Congratulations: With just two weekends left in the 2023 MLB regular season, if you’re reading this post, chances are you’re either deep into your fantasy playoffs or close enough in your roto league that a key pickup or two can make all the difference. It’s officially time to quit being precious: Unless you’re in a keeper/dynasty league, loyalty and long-term outlooks mean nothing; the only thing that matters is finding who’s hot and riding them to fantasy glory. Which means smart adds have become even more important: Hit on an under-the-radar free agent, and a trophy awaits; miss, and you’ll spend the winter wondering what if.
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. Next up: starting pitchers.
Fantasy baseball waiver wire: Week 26 starting pitcher targets
Bailey Ober, SP, Minnesota Twins
Roster percentage: 25.3%
As his innings count climbed to a career high and his effectiveness waned, the Twins sent Ober down to the Minors at the end of August for a little resting and retooling. The righty returned this past week, though, and he looked revitalized, striking out six over five innings of two-run ball while earning the win over the White Sox — lowering his ERA to 3.67 and his WHIP to 1.128. Granted, Chicago isn’t the toughest of opponents, but neither is Ober’s remaining schedule: He’s slated to face the Reds and A’s in his final two starts of the regular season, and Minnesota has already committed to letting the righty make his next start as normal.
Edward Cabrera, SP, Miami Marlins
Roster percentage: 8.0%
Cabrera was used as a bulk guy following an opener in his last appearance, and he gave us the full Edward Cabrera Experience: 4.2 innings, one run, one hit, five Ks ... and a whopping six walks. The righty has among the worst walk rates in baseball, and that wildness just seems to be a part of his game at this point. Still, the stuff is electric, and his ceiling is sky-high if he’s around the strike zone — just look at his first outing in August, when he struck out eight over four shutout innings (while walking just two) against the fearsome Dodgers. The Marlins’ banged-up rotation means Cabrera should continue to get looks, making him a worthy flier if you need Ks and wins at this point in the year.
Cal Quantrill, SP, Cleveland Guardians
Roster percentage: 10.4%
At this point, we know what Quantrill is: He throws a ton of strikes, doesn’t miss a ton of bats and can consistently go deep into games when Cleveland’s strong defense is turning those balls in play into outs (80th-percentile average exit velocity). That’s been the case in each of the righty’s last three outings, all of which have been quality starts — with three runs combined over his last 18 innings. He’s locked into the Guardians rotation, and the schedule is pretty friendly from here: Quantrill gets the Royals on Monday, then the Orioles and the Tigers to close out his season. If you’re looking for ratio help (and/or quality starts), Quantrill
Sawyer Gipson-Long, SP, Detroit Tigers
Roster percentage: 2.9%
Gipson-Long was solid in his MLB debut last week, limiting the White Sox to two runs while striking out five over five innings and earning his first career victory. His follow-up, however, was even better, with a whopping 11 Ks over five innings of one-run ball against the Angels on Saturday night. The sixth-round pick has never been regarded as much of a prospect, but he did post a 11.4 K/9 across two levels of the Minors this year, and if you squint you can see a bit of Logan Webb in his game: great changeup, sinker-heavy approach. It certainly looks like an MLB-caliber arsenal, and he gets the A’s and Royals down the stretch.