We’ll be doing this roundup of points leagues every week here at RotoBaller, with waiver wire targets and streaming pitchers being evaluated in terms of the different scoring systems of ESPN, Yahoo!, CBS, and Fantrax.
Player values can vary wildly from platform to platform, so we’ll make sure to highlight where players are the best and worst fits. We know points league players get neglected and we’re here to help with all of the best streams for the week.
These fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups are for the week of May 30 – June 5, looking at players below ~50% rostered for ESPN, Yahoo!, or Fantrax. Rankings are calculated using games through Saturday, May 28.
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Know Your Scoring System
You know what I’m going to say, right? You must account for, as precisely as possible, how a player performs under your particular scoring system. Don’t be fooled into believing you can just make rough adjustments in your head, bumping up guys with high on-base percentages and low strikeout rates. Every point, in every category, counts.
For example, ESPN and Fantrax are virtually identical in their scoring for hitters and roster size. The only difference is that stolen bases are worth one more point on Fantrax and ESPN subtracts one point per strikeout. That’s the difference between Trea Turner being a top-five hitter versus a top-25 hitter.
If your league uses standard settings, then great! Turn to page 94 and you can skip ahead to the leaderboards. If you play with custom settings, it’ll still be fine. Go back to page 43 and look below at the scoring systems of the four major platforms. I bet there’s a chance that you’ll find that your league’s scoring is very similar to one of the four (well, not Yahoo!’s), even if it’s not the platform you actually play on.
You’ll likely find a suitable mirror to your own system if you look above. While every point counts, as long as they aren’t seismic changes, you can get away with some “close enough” calls. IE. If everything is the same except for HBP (or something similar), you’re probably fine.
Waiver Wire Leaderboards
In addition to our overall waiver wire leaderboards, once we’re deep enough into the season, we’ll also start doing a 21-day leaderboard as well, giving us a window into recent production. All charts are updated prior to Saturday’s games, on stats and ownerships, and clicking on a chart will open a new page with a magnified version.
*APR = Average Platform Ranking – the average platform ranking between ESPN, CBS, Yahoo, and Fantrax (standard point settings)
Two-Start Pitcher Waiver Wire Options
Starting Pitcher Waiver Wire – Best Choices
Nick Pivetta, BOS (@ OAK) – The presumed two-step got canceled last week but Pivetta was still solid against the White Sox, picking up the win after allowing 3 ER in 6 IP, striking out five. But he wins the matchup lottery in Week 8, facing an Oakland team that is last in baseball vs RHP in wOBA and xwOBA, and 23rd in K%. You can’t really ask for much better.
Rich Hill, BOS (vs BAL, @ OAK) – If there was ever a week to snag the old man over the hill, it’s this one. Baltimore is not just a bottom-three offense vs LHP in both wOBA and xwOBA but also has the third-highest K%, and while Oakland is technically better vs LHP than they are against RHP, it’s still not anything to write home about – the Athletics are 22nd in wOBA, 27th in xwOBA, with the seventh-highest strikeout rate.
Aaron Ashby, MIL – (@ CHC, vs SD) – The sporadic starts can make him annoying to hold but the talent is for real and Ashby currently lines up for a solid two-step in Week 8. He has a 2.91 ERA and 26.4% K% that’s backed by an elite 32.9% CSW%. Chicago has the 16th-highest K% vs LHP (14th in wOBA, 17th in xwOBA) but the Padres are the 10th-lowest in K%, with the eighth-highest wOBA. Here’s the biggest bugaboo, though – Ashby is still walking entirely too many batters. The breakout won’t fully come until he slices a 13.5% BB% and that’s what could hurt him this week because while the Cubs have the 30th-highest BB% vs LHP, the Padres are third.
Jakob Junis, SF (@ PHI, @ MIA) – Junis has just one poor start in 2022, allowing 4 ER in 6 IP to the Padres two starts back. In his other five starts, gone at least five innings, allowing 2 ER or less in each. He currently has a 2.76 ERA but his Week 8 double-start has some danger lurking in it – Philadelphia is 13th in wOBA vs RHP (19th in K%, 20th in BB%) but Miami has been quietly roughing up righties, posting a top-five wOBA and top-10 xwOBA against them. You know I love me some Junis but just be careful.
Glenn Otto, TEX (vs TB, vs SEA) – Otto’s 4.91 ERA is unsightly but that’s almost all driven by his blowup against Boston a few starts back (4 IP, 8 ER). He’s allowed just 3 ER in his past two starts against really tough opponents in the Astros and Angels, and if you take out the Boston start, he’d have a 2.21 ERA. Seattle is tough on RHP (13th in wOBA, eighth in xwOBA, 13th in K%) but Tampa Bay is much more manageable, with the 19th-highest wOBA, 23rd-highest xwOBA, sixth-highest K%, and fifth-lowest BB%.
