By: Nate Leer
With the so-called 2nd half of the season set to kick off today, starting pitching is crucial as the stretch run starts for fantasy leagues. Adding one or two of the right FA pitchers during the break can help your team in up to several categories. With just 6-8 weeks left in the fantasy baseball regular season, a surge in starting pitching can propel a team right into the playoffs.
These 7 pitchers are readily available (all are owned in less than 40% of ESPN and Yahoo leagues) and primed for a potential surge in production:
- Hector Santiago: Availability – ESPN =82%, Yahoo = 74%; Santiago has recent career success (top-50 SP last year) and he is pitching very well now (top-10 SP over the last month). Maybe he falters right out of the break, maybe he is a stud the rest of the year or most likely it is somewhere in between. However, if you have a spot on your roster to upgrade, this is the guy to own.
- Bud Norris: Availability – ESPN =63%, Yahoo = 61%; Every owner who had Clayton Kershaw should probably already own Norris but clearly most have not. With Hyun-Jin Ryu struggling upon his return to the rotation, Norris would still seem like a lock for a rotation spot even if Kershaw comes right back from the DL. Norris’s recent success (top-25 SP over the last month) and his past (inconsistent) success mean he is worth plugging in for now. He may even be mature enough as a pitcher with undeniable arm-talent and in the right situation (including pitching in Chavez Ravine) to have continued success.
- Tyler Anderson: Availability – ESPN =90%, Yahoo = 88%; I am just learning about this kid and his talent (1st round pick with a low career ERA and fairly high strikeout rate) makes him a Rockie worth owning. With upcoming starts against Tampa Bay and then Atlanta coming up, Anderson is poised to get off on to a strong start and potentially carry that through to the rest of the season.
- Zach Davies: Availability – ESPN =70%, Yahoo = 77%; Don’t let the demotion of Davies scare you off, Davies has too much talent too ignore. His last three starts before being sent down were rough but he has been too good this year to give up on him already. The Brewers sent him down reportedly just for roster flexibility but they may feel he could benefit from rest or a lower level of competition. If you can stash Davies for a bit to see if he rebounds to his pre-July level, his upside could make for a great play down the stretch.
- RA Dickey: Availability – ESPN =67%, Yahoo = 75%; Dickey has been a solid pitcher all year but has not been striking out many batters. An uptick in that department over his last 4 starts could check the last box for Dickey being a good fantasy starter: good team = Wins, solid ERA and WHIP and now a good K percentage.
- Adam Conley: Availability: ESPN =68%, Yahoo = 63%; Conley has been inconsistently mixing big K games with quality starts. His background (2nd round pick, solid minor league numbers, good size and prime age) suggests he may be able to put it all together as the season goes on. If he does, he could be a gem pick-up going forward.
- Ervin Santana: Availability – ESPN = 83%, Yahoo = 80%; The Big Swerve is pitching well of late though without big K numbers. If he pitches well coming out of the break, he could be setting up for a solid fantasy 2nd half.
Santiago and Santana start today so grab them quick if you need a starter or monitor them to see if they get off to a strong start to the 2nd half.