MLB Week 23 Pitching Waiver Wire: Look Towards The AL Central

NamePositionTeamESPN Own %
Reynaldo LópezSPChicago White Sox9.5
Cal QuantrillSPCleveland Indians67.4
Ryan YarbroughSPTampa Bay Rays32.3
Bailey OberSPMinnesota Twins11.3
Luis PatiñoSPTampa Bay Rays13.6

1. Reynaldo López | SP | Chicago White Sox

Through 35 innings in 2021, López has a 1.54 ERA with 37 strikeouts and seven walks. He started the season pitching out of the bullpen, but has recently made appearances in the starting rotation out of necessity. With the recent injuries to Lance Lynn and Lucas Giolito, López is primed to have yet again another extended stay as a starting pitcher. While he’s a bit risky as he’s not really stretched out for a 75-100 pitch outing, he might get there soon. Between August 17th and August 27th, he made three appearances and threw 66, 75, and 60 pitches respectively. In the last of those three appearances, Chicago experimented with an opener approach before turning to López as the bulk reliever starting in the 2nd inning. One way or another, Lopez is in a position to become more valuable in fantasy. With how well he is pitching, there’s too much potential there to pass up.

2. Cal Quantrill | SP | Cleveland Indians

It took including him on my list twice and a few more weeks of pitching well, but Cal Quantrill’s ownership percentage is finally starting to look more appropriate. As it stands, he is just shy of 70% ownership. If he’s available in your league, take a good long look at who you have on your roster! Quantrill had a 1.42 ERA with 40 strikeouts and 12 walks in 38 innings pitched in the month of August. Over that stretch, he finished with a record of 2-0. In fact, perhaps more impressive, Quantrill has a 2.04 ERA and 4-0 record over his last 11 starts. Why are you still plugging in pitchers such as John Means, Sean Manaea, and Andrew Heaney on their name or team recognition alone? If his recent pitching success doesn’t convince you, consider the fact that six of his remaining nine series matchups are against The Rangers, The Royals, The Yankees, and the Twins. Not bad at all for a pitcher who has been nearly untouchable for two straight months.

3. Ryan Yarbrough | SP | Tampa Bay Rays

I’m not sure I can recall another pitcher that has been added and dropped in the fantasy community more often over the past three seasons than Ryan Yarbrough. Overall, Yarbrough owns a 4.50 ERA with 104 strikeouts and 23 walks in 134 innings pitched in 2021. In his last nine appearances (eight starts and one following an opener), Yarbrough has a 4.53 ERA with 34 strikeouts and eight walks in 47.2 innings pitched. Yes, these aren’t particularly great numbers. Regardless, he’s 4-1 over that stretch pitching for the awesome Tampa Bay Rays. More recently however, he’s 2-0 over his last three appearances with a 2.40 ERA. The schedule is a bit of a mixed bag down the stretch. Here are the remaining matchups: Minnesota, Boston, Detroit, Toronto, Detroit, Toronto, Miami, Houston, and the Yankees. If you can afford rostering him and sitting him against Boston, Toronto, and Houston, he’ll likely make it worth your while.

4. Bailey Ober | SP | Minnesota Twins

Who the heck is Bailey Ober? At almost seven feet tall and 26 years old, Ober made his major league debut for the Minnesota Twins earlier this year out of necessity (Remember when the Twins’ rotation included Maeda, Berrios, Pineda, Shoemaker, and Happ?). Now, as a fantasy player, can you name anyone else in the Twins’ rotation? Well, Bailey Ober is one of them and he’s actually been pretty decent. Overall in 16 starts, Ober has a 3.98 ERA with 77 strikeouts and 17 walks in 74.7 innings pitched. More strikeouts than innings pitched and a great walk rate are typically a pretty promising combination for a young starting pitcher. More recently, Ober had a 2.30 ERA across five starts in the month of August. Here’s why you should pick him up though: He’s slotted for two starts next week: Cleveland and Kansas City. As far as streaming starting pitching goes, and particularly two-start pitchers, Ober is a pretty good combination of recent pitching success and future matchups.

5. Luis Patiño | SP | Tampa Bay Rays

The highly touted former San Diego prospect has had mixed results thus far pithing for Tampa Bay. Overall, he has a 4.24 ERA with 58 strikeouts and 22 walks in 57.1 innings pitched. He initially looked great out of the bullpen or in shorter starts, but struggled a bit as the Rays attempted to stretch him out for real starts. Between July and early August, he got crushed to the tune of a 5+ ERA over a 5-start stretch. However, in his three starts since, he owns a 3.07 ERA with 12 strikeouts and seven walks in 14.2 innings pitched. Yes, the lack of strikeouts and the high walk numbers are a bit alarming, especially considering they’re much worse than what he demonstrated earlier in the season. Regardless, the results have been there, as he picked up two wins in those three starts pitching for the Rays (much like his teammate, Ryan Yarbrough). He’s also been given a longer leash as well, cracking 100 pitches three times in August, something he had not done yet in 2021. Much like Yarbrough, if you can roster Patiño and only play him in the positive matchups, you’re likely to be happy with the results.

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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