Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Must-Add Young Pitchers

Rays' right-hander Jacob Faria has made good on his strikeout upside and looks like the real deal through three big league starts.

It’s pretty clear that baseball is now a young man’s game. When we think of the best players in baseball today we think of names like Trout, Harper, Judge, Arenado, Seager, and how can we leave out the white-hot Cody Bellinger. Of course, all of these young superstar players are most certainly not available on the waiver wire in your fantasy baseball league. However, here are a few names that might be depending on the depth of your league as I suggest you strongly consider adding them to give your roster a shot in the arm now and into the future.

P – Jacob Faria (TB) – Owned in 57.9% of ESPN leagues

I myself actually added Faria the morning of May 29th when three of my pitchers in Danny Duffy, Vince Velasquez and Charlie Morton almost simultaneously hit the DL. I expected Faria to get a shot in the Rays rotation this season, but my wish came to fruition quicker than I thought when the young right-hander made his MLB debut just eight days later. In three MLB starts this season, Faria has pitched 19.2 innings, surrendered three earned runs (one in each start) and struck out 22. He sports a 10.07 K/9, 1.83 BB/9, a 1.37 ERA, 1.50 FIP and has yet to surrender a long ball. The strikeouts come as no surprise considering he blew hitters away at a 12.89 K/9 clip this season with Triple-A Durham. My apologies on the timing of this piece as it may be too late to scoop up Faria off the waiver wire, but he might just be out there in shallow leagues where he is still a must-add, especially in dynasty, full-keeper leagues. At the ripe old age of 23 this is a very high-upside arm that can provide elite strikeout figures while limiting damage in the ERA category.

Young Padres’ right-hander Dinelson Lamet has super-elite strikeout upside that can help your fantasy team right now.

P – Dinelson Lamet (SD) – Owned in 6.2% of ESPN leagues

Lamet hasn’t prevented runs like Faria has early in his MLB career, but he sports as much, if not more strikeout upside. Through the first five starts of his big league tenure, Lamet is striking out hitters at an enormous 13.88 K/9 clip. He has some control issues with a 3.38 BB/9 rate and his 7.50 ERA and 5.75 FIP do not spark optimism, however it’s just too hard to ignore that strikeout rate. Lamet has allowed an eye-popping eight home runs in just 24 innings this season, however he has allowed well under 1 HR/9 in every minor league stop where he pitched more than 11 innings. With this in mind, perhaps his 3.88 xFIP (ERA independent of fielding with home runs pegged at 10.5% of fly balls surrendered) is a better indication of his pitching and upside moving forward. Given the low ownership in ESPN leagues it’s quite likely the 24-year-old is sitting on your waiver wire as we speak. Don’t let the ERA fool you, this is a guy with extremely elite strikeout upside who calls the pitching-friendly Petco Park home and can help your roster immediately as he continues to make good on his raw ability.

P – Alex Meyer (LAA) – Owned in 11.6% of ESPN leagues

Remember this piece? Since that article was written Meyer has made four starts spanning 22.2 innings, surrendered just three earned runs and struck out 27. His 4.76 BB/9 clip in that time is a little bit of an eye sore, but his 3.03 FIP suggests that Meyer has been the real deal in the month of June. Meyer took quite a bit of time to become fantasy relevant as he is no spring chicken at the age of 27, but he has always flashed high-strikeout upside. Meyer has crafted a K/9 over 10 in every minor league stop where he pitched more than 39 innings and currently sports a 10.76 K/9 figure in 46 big league frames this season. His 0.59 HR/9 is impressive, as is his 3.73 overall FIP which indicates that his 3.52 ERA is an accurate depiction of his work thus far this season. While I would certainly like to see him reign in his 5.87 BB/9 figure (he’s gotten better in this area each month), his high-strikeout upside combined with his ability to keep the ball in the yard should have you reaching out and plucking him from your waiver wire, especially in dynasty leagues as this could be the start of a nice career for the former top prospect.

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