|Name||Position||Team||ESPN Own %|
|Logan Gilbert||SP||Seattle Mariners||44|
|Tony Gonsolin||SP||Los Angeles Dodgers||50.6|
|Shane McClanahan||SP||Tampa Bay Rays||23.1|
|Jake Odorizzi||SP||Houston Astros||47.4|
|Kwang Hyun Kim||SP||St. Louis Cardinals||24.4|
1. Logan Gilbert | SP | Seattle Mariners
We all remember the general hype around Logan Gilbert when we first heard he was being called up. Well, his major league debut didn’t get off to the best start and the fantasy community settled down a tad. I’m here to tell you that we should probably be getting excited again. He’s made 10 starts now and is 3-2 with a 3.51 ERA, 0.966 WHIP, 53 strikeouts, and 10 walks in 48.2 innings pitched. He’s only gotten better so far, as well. In his first three starts, he allowed four earned runs, three earned runs, and two earned runs across four innings, 2.2 innings, and four innings respectively. Not great. Since then? He’s 3-0 with a 2.37 ERA and 42-to-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio across 38 innings pitched. He should pitch this weekend against the Angels, followed up with a mixture of matchups that will likely include Oakland, Texas a couple of times, and either the Yankees or the Rays. At this point, he’s been good enough to roster regardless of his matchups.
2. Tony Gonsolin | SP | Los Angeles Dodgers
All of the Gonsolin truthers out there are really having their patience tested with this one. Since making his 2021 debut, Gonsolin has made seven appearances, one of which followed an opener, and has topped out at just 83 pitches. Only one of his starts was he able to surpass five innings of work, which he did on 73 pitches. The good news is, if he stays healthy, he should start seeing his leash get loosened just a tad with each subsequent start. In addition to Trevor Bauer remaining on the administrative leave list, Clayton Kershaw just hit the IL. The Dodgers will be needing some length out of their remaining starting pitchers. This is where Gonsolin should come in, as his production over the last few years and early results in 2021 indicate that he can be a quality pitcher down the stretch for Los Angeles. So far in 25.1 innings pitched in 2021, Gonsolin owns a 2.13 ERA with 31 strikeouts and 15 walks. Looking ahead at the Dodgers schedule, Gonsolin might unfortunately need to make a start at Coors field to open up the second half. After that, he should get a start at home against Colorado, followed up with another start against either the Giants or the Diamondbacks. If he can keep up his production with an increased pitch limit, you’ll be sorry you let him sit there on the waiver wire for so long.
3. Shane McClanahan | SP | Tampa Bay Rays
McClanahan has become a staple on waiver wire posts for the better part of the entire first half. Not staying on a roster is not for a lack of prospect pedigree, as he’s one of the Rays top prospects. It’s not for a lack of raw stuff either, as he ranks in the 88th-percentile in Whiff% and in the 82nd-percentile in Chase Rate. His two main pitches, his fastball and slider, which he throws an equal amount of time, are both electric. While the results haven’t always been spectacular, he’d likely be owned everywhere if it weren’t for the strict pitch count limit he’s been on for much of the year. Over his first eight starts, McClanahan hit 80 pitches just once. However, here are the pitch counts in his five starts since: 89, 86, 87, 71, 91. With the loss of Glasnow, the Rays needed some more innings out of their starting pitchers and they turned to Shane McClanahan. Overall, he owns a 4.05 ERA with 71 strikeouts and 21 walks in 60 innings pitched. We love the strikeouts, but the walks could come down. Additionally, his fastball is getting hit just a little too hard to make him untouchable. Overall, however, I still say he should be rostered. While they may ultimately shut him down at some point, he should see a nice little stretch here over the next month or so. While he will likely open the second half with a start against Atlanta, that should be followed up with a start against either Baltimore or Cleveland, followed up with the Yankees and either Seattle or Baltimore after that. Pick him up for this stretch of matchups and go from there.
4. Jake Odorizzi | SP | Houston Astros
Ahh, yes. Jake Odorizzi. We meet yet again. After his fantasy relevant 2019 season, Odorizzi seems to have become the epitome of a spot start. 2020 was plagued with injury, and a couple bad starts and an injury at the beginning of this season knocked him off everyone’s radar. He’s healthy now, however, and has quietly been pitching really well. Since returning from the IL, Odorizzi has made eight starts going back to May 29th. In those eight starts, he owns a 3-2 record with a 2.29 ERA, .182 opponent batting average, 33 strikeouts, and nine walks in 39.1 innings pitched. Sure, the strikeouts and walks are not superb by any means, but they never have been for Odo. He’s also pitching for the Astros, making him a lot more enticing to anyone playing in leagues where the Win stat is counted. He’s absolutely been getting the job done and should be rostered everywhere. He’s going to start over the weekend against the White Sox, but should get to follow that up with starts against Texas and Seattle.
5. Kwang Hyun Kim | SP | St. Louis Cardinals
Another pitcher that has seemingly been back and forth between rosters and the waiver wire all season, Kwang Hyun Kim is quietly putting together a really good season. He’s 4-5 with a 3.11 ERA and a 59-to-25 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 72.1 innings pitched. I’ll agree, the lack of strikeouts and the amount of walks are cause for concern. In fact, it’s likely the only reason he’s not rostered a lot more than he already is. That being said, it’s really tough to argue with the production he has given fantasy owners. He has made 15 starts and given up at most four earned runs, which he has done just twice. He’s given up three earned runs three times, and everything else has been less than that. Most recently, Kim has won three straight games allowing just one earned run across 18 innings of work. His upcoming schedule is a bit hodge-podge, with both good and bad matchups mixed in. He’s been too good though to not pick up and play for the time being.