George Kirby, SEA (@ BAL, @ TEX) – I’m not ready to go full-in on Kirby’s rookie campaign, with the right-hander allowing 9 ER in his past two starts after opening things up with two gems following his call-up. But his 4.50 ERA is backed by a 3.40 FIP, 3.12 xFIP, and 3.17 SIERA, and he’ll get a manageable two-start week against Baltimore (24th in wOBA vs RHP, 14th in xwOBA, 15th in K%) and Texas (27th in wOBA, 24th in xwOBA, 22nd in K%). Plus, seeing a rookie come in and immediately not walk anyone is always a good sign – Kirby has walked just two batters over four starts, good for a stellar 2.4% BB%.
Bruce Zimmermann, BAL (vs CLE) – The rapid decline of Bruce isn’t nearly as bad as it might seem, as he’s faced the Yankees (ninth in wOBA, fourth in xwOBA vs LHP) in back-to-back starts, allowing a total of 9 ER on five HR. A matchup with Cleveland is just what the doctor ordered for getting back on track, as the Guardians have the 29th wOBA and 26th xwOBA vs LHP.
Roansy Contreras, PIT (vs ARI) – Contreras has filthy stuff but is backed by a Pirates offense unlikely to give him much run support when he’s facing an Arizona offense that’s been better than advertised, with comeback years from Christian Walker and David Peralta helping them post the 12th-best wOBA vs RHP. But again, Contreras is nasty, running a 29.4% K% and 15.0% SwStr% through his first two starts (2.13 ERA, 0.95 WHIP).
Corey Kluber, TB (@ TEX) – This is a good spot for Kluber, as Texas is 27th in wOBA (24th in xwOBA) vs RHP, with a bottom-10 K% and top-4 BB%.
Starting Pitcher Waiver Wire – Next Choices
Dylan Bundy, MIN (@ DET, @ TOR) – My sweet Dylan ended up missing a two-step last week but is now lined up for one in Week 8, facing a classic “one good, one bad” situation. Toronto’s offense vs RHP is still sputtering (19th in wOBA) but the ninth-highest xwOBA speaks to better things coming. Detroit, however, remains awful vs RHP, with the 29th wOBA and 28th xwOBA, running the sixth-highest K%. And Bundy is coming off of an excellent outing against them in his last time out, allowing 1 ER over 5.2 IP, with 6 K, though Minnesota’s bullpen eventually blew his opportunity to pick up the win.
JT Brubaker, PIT (vs ARI) – Like Roansy Contreras, Brubaker will struggle to pick up win bonuses with Pittsburgh’s offense but he’s also been really solid in May, posting a 2.63 ERA (3.29 FIP) over five starts, with a 9.6 K/9. But going back to point #1, he was rewarded with an 0-2 record.
Matthew Liberatore, STL (@ CHC) – Liberatore is coming off of a great outing against Milwaukee in his second major league start (5 IP, o ER, 6 K) but also has five walks through his first 9.2 IP. Fortunately, the Cubs basically refuse to walk against LHP, ranking 30th so far this season in BB%.
Adrian Houser, MIL (vs SD) – Houser got roughed up by a hot Cardinals offense in his second start last week but was solid in the first one against the Padres, allowing 1 ER over 6 IP, while striking out four. He’ll face that same Padres team at home this week, with San Diego posting the 26th-lowest wOBA and 29th-lowest xwOBA vs RHP in 2021.
Jon Gray, TEX (vs TB) – He got surprisingly roughed up by Oakland in his last start (6 IP, 5 ER) but faces a Tampa Bay team that bottom-10 offense vs RHP, with bottom-five walk- and strikeout rates.
Jeffrey Springs, TB (@ TEX) – Springs continues to be excellent in his move to the rotation, with a 2.21 ERA (3.79 FIP) over his past four starts. But Texas is no pushover vs LHP, posting the ninth-highest wOBA and eighth-lowest K% against them.
Starting Pitcher Waiver Wire – Desperate Choices
Yusei Kikuchi, TOR (vs MIN) – I’ve always been a Kikuchi believer but this is a tough matchup with a Twins team that is seventh in wOBA and first in xwOBA vs LHP, with the eighth-lowest K% and fifth-highest BB%.
Brady Singer, KC (vs HOU) – I’ve added Singer a lot, as he’s been really good since rejoining Kansas City’s rotation. But I’d be real careful rolling him out against an Astros team that is sixth in wOBA and third in xwOBA vs RHP.
