoo 12 team H2H
    Thanks!

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Just Busted: Thanks! I’d give a slight edge to McCarthy over Nola. McCarthy looks fresh and ready to go, while Nola looked gassed at the end of the first half.

  17. Steve says:
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    Pomerantz to the Sawx! Who should I try to move him for now that his value’s going to nosedive?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Steve: Package him in a two for one deal for someone like Carrasco?

      • Steve says:
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        @Big Magoo: Pom+Taillon for Keuchel?

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          @Steve: I’d want the Pom/Taillon side there. And I agree with Raindoggg for the most part that Pom’s value will remain about the same going forward, so there’s no need to force a deal.

    • Raindoggg says:
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      @Steve: @Steve: Wins plus better defense…..I wouldn’t expect a nosedive…..the Yankees offence is putrid….Rays as well…..Jays can’t hit lefty starters…..and yah while Fenway is hurtful compared to Petco its not as much of a negative as portrayed……plus Sox won’t be shutting him down as early (if at all now) as the Padres would have…..value even if not increased in my opinion….

  18. Micah says:
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    I just got offered Chris Sale, Kyle Seager, Kenley Jansen, David Dahl, Anthony Desclafani, and Junior Guerra for Bryce Harper in a 12 team dynasty league. I have to take that don’t i?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Micah: Need more details. Who would you have to drop to take on the extra players? Does your team need the extra depth enough to warrant dealing away a top three player in this format?

      • Micah says:
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        @Big Magoo: I’d have to drop Deikman, Granderson, Park, & De la Rosa. My current lineup:

        C Salvador Perez
        1B Carlos Santana
        2b Didi (filling in for Dee Gordon)
        3B Nolan Arenado
        SS Jonathan Villar
        MI Logan Forsythe
        CI Danny Valencia
        OF Charlie Blackmon
        OF Ryan Braun
        OF Adam Duvall
        OF Bryce Harper
        U Kendrys Morales (filling in for JD Martinez)

        P Dallas Keuchel
        Kenta Maeda
        Danny Duffy
        Ian Kennedy
        and a bunch of relievers, no closers.

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          @Micah: Is it a holds league since you are rostering a bunch of non-closing relievers?

          • Micah says:
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            @Big Magoo: It is indeed.

            • Big Magoo

              Big Magoo says:
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              @Micah: That cuts into Jansen’s value a bit. In a dynasty format, I’d be inclined to hold onto Harper for dear life. That being said, that’s a solid offer. If you’re tempted, I’d push it a bit further and counter though. Keep Sale, Seager, and Dahl in the deal. Maybe scrap the other three for a stronger fourth player. Who else does he have?

              • Micah says:
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                @Big Magoo: I ended up making the trade but I made some changes. I ended up getting Seager, Dahl, Sale, DeLeon, Walker, Desclafani, Jansen, and his 12th round pick (12 keeper league). He got Harper, Park, Granderson, Deikman, Joc and my 24th.

  19. Chucky says:
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    I respectfully disagree on your Pomeranz assessment with him pitching in the AL E. Aside from Pedro, I’m hard pressed to find another NL pitcher who pitched even remotely well in the AL E . Both Randy and CC were previously AL pitchers who cut their teeth in the grown up league. Another point, Pomeranz has never pitched more than 96 or so inn in his career and is now up past 100. I too wish I could find the silver lining but I’m not seeing it. Enlighten me, please!

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Chucky: It’s not a positive move for Pomeranz in terms of competition and home park, but he should get more run support for better win potential and the Sox play much better defense than the Padres, which should also help. Pedro, Schilling, Estrada, and Happ are a few starting pitchers who made successful transitions from the NL to the AL, but the point may be moot anyway since Pomeranz has already spent some time in the AL. The Sox didn’t trade for him to shut him down early or move him to the pen, so while he could possibly be skipped once or twice or have a phantom DL trip in his future to keep him fresh, he should get every opportunity to make plenty of starts (barring good health) down the stretch.

  20. swaggerjackers says:
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    Magoooooo!

    Thoughts on Kennys Vargas? Looking good so far since the brief callup but not sure if it’s a mirage. He was solid two seasons ago…

    Also wondering if you think Grichuk will get enough at bats in the second half to be trusted in weekly formats.

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @swaggerjackers: Swagger! It’s a small sample size for Vargas, but there’s no reason not to kick the tires on him if you have the room. And I still like Grichuk, but the way the Cardinals have handled him this season leads me to believe that they’re not so high on him anymore. That and being stuck towards the bottom of the lineup isn’t likely to lead to great counting stats.

  21. Big League Choo says:
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    10 team h2h 6×6 obp /qs

    i have too many sb trying to move starling marte.

    my marte/shoemaker for

    encarnacion/paxton

    am i giving up too much?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Big League Choo: That’s fair if you’re looking to add power. Maybe just do Marte for EE though (I prefer Shoemaker over Paxton).

  22. Scott says:
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    You left out pitchers that play atlanta.

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Scott: True. That would fall under the “streamers” category. All pitchers who face Atlanta!

  23. Nitro says:
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    Who do you like better ROS? Z. Davies or C. McChugh? Streamers?
    Thanks!!

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Nitro: Yeah, they’re both streamer/matchup guys in 12 team mixers or shallower.

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