It’s hard to find a viable starting pitcher on the waiver wire this late in the season. Unless you are waiting for a prospect to be called up, you might be stuck adding a team’s No. 5 starting pitcher with a 5.12 ERA. However, you may be lucky enough to play in a league where Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Charlie Morton is available. If he is, pick him up now.
Morton has been with the Pirates since 2009. He achieved little success in his six previous seasons. His best season was in 2013, when he finished with a 7-4 record, 3.26 ERA and 1.28 WHIP. That was, until the 2015 season started.
In Spring Training, he experienced inflammation in his recently repaired hip. He began the season on the DL and made his first start on May 25. He went eight innings and allowing two runs off of eight hits and struck out three batters.
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He is on a five-game winning streak, with his most recent win coming on Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox. He pitched seven shutout innings. His offense gave him enough run support on their way to a 3-0 win.
In his three home starts this season, Morton his 3-0 with a 0.84 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and 12:4 K:BB ratio. He isn’t bad on the road, 3.00 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, so he is a decent option when pitching away from PNC Park.
Morton’s next outing will be on the road against the Washington Nationals on Sunday. The Nationals’ offense is hit-or-miss (no pun intended). Bryce Harper is crushing the ball, but the rest of the team is leaving him hanging. Morton has the stuff to allow just one run over seven innings, so he is worth starting here.
Morton is not a strikeout guy, only 15 this season, but his ability to induce ground balls in a home run-friendly park according to ESPN’s 2015 Park Factors is impressive.
Fantasy owners are finally noticing Morton. He is currently owned in 39.5 percent of ESPN.com leagues, a jump of 17.9 percent over the last week. He should be owned in more leagues, and it will likely go up over the next week. As long as wins remain a top-five pitching stat in most leagues, Charlie Morton will have high fantasy value.