Johnny Cueto, CHW (@ TOR) – Cueto got left in too long in his last start against the Cubs, ultimately allowing 5 ER in 6.2 IP but still has a shiny 2.41 ERA (2.77 FIP) over his three starts in 2022. I’m not rushing to start him against Toronto, however, who only has the 19th-highest wOBA vs RHP but still has the firepower to make things get ugly in a hurry.
Alex Cobb, SF (@ MIA) – Cobb has allowed 13 ER over his past two starts (though one was in Colorado) but a 2.77 FIP and 2.37 xFIP say better times could be on the way for his 6.25 ERA and 1.55 WHIP. But I’m not banking on it this week against a Miami offense that’s posted a top-five wOBA and top-10 xwOBA vs RHP.
Keegan Thompson, CHC (vs STL) – Both as a long reliever or starter, Thompson has been quietly excellent, allowing one or fewer earned runs in 10 of his 11 appearances (and 2 ER in the other). Don’t expect a deep outing but the Cardinals are still middling vs RHP, with the 18th-best wOBA and 27th xwOBA against them. They don’t strike out much (third-lowest K%), though, which combined with a low probability of a win bonus, gives Thompson a low ceiling/margin for error.
Chase Silseth, LAA (@ PHI) – Silseth has been fine over three starts but I’m not ready to trust his 3.07 ERA that’s backed by a 4.99 FIP and 4.35 xFIP. Especially not at Philadelphia’s bandbox.
Dane Dunning, TEX (vs SEA) – Dunning has allowed 5 ER in two of his past three starts and faces a Seattle offense that is 13th in wOBA and eighth in xwOBA vs RHP.
Nick Martinez, SD (@ STL, @ MIL) – My fellow Nick has been fairly consistent in his ability to limit damage but has only pitched more than five innings once and has two tough matchups on the road.
Dakota Hudson, STL (vs SD) – Hudson rarely gets past the fifth inning and has only posted a 5.0 K/9 but has a solid matchup with a Padres team that is bottom-five offense vs RHP. Plus, my family and I will be there for our son’s fourth birthday, so that has to count for something, right?
Zach Davies, ARI (@ PIT) – If all else fails, pick on the Pirates, who have a bottom-five offense vs RHP, with the 27th-highest K%.
Chris Archer, MIN (@ DET) – A matchup with the Tigers is great (29th in wOBA, 28th in xwOBA, 24th in K%) but the Twins have been wise in not letting him face the order a third time through, with Archer failing to pitch more than four innings in 2022.
David Peterson, NYM (vs WSH, @ LAD) – After a great start against the Giants, I’m worried some people might get hurt trusting him for a two-step in Week 8. The Nationals have the eighth-lowest wOBA vs LHP but are 11th in xwOBA, with the second-lowest strikeout rate. And the second start against the Dodgers isn’t any better – LA is 11th in wOBA, sixth in xwOBA, 12th in K%, and ninth in BB%. Danger lurks here.
Jose Quintana, PIT (@ LAD) – Quintana has a 2.15 ERA (3.23 FIP/4.00 xFIP/4.22 SIERA) over nine starts but faces a Dodger team that’s been tough on lefties.
Devin Smeltzer, MIN (@ DET) – Smeltzer has a shiny 2.16 ERA through his first three starts of the season but be aware it has a 4.60 xFIP and 4.88 SIERA behind it, with all three of coming against teams who’ve been mostly hapless against LHP (2x vs KC, 1x vs CLE). Counterpoint: Detroit is almost as hapless, posting 20th-worst wOBA and 24th xwOBA vs LHP.
Wade Miley, CHC (vs MIL, vs STL) – And more danger lurks here as veteran trickster Wade Miley (3.38 ERA/4.25 xFIP/4.62 SIERA) has a pair of dicey matchups. The Brewers are worse vs LHP (23rd in wOBA, 10th in xwOBA, 23rd in K%) but running him out against the lefty-smashing Cardinals is a suicide mission – St. Louis is first in wOBA, ninth in xwOBA, second in K%, and sixth in BB%.
Konnor Pilkington (vs KC) – Pilkington has put up really good numbers in his limited rookie campaign (3.75 ERA, 2.65 FIP, 11.3 K/9) but has yet to complete four innings. Kansas City has poor numbers overall vs LHP but has the league’s lowest K% against them and it’s hard to imagine Pilkington pitching deep enough to be eligible for a win bonus.
Starting Pitcher Waiver Wire – McMahon Choices
No chance. No chance in hell I’m rolling out these starting pitchers who are at the higher end of Roster% threshold or may be tempting because of a two-start week.
Chad Kuhl, COL (vs ATL) – We nailed putting Kuhl in “Best Choices” last week but let’s not get carried away by thinking it’s a good idea to start him at home vs ATL. Absolutely not.
