|Name||Team||Position||ESPN Own %|
1. Michael Pineda | SP | Minnesota Twins
Through three starts, Michael Pineda has given up just a cool two earned runs across 18 innings of work, striking out 17 batters while walking just three. In addition to an ERA of just 1.00, he also owns a WHIP of just 0.722, and has an above average chase rate. It’s more likely than not he’s already been snatched up in your league, as his seven scoreless innings Thursday against Boston sent everyone running to the waiver wire and his ownership percentage skyrocketed. In fact, over his 183.2 innings pitched for Minnesota dating back to 2019, Michael Pineda has been quite solid. He owns a 3.77 ERA and is striking out 8.6 batters per nine innings to just 1.8 walks per nine innings. As it stands, having pitched on Thursday, he will likely go again Tuesday against the Athletics. However, the Twins do have an off day on Thursday, making it unlikely that that you’ll get two starts out of him. If not, you’ll almost assuredly get two starts the following week against the Indians and Royals.
2. Casey Mize | SP | Detroit Tigers
The Tigers big prospect is off to a good start in 2021. Despite just four innings in his first outing against the Twins, he managed to limit the damage to one earned run. He then bounced back for his first win of the season with seven strong innings against Houston in his second start. While his peripherals aren’t spectacular, the hard-throwing 23-year-old has nasty stuff, and could find his way into permanent fantasy rotations this season rather quickly. The only downside to Mize is it might be a few weeks before he gets two starts in one week lined up. As it stands, he’s schedule to pitch on Saturday the 17th, which puts his next start on Friday the 23rd (vs. KCR), and the next on Wednesday the 28th (@ CHW).
3. Trevor Rogers | SP | Miami Marlins
Rogers quickly became one of the hottest early-season waiver-wire commodities after a solid first three starts of the season. In 15 innings, Rogers has given up just eight hits, four earned runs, and has struck out a whopping 23 batters. However, he’s also walked nine, which is a concern. His swing-and-miss stuff though cannot be ignored, as is evident by his whiff percentages of over 50% on his two main pitches, as well as his career 293 strikeouts across 247 innings of professional baseball (mostly in the minors). A small, unimpressive 2020 debut left the 23-year-old virtually un-drafted in most leagues in 2021. However, his ownership is now up to 50.8% in ESPN leagues, and a solid start next week against Baltimore will cause another massive uptick in his ownership percentage.
4. Joe Ross | SP | Washington Nationals
After looking at some of the potential long-term options, let’s shift our attention to a few shorter, two-start options. First up is Joe Ross. The 27-year-old, who opted out of the 2020 season, has been remarkable so far in his first two starts. Through 11 innings, Ross has yet to give up an earned run on just six hits and three walks, while striking out nine. A quick glance at the red on his Baseball Savant page alone might send you jamming the add button on your app. He’s in the 80th-percentile or higher in Average Exit Velocity, HardHit%, Expected Slugging and Expected ERA. As it stands, Ross is lined up for two starts next week. While the matchups aren’t spectacular, at home against St. Louis and on the road against the Mets, there are not many better two-start options available. Ross even has the potential to be a player that will get picked up and held onto all season long.
5. Kohei Arihara | SP | Texas Rangers
Another two-start option for week 4 is Kohei Arihara, who is scheduled to start Monday in Anaheim and then again over the weekend in Chicago against the White Sox. The 28-year-old Japanese professional baseball player, who signed with Texas this offseason, is off to a solid start in his MLB debut. In three starts, Arihara has pitched 14.2 innings with a 3.07 ERA and seven strikeouts to just one walk. While he doesn’t have overpowering stuff, his 3.65 ERA over nearly 900 innings as a professional pitcher in Japan is a solid enough track record to give Arihara a chance in a two-start week.