As we inch near putting our first month of the season into the books, some of the shinier waiver wire gems will start to get picked up permanently, but in the league sizes where this strategy works best, there will always be someone out there worth playing.
In the week 3 results post, I recommended rostering Brandon McCarthy full-time (which is of course dependent on who you would have to cut). Some other previous spot starter recommendations that are likely worth holding onto in most formats include Brandon Beachy and Scott Baker. That said, they still have crazy low ownership percentages at the major outlets and as such, they will still be included in these columns when appplicable.
While all three may be in owned your league, there are plenty of leagues where all three are available. That is why I try to include a pair of arms on a given day whenever possible. I won’t force it by picking a complete shlub I don’t believe in, but on most 15 game days there are a pair of worthwhile pickups.
Let’s see what week 4 is offering us.
McCarthy (OAK @ LA) – Little mystery here as I said I was going to keep recommending him until he isn’t so widely available. He wasn’t great in his first start at Toronto where he allowed four in eight innings striking out just two, but his three starts since have gotten better and better with rising game scores of 57, 68 and 75.
Tyler Chatwood (LA v. OAK) – Picking on the 24th-ranked offense in baseball in terms of runs scored and team OPS more so than I am endorsing Chatwood. There are more skilled options out there (Gavin Floyd & Marco Estrada), but they are facing two of baseball’s best offenses in the Yankees and Reds, respectively.
Derek Holland (TEX v. TOR) – A bad inning in each of his last two starts has inflated Holland’s ERA and made him look worse than he has pitched. Last time out against Kansas City was his own fault, but before that it was his idiot manager leaving him out there way too long. Ron Washington really is the dumbest manager in baseball. Make no mistake that they made the World Series in spite of him, not because of him. He should have never sent Holland out in the 8th in New York on that Saturday start. Completely idiotic. Sorry, kind of got off on a tangent there… I’m sure everyone realizes Washington is a terrible tactical manager. Holland is well on his way to putting together a very strong season. Again, it really depends what the construction of your team is and how you built your staff at the draft, but there are likely a lot of scenarios where Holland is worth keeping permanently.
Bartolo Colon (NYY v. CHW) – This isn’t just a case of picking on the White Sox, who are struggling mightily at the dish, but Colon is actually throwing the ball really well so far. His skills support the 3.50 ERA and 1.17 WHIP, so take a shot on Big Fat Bartolo Colon (nicknamed by ESPN’s Matthew Berry) at home.
Baker (MIN v. TB) – His lack of ownership is actually pretty astounding to me. If you don’t want to buy in on Beachy because he is a rookie or McCarthy because he has been so injury-hampered in his career, I get it, but what is everyone waiting for with Baker?
Daisuke Matsuzaka (BOS v. SEA) – Even if you don’t believe in what he has done the last two outings, it is hard not to think he can keep it up for at least one more start when he gets a chance to face the Mariners.
Jason Hammel (COL v. PIT) – Hammel is improving start-to-start and now draws the Pirates, who have underwhelmed offensively to say the least. Hammel’s strikeout rate hasn’t been great at 5.3 K/9 on the season, but with nine in his last two starts (spanning 12.7 innings), he is starting to miss more bats. Pittsburgh’s 177 strikeouts, 3rd-highest in baseball, should only accelerate Hammel’s improvement.
Weekend picks will be out later this week.