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Last week I attacked the hitting categories for my waiver wire column. This week, as promised, I will be recommending some pitchers that you can target to help with your pitching categories the rest of the season.

As mentioned last week you still have time to improve your team to make a run in your leagues and at this point, especially in roto leagues where you know what categories you need to improve in to make up the most ground.

You have to be careful though when analyzing what categories to target. You don’t want to just go after your worst category. In some, maybe even most cases, you are so out of it in your worst category, you may not make up many points in the standings, if any, trying to improve your team there.

Instead you want to target the categories that you can make up the most ground on. For example, if you can make up four points in the wins column with three more wins, then do that over needing to get 60 more strikeouts to gain just one point.

The pitching categories overall are a much harder group of categories to improve upon than the hitting ones. Reason being there are two ratio categories that are pretty set and most leagues use saves and most closers are owned. Regardless we can’t forget about them so let’s get going.

Waiver Wire Targets

All players I am suggesting are owned in 30% or less of ESPN leagues. Of course if there are better players available in your league that are owned in more than 30% of leagues, by all means get them first.


Matt Wisler, SP, Atlanta Braves, Owned in 16.6% of ESPN Leagues

Wisler is not on the best of teams, but you’re not going to find a lot of good pitchers available who are on good teams and pitching well enough to win.

Wisler however is pitching good enough to get wins, even on a bad team. Overall on the season he is 5-1 in seven starts. You’re not going to find many more starters with a better winning percentage than that.

Jimmy Nelson, SP, Milwaukee Brewers  15.5%

I have mentioned Nelson before in this article, so I won’t repeat myself, but he is still owned in too few leagues. Along with all the other categories he can help in, strikeouts being one, he is able to help you in the wins category with eight total on the season and even better, four in the last month.

Strike Outs

Kyle Hendricks, SP, Chicago Cubs 29.8%

He started off the season not striking out a lot of  batters, with a bunch of games below four strikeouts in a single game during the first two months. Because of that, his K/9 ratio was barely over seven. Still not bad, but nothing you were going to rely on when he was only pitching five innings. More recently his K/9 has been 8.27, which has raised his season ratio to 7.55.

Nathan Karns, SP, Tampa Bay Rays, 25.7%

Karns has had an up and down season, which has equated to a 6-5 record and quite a few blow up games.

The one thing that has not suffered because of the blow up games are his strikeouts, having 106 on the season total. It does not seem like a lot, but he carries on a 8.30 K/9 ratio. The total is only low because he does not go too deep into games. But he can easily give you seven or eight a game, which is a big boost from the waiver wire.


Mark Lowe, RP, Seattle Mariners 4.7%

As I mentioned in the opening pitching categories are hard to improve upon, especially the ratio categories. ERA is one of those. The main reason for this is you have so many innings pitched already that one bad or one good game won’t make much of a difference.

The one easy way to make big difference in these categories is to get relievers who have such ridiculous ratios that they move the needle. Lowe is one of these pitchers, having allowed just four runs all season to equal a 1.03 ERA. His strikeouts aren’t bad either with 11.83 K/9 so he can give you a bit of a boost there as well.


Carter Capps, RP, Miami Marlins 9.8%

Capps is yet another closer who can make a difference in a category that is not likely to move too much the rest of the season.  His WHIP on the season is a  stunning 0.74, led mainly by his ridiculous control by only walking six batters all season. Add in a 16.99 K/9 ratio and then over the last month, six saves+holds, he can help you in more than just WHIP. If you are in a holds league, Capps is a must own right now.

Saves or Holds

Edward Mujica, RP, Oakland Athletics 11.6%

With Tyler Clippard out of the way and Sean Doolittle still on the DL, Mujica is assuming the closer role. Even though I’m not a huge Mujica fan, that makes him immediately worth owning in all saves leagues, especially since there are not going to be very many closer changes moving forward.

Zach Duke, RP, Chicago White Sox 2.5%

Because there are no closers, with the exception of Mujica, regularly available in leagues, I decided I was needed to include a guy who can help you in holds, since that has become a more popular category to use or combine with saves in leagues.

Duke has surprisingly been good this year in this category, even on a fairly bad team. He has 19 holds and one save. The best part about picking him up? The White Sox are starting to pick up steam with seven wins in a row. This recent hot streak helps out a guy like Duke. So get him now if you need help in holds.

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