MLB Week 14 Pitching Waiver Wire: A Couple Of Halos Worth A Look

NamePositionTeamESPN Own %
Alex WoodSPLos Angeles Angels17.9
Patrick SandovalSPLos Angeles Angels17.3
Tarik SkubalSPDetroit Tigers35.5
Carlos CarrascoSPNew York Mets57.8
Noah SyndergaardSPNew York Mets35.9

1. Alex Cobb | SP | Los Angeles Angels

Don’t look now but Alex Cobb is quietly putting together a solid season. Overall, he’s 5-2 with a 4.41 ERA in 49 innings pitched with 60 strikeouts and 16 walks. While admittedly he did have two clunkers against Seattle and Arizona recently, those were the only two starts in his last six in which he did not pitch at least five innings giving up one earned run or less. Perhaps most encouraging for Cobb going forward are some of his peripheral statistics. Cobb is in the 82nd-percentile in Expected Slugging, 95th-percentile in Barrel%, and in the 97th-percentile in Chase Rate. He’s doing a solid job of both avoiding hard contact and generating swings and misses. Needless to say, that’s a pretty good combination for a major league pitcher. Looking forward, Cobb appears to have solid matchups for the next month or so. As it stands, he could face the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Mariners, the Twins, and the Rockies (in Anaheim) over his next five starts. The promising peripherals, decent results, and solid matchups moving forward make Alex Cobb an intriguing add.

2. Patrick Sandoval | SP | Los Angeles Angels

Ironically, Alex Cobb is not the only Angels pitcher that has made the list today. For starters, Sandoval figures to face more or less the same teams over the next month or so. He might also even get a start against Baltimore rather than the Yankees. Overall, the 24-year-old lefty has had a promising start to his 2021 campaign. He’s 2-2 with a 3.69 ERA in 39 innings pitched with 40 strikeouts and 15 walks. His 1.256 WHIP, 4.75 FIP, and 4.05 Expected ERA all indicate that he might be in line for a reduction in production. However, his ability to generate swings and misses has not only provided him with solid results so far, it generates optimism moving forward. On the season, Sandoval is in the 94th-percentile in Whiff% and the 73rd-percentile in Chase Rate. Much of this nastiness comes from his devastating changeup, which has an Expected Slugging of just .234 on 213 pitches thrown. The other pitches, however, are a different story. Sandoval’s fastball is getting crushed, which is limiting his ceiling. Should he show an ability to improve this pitch, he’ll begin trending in the positive direction rather quickly. For now, his solid matchups over the next month or so should provide decent production from a streamer.

3. Tarik Skubal | SP | Detroit Tigers

Much like Sandoval, Skubal is another young pitcher showing flashes of talent in 2021. On the season, Skubal is 4-7 with a 4.33 ERA in 70.2 innings pitched with 85 strikeouts and 33 walks. To be upfront, Skubal is not posting the greatest peripherals. For starters, he owns a 1.443 WHIP, 5.23 FIP, and 5.33 Expected ERA. He’s walking too many batters and giving up a lot of loud contact. His 90.7 Average Exit Velocity puts him in just the 17th-percentile and opponents are registering an Expected Slugging of .490. Why even add him then? For starters, he knows how to generate swings and misses, as evident by his 85 strikeouts in 70.2 innings pitched. In addition, he ranks in the 67th-percentile in terms of Whiff%. Even furthermore, it’s really only one pitch that is getting hammered. Skubal’s fastball, which he throws 49.2% of the time, has an opponent Average Exit Velocity of 91.9 and an Expected Slugging of .624. That being said, none of the Expected Slugging numbers on any of his next three most used pitches are above .319. For this reason, a simple adjustment or change in pitch distribution might yield remarkably positive results for Skubal. As it stands, Skubal will likely face the Rangers and Twins multiple times each over the next month or so, with a chance of facing both the Royals and Orioles as well. If you can get past his next matchup against The White Sox, the next handful of starts don’t look particularly scary.

4. Carlos Carrasco | SP | New York Mets

Stash #1 of this week’s waiver wire post. Right now in ESPN leagues, Carrasco is owned in just 57.8% of leagues, despite being cleared to restart his throwing program this past week, according to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. His recovery was halted with a brief shutdown, which prompted many owners to drop him, thinking it was unlikely we’d see him return to any bit of relevance in 2021. However, a quick turnaround on the shutdown has already led to him throwing a baseball. In 11 years with the Indians, Carrasco owns a 3.77 ERA and 3.42 FIP over 1242.1 innings pitched with 1305 strikeouts and 321 walks. His return to baseball recovering from cancer has been remarkable, as he posted a 2.91 ERA in 68 innings pitched in 2020. Needless to say, he’s got a long track record of success and virtually everyone in baseball is rooting for him to return. As soon as more reports start coming out about his throwing program progressing, that 57.8% owned mark will start to climb. If you have the IL space, consider stashing him now to get ahead of the curve.

5. Noah Syndergaard | SP | New York Mets

Stash #2 of this week’s waiver wire post. I know, I know, people seem to be dropping Noah Syndergaard right now. Why am I recommending you pick him up? For starters, he’s nearly four weeks into his “four to six week” shutdown time period. That means within the next few weeks, reports will release about him returning to his rehab program. As soon as that happens, his 35.9 ownership percentage will start to shoot up. Depending on how much you believe in Syndergaard, this might be your only opportunity to roster him, provided you have the space on your roster. In case you need reminding, we’re not talking about Jake Odorizzi here. Noah Syndergaard is just 28 years old and has a career 3.31 ERA and 2.92 FIP in 716 innings pitched with 775 strikeouts and 166 walks. Needless to say, he’s Cy Young material and would be extremely valuable for your fantasy team if he returned for the end of the year.

Zach Boeder is a high school math teacher that has a passion for sports and data journalism. Zach received a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics and a Master's Degree in Education from the University of Arizona. He currently teaches in Saint Paul and Lives in Minneapolis with his partner Sarah, their dog Dozier, and cat Remy. Zach plans to argue for a very long time that "2020 would have been the Twins' year if baseball hadn't been shut down."

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