It’s a new week in the MLB and fantasy baseball, and that means time to scour the market for pitchers. Last week was a strong one for those who listened to us and snatched up James Paxton, Griffin Canning, and Julio Teherán, all of whom pitched well despite not getting wins. But who are prime targets this week? Let’s take a look at five of our favorite waiver wire targets for this week.
Last week — which admittedly, was a fantastic one from a picks perspective — we urged fantasy players to snare James Paxton while he was still available. With “Big Maple” likely gone in most 12-team roto leagues, we now turn attention towards another Sox starter. Red Sox righty Brayan Bello rode his four-seam/sinker/changeup combo to great success recently, and that continued on June 18. Against the Yankees, Bello struck out eight over seven strong innings to notch his fourth win of the season.
Bello possesses electric stuff on the mound, and ability to both induce ground balls and get whiffs makes him a prime target on the waiver wire.
Cardinals reliever Jordan Hicks struggled badly over the early stretches of 2023. However, the 26-year-old settled into a nice groove as of late. From April 18-June 17, Hicks posted a 2.28 ERA and 42 strikeouts over 23.2 IP. Hicks’ fantasy value didn’t change much, however, given the presences of Giovanny Gallegos and Ryan Helsley. But with Helsley now on the IL and Gallegos struggling, it looks like Hicks may be the beneficiary.
The 26-year-old notched a pair of saves this past weekend against the Mets, his first saves of 2023. Hicks’ control problems are something to watch, but very few hitters can do much with his 103-104 MPH sinker.
Last week, we pegged Ben Lively as our “vulture” win candidate of the week. Lively gave up ten hits to the Royals, but just two runs to record a victory against the Royals. This week, we look to a former Red as our vulture win pick of the week.
Tigers right-hander Michael Lorenzen is set to face the Royals on June 20. Detroit will face left-hander Daniel Lynch, a fair matchup for the Tigers given a plethora of right-handed hitters that can do damage against lefties. Lorenzen himself has struggled as of late, as the 31-year-old gave up 12 runs over his last two starts. But against a Vinnie Pasquantino-less Kansas City offense, the Tigers righty is a sneaky grab for this week.
We were — and still are, for the record — fans of Patrick Sandoval heading into the 2023 season. The left-hander’s strong ability to get hitters in between timing made the Angels lefty a prime target late in drafts this season. However, the 2023 season has not been kind to the 26-year-old. Through his first 13 starts, Sandoval owns a pedestrian 4.08 ERA and just 54 strikeouts over 70.2 IP.
In his last outing, Sandoval looked more like the left-hander we expected him to be. Sandoval struck out six over seven scoreless innings against the Royals. It wasn’t the strongest competition, but nonetheless, a positive. He’s still getting plenty of whiffs and ground balls, but command will be the sticking point moving forward.
Phillies right-hander Taijuan Walker was one of our fantasy sleeper pitchers heading into the 2023 campaign. However, the 30-year-old got off to a poor start in Philadelphia. The good news for Phillies fans is that Walker’s been quite sharp as of late. Example of that came on June 16, when Walker punched out eight over eight strong innings against the A’s.
Walker is just one of three NL pitchers — Andrew Abbott and Marcus Stroman are the other two — to record at least three wins this month, and the 30-year-old owns an impressive 1.50 ERA through four June starts. Many baseball fans are likely aware of Walker’s splitter, but the increased usage of his cutter this month — a six percentage jump from May — has turned him into a name to watch yet again.