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Top fantasy baseball starting pitcher waiver pickups for Week 20

Chris Landers goes over their top fantasy baseball waiver wire targets at starting pitcher going into the week of Sunday, August 6, including Ross Stripling and Nick Martinez.

Ross Stripling of the San Francisco Giants walks towards the dugout following the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on July 24, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan. Photo by Brandon Sloter/Image Of Sport/Getty Images

After a dizzying few days, we’re finally starting to recover from the chaos of the 2023 trade deadline. The landscape of the league has shifted dramatically over the last few days: Justin Verlander is an Astro; Max Scherzer (and Jordan Montgomery) is a Ranger; the Dodgers, Rays and Orioles all found themselves a starting pitcher, while the Reds didn’t. The Angels (and Cubs) are all the way in, the Mets are all the way out, and the Twins and Yankees ... apparently did not have cell reception on Tuesday afternoon.

Of course, the real-life game isn’t the only thing that’s been flipped upside down. As it does every year, the trade deadline will have fantasy baseball ramifications that will be felt for the rest of the season, leaving managers with plenty to keep track of as they get their rosters ready for the stretch run. Luckily, our weekly waiver wire recommendations are here to help, with position-by-position looks are players you should consider snagging off the waiver wire as the deadline dust settles. Next up: starting pitchers.

Fantasy baseball waiver wire: Week 20 starting pitcher targets

Ross Stripling, SP/RP, San Francisco Giants

Roster percentage: 6.9%

A slow start to the season — and a glut of options in San Fran — relegated Stripling to a relief/bulk role. But with the Giants dealing with a slew of injuries to their pitching staff, Stripling’s gotten another crack at sticking in the rotation, and the veteran is making the most of it. He posted consecutive quality starts against the Cincinnati Reds and Detroit Tigers before pitching 4.1 innings of one-run ball after an opener against the Boston Red Sox. The righty has shelved his fastball for a slider/changeup-heavy approach, and it’s paid dividends of late. And you only have to go back as far as 2022 (3.01 ERA in 24 starts) for the last time Stripling was a quality big-league starter.

Nick Martinez, SP/RP, San Diego Padres

Roster percentage: 6.5%

With Joe Musgrove out for the foreseeable future — and possibly the rest of the year — with a shoulder injury and the team only adding lefty Rich Hill at the trade deadline, starting pitching will be in high demand for a Padres team that still has eyes on contending for a Wild Card spot down the stretch. Martinez made a spot start for Musgrove at Coors Field last week and came through with three shutout innings despite having been in the bullpen since the end of April. Afterwards, manager Bob Melvin confirmed that the righty had likely done enough to warrant a more serious look as a starter, and we’ve seen how good he can be in that role:

Cole Ragans, SP/RP, Kansas City Royals

Roster percentage: 0.4%

With Daniel Lynch still on the shelf with a shoulder injury, Ragans made the most of his audition to stick in the rotation for the rest of the year, striking out eight in six shutout innings against the New York Mets this week. It didn’t seem like a fluke, either, with a mid-90s fastball that he spotted expertly at the top of the zone to set up curveballs and changeups down. Kauffman Stadium and the AL Central are very pitcher-friendly environments, and Ragans should get every chance down the stretch.

Zack Littell, SP/RP, Tampa Bay Rays

Roster percentage: 1.1%

With Shane McClanahan on the IL with a forearm injury, the Rays’ rotation is in crisis, leading to Littell making his second straight start this week against the Detroit Tigers. The righty came through with six shutout innings, and while he doesn’t have wipeout stuff (just one strikeout) he fills the zone with strikes and forces a ton of ground balls. Tampa knows how to get the most out of even mediocre arms, and if Littell is going to have a rotation spot for the next few weeks, he should be scooped up in 12-team and deeper leagues.