We’re into the fifth full week of the 2023 MLB regular season, and that means it’s time to take a look at fantasy rosters and see what needs to be improved. While one never wants to overreact, it’s also not a bad thing to be proactive and look for potential waiver wire targets. So, which pitchers looking good in fantasy right now? Let’s take a look.
Last week, we highlighted LHP Logan Allen of the Cleveland Guardians as a name to watch in fantasy. Armed with three above-average pitches, Allen’s off to a strong start to his MLB career. The 24-year-old struck out eight in each of his first two starts, including on April 30 on a rainy day at Fenway Park. Through 11 MLB innings, Allen owns a 2.45 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP.
If Allen can pounce this upcoming week against the Twins, don’t expect the lefty to be available on the waiver wire for much longer.
Nationals right-hander Josiah Gray accumulated a lot of strikeouts in his first full season in a Major League rotation in 2022, but 66 walks and a MLB-high 38 home runs pushed his ERA up to 5.02 and his fantasy value down. But through the first month of 2023, Gray’s been much more consistent. Over his first 33.2 IP of 2023, the 25-year-old is 2-4 with a 2.67 ERA , a respectable 1.28 WHIP, and 31 strikeouts — 15 of which came in his last two starts. Gray’s BB/9 rate has also dropped a half a point as compared to 2022.
The Nats have a bright future with two young, powerful arms in Gray and MacKenzie Gore. While Gray may not be a great source of wins, he should be a sleeper option for strikeouts.
One of the more intriguing options this week is Mets LHP Joey Lucchesi. Lucchesi missed all of 2022 due to Tommy John surgery, but was called upon to come back to the Majors after a rash of injuries to the Mets rotation. The left-hander dominated in his first start of 2023 against the Giants, and turned in 5.1 IP of work against the Nationals six days later. He didn’t dominate against Washington, but a favorable matchup against the Tigers this week does leave us interested.
Lucchesi is off to a strong start to 2023, although his time in the rotation could be cut short in the very near future. Ace Justin Verlander is set to return from the IL this week, while Carlos Carrasco is also nearing a return.
The Dodgers haven’t had much luck with its starting rotation in 2023, as Los Angeles turns to top pitching prospect Gavin Stone this week. Stone was a strikeout machine in 2022 in the Minors, thanks to an elite changeup that paired well with an above-average fastball. Stone’s stuff makes him a name to watch over the coming days and weeks.
The 24-year-old will make his MLB debut this week against the Phillies. It won’t be easy to shut down a Phillies team that’s hot, but if he can, Stone will be a hot name on the waiver wire.
Last week’s waiver wire list included O’s RHP Kyle Gibson, and another Orioles pitcher makes the cut for this week. Baltimore right-hander Tyler Wells has went at least five innings in each of his first five outings of 2023, including a spectacular performance on April 3 out of the bullpen against the Rangers. Over 29 innings, Wells owns a 2.79 ERA and .72 WHIP, along with 23 strikeouts.
Wells is set to start on May 1 against the Royals, a game that’s winnable for one of the best teams in the AL at the moment. He’s likely to get a second start this weekend against the Braves, but that matchup won’t be as tempting.
Note: In order for a player to eligible for this list, he must be available in at least 50% of both Yahoo! and ESPN leagues.