The second half of the season is in full swing, which means it’s long past time to hold on to any illusions that you’re going to win your league with all of your brilliant draft picks intact. It’s time to throw out what you thought you knew around draft time and make adjustments. Time to decide whether you’re in it to win it this year, and what you might need to make that happen. Time to check narrative and sentiment at the door.
This is especially true for starting pitching, where a combination of rampant injuries and new rule changes designed to goose offense have just about every owner looking under every available rock for quality innings. That’s why we’re here to help, with four targets likely available in your league showing signs that they’re in for a strong finish.
Fantasy baseball starting pitcher waiver wire: Week 18
Edward Cabrera, SP, Miami Marlins
Roster percentage: 13.2%
Cabrera missed over a month with a shoulder injury, but he looked no worse for wear in his return this past week, spinning five innings of one-run ball while striking out six against the St. Louis Cardinals. The righty did walk three batters, which has always been his bugaboo: his walk rate is in the third percentile of all starters. Still, his stuff is electric, with a 90th-percentile whiff rate and 84th-percentile K rate, giving him as much upside as just about anyone you could reasonably find on the waiver wire. He’d started to get the command issues under control before he got hurt, and a matchup against the Tampa Bay Rays’ struggling offense this week shouldn’t be too tough.
Jose Quintana, SP, New York Mets
Roster percentage: 3.9%
Quintana finally made his long-awaited Mets debut this past week, and he acquitted himself pretty well, allowing two runs on six hits (on some very soft contact) against the Chicago White Sox. The lefty was one of the better starters in the NL last year, posting a 2.93 ERA split between the Pirates and Cardinals, and he showed his typical elite command against Chicago despite the long layoff. He doesn’t have the most overwhelming stuff, but he should help your ratios especially as he gets his legs under him, and a friendly matchup with the rival New York Yankees awaits.
Seth Lugo, SP/RP, San Diego Padres
Roster percentage: 19.4%
Color me confused as to why Lugo isn’t more popular in fantasy leagues. The righty has been a solid No. 3 for the Padres amid Yu Darvish’s struggles, with three quality starts in his last four outings — while allowing more than three runs just three times in 14 appearances overall this year. His fastball and curveball have both been giving batters fits, and while the profile isn’t spectacular, he’s the sort of guy who can be the glue for your fantasy rotation over the last couple of months, going five or six innings with a solid ERA and a handful of strikeouts against all but the game’s most elite offenses.
Chase Silseth, SP/RP, Los Angeles Angels
Roster percentage: 0.3%
A desire to give Shohei Ohtani a couple extra days of rest finally gave Silseth a crack in the Angels rotation, and the former top prospect made the most of it: He dominated the Yankees over 5.2 innings, allowing one run on four hits and a whopping 10 strikeouts. Of course, New York’s lineup is down very bad at the moment, so it’s possible this is fool’s gold. Still, Silseth has long been among the team’s top pitching prospects, and he put up a 2.79 ERA in an extreme hitter’s environment at Triple-A Salt Lake City. His slider carved up the Yankees, and if that keeps up, he should be worth adding in all but the shallowest of leagues.