Drew Smyly, CHC (vs MIL, vs STL) – We’ve seen the occasional Smyly-nnaissance in 2022 but this is not a two-step you want to dance with. The Brewers are 23rd in wOBA and K% against LHP but 10th in xwOBA and 11th in BB%, while the Cardinals should not be trifled with when it comes to lefties – St. Louis is first in wOBA against them, with the second-lowest K%.
Marco Gonzales, SEA (@ TEX) – Gonzales has been dancing on the knife’s edge of FIP, heading into his last start with a 3.08 ERA and 5.96 FIP. And in a soft matchup with Oakland, he started getting cut, allowing 5 ER in 5.1 IP, with just two strikeouts. The correction could continue in a dicey matchup with a Texas team that has a top-10 offense vs LHP, with a bottom-10 K%.
Taijuan Walker, NYM (@ LAD) – Walker is a fine streamer in the right circumstance but a matchup with the Dodgers ain’t it – Los Angeles is first in wOBA, second in xwOBA, second in BB%, and eighth in K% vs RHP.
Mitch Keller, PIT (@ LAD) – Speaking of bad matchups for RHP against the Dodgers, does anyone else remember when people thought Mitch Keller was good? Har-dee, har-har, good times, good times.
Zach Plesac, CLE (vs KC, @ BAL) – With starts against two teams with substandard numbers vs RHP, it would be awesome if it was still 2020…You know, when Plesac was good? Unfortunately, it’s 2022 and Plesac is rocking a 5.40 ERA and 1.43 WHIP, with just a 14.6% K%.
Madison Bumgarner, ARI (vs ATL) -Much like Marco Gonzales, the FIP bell is starting to toll for Bumgarner, whose 3.35 ERA is backed by a 5.78 FIP, 4.78 xFIP, and 4.95 xFIP. He’s allowed 9 ER in his past two starts and faces an Atlanta offense that is fifth in wOBA and eighth in xwOBA vs LHP, with the second-highest BB%.
Kyle Hendricks, CHC (vs MIL, vs STL) – Hendricks is washed. Stop starting him.
Ryan Yarbrough, TB (@TEX, vs CHW) – Yarbrough has shown signs of life lately but has a dangerous two-step on the horizon, as both Texas and Chicago have posted top-10 offenses vs LHP. Texas is in the top-10 of wOBA but the White Sox are even more dangerous – they’re fifth in wOBA, second in xwOBA, with the fifth-lowest K%.
German Marquez, COL (vs MIA, vs ATL) – lolololololololol…Surely you jest, right? Of course, Coors Chaos Theory dictates that he’ll probably pitch two complete-game shutouts. But I’m still not chancing it.
Relief Pitchers Waiver Wire
Unless you’re in a very deep league and/or have a lot of dedicated RP-only slots, most of the relievers you’re going to want are the ones who are closers, have a chance to close, or elite setup guys. But I do mean elite because most scoring structures are weighted in a way that relievers almost necessarily have to get saves in order to be valuable. Although, long relievers whose usage you can reliably predict, can be useful in leagues with daily moves. But for a majority of leagues, sticking to closers is the way to go.
With that in mind, here are the best relievers on the wire for Week 8, ordered by Yahoo roster%:
Closers (and co-Closers) on the Wire
Tanner Rainey, WSH – Stop the presses…Rainey finally picked up his first Save since April 19. Check back in a month for news of his next one?
Emilio Pagan, MIN – His closing buddy, Jhoan Duran, leaves the list due to ownership but Pagan picked up a Save on Friday, after blowing one on Wednesday.
Committees on the Wire
Boston Red Sox – Hansel Robles goes on the IL, with Jake Diekman, John Schreiber, and Matt Strahm currently making up the committee. Strahm got Boston’s only opportunity this past week…He blew it. Avoid.
Cincinnati Reds – Art Warren, Tony Santillan, and Hunter Strickland all picked up a Save this week. Good luck guessing who will get them next week. Avoid.
Kansas City Royals – Scott Barlow picked up Kansas City’s only Save this week, while Josh Staumont grabbed a Win.
Miami Marlins – Anthony Bender (back tightness) is on the IL, Cole Sulser picked up one Save, while Anthony Bass blew one. Avoid.
Seattle Mariners – Paul Sewald converted Seattle’s only Save opportunity last week, with Andres Munoz and Diego Castillo each making three appearances. Oh, and Ken Giles has begun his rehab.
Tampa Bay Rays – Welcome Colin Poche and his Invisi-ball, who converted both of Tampa’s Save opportunities this week, to the closing party, with J.P. Feyereisen, Jason Adam, and Brooks Raley also possibilities.
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