|Name||Position||Team||ESPN Own %|
|Jameson Taillon||SP||New York Yankees||61.9|
|Jordan Montgomery||SP||New York Yankees||56.7|
|Patrick Sandoval||SP||Los Angeles Angels||43.9|
|Tony Gonsolin||SP||Los Angeles Dodgers||48.6|
|Tanner Houck||SP||Boston Red Sox||15.3|
1. Jameson Taillon | SP | New York Yankees
Yes, Taillon was on my list last week and I’m including him again. I’ll admit, I was worried about the start against Boston. He then proceeded to toss seven innings of one-run ball and pick up the win against the Red Sox. Over his last seven starts now, Taillon has a 2.59 ERA with 35 strikeouts and 12 walks in 41.2 innings pitched. He’s not striking out a ton of batters, and the Yankees offense isn’t providing him with loads of run support as we expected they would prior to the season, but he’s been remarkably good for quite some time now. Since exiting after just 0.1 innings on June 12th and ballooning his season-long ERA up to 5.74, these past seven starts have brought his ERA back down to a respectable 4.36. Upcoming on the schedule for New York? They have Miami, Baltimore, Seattle, and Kansas City. Yeah, I’d say streaming starting pitching doesn’t get much better than Taillon right now.
2. Jordan Montgomery | SP | New York Yankees
If not Taillon, consider another Yankees starter, Jordan Montgomery. He carries all of the benefits of the same upcoming schedule as Taillon does and he’s been nearly as good as of late. Over his last seven starts, Montgomery owns a 3.00 ERA with 41 strikeouts and 15 walks in 39 innings pitched. The ERA is a tad higher, but he’s striking out batters at a good rate. Overall on the season, Montgomery carries a 3.78 ERA with 110 strikeouts in 109.2 innings pitched across 20 starts. He’s quietly been pretty dang good and there’s frankly no reason he shouldn’t be rostered. He even has the peripherals to back it up. His Average Exit Velocity and HardHit% are both well above average, his Chase Rate is in the 85th-percentile, and many of his remaining metrics are right around league average.
3. Patrick Sandoval | SP | Los Angeles Angels
Sandoval is quickly becoming a household name on waiver wire posts in 2021. He started a total of 15 games between 2019 and 2020 with suboptimal results. Now, at age 24, he seems to be putting things together. Through 14 appearances and 11 starts, Sandoval owns a 3.52 ERA with 81 strikeouts and 26 walks in 71.2 innings. Boy, his ability to generate swings and misses sure looks pretty incredible. He’s in the 95th-percentile in Whiff%, the 80th-percentile in Chase Rate, and in the 73rd-percentile in Strikeout Percentage. Sure, he’s walking a few too many batters, but that’s about it. His batted ball statistics are spectacular as well. His Average Exit Velocity is in the 96th-percentile. He came just a few outs away from a no-hitter in his most recent start against the Twins and will look to keep his breakout season going today against Oakland and next week against the Rangers.
4. Tony Gonsolin | SP | Los Angeles Dodgers
Just like Sandoval, Gonsolin has seemingly been a mainstay in my waiver wire considerations for quite some time now. I quickly snatched him up in my league well before he returned, and held on for a few starts before dropping him in a roster pinch. Despite his limited pitch counts upon his return, I knew eventually his leash would be lengthened and that I would regret dropping him. Slowly but surely, we’re seeing his pitch count rise. Over his first three starts, Gonsolin averaged 64 pitches per start. In the next three, it was 64 again. In his most recent three starts, however, he’s averaged 81 pitches each outing. Most recently he completed 5.1 innings of shutout baseball against the Rockies and picked up the win. On the season now in 34 innings pitched, Gonsolin has a 2.38 ERA with 41 strikeouts and 21 walks. The walks are high, but he’s managing his way around them quite well. There’s enough of a track record in Gonsolin’s relatively short career to start getting rather excited about him going forward. If he’s available in your league, he’s a great add for the stretch run.
5. Tanner Houck | SP | Boston Red Sox
Here’s a flyer pick if there ever was one. Not that he hasn’t been good, because he has. So far on the season, Houck has a 2.45 ERA with 30 strikeouts and 5 walks in 22 innings pitched. It’s also not the fact that he’s not even a major leaguer at this exact moment. He was optioned back to AAA on Thursday. However, Red Sox skipper Alex Cora has already reassured us that this is simply for roster flexibility and that Houck will be back for next weekend’s double-header against Toronto. It’s not even the schedule. After the Blue Jays, here are the Red Sox remaining series matchups: Rays, Orioles, Yankees, Rangers, Twins, Indians, Rays, Indians, Rays, White Sox, Mariners, Orioles, Mets, Yankees, Orioles, Nationals. A lot of Red Sox pitching is going to help some teams win some fantasy matchups down the stretch here in 2021 and Houck could be one of those pitchers. The biggest question mark though is his ability to pitch deep into games. Or rather, his inability. He’s just 25, didn’t pitch too many innings in 2020, and has only pitched into the fifth innings once this season at the major league level. Sure, his rate statistics look great. However, to be fantasy relevant, we need to know that he’s going to make a start every fifth day and that he’s going to pitch long enough to qualify for wins. That being said, especially in deeper leagues, he’s worth adding for now to see what you can get over his next handful of starts.