It's weird how quiet the trade market has been. The trade deadline is 10 days away, and the most prominent name to be moved so far is Shintaro Fujinami. That's hardly a blockbuster!
This might be the last weekend of relative normalcy. I mean, it might end up just being a quiet deadline – the Angels' improving playoff odds might take Shohei Ohtani, the biggest chip off the table – but with the deadline looming next Monday, next weekend could be the most unpredictable of the season.
So, let's savor this one. In today's newsletter, we've got eight streamers to consider adding if they're available in your league, plus the latest news from around the league you need to know about, plus a look ahead at Week 18's schedule, with some streaming starters and hitters to consider adding ahead of the waiver-wire deadline. But, but before we get to all that, let's talk about two starting pitchers with an awful lot to prove in their upcoming starts this weekend.
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Mitch Keller @ Angels (Sunday)
Keller hasn't been uniformly terribly of late, but the bad starts have been pretty bad – four earned runs in five innings on July 3, and then eight in six innings July 18. He had seven shutout innings in between, though even in that one he had five walks and four strikeouts. On the whole, he's had more strikeouts than innings just once in his past five starts, and had a 17.8% strikeout rate since the start of June. Keller has shown enough quality-of-contact suppression skills to think he can still be useful without elite strikeout rates, but if his recent rate sustains, it's going to be tough to be much more than average. I'd love to see him rack up a bunch of strikeouts and whiffs in this one.
Given how quickly the Blue Jays called Manoah back – just one start above Class A – I was pretty ready to give him the benefit of the doubt that he had figured it out again after his eight-strikeout, zero-walk effort in his first game back from the minors. Then he followed that up with five walks and no strikeouts in his most recent outing, and we're suddenly back to square one. And square one for Manoah this season is ... pretty dreadful. I still have faith, but it'll be pretty tough to keep any faith with another poor showing.
Waiver wire starting pitchers to watch
These players are listed roughly in order of how interested I am in adding them. They're also (mostly) viable streamers this weekend:
Rodriguez's first start back from the minors wasn't great, but there were certainly some promising signs. His velocity was up in that first outing, and he primarily focused on throwing his four-seamer and changeup, while his slider came in a bit harder but with as much sweep as he had in his first stint, per Lance Brozdowski. There's no guarantee that Rodriguez will figure it out this season, but there's no doubt he has the talent to be an impact player for Fantasy, so why not bet on that?
Kyle Bradish @ Rays (Friday)
Bradish has a 2.47 ERA since the start of May, and while that's almost certainly not sustainable, his 3.23 FIP in that time suggests it isn't entirely a fluke. He's had some pretty impressive strikeout showings of late that make it easier to buy, especially when he's prioritizing his slider as much as he is. I'm still skeptical, but the Rays haven't been such a tough matchup of late that we should avoid him.
Garrett seemed to be struggling through some mechanical issues in recent starts, with his release point changing drastically over his first couple of starts in July. He fixed that in his last start, though the results weren't great. I still believe in Garrett's slider/cutter combo, but if he struggles against the Rockies at home, he's probably droppable.
Lugo had been pretty useful as a streamer for much of the season before he stumbled last week against the Phillies. I think he gets back on track against a Tigers team that ranks 28th in wOBA and has the sixth-highest strikeout rate against RHP this season.
I've mostly adopted an "anyone against the Royals" policy of late, though it helps that Schmidt has a 2.83 ERA over his past 10 starts. I think his 3.89 FIP in that span is probably more like what it's reasonable to expect moving forward, but that'll more than play against a Royals team that ranks dead last in the majors in wOBA since June 1, with the fifth-worst strikeout rate, to boot.
Oh boy, this one is super risky. But the Royals are one of just two teams that have been worse than the Yankees since the start of June, and they just struck out 29 times in 18.2 innings against Chase Silseth, Patrick Sandoval, and Griffin Canning. If Marsh's 11-strikeout effort against the Rays last weekend was real at all, he could be a fine streamer here.
