Fantasy Baseball: Waiver Wire Starting Pitcher Pickups-June 10, 2014

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Jun 5, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Mike Leake throws against the San Francisco Giants during the second inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday is a tough one for fantasy baseball owners looking to find starting pitching on the waiver wire.  All the widely available options carry some pretty significant risk even if they do have upside.  If you’re streaming a starter, this might be a day to consider skipping, but I still have my top options listed here for those of you who make moves every day or got the week off to a rough start.

Whever you hit the waiver wire, you can find where I would start with my daily picks of scheduled starters who are widely available (archive here). My recent results are available on the final slide of this post. My choices are always available in at least half of ESPN leagues, and each player’s ownership percentage is included in parentheses after their team name. I also include a risk and reward ranking for each pick on a scale of 1-5 with five being the most risk and the most reward.

Tuesday’s options are pretty high-risk as you’ll see from their ranking, but some could offer meaningful contributions if you can afford to roll the dice on them. Here are my top options:

Mike Leake-Cincinnati Reds (26.8%)

Leake has pitched better than his 3-5 record indicates, but he is coming off a tough outing as he takes on the Dodgers in a less-than ideal matchup.

The upside is definitely there–before his last start he had an ERA of under three and had turned in six straight quality starts.  On the season, he sports an attractive 1.11 WHIP and a still respectable 3.29 ERA.  He usually goes fairly deep into games and can offer some solid innings even though his strikeout numbers usually aren’t eye-popping.

His last start is a reason for concern, though, as he allowed the Giants to tag him for five runs in five innings on a pair of homers.  Usually, Leake keeps the ball in the ballpark and makes a living pitching to contact and working efficiently.  He could return to that form and give you a solid outing against an enigmatic Dodgers team which is why he’s my top option although there still is risk involved especially at Great American Ballpark where the ball is starting to carry as the temperatures rise.

Risk-3, Reward-4

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