Pitcher waiver reports are not my favorite thing in the fantasy baseball world.
Hitter reports are pretty clean and easy to work with. When it comes to pitchers, a reliever with a win or two in a month can skew the list. Yes it makes things more interesting, but it doesn’t necessarily make it more helpful.
To combat this, I’ve slipped two extra names in — one reliever and one starter — just to provide ample options for your ailing pitching staff.
Dealing with injuries? Inconsistency maybe? There are some options out there and these are some of the best.
Ownership rates in Yahoo and ESPN leagues are included. Statistics are current as of the morning of Sunday, July 25:
Vicente Padilla (31% Yahoo, 34.8% ESPN) — No delusions here. Padilla’s not going to be this good all season, however he’s pretty awesome right now: three wins, 34 Ks and a 1.30 ERA with a 0.77 WHIP in the last month. He had a 14-inning scoreless streak halted on Friday. He’s only 3-2 in his last six despite a 1.30 ERA. He should be on more rosters right now.
Madison Bumgarner (36% Yahoo, 52.5% ESPN) — Has four wins in the last month. Over that stretch he has 31 Ks in 40.2 innings, a 2.43 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. If you want to play matchup games, he’s 4-1 with a 1.87 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP on the road. If you carry an extreme dose of crazy, play him in away night games against lefty heavy lineups. He should be owned in all keeper/dynasty leagues at this point and his Yahoo rate should be closer to his ESPN rate.
Jonathan Niese (Yahoo 29%, ESPN 24.3%) — His recent stretch — winless in his last three starts despite a 3.20 ERA — might be scaring some people off. But let’s compare numbers: Niese has two wins, 32.2 IP, 31K, a 2.20 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP in the last month. Another pitcher, who is 94% owned, has just 3 more Ks, 3.2 less innings, one more win, an ERA more than half a run higher and a slightly higher WHIP over the same stretch. The other pitcher is must-hold, coveted golden child of baseball Stephen Strasburg.
Brett Myers (Yahoo 29%, ESPN 23.2%) — Myers has been on this update before and I’m singing the same song. The chorus echoes quality starts (he has 14 this season) and workhorse (six innings pitched in every 2010 start) over and over again. In the last month, Myers has two wins and 24 Ks in 34.2 innings. He has a 3.38 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP over that stretch.
Vin Mazzaro (Yahoo 7%, ESPN 3.9%) — I suggested adding Mazzaro earlier this week. He’s 4-1 in his last five decisions. In the last month, he has a 2.12 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP with 24 Ks and four wins in 34 innings. The low WHIP is a bit surprising considering the 14 free passes he’s issued the last five games. He’s a cautious add, especially if you need a spot start, but don’t be surprised if his WHIP goes on a roller coaster ride sometime soon.
Alfredo Simon (Yahoo 37% Yahoo, 50.1% ESPN) — Despite the 50% ownership in ESPNs, Simon is still not owned enough. He has seven saves in 13.2 innings in the last month, with a 1.98 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP. People probably haven’t added Simon because of Mike Gonzalez’s return, however, the Orioles have announced that the closer job is Simon’s until he loses it. He’s been effective all season. If he wouldn’t have gone on the DL Simon would be owned in the 70-80% range right now and should be owned in your league.
J.J. Putz (Yahoo 31%, ESPN, 12.3%) — A developing situation for Putz: The fall of Bobby Jenks. The Jenkster will probably make his way back into the closer role, but for now Ozzie Guillen has declared the job “open.” Putz has a 25 appearance scoreless streak ongoing. Bet he’s the top candidate for the open spot. Don’t forget, Putz has 105 career saves.
Sean Marshall (Yahoo 24%, ESPN, 4.5%) — There are no saves to be had here, but wins and holds make him a viable choice. Even in leagues where holds are not a category, Marshall is a good option for closerless squads. He struck out 18 in 16.1 innings in the last month, has eight consecutive shutout appearances and has shut out foes in 15 of his last 16.
Hong-Chih Kuo (Yahoo 16%, ESPN, 4.1%) — Another choice that isn’t a save machine but does get holds and has been a supremely effective reliever. He’s got a 0.86 season ERA, a .123 batting average against and still hasn’t allowed a hit to a lefty in 2010. In the last month, he struck out 13 and earned a win while snagging a pair of saves when Jonathan Broxton wasn’t available.
Jonny Venters (Yahoo 6%, ESPN, 0.8%) — Venters has five holds since July 7th, which is why he was one of the rising stars in our most recent holds update. Venters has 14 Ks in 16.1 innings in the last month. He also has a 0.56 ERA and a 0.81 WHIP over that same stretch. Like Marshall and Kuo, even in leagues that don’t count holds, Venters is could provide some minor help out of your RP slot.
Joaquin Benoit (Yahoo 6%, ESPN, 2.1%) — He didn’t make our holds update, but Benoit will likely make the list next time. He has holds in each of his last three appearances and has the potential to rack up Ks at a high rate. In the last month he struck out 19 batters in 12.2 innings and posted a 0.71 ERA and a 0.55 WHIP.
Logan Ondrusek (Yahoo 0%, ESPN 0%) — Ondrusek is the one player on this list that cannot be recommended at this point. But his 15.1 scoreless inning streak could make him more of a household name by the time we do the next update. Ondrusek earned his first big league win on Friday and has struck out nine batters in 13 innings in the last month. If he starts picking up holds/saves/more Ks over the next week and keeps up the scoreless pitching, he’s worth considering.