Crawford is the latest pitcher to introduce a sweeper to his repertoire, and it's been his best pitch in a limited sample size, inducing a whiff on 51.4% of swings, with a .065 expected wOBA allowed. It looks like a legitimate weapon and suddenly makes Crawford look a lot more interesting. I don't trust him as a streamer yet, but with Starling Marte out and Pete Alonso ice cold, it could work out.
I just can't quit Detmers, is what it comes down to. When he's on, he's really on, and I'm going to keep chasing that upside. If you don't want to stream him, I get it – his last two starts have been bad – but I like his chances against this matchup, personally. Of course I do.
Week 18 lookahead
Make sure you check out Scott White's full Week 18 previews on CBSSports.com this weekend for more details on next week, but here's a quick look at what you need to know:
- 6 teams have five games - Rays, Cubs, Braves, Marlins, Yankees, A's
- 20 teams have six games
- 4 teams have seven games - Nationals, Cardinals, Tigers, Guardians
- Kenta Maeda vs. SEA, at KC (64%)
- Aaron Civale vs. KC, at CHW (77%)
- Dean Kremer at PHI, vs. NYY (72%)
- Logan Allen vs. KC, at CHW (45%)
- Edward Cabrera at TB, vs. DET (66%)
- Kyle Hendricks at CHW, at STL (59%)
- Michael Lorenzen vs. LAA, at MIA (49%)
- Griffin Canning at DET, at TOR (45%)
- Gavin Williams vs. KC (74%)
- Grayson Rodriguez vs. NYY (73%)
- Seth Lugo vs. PIT (57%)
- C.J. Cron @WAS3, OAK3 (74%)
- Edouard Julien SEA3, @KC3 (30%)
- Seiya Suzuki @CHW2, @STL4 (61%)
- Spencer Torkelson SF1, LAA3, @MIA3 (69%)
- Mickey Moniak @DET3, @TOR3 (47%)
- C.J. Abrams COL3, @NYM4 (62%)
- Alex Kirilloff SEA3, @KC3 (31%)
- Lars Nootbaar @ARI3, CHC4 (61%)
- Josh Bell KC3, @CHW4 (58%)
- Wilmer Flores @DET1, OAK2, BOS3 (17%)
Injuries, news & notes
- Yordan Alvarez is expected to play Friday and Saturday at Triple-A before returning to the Astros on Monday.
- Cedric Mullins said Thursday that he's not sure how long he'll be sidelined with his current right adductor strain. You're holding, but it's a little worrying, given the recurring nature of this injury.
- Jarred Kelenic was placed on the IL with a fractured left foot that he suffered when he kicked a water cooler Wednesday. It's a tough break for a guy who's had a tough career, but it might be a blessing in disguise for your lineups. Kelenic has been hitting .230 with just a 10-homer pace since the start of May.
- Mariners prospect Cade Marlowe was recalled from Triple-A where he was batting .255 with 11 HR and 25 SB. He's put up big numbers at times in the minors, but I don't expect him to make much of an impact.
- Starling Marte was placed on the IL with migraines, retroactive to July 17.
- Tyler O'Neill was activated Thursday, batting seventh in the lineup and playing left field. He went 1 for 2 with two walks, and I still think there's potential for some big upside here if he's right.
- Tommy Edman is scheduled to begin taking live at-bats early next week. He's been out since July 7 with a wrist injury.
- Andrew Vaughn has missed the last two games after fouling a ball off his left foot Tuesday. X-rays came back negative, so he's probably day-to-day at this point.
- Tommy Pham exited Thursday with recurring right groin discomfort. He said he's optimistic he won't require a trip to the IL.
- Bobby Miller has been cleared to start Saturday against the Rangers. He dealt with right knee discomfort in his start last weekend but wasn't expected to miss much time.
- Mason Miller will throw a 20-pitch bullpen session Saturday. He's been out since May 11 with a mild UCL sprain in his right elbow, and I'd honestly be pretty surprised if he makes much of an impact at any point this season.
- Francisco Mejia exited Thursday with left knee discomfort.
- Josh Donaldson was transferred to the 60-day IL, which means he'll miss the rest